Welsh rugby legend, Gareth Thomas, has this evening completed the third leg of his gruelling 500-mile, seven-day cycle challenge: The Tour De Trophy, for Sport Relief.
Setting off at 8.00am this morning, today’s 75-mile stretch saw Gareth travel from Warrington to Kendal, passing through Preston, Bilsborrow and Galgate. BBC Radio 2’s OJ Borg and comedian Stephen Bailey, proved to be the perfect support team with Gareth on the Quatrocycle, as wind, rain and hailstorms threatened to dampen spirits.
With 270 miles still to go, the former Welsh and British Lions rugby captain is on his way to the P&J arena in Aberdeen, as he attempts to raise life changing cash for Sport Relief and also deliver the BBC Sports Personality of the Year trophy to the live awards show on Sunday 15th December in time to be presented to this year’s winner.
BBC Radio 2 Presenter OJ Borg said: “Hail in the face today…hail in the face! It’s essentially sea weather. It’s really, really hard on that bike. But to be able to play the smallest part in Gareth’s mammoth journey for Sport Relief was a real pleasure. He is a legend, not just in rugby…he is just simply a legend. It’s been such a challenging day, which is why it’s all the more important for everyone to get behind Gareth and do their bit to support him for the rest of the challenge.”
Today Gareth also learnt more about the work Sport Relief makes possible when it comes to fighting stigma around LGBTQ+ issues in the UK. He met 38-year-old Verity, who is a community development worker at Yorkshire MESMAC, who shared personal experiences of facing prejudice after he transitioned from female to male. Verity, also a fellow former rugby player, works to engage LGBTQ+ people in sport and activity in a bid to help them overcome barriers and improve their wellbeing.
Gareth Thomas said: “Today has been incredibly tough. I felt emotionally drained but what has been keeping me going is the people I have met at Sport Relief projects. Today I met Verity from the project Yorkshire MESMAC, who do phenomenal work to engage people from LGBTQ+ communities in sport, to help break down barriers. I’ve been in similar environments myself, so I know just how prejudice sports changing rooms can be, which is why its vitally important to change attitudes.
“Today was a real challenge for me on so many levels; but meeting Verity and learning about how he has become such a strong voice for his community was incredible and was everything I needed to spur me on to tonight’s finishing line here in Kendal.”
Since setting off from Cardiff on Monday morning, Gareth has cycled more than 230 miles, taking in towns, cities and market towns across England and Wales. Tomorrow morning Gareth will set-off from Kendal with the Scottish border in his sights. All of the excitement will be captured and live-streamed on BBC Sport and documented across BBC Radio 5 Live.
To follow the action and to support Gareth, visit SportRelief.com
Daily pictures available here: https://mm.gettyimages.com/mm/nicePath/comicrelief_public?nav=pr654784514
ENDS FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Comic Relief Media Team: email@example.com 0207 820 2500
NOTES TO EDITORS: Website: sportrelief.com Social @sportrelief #TourdeTrophy Follow Gareth on Twitter: @gareththomas14 | Instagram: @GarethThomasOfficial
About Sport Relief Sport Relief brings the nation together to get active and raise life changing amounts of money through the power of sport. Sport Relief only spends funds on the things it passionately believes in. These being: • Survive and Thrive: That every child has the right to the best start in life • Global Mental Health: That every person has the right to quality mental health support where and when they need it • Safe Place to Be: Everyone having a safe, secure and decent place to call home • Gender Justice: Women & girls having equal power and say in the decisions that impact their lives
About Comic Relief Comic Relief is a UK charity with a simple purpose -to create a just world, free from poverty. Comic Relief does this by funding and investing in amazing organisations across the UK and around the world to tackle some of the key issues of our time. Since 1985, Comic Relief has raised over £1.3 billion. That money has helped, and is helping, to improve countless lives. For information about Comic Relief and the work it carries out, please visit www.comicrelief.comComic Relief, registered charity 326568 (England/Wales); SC039730 (Scotland)
Sports Personality of the Year (SPOTY) Sports Personality of the Year will take place in Aberdeen for the first time at the new P&J Live Arena on Sunday, 15 December. Presenters Gary Lineker, Clare Balding and Gabby Logan will take to the stage to celebrate the year of sport in front of an audience of 10,000, with millions more watching live on BBC One.