On 6th September, the National Cycling Centre in Manchester played host to the launch of GM Fundraising’s next and final cycling challenge, ‘From Russia With Hope’.  The team, many of whom are GMF cycling veterans, gathered to learn the extent of the challenge they had so willingly signed up to.  GGP were delighted to be invited along to get a behind the scenes introduction to the ride and the team taking part.

From Russia With Hope

Taking place in June 2019, ‘From Russia With Hope’, sponsored by Brisant Secure, will see an all-male cycling team ride through 10 countries in 12 days, ending up at Hope House Children’s Hospice, the very people they are fundraising for. The total tally is 2,730 miles with 34,000 ft of climbing.

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Gary explains more about the challenge: “The team will be covering in excess of 280 miles each day as they cycle from St Petersburg, Russia, through Finland, into the Arctic Circle, through Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Holland, Belgium, France, England and Wales, before returning into England and their final destination of Hope House in Oswestry.  While the amount of climbing seems meek compared to some of our previous rides, the reality is that 70% of this will take place in the last two days as the team cycle through England and Wales – anyone who has ridden the Shropshire hills will know this is a challenge in itself.  As with all GM Fundraising events, every person taking part covers their own costs, so every penny raised will go directly Hope House to support their care of life-limited children and their families.

Making it possible

“These rides would not be possible without the headline sponsor, and we are delighted that Nick Dutton & Steve Stewart from Brisant Secure have committed support to us in this challenge.”

Nick Dutton, MD of Brisant Secure comments: “To our mind GM Fundraising is very much the ‘industry’s charity’ and we have long supported their efforts to raise money to support those less fortunate than ourselves.  For this reason, earlier this year we donated £5,000 to celebrate the success of our 5,000-hour salt water testing on Lock Lock.  This in turn lead to a conversation with the team about the opportunity to support ‘From Russia With Hope’.  We jumped at the chance to support such an epic challenge, particularly as it is the last one and are looking forward to promoting this event together and helping the team achieve their fundraising targets.”

How it all started

GM Fundraising commenced their charity cycle rides in 2005 with Top2Bottom, which saw a team of 10, including current riders Graeme Bailey, Gary Torr and Gary Morton, cycle 974 miles from John O’Groats to Land’s End over 13 days and raised over £51,000.    ‘From Russia With Hope’ far exceeds this challenge and it’s amazing to think how far they have come.

Gary comments: “Since this inaugural event, further international fundraising rides have taken place culminating in 2016’s Border2Border – the ‘Toughest Yet’, which saw 18 riders’ cycle 2,111 miles from Canada to Mexico, tackling offering up 97,295 feet of climbing and temperatures in excess of 45 degrees and raising £195,766.92 for Hope House Children’s Hospices.  We are delighted that 19 members of the Border2Border team are returning for this challenge, particularly as many of them were GMF challenge virgins last time.  Ask anyone that has ever taken part, be it cycling or support, and they will tell you that although the challenge is unreal, the shared experience and camaraderie is unrivalled and perhaps even a little addictive.  It certainly cements friendships for life.

The Last One

“‘From Russia With Hope’ is the 7th and final major cycling challenge for good reason: Aside from the immense amount of work in planning and executing these rides, each time we must exceed the last, both in challenge and funds raised.  That is no easy task.  From the initial concept, planning the route and the logistics takes months, and that’s before you have even completed the risk assessments! Safety is our top priority and every detail has to be planned to the nth degree.

“Even before Border2Border started we were thinking about the next ride and making plans.  But what we didn’t plan for was Paddle2Pedal.  The combination of two disciplines and the overriding success of the inaugural “girls only” challenge, which more than doubled its original target, opened our eyes to the future of the GM Fundraising challenges. So, while this last traditional ‘cycling challenge’ as we know it, we intend to go out on a high, we are by no means over when it comes to setting epic challenges and raising significant funds for Hope House.”

The Team

The majority of the Border2Border team, both riders and support, are returning to take part in the challenge.  Following his involvement in ‘Paddle2Pedal’ Glyn Moorhouse joins the team of riders.  Glyn comments: “Supporting the cycling element of Paddle2Pedal was a great experience. I enjoy cycling and trained with my wife Tina, who took part in the Paddle2Pedal, so it was an easy decision to agree to come along and support that challenge.  It was an even easier decision to sign up to ‘From Russia With Hope’.  I am excited but also very nervous.  But I am going to make sure I train hard and be at peak fitness by the time we set off next June.”

While Glyn is the only new rider, they also welcome Tim Ferkin of Caldwell, and Alan Rees of Panoramic Doors to the support team alongside stalwart’s Paul Godwin of Vast PR, Bob Plant and Mighton Products MD, Mike Derham

Gary concludes: “The Ride starts here.  Many of the team are already in training as they all understand the importance of achieving peak fitness and stamina ahead of June 10th when we embark on our final challenge which promises to be the biggest and toughest challenge to date.”

For more information about ‘From Russia With Hope’, the team taking part in the challenge and to follow their training as they build up for the ride visit  www.gmfundraising.co.uk/From RussiaWithHope

On social media, like GM Fundraising on Facebook or follow: @gmfundraising on Twitter, and look out for the hashtags #FRWHope for regular updates. Most importantly the fundraising starts now and each of the team has their own dedicated Just Giving page as well as a general team one: https://www.justgiving.com/teams/GMFFRWH