THE gruelling trek from Land’s End to John O’Groats is a route one motivated cyclist knows well as he has now completed it for five consecutive years.
Dedicated Mike Rainton, 65, has clocked up almost 900 miles every year in completing one of the most demanding endurance challenges by cycling the length of Great Britain.
His fantastic efforts have raised an impressive £15,000 for charity.
Mike, a dad-of-three who grew up in Hartlepool and lived in Kingsley Avenue, completed the ride for the fifth time last month.
But he is not ready to put his feet up just yet and is already planning his next challenge.
“It was tough this year,” said Mike, a retired college lecturer who lives with wife Pauline, 65.
“It was hot and windy, I had to get my head down and work hard, but it is always worth it.
“The feeling of completing the challenge is just fantastic.
“It’s addictive, that’s the reason why I have done it for the last five years.”
Mike completed the challenge as part of The Race Against Time team, a group of cyclists who are raising money for the Bishop Simeon Trust, a charity which aims to help disadvantaged people in South Africa.
The motivated group were on the roads for six days clocking up almost 150 miles every day.
“It is relentless, but we all really enjoy our cycling, the togetherness of the group is fantastic as well,” added Mike, dad of Stephen, 34, Peter, 31, Alison, 29, and also a granddad-of-three.
“I still remembered the pride I felt when I completed the ride for the first time.
“I didn’t think I would go on to complete it another four more times after that, but I have enjoyed every single one.”
Mike, who now lives in Suffolk, also says raising thousands of pounds for charity is a great motivator.
“The trust is a fantastic cause and I just want to help out in any way I can,” he says.
“The support I have had from people over the years has been tremendous, £15,000 is a lot of money.
“We are now looking at some challenges for next year, we aren’t sure which one to do yet but there are a few on our mind.”
Mike still visits Hartlepool regularly and keeps in close contact with friends in the town.
“I think it’s so important to remember your roots and that is why I make sure I come back to Hartlepool every year,” he added.
“I would like to give a huge thanks to the people in Hartlepool who have supported me.
“West Hartlepool Rugby Club have been a huge help and a number of individuals have offered their support.”