Former RAF engineer's 74-miles challenge for charity close to his heart

Marc Hall with the cyclists at Middlesbrough Riverside Stadium. Picture by Andrew Gill.
Marc Hall with the cyclists at Middlesbrough Riverside Stadium. Picture by Andrew Gill.

A former RAF engineer has completed a grueling 74-mile cycling challenge between five football stadiums.

Marc Hall, of Billingham, came up with the challenge as part of a series of fundraisers to support the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund.

The 39-year-old said: “The RAF Benevolent Fund is a charity close to my heart. I suffer with Crohn’s disease, but I haven’t needed any help.

"I know that if that changes, the RAF Benevolent Fund are there for me. I’ve seen the difference they make to colleagues of mine, and the fund really are brilliant.”

A group of 21 cyclists took part in the challenge, which was organised by Marc, on Sunday.

The ride started at Darlington FC, before heading to Middlesborough FC, Hartlepool United, Sunderland AFC and finishing at Newcastle United.

The 21 riders endured searing hot temperatures as they completed their challenge, all decked out in RAF racing jerseys. So far more than £300 has been raised, with more funds yet to come in.

The 74-mile challenge is the furthest Marc had ever cycled.

Marc added: “I really thought about quitting about three quarters of the way through. I was really struggling, I arrived at Sunderland football ground and my partner was there to give me a hug and a few words of wisdom and from somewhere I just ground it out!”

Next year Marc, who now works as a sound and light technician for Billingham Forum Theatre part of John Davey Limited who sponsored the ride, will be joined by friend Graham Purnell, who is still currently serving in the RAF, as they embark on their greatest challenge yet – to scale Mount Everest.

The intrepid duo are planning a training trip to take on the Three Peaks this year, before heading out to Mount Everest in the autumn.

Aaron Tillyer, regional fundraiser for the RAF Benevolent Fund, said: “Marc and his supporters have been incredible.

"His enthusiasm, and crazy ideas, for raising funds for the RAF Benevolent Fund are infectious. As a charity which receives no regular government funding, supporters like Marc are vital to ensure we can continue out work supporting his ex-colleagues whenever times get tough.

"The RAF Benevolent Fund is there for all serving and former RAF personnel and their families, providing emotional, practical and financial support.”

To support Marc go to his JustGiving page click here.