A team of cycling enthusiasts from Stonehaven and Orkney are joining forces to cycle 500 miles in 50 hours while carrying the match ball for the Scotland v Wales Six Nations Championship match.
Stonehaven man Willie Tulloch set up Strive – a group of like-minded friends – in 2018. They have organised a series of events to support the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation. To date, Strive has raised close to £100,000 for the charity. They have received tremendous support and close links have been formed between the communities in Orkney and Stonehaven.
Now, the Strive team of Willie Tulloch, Robert Lindsay, Leon De Jager and Garry Coltherd are gearing up to leave Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh on Thursday February 10 with a vital piece of cargo. They are to deliver the match ball to the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, in time for the kick-off on Saturday February 12 when Scotland take on the reigning champions.
They are joining Rob Wainright, organiser of the Doddie Cup 500 cycle, and a host of other household names from the sporting World including Martin Johnson, John Hall, Shane Williams, Colin Jarvis, Alex Popham, Iwan Tukalo and Mark Beaumont to name a few.
Some twenty teams of four cyclists, plus their support, will tackle the route. With one week to go before the the teams leave Edinburgh they had raised over £127,000.
Preparing for the challenge
Willie Tulloch said, ”While the Strive team have put in a lot of training miles to build up fitness for this latest event there is nothing that can really prepare you for the physical and mental demands of something on this scale.
”It is a longtime sitting in the saddle so I’m sure there will a lot of sore bums and feet. The lack of sleep will bring it’s demands, everyone will go through difficult moments at different times. This is when it will be important to have your team around about to provide encouragement and keep the spirits up. In a sense pushing yourself to the limit is what makes these types of challenges more appealing.
”It’s also important to say that the reason why are doing this keep things in perspective and provides purpose, it’s very little in the grand scheme of things.”
Support Strive and My Name’5 Doddie Foundation
If you would like to support Strive’s efforts for the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation, you can do so by visiting their JustGiving page
The cycle will be the penultimate event in this year’s Doddie Aid fundraising challenge that has been running since the 1st January to support the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation, set up by ex-Scotland rugby international Doddie Weir following his diagnosis with MND in 2017. Close friend and ex-international team mate of Mr Weir, Rob Wainright, has been a very active supporter of the Foundation from the outset. Well over £1 million was raised from the first Doddie Aid, which Mr Wainright set up last year. This year looks like being equally successful.
The mission of the Foundation is to increase awareness of MND and to raise funds to advance research to find a cure for the disease while also assisting with care provision for suffers. Since the launch of the Foundation the level of fundraising has been truly phenomenal as has the profile now been given to MND. This has seen a step change in the level of research activity with several key trials underway as direct result of funding being channelled directly from the work of the Foundation. This has also made it possible to increase and improve the support available to suffers and their carers.
By working together alongside other high profile campaigns and charity groups the Foundation has been instrumental in successfully lobbying the Government to ring fence £50 million of funding that was announced in November 2021 to increase the effort and momentum in finding a cure for MND. While this feels like a watershed moment, the medical experts advise that significantly more funding will be required and the various MND charity groups have committed to matching the Governments contribution. This is why it is important that the fundraising efforts by everyone continue.
While Mr Weir acknowledges a cure is not going to come soon enough to benefit him, vitally, his is inspirational character, drive and determination to stand up and hit his latest crunching tackle head on has given real hope that a cure will be found.
You can follow the Strive team’s progress on facebook @strivestoney
Feature image left to right: Garry Coltherd, Doddie Weir, Willie Tulloch, Leon De Jager