SPORTY students are gearing up to push themselves to the limit and cycle 142 miles in just four days to raise vital funds for a hospice.
Hartlepool teenagers Christopher Marshall-Bell, Christian Caswell, Craig Risebury and Simon Flaherty will set off on their mammoth coast to coast challenge from St Bees Head, in Cumbria, next Tuesday, July 31.
The determined teenagers are students at English Martyrs School and Sixth Form College, in Catcote Road, Hartlepool, and aim to be back in Hartlepool by teatime next Friday.
So far the team has raised about £350, with all money raised going to the Hartlepool & District Hospice, in Wells Avenue.
The 17-year-olds, who are all keen cyclists, will be joined by three teachers on the challenge.
Christopher, from the Foggy Furze area of town, said: “We are keen cyclists anyway and try to do two or three long rides a week so we do feel prepared.
“On the second day we will be climbing Hardknott Pass, the biggest hill in England which has a gradient of 33 per cent in places.
“We aim to cycle all the way and hope we don’t have to get off and push.
“We are fairly confident and looking forward to the challenge.
“A fundraising target of £800 has been set and it would be great to reach that.”
The route will involve crossing the Lake District National park, the Pennines and the Tees Valley before culminating with fish and chips at Hartlepool Marina.
In a bid to boost their fundraising efforts, the group has held crisp and cake sales which proved popular with the Year 7 pupils at the school before they broke up for summer.
Christopher added: “The most we will cycle in a day will be about 45 miles so it is going to be gruelling.
“But we are raising money for a very worthwhile cause which does a lot in the community.
“We all had the chance to have a look around the hospice recently to see the work that they do.”
Teachers Chris Glynn and Joe Palmer will be cycling with the group while teacher Mark Blackwood will be keeping an eye on them in a bus.
The group are due to set off at 10am on Tuesday, July 31, before arriving at Hartlepool Marina at around 4pm on Friday, August 3.
They will be staying over in youth hostels and B&Bs during the four-day challenge.
To sponsor the group visit www.justgiving.com/EMscoast2coast