Wainwright leads support for Weir and Smith with London-Edinburgh bike ride
Former Scotland captain Rob Wainwright and a host of friends and former rivals are supporting Doddie Weir and Tom Smith by leading a charity cycle team from London to Edinburgh for the second year running.
Several international stars both past and the present have formed part of the ‘Wounded Lions 500’, who are pedalling between Twickenham and Murrayfield in 48 hours, in time to deliver the match ball for kick-off of the Calcutta Cup match between Scotland and England on Saturday February 8.
Alongside Wainwright, former England and Ireland internationals John Hall and Paddy Johns are aiming to complete the full 500 miles, while the likes of John Barclay, Kelly Brown and Will Carling are also taking part at various stages.
The team have already raised over their initial target of £100,000 in aid of two charities close to the hearts of all involved: My Name’5 Doddie Foundation – set up by Weir in 2017 following his Motor Neurone Disease diagnosis – and 40tude – chosen by Smith, who was recently diagnosed with stage four colon cancer.
Such an achievement has surpassed the £65,000 raised last time, when riders averaged two hours of sleep across the journey, with speeds of 15mph needing to be maintained in order to ensure the ball arrived in time.
Ready steady….GO! 🚴♀️
1997 Lion Rob Wainwright is leading a number of cyclists from Twickenham to BT Murrayfield to raise funds for Doddie Weir and Tom Smith.
They started the 500 mile journey yesterday and you can support them now.
— British & Irish Lions (@lionsofficial) February 7, 2020
Ahead of the gruelling task – which this year features short breaks at rugby clubs across the UK – including Weir and Smith’s former sides Newcastle Falcons and Northampton Saints – Wainwright said: “I’m hugely honoured to have played alongside Doddie and Tom.
“Both are top men, and both have tragically hit hard times with their health recently. While we cannot heal them, we can point our bikes north for 48 hours and suffer in solidarity with them.
“We’re all inspired by their fortitude and courage in the face of huge adversity and hopefully we can beat last year’s fundraising total and thus help improve both the treatment and the prognosis for MND and colon cancer.”
Cyclists are warmly welcomed to support the team and join the ride for as much of the route as they wish with a donation of £1 per mile. However, please note the ride is unsupported and pirate code applies after the first 50 miles. More details of the route and timings are available here.
All donations are warmly received on the Wounded Lions 500 fundraising page here.
Keep up to date with the team’s progress and opportunities to get involved here.
More information about the initiative is available here.