The Magic Weekend is such a special event for RL supporters as it’s the only time they all get to be in the same place at the same time and the city of Newcastle is always very welcoming to the sport. With the start that the Warrington Wolves have had this season, the players have really inspired the Foundation to achieve more so we thought we needed to make this year’s challenge the biggest so far! This year we will set off from the Halliwell Jones Stadium in the early hours of Thursday 1st June and visit every Super League Club, hopefully arriving in time for the game against Hull on the Sunday having covered over 300 miles along the way.
What does the money raised do?
All of the funds raised by the kind donations we receive goes towards helping some of the most vulnerable people in our communities to become the best version of themselves using the power of sport to change and in some cases save lives. This year we have people taking part from our health and wellbeing projects such as Offload (men’s mental fitness) and Wolves in Motion (older person’s activities) as well as being supported by some of our Game Changer volunteers who provide essential support alongside the cyclists. As a charity, we are solely reliant on the generosity of others and this year despite times being tough for everyone we know that every pound donated goes towards those most in need through our work.
Why do people take part?
There are a number of reasons why people have decided to join this year’s 300 Bike Ride challenge. All of the participants have a personal connection in some way to the Warrington Wolves Charitable Foundation having either benefitted from their involvement or wanting to give something back to help others. The feeling of challenging yourself to go to and in some cases beyond what you thought you were capable of is incredible and definitely one of the reasons why I decided to jump on board this year as this is definitely the biggest cycle ride I have ever attempted!
How do you keep the cyclists going when times get tough?
Everyone who takes part in a challenge of this size will face some difficulties at some point, whether that be physically or emotionally. In the lead up to this year’s event we have scheduled training rides together as a group as well as organising some social events for everyone to get together and build friendships. Many bonds are built on the roads of Lancashire, Yorkshire & Northumberland and the conversations you have can be very random to say the least but by being honest and sharing those experiences (good and bad) camaraderie amongst the group builds. The volunteer support crew are vital in keeping motivation levels high on the road, offering their valuable skills as a friend, counsellor, masseur and at times a shoulder to cry on. The level of planning that goes on being the scenes is huge, and their meticulous attention to detail is a huge credit to the success of events like this.
What is your favourite memory of Magic Weekend?
It’s really difficult to pinpoint one in particular from a sporting side but the support the cyclists receive when they arrive in Newcastle gives me goosebumps. The RL community is very supportive and to see fans from all Clubs greet you and cheer you to the finish line on the way to St James’ Park is very special. A memory that does stick out is one year, the Foundation took part in a radio quiz and we had to make sure we stopped together as a group on a Friday lunchtime in a local supermarket car park to take part. To see a group of 20 people all dressed in lyrca huddled around one phone in the middle of a small Yorkshire town in the pouring rain must have been a real sight to behold!
How can people help?
The donations we receive and messages of support really do help us keep pedalling through the pain. Working every day with people from the local community, I know first-hand how difficult life is for people at the moment but any pledge of money, not matter how small really does go a long way. Each of the riders is tasked with raising £400 and with the kindness of people, I have no doubt we’ll reach this year’s fundraising target to help us keep doing what we do through our Rugby League, Disability and Health and Wellbeing projects. This year, we have been lucky to receive some individual sponsorship from local companies which will helps the riders reach their personal fundraising goal so if business are in a position to support in any way, we would definitely welcome their help.