It will be the hardest bike ride they’ve ever done in their lives, but Laura Williams and Tony Wimpenny are bracing themselves to spend 12 days in the saddle later this month – while raising money for the ME Association.
They will be taking on the 1,000-mile LEJOG – the iconic Land’s End to John O’Groats Cycle Ride – to honour one of Laura’s close university friends, whose life had to be put on hold after she went down with M.E. last year. They were in the same women’s football team at Loughborough University.
Laura and Tony will set off from Land’s End next Monday and won’t reach journey’s end until 20th August.
“We both do a fair bit of cycling but have never taken on a challenge as tough as this. But I think we’re both experienced enough as riders to hold it altogether”, said Tony (42), director of an engineering company in the natural gas and renewable gases industry.
Laura, who will celebrate her 31st birthday on route by inviting some of their friends to cycle with them on the day, said:
“My friend and I are part of a very sporty circle of friends from university. She was very go-ahead, full of life and most energetic. She became ill last year and got progressively worse. When she was finally diagnosed with the illness, we and many other friends had never heard of M.E.
“She became bedridden, and her partner had to quit her job to look after her. She has had to become quite an expert in the illness, to see what’s out there, what research there is that can help her. That’s because they’ve struggled to find the right medical support in their part of Wales.”
Laura, an environmental consultant in the energy sector, and partner Tony will be following a time-honoured route that takes them through the West Country, up the heart of England into the Lake District, on to Loch Lomond, Glencoe and Fort William before the final three-day push to the northernmost tip of Scotland.
As well as raising a lot of money for the ME Association, Laura and Tony have set up a crowdfunder on the side to collect money for a treat for their friend. The couple, from Bristol, took advice on the pitfalls and what to expect on the ride from Ja Bowie who, with brother Jesse, conquered the LEJOG for us in May last year.
If you would like to support Laura and Tony on their heroic cycle ride, please visit their JustGiving Page and make a donation.
Good luck, guys! We hope all goes well for you.
For people with ME/CFS who are thinking about taking on a physical fundraising challenge, or if you are organising an event that might involve people with ME/CFS, please read this notice from Neil Riley, Chairman of the ME Association.