Lockdown inspires North End grandmother to take on Lands End to John o’Groats and back world record bike ride

A WORLD record attempt will see a North End grandmother aim to become the first woman to cycle 1,725 miles from Lands End to John o’Groats and back.

Wednesday, 19th August 2020, 4:40 pm
Updated Wednesday, 19th August 2020, 5:58 pm
Marcia Roberts from Portsmouth is taking on a Guinness World Record attempt at a cycle from Lands End to John o'Groats and back in eight days and 12 hours

With no recorded time for a female to complete this momentous task, Marcia Roberts needs to complete the trip in eight days and 12 hours or less to clinch a Guinness World Record.

Setting off on Sunday, the 54-year-old will take on her self-supported ride - with her only support crew being her husband Del - to raise money for Solent Mind and inspire others to get active.

Despite not being a particularly fast rider, Marcia has a love of long-distance cycling which she shares with members of her all-female group Pompey Pedal Pushers, and she was due to complete her first ever self-supported race this year, a 1,100-mile ride around the Netherlands.

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Marcia Roberts from Portsmouth is taking on a Guinness World Record attempt at a cycle from Lands End to John o'Groats and back in eight days and 12 hours

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The IT manager said: ‘I have been on a coaching plan and I’m stronger and faster and fitter than I have ever been in my life.

‘I spent all winter training for this race which was supposed to happen in May. I had put all that energy into training for something and I didn’t want to waste it.

‘I can’t train without a goal and I knew I’d start getting slower and it would have been a waste of nine months’ effort and training.’

After taking on some research into challenges she could complete closer to home, Marcia discovered that there was no female world record for the ‘LEJOGLE’ trip, although James MacDonald completed it in five days, 18 hours and three minutes in 2017.

Marcia set her mind to her new course, which Guinness has specified she must complete in 8.5 days, and she cannot wait to get started.

She said: ‘I have got two grandchildren who live in Cornwall, their dad loves cycling and we have been trying to get them loving cycling. I’d love them to be proud of their nanny who got a world record. I hope it will inspire people who think they’re too old.’

Having pulled in more than £1,400 for Solent Mind before she has even set off, Marcia is hoping to raise as much as possible for the mental health charity because of the effects of lockdown.

‘I’ve had my own low moments, but I’m lucky in that I know I always seem to bounce back,’ said Marcia.

‘But I’ve seen friends of mine really struggle through this, and with services cut to the bone, I wanted to do something to help the charities that are picking up the pieces.’

Marcia decided she wanted to go even further, and has set up a virtual version of the challenge which people can register for and then walk, run, ride or push their wheelchair the same distance over four months.

Individuals or teams can register at zentoevent.com/lejogle-2020, and the profits will go to Solent Mind.

Marcia added: ‘Each person that enters will also inspire me on my own ride, as they will be in my hearts as part of my invisible peloton and help to keep my legs turning.’

Visit justgiving.com/fundraising/marcia-roberts to donate or learn more.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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