Maguiresbridge cyclist, Aidan Reihill, is getting on his bike next month to pedal for donations to help fulfil a friend’s last request.
Reihill, who is 37 and is a former St Michael’s School pupil who currently works in marketing, is competing in next month’s Lakelander Gravel Grinder, Big Dog 100km Race, to raise funds for Bright Eyes Animal Sanctuary.
The race itself will be held on October 8 and starts from the village of Belcoo will take riders to the entrance of Ballintempo Forest.
While Reihill will be hoping to do as well as he can, he is also aiming to raise money for the Bright Eyes Animal Sanctuary in Ballinamallard to honour the memory of his friend Shirley Read who passed away two years ago.
he said: “One of my friends, Shirley Read, passed away in August 2020 – which was a couple of months before I took it up.
“At her funeral, it was said that we should not buy flowers, but make donations to Bright Eyes Animal Sanctuary.
“So I thought this would be a good opportunity to raise some money – although this race is now the first time I’m getting round to doing it.
“Basically, I’m doing this in memory of my friend. I do believe that Shirley was involved with Bright Eyes but her relationship with them was that she used to take in animals.
“As I’ve said, Shirley’s family didn’t want flowers at the funeral but a more worthwhile use of funds to support Bright Eyes.
“That’s what inspired me to try and go the extra mile.
“As for the amount I’m hoping to raise – £500 – this is the first time I’ve done anything like this so the figure on the fundraising page was just a total guess in terms of what would be a realistic total.
“I do aim to exceed that if possible but there’s just over a month to go now before the race so I’ve put out a promotional video and I will be putting out more between now and then.”
While the 100km race looks to be a daunting prospect, Reihill says he’s putting in the hard yards to ensure he is race-fit come October 8.
He added: “Fermanagh is probably one of the most ideal places in the world. Gravel cycling is mostly done on forestry roads and with the amount that we have here, the county is really an ideal location to get started in it.
“You just have to put in the kilometres whenever you can in order to prepare for a 100k race.
“This usually involves getting out at half-six in the morning. I’ve also a good friend of mine who cycles with me at the weekend as it’s good to have somebody ride with and helps you to keep the foot down as well.”
To donate to Aidan’s fundraiser for Bright Eyes Animal Sanctuary, log on to: https://bit.ly/3eFVruA
To find out more about Bright Eyes Animal Sanctuary and the work they do to help pets find new homes, log on to: https://brighteyesanimalsanctuary.com/
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