They’ve done it! Jane Tomlinson Appeal Ride to Rio team conquer their epic challenge.
A team of cyclists riding from London to Rio de Janeiro in tribute to the late, inspirational Jane Tomlinson have conquered their near 3,000 mile epic challenge.
Exhausted but elated, the team, which includes Jane’s husband Mike, TV presenter Charlie Webster and ex-Rugby League stars Keith Senior and Paul Highton, triumphantly road up to Mount Corcovado, finishing at the famous Christ the Redeemer Statue, 39 days after leaving London.
The incredible journey came exactly 10 years after the late amateur athlete Jane Tomlinson CBE embarked on her 4,200 mile ride across America and was staged to celebrate Jane’s achievements and raise money to continue her legacy.
An emotional Mike Tomlinson said: “On 31st August 2006, Jane stood on Staten Island looking across at Manhattan knowing the next day she would cycle over the Brooklyn Bridge and complete her ride across America.
"We looked at each other and we knew her athletic exploits were over. She would head home knowing her days were limited. On the ride she gave everything despite aggressive liver cancer and extensive bone disease.
"She felt huge relief that her cycling journey was complete but an overwhelming sadness that her life was drawing to a close.
"Today was my equivalent of that Staten Island moment. As I cycled up to the top of Christ the Redeemer, I thought of Jane and her incredible achievement with every pedal stroke. No one, except for a handful of people, knew what she went through and how hard she had to dig in.
"Our challenge, while it paled in comparison to the Ride Across America, was tough, both emotionally and physically. But it has really reinforced to me just how indomitable Jane’s spirit was.
"Thank you to everyone who came with us on our journey – either physically or by backing us through sponsorship of other support. We could not have done it without you."
Charlie Webster said: “It's so hard to put into words what it means to climb to the top of Christ Redeemer after setting off 39 days ago from London. I feel overwhelmed, in awe of what we've achieved, relieved that I made it and all the emotion that I've had pent up for the past 39 days has just poured out! Yes I cried!
"We have been through so much, the mental and emotional strength it takes to tackle the challenges we've faced both individually and as a team is just raw determination.
"Knowing a small bit of what Jane was going through when she rode across America and the sheer grit she had to show is evidence that we can battle any adversity and make a difference.
"The incredible messages I've received from people back home have kept me going. Thank you to all those that have encouraged me, believed in me and donated to the Jane Tomlinson Appeal, a fantastic cause, in the name of a remarkable woman."
Paul Highton said: “Well we finally made it to Christ the Redeemer, something I never thought possible when we set out almost six weeks ago. This has been an incredible journey both as a team and even more so personally.
“This will stay with me forever and has certainly reignited the competitive fire inside.”
Keith said: “When I decided to do this challenge I will be honest, the appealing factor was cycling through Brazil. Following the guys cycling through Europe I was itching to get out with the gang.
“What an amazing adventure to be involved in and to reach our final destination. It won’t actually sink in untiI I get home but I know it’s up there as one of the best challenges I have done. I also met some great people along the way.”
To support the team go to https://www.justgiving.com/RidetoRio or text JRTR70 £5 to 70070 to donate £5.
For more information about the challenge and the Jane Tomlinson Appeal go to www.janetomlinsonappeal.com