A LOCAL athlete is swapping his spikes for a saddle to undertake a gruelling cycle challenge for charity, writes Jeni Brus.

Graeme Murdoch from Galashiels is teaming up with his brother-in-law Richard Harland, from Newcastle, to complete a cycle run around Britain in a bid to raise £10,000 for Cancer Research UK.

Both are novice cyclists, with Graeme, who is president of athletics club Gala Harriers, known more for his accomplishments on two feet rather than two wheels.

However, due to long term injury he turned to cycling to sustain his fitness - and devised the charity ride.

The Ingenica 1314 challenge will see sports development officer Graeme and Richard tackle 100 miles of cycling each day over 14 days with only one rest day.

They are raising money for Cancer Research UK as they both know people fighting the disease.

The challenge became more personal when Richard’s mum was diagnosed whilst preparations were being made for the ride.

Dad of two Graeme said: "First and foremost, there is obviously the charity part which will raise funds for a fantastic cause.

"Secondly is the scale of the challenge which we want to physically test us to the limit.

"Finally and hugely important to me is setting an example and being a role model for my kids.

"I want them to grow up knowing that they can achieve anything if they work hard, overcome set backs but that success takes sustained effort.

"It might seem a bit clichéd but it’s a mind-set that all of our young people should be encouraged to develop.”

Over the past few months both men have been juggling work and family life with their gruelling training schedule, aiming to get as many hours in the saddle before they embark on their challenge on Monday.

They are visiting areas of significance in their lives such as where they grew up, went to school and studied at university.

Stage 1 of their challenge begins at Stranraer Academy next Monday where they will be completing a 100 mile loop taking in Leswalt, Port Patrick, Lochans, Port William, Newton Stewart and New Luce.

The Borders stages of the ride will begin on Thursday, July 27 from Kelso, travelling up the picturesque east coast to Edinburgh Castle.

The following day (Friday, July 28) Graeme and Richard will be leaving from Galashiels Swimming Pool between 6.30 and 7am, travelling in a loop around the central and western parts of the Scottish Borders to Tweedsmuir, back through Ettrickbridge and Selkirk to finish at the swimming pool.

They would be delighted to have company from anyone who would like to join them during the various stages of the route, whether it’s for a few miles or for a whole stage.

Graeme added: “The support to date has been incredible and every notification that we receive relating to another donation is a huge motivation for both of us.”

For more information about the Ingenica 1314 challenge or to make a donation visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ingenica1314-cycle-challenge