Cyclist Mark creates once a day biking test

A charity fund-raiser will get on his bike to complete a gruelling cycling challenge for one of the biggest charities in the borough in 2017.

Mark Harper is planning to cover an impressive 3,650 miles in the saddle to raise money for Wigan and Leigh Hospice.

I said to myself in 2017 I’m going to go big.

Mark Harper

The challenge, which involves cycling 10 miles every single day, will involve a mixture of pedalling on static bikes in the gym and riding out on the open roads in fine weather.

Mark, from Leigh, will take on the cycling marathon in memory of his aunt Christine Harper, who was cared for by the Hindley-based hospice when she was in the final stages of her fight against breast cancer.

He has previously done the Manchester to Blackpool bike ride but now wants to step up the difficulty after illness preventing him doing more fund-raising in the last couple of years.

Mark, 49, said: “I said to myself in 2017 I’m going to go big. I decided I wanted to put a lot into something and I’m not built for running these days so I’m much better suited to cycling. It’s a good way of me losing weight as well and I can’t think of anything better to channel my energy into than raising money for such a worthy cause.

“I was going to do a lot of fund-raising in 2016 for the hospice and another cancer charity which a friend of mine set up when he was ill, so I’ve decided 2017 will be a good year for raising money.

Mark will ride part of the way to his target at Gym 28 in Boothstown but is also looking forward to getting out and doing some longer rides in good weather.

He began fund-raising after a conversation with Christine’s widower Alan at the Bent and Bongs beer festival and completed the 63 miles from Manchester to Blackpool in 2014, the first time he had ridden a bike in around 30 years.

He will get the challenge started on New Year’s Day by riding from his Pendle Court home to the hospice’s headquarters.

He was inspired to help the hospice after Christine, from Atherton, was admitted to the in-patient unit aged 63 in 2012 for palliative care and passed away just 36 hours later.

To find out more or sponsor Mark visit www.justgiving.com/Mark-Harper6