WATCH: Think you can beat an Olympian at a sporting challenge? Then sign up for Rowans ride

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  • Katy Sexton, an Olympic swimmer, has signed up to The Rowans Hospice virtual ride
  • She will be the celebrity to beat for people taking part in the fundraiser
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DO YOU think you could beat an Olympic athlete at a cycling challenge?

That is the task being set by The Rowans Hospice and gold medal winner Katy Sexton.

Katy Sexton with Gemma Carden, the community and events fundraiser at The Rowans Hospice. Picture: Habibur Rahman

Katy Sexton with Gemma Carden, the community and events fundraiser at The Rowans Hospice. Picture: Habibur Rahman

The swimmer is the celebrity to beat in the virtual Rowans Ride which launches next month and encourages people to cycle 18, 30 or 60 miles on a bike or static exercise bike throughout September.

Katy will be taking part and will try to clock up as many miles as she can while calling on people to try and beat her tally.

She said: ‘It will be a challenge for me because cycling is not an exercise I do a lot of. It’s great to be able to try and encourage people to do something fit and active but to also help raise some money for a fantastic cause.

‘There will be some people who will think “I have the chance to beat an Olympic athlete” and I am all for that.

To really push people, we thought it would be good to have someone compete against and we thought of Katy.

Gemma Carden

‘I was happy to take part when contacted by the Rowans because the work they do is important and it’s a charity that is close to everyone who lives in this area.’

The Rowans announced Katy as their celebrity to beat today at Nuffield Health Centre, in Alexandra Park, Hilsea.

For the last six years The Rowans Hospice, in Purbrook, has held its Rowans Ride which gets people together to cycle up to 60 miles. But they realised not everyone can commit to the date so launched their virtual ride which people can do for a £15 sponsorship fee.

Using their phones or fitness apps, people can keep track of how many miles they do throughout September while raising money for the Rowans.

Gemma Carden, organiser of the event, said: ‘One of my colleagues did a virtual run for charity and I thought it would be a good addition to our Rowans Ride. It is a great way to get more people involved and try something new.

‘Although the actual Rowans Ride is on September 17, the virtual event is for the whole month so people can do one mile a day or however many they want.

‘To really push people, we thought it would be good to have someone compete against and we thought of Katy.

‘She is known to this area and where she is a swimmer and not a cyclist, we knew it would be a challenge for her too.’

Since launching, the event has raised £247,505. Last year 358 cyclists took part raising £37,917. This year, they hope to raise £50,000.

For more information on the Rowans Ride and the virtual ride visit rowanshospice.co.uk/events/rowans-ride-2017.