Colchester: Double joy for chairman as charity ride ends and U’s avoid drop

Colchester Chairman Robbie Cowling at the end of his charity bike ride to the final match of the sea

Colchester Chairman Robbie Cowling at the end of his charity bike ride to the final match of the season at Brunton Park Carlisle - Credit: Archant

ROBBIE Cowling fought through the pain barrier to bring his own marathon charity challenge to a successful conclusion in the Cumbrian sunshine on Saturday.

And Cowling, the owner and chairman of Colchester United FC, was rewarded with the ideal present – the Essex club staved off relegation to League Two on the final day.

Cowling had cycled from the U’s training complex, at Florence Park in Tiptree, all the way to Carlisle, a distance of more than 300 miles.

It was the last leg of a marathon season for the U’s supremo – he had already cycled to the first away league game of the season, at Preston, and also ran to every home game (23 in total) from his home at Great Totham, a distance of 15 miles.

Cowling has been raising money for the Teenage Cancer Trust, in memory of Emily Begg, a young Colchester United supporter who sadly died of leukaemia at the age of 14 in 2006.

Emily’s father, Stuart Begg, also cycled with Cowling to Carlisle over a challenging four days.

The duo were rewarded for their efforts with the U’s beating hosts Carlisle 2-0 at Brunton Park, to avoid relegation and so guarantee League One football for another season.

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Cowling said: “My legs feel fine. They ache less than they probably would have done if things hadn’t gone our way today! There’s no pain.

“The cycle ride went pretty well. The first three days were fairly easy, and went as planned, but the fourth day, going across the Yorkshire Dales, was tougher than we thought it would be.

“We had the wind in our faces, the hills were stepper than we thought, and it decided to sleet and rain!

“But we never got off and walked up one single hill. We rode over everyone of them.

“It’s all for a fantastic cause, and it was really nice to do it with Stuart (Begg) as well, and the others that did it with me.”

Cowling is well on the way to reaching his target of raising £10,000.

Of the U’s ultimately successful quest to avoid relegation, at the death, Cowling said: “This season will definitely stand the club in good stead for the future.

“We’ve got young players from the youth team that we want to bring through, and we’ve done that this year, with four players having made their debuts in tough games.

I think next season we have a chance to really do something.”

You can pledge money to Cowling’s Teenage Cancer Trust fund by visiting