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Hundreds cycle an 84-mile route across the North Pennines
Former Darlington manager David Hodgson (left) and former Middlesbrough defender Steve Vickers, who raised more than £2,500 for Marie Curie Cancer Care
HUNDREDS of cyclists took part in a gruelling bike ride across the region’s countryside today, raising thousands of pounds for charity.
The Marie Curie Cancer Care Etape Pennines 2013 event took place in Barnard Castle, with more than 1,000 participants conquering an 84-mile circular route across some the most challenging terrain in the North Pennines, via Hamsterley Forest, in County Durham.
Among the cyclists were former Darlington manager David Hodgson and former Middlesbrough defender Steve Vickers, whose father is currently battling cancer.
The pair raised more than £2,500 for Marie Curie Cancer Care.
Mr Hodgson said: “That was difficult but amazing. The last section - cycling into the wind - made it even harder.
“It was wonderful having people applaud you as you passed every juncture - they really helped push us through.
"I’ve had a fair few medals in my time; in the European Cup, Championship, League and Charity Shield but none have given me as much pleasure as wearing this one.”
The money raised will go towards enabling Marie Curie nurses to reach more people in the region and provide more free hands-on care.
Kate Gaynor, regional events manager for Marie Curie in the Northern region, said: “It has been a brilliant day. We have had some really good feedback from our riders.
“It is a tough course and physically and mentally challenging but they have knuckled down and got through it.”
More than £60,000 has already been raised for the charity and the event is expected to provide a substantial financial boost to the local economy.
Last year’s event, in Ushaw Moor, Durham City, brought £235,000 into the local area.
James Robinson, managing director at IMG Challenger World, which organised the event, said: “We are delighted with how well the event went this weekend.
“County Durham is a stunning location for a cycling event.
“Each person who finishes should feel immensely proud of themselves for completing one of the toughest challenges on the sportive calendar.”
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