A record-breaking cyclist has prepped university staff to help them tackle Scotland’s equivalent of Route 66.
Mark Beaumont, a Scottish athlete who broke the record for cycling around the world in 79 days, gave staff at the University of Aberdeen tips about their upcoming North Coast 500 challenge, which is set to begin on May 19.
Over the course of eight days, the group of 20 riders, including some from NHS Grampian, will attempt to cycle the North Coast 500’s scenic 516-mile route.
Starting and ending at Inverness Castle, and taking in the likes of Applecross, Ullapool and John o’ Groats, the journey’s aim is to raise awareness and funds for a new specialist cancer team.
It is part of the university’s See Cancer drive, which hopes to raise £4.5 million to transform cancer research and support cancer care in the North-east, while also creating opportunities to develop and trial new drugs.
Mark met up with some of the North Coast 500 challenge riders yesterday in Ellon to give them advice on preparing for the big race.
He said: “I am delighted to join this team from the University of Aberdeen and friends as they set off to tackle the hilly north in aid of important cancer support in the North-east Scotland.
“The North Coast 500 is Scotland at its more rugged, wild and beautiful.
“It is a route that I know well and it is a serious challenge for any cyclist.”
The team of cyclists includes riders from the University of Aberdeen’s School of Medicine, Medical Sciences and Nutrition, as well as NHS Grampian staff and other associates.
Professor Steve Heys, head of the University of Aberdeen’s School of Medicine, Medical Sciences and Nutrition, said: “We can’t wait to saddle up for this magnificent challenge in order to raise funds for, and awareness of, our drive to put in place a world-class cancer research team that will bring a host of benefits to the North-east of Scotland.
“Some of us are experienced cyclists while for others this will be the first long-distance cycle they’ve undertaken, but we’ve all been in training and will look after one another along the route.
“It’s going to be a great challenge and a great experience.”