Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 21 August 2014

Hero cycles in £1m fundraiser

Downtown's Johnny to ride in event for Marie Curie Cancer Care

Downtown Radio DJ Johnny Hero got "in the saddle" at Botanic Gardens this week, as Team Northern Ireland prepares to take part in Marie Curie Cancer Care's biggest ever fundraiser.

Downtown Radio DJ Johnny Hero got "in the saddle" at Botanic Gardens this week, as Team Northern Ireland prepares to take part in Marie Curie Cancer Care's biggest ever fundraiser.

The Great 500 Cycle Challenge aims to raise £1m and will see some 380 riders take in one of five cycle routes across Poland before arriving in Warsaw, the birthplace of Marie Curie, in one spectacular cavalcade later this month.

The local DJ, whose popular radio show goes out over the airwaves each morning, said he just wants to make it to the finish line and clinch the money raised for the charity.

"I'm no cycling enthusiast, in fact I hadn't been on a bike in 15 years until I started training for this challenge.

"It was actually Edwina Curry who encouraged me to take part.

"I had interviewed her a year or so ago when the charity was first looking for volunteers to take part and at the end she asked me if I'd do it.

"I did think about it, particularly since my father was cared for by wonderful nurses when he was dying, so I felt it was a really worthy cause to support.

"But it was only after she contacted me again and my wife gave me a bit of a nudge as well that I actually entered it."

He went on to explain: "When I went out on my bike for the first time and did four miles I came home exhausted.

"Now I have been doing 30 to 40 miles training, on my own due to my funny working hours, but even so I just hope to finish - it's going to be really tough.

"In fact, I intend to bring a tow rope!"

However, he went on to point out: "I'm really looking forward to it, but it is with a certain amount of trepidation that I am taking part in the challenge.

"I hope that by cycling with the other Ulster participants we will be able to encourage each other along."

The local presenter is part of a team of 44 people from across Northern Ireland who will leave for Poland in the coming days to take part in the challenge.

The first group of riders will set off on September 9 and all riders will arrive in Warsaw on September 17 for the special cavalcade.

Johnny Hero will also be doing daily reports for Downtown from the challenge throughout the week.

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