From sunrise to sunset: Cyclists' epic challenge

Richard Witter and Christian Mathiesen are cycling from Darlington to St Albans Clock Tower.

Richard Witter and Christian Mathiesen are cycling from Darlington to St Albans Clock Tower. - Credit: Supplied

Two cyclists are riding from Darlington to St Albans today to raise money for charity.

Richard Witter and Christian Mathiesen set off at sunrise this morning and are hoping to be back at the Clock Tower by sunset. 

Richard is cycling in aid of the Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust while Christian is fundraising for the ME Association as his mum struggles with the condition.

Richard said ahead of the challenge: "It's around 260 miles, we will have 17 hours of daylight, so will need to average over 15mph. That's including stopping to drink, eat and wee. So, it's going to be hard work, but that's the point!

"My passion is wildlife, last time I was riding around the Lake District for hedgehogs, and this time I'll be raising money for the Herts & Middlesex Wildlife Trust. Conservation isn't a far away problem, it's not just big cats and polar bears. If we can all make our local areas a bit greener, then we can change the world."

Christian added: "In the grand scheme of things it is only a small effort but I'm hoping to raise awareness of the challenges faced by ME sufferers and funds to support the critical research by the ME Association into this crippling disease. 

"This will be a test of mental strength and physical resilience for just one long day, providing a small insight into the struggle many ME sufferers have to overcome each and every day of their lives. 

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"As a dad to two small gorgeous but very demanding people, much of my training over the next four months will need to take place in the dark before and after work and parenting hours adding to the lack of sleep. 

"The ME Association campaigns hard to get ME recognised as a severe neurological illness. Their helpline provides essential information and support to adults and children who have ME/CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) and to their families and carers. They also fund biomedical research into the physical nature and causes of both."

To support their efforts go to www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Richard-Witter1 and 

www.justgiving.com/fundraising/christian-mathiesen2