THREE East Lothian cyclists are taking on a 1,650-mile challenge, and an ascent twice the size of Mount Everest, as they aim to make it to Rome.

Anthony Stodart and James Fisher, from North Berwick; and Chris Lockett, from Dunbar, will join Mark Morriss, from Banchory, on a cycle from North Berwick to Rome ahead of Scotland’s Six Nations clash with Italy next Saturday (March 9).

The quartet, who are raising money for My Name’5 Doddie Foundation – which supports funding to combat motor neurone disease (MND) in memory of former Scotland rugby star Doddie Weir, who passed away from MND – will set off on Sunday.

The trio have raised nearly £8,000 and will join more than 240 people taking part in the All Roads Lead To Rome challenge, led by former Scotland captain Rob Wainwright.

Mr Stodart, who also serves as managing director of online business ArdMoor Ltd, told the Courier: “It seemed like a good idea at the time!

“We are looking forward to it but it is going to be a big challenge. I’ve done other cycling challenges but nothing this big.

“We’ve been practising a lot and we feel ready.”

Darge gives his support

The group, named ‘Needing a Northerly’ in the hope of a northerly wind boosting their efforts, will set off from North Berwick Rugby Club on Sunday at 7.30pm before heading south to London.

The rugby club bar will be open 2-4pm on Sunday, with proceeds going to Doddie Aid, while Scotland rugby co-captain Rory Darge will be at the club 2-3pm to give his support to the cyclists.

The team will make their way through Europe, taking in some of the sights as they head to Italy.

The four cyclists will be helped by a support crew, driving behind in a vehicle. They will not stop on their journey, with cyclists taking it in turns to cycle while others rest.

Mr Stodart said: “It is going to be tight. We are looking to get there in four and a half days, in time for the game. We have tickets so we have to get there!

“We’ll arrive in time to merge with the other cyclists taking part, all coming from different parts of the UK, and then head to the game.”

Mr Stodart will be joined by wine specialist Mr Lockett, of Lockett Bros, North Berwick, as well as Mr Fisher and Mr Morriss.

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