SHOPPING centre staff and customers who took part in an Olympic Games-themed fitness challenge managed to row or cycle the equivalent of the distance to the host city - with more miles to spare.
Staff from the BHS and Marks & Spencer stores in Hartlepool’s Middleton Grange Shopping Centre went head-to-head in the fitness test and completed a total of 275 miles - five more than the target that was set.
The aim was to complete the task over various days last week before Friday’s Olympics opening ceremony.
Shopping centre manager Mark Rycraft also got in on the act, cycling the last 15 miles and shoppers also took part.
Mr Rycraft, who cycles to and from work every day, said: “I pledged to do the final 15 miles within an hour and did it within 50 minutes at an average of 18mph.
“I had the resistance set at level eight and was walking like John Wayne when I got off!”
BHS staff were sponsored to raise money for the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) and the money is still being counted before a final total is revealed.
Mr Rycraft added: “While I was on the bike, someone came over and did another five miles on the rowing machine.
“We were able to get to the Olympic Park plus an extra five miles, so I’m really please.”
The fitness equipment was provided by the Fit4less gym, based at Hartlepool Rugby Club, in Easington Road, and staff from the gym told Mr Rycraft lots of young people gave the challenge a go.
“It’s important to get children involved in exercise and out of all our customers, they were the ones who came along and gave it a try and contributed to the mileage.
“That alone was a bonus for me - if that showed kids how much fun exercise can be fun then it worked. “Everyone must be feeling fitter after last week.”