Ipswich man completes huge cycling challenge across northern Spain

Ian Mitchell, left, and Duncan Smith starting their journey in Leon Picture: DUNCAN SMITH

Ian Mitchell, left, and Duncan Smith starting their journey in Leon Picture: DUNCAN SMITH - Credit: Archant

A Suffolk man has completed a mammoth cycling challenge across Spain for charity.

Duncan, left, and Ian finishing the challenge in Santiago de Compostela Picture: DUNCAN SMITH

Duncan, left, and Ian finishing the challenge in Santiago de Compostela Picture: DUNCAN SMITH - Credit: Duncan Smith

Duncan Smith, 55, rode across the Camino Way from the city of Leon in southern France right along to the northern fringe of Spain to Santiago de Compostela, some 323km away, with his friend Ian Mitchell.

In preparation Mr Smith has been training for the challenge for a number of months and has clocked up a number of miles around areas like Alton Water, Tunstall Forest and up and down the Deben River.

It took the friends five days to cover the distance.

“We averaged around 60km a day all off road on mountain bikes,” said Mr Smith.

Duncan Smith on the Camino Way in Spain Picture: DUNCAN SMITH

Duncan Smith on the Camino Way in Spain Picture: DUNCAN SMITH - Credit: Duncan Smith


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The ride was not without its challenges for Duncan and Ian and reminded them just how far they were from home.

“The terrain was exceptionally hilly and we climbed on one day up to 2,500m. This was a real challenge as in Suffolk this is not really something you can prepare for.

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“This part of Spain is very rural and exceptionally beautiful so cycling through it was a fantastic experience.

“When we arrived in Santiago de Compostela on the Friday we both felt an amazing sense of achievement.

“I wont sit on a bike for a while.”

Mr Smith decided to undertake the challenge after being inspired by an episode of The One Show.

On the show Alex Smith, one of the founder members of Harrison’s Fund, was talking about taking on the Greatest Ironman Challenge to raise money for the charity.

Harrison’s Fund was set up to help fight Duchenne’s disease, a muscle wasting condition.

The condition affects Alex Smith’s son Harrison.

Touched by the story, Duncan decided to take on his own challenge to help and set himself the target of around £750, which he has since bettered.

“I’m also glad that this gave me the opportunity to raise awareness and some funds for Harrison’s Fund, around £800,” said Mr Smith. “This is such a great charity and such a horrible disease.”

The money raised will now go towards research into the disease with the aim of finding a cure.

You can still donate to Mr Smith’s page at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/duncan-smith-camino2018

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