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Mark Wainwright and 11 cyclists depart from Twickenham Stadium

Rugby legends depart on 500 mile ride from Twickenham to deliver ball for Six Nations match

By Tom Holmes
February 6 2020, 14.50

Former Scotland rugby captain Rob Wainwright lead the charge for a 500 mile cycle, despite having stage four colon cancer.

Mr Wainwright and his eleven man team departed from Twickenham Stadium at 11:30am this morning and will cycle to Edinburgh’s Murrayfield stadium in just 48 hours to deposit the match ball for Saturday’s Six Nations match between Scotland and England.

Just before their departure, for what is known as the Wounded Lions 500, Mr Wainwright said: “It’s been a lot of planning, so it’s actually nice to just to be able to get on the bike and go for a ride.

“We’ve had some fantastic support, which has been amazing, and it’s all about raising money for too really great charities.”

PREPARED: Cyclists with Tom Smith (L) and England legend Jason Leonard (R)

The Wounded Lions 500 has raised over £100,000 and counting for rugby related charities My Name’5 Doddie Foundation and 40tude.

My Name’5 Doddie Foundation was set up by former Scotland player Doddie Weir in 2017 and aims to raise money for research into motor neuron disease, which Mr Weir was diagnosed with.

40tude is a charity that works to fund research into diagnosis of and treatment of colon cancer, chosen by former Scotland international and Lion Tom Smith, who despite going through chemotherapy himself, is riding 30 miles of the challenge today.

This is the ride’s second year, having raised £65,000 in 2019, a number that they significantly passed this year.

Former Lion Mr Wainwright added: “Last year when we did it we were cycling into a rain-laden headwind, but this is beautiful with the sun coming out in the afternoon and tailwinds all the way north.

“We’re hoping this match-ball will be as good as the one we delivered last year.”

HEAR US ROAR: Rob Wainwright leads the departure from Twickenham

The event is sponsored by Neubria, a company that works creates plant-based brain health supplements after its founder Jonny Kennedy was forced to quit professional rugby after suffering a series of concussions.

Mr Kennedy said: “We’re immensely thrilled to be involved in this event.

“Brain health is very close to my heart. I’m very passionate about it and what they’re doing today is absolutely fantastic.

“To see the old foes of rugby, England and Scotland coming together for a common cause to raise money is brilliant. To step out at Twickenham, see everyone getting together.

“That is the beauty of this sport, coming together no matter where you’re from.

“I’m surprisingly emotional, and I’m really looking forward to seeing them over the finish line.”

Whilst there are only 12 people cycling the entire 500 miles, many others are cycling portions of the route, with around 40 people departing from Twickenham.

Cyclists are warmly welcomed to support the team and join the ride for as much of the route as they wish with a donation of £1 per mile.

However, please note that the ride is unsupported and pirate code will apply after the first 50 miles and those who are unable to keep up will not be accommodated for.

More details of the route and timings are available on the website here and donations can be made on the Wounded Lions 500 fundraising page here.

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