Five men, five days and 2,000km from France to Knock

On their bikes:  Jonathon Verry (Crossmolina), Maurice Dore (Mullingar), Gerry ‘Boots’ Powell (London & Armagh), Alan Heaney (Swinford), Gary Bigley (Kiltimagh). Photo: Sinead Mallee

On their bikes: Jonathon Verry (Crossmolina), Maurice Dore (Mullingar), Gerry ‘Boots’ Powell (London & Armagh), Alan Heaney (Swinford), Gary Bigley (Kiltimagh). Photo: Sinead Mallee

Five men from Mayo, Mullingar and London completed a gruelling five-day, 2,000km, ultra cycling challenge from Lourdes to Knock over the weekend.

Alan Heaney, Gary Bigley, Jonathon Verry, Maurice Dore and Gerry ‘Boots’ Powell completed their endurance challenge in aid of Down Syndrome Ireland and Pieta House.

The five men began the cycle in Lourdes last Tuesday morning. From there, the team made their way through France, across the English Channel (by ferry ), over England amd Wales, across the Irish sea (by ferry ) and down west to Knock from start to finish in just five days.

The toughest part of the challenge was the lack of sleep and cycling against the four weather seasons, said team leader Alan Heaney who said: "This was an extremely tough, mental and physical challenge and along with cycling up to 400km per day, we encountered all weather, even four seasons in one day which tested us to our physical limits. However, we are delighted we undertook the 2000km cycle and we are thrilled to be home safe and sound."

The five men were welcomed home after their epic journey by hundreds of supporters and well-wishers on Saturday evening at a homecoming party in Swinford. Money raised will help fund the development of a new Down Syndrome Ireland regional resource centre in Swinford for people with Down syndrome and their families in Connacht. Proceeds will also help mental health charity Pieta House provide support to people in the farming community.

 

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