Riders take to the saddle at Round the Wrekin Sportive charity challenge

There was a feeling of anticipation and togetherness as cyclists of all ages, shapes and sizes lined up for a special charity event.

Hugh Porter and James Elliott are first in line to get started
Hugh Porter and James Elliott are first in line to get started

More than 600 cyclists came to Dudley Kingswinford Rugby Club in Wall Heath to take part in the Round the Wrekin Sportive, a cycling event taking in three courses and helping to raise vital funds for Compton Care.

Wolverhampton Wheelers Cycling Club were one of many clubs represented at the event

The event on Sunday, sponsored by Carvers, ran over the 25-mile Hugh Porter route, the 64-mile Compton Classic and the Carver’s Epic 101-mile route through deepest Shropshire, including a climb up the Long Mynd.

There was live entertainment and refreshments, with a range of healthy snacks for those taking part, and running repairs on all bikes from Velo.

A couple take a selfie at the start line as they wait to get going

Carvers managing director Henry Carver was among the riders, taking on the Hugh Porter route alongside Hugh Porter, who was also charged with handing out medals to all the riders who completed the three courses with his wife and fellow Compton Care patron Anita Lonsbrough.

The atmosphere among the riders before the three events set off was a mixture of nerves, but also excitement, as muscles were stretched, tyre pressures checked and fluids taken on board ahead of the rides.

Friends from Wednesfield Johnny Williams, Colin Jennings and Dave Palmer get ready for the Compton Classic route

Compton Care fundraising and marketing lead James Elliot was one of around 100 people taking part in the Hugh Porter route and said it meant a lot to him to see so many people taking part in the event.

He said: "The last couple of years have been very difficult for us, so to see everyone out physically here today has been immense.

"The fundraising support that people are providing has been phenomenal and will go to the great cause of what we do on a daily basis.

"Hugh Porter has been a big part of that as he is a legend, and I just hope that I am able to keep up with him today as the training has been going well and I should be ok."

Among the participants in the 64-mile Compton Classic were a group called the Crazy Flying Monkey Space Invaders, a fundraising group from Kingswinford who usually do runs, but as member Glenn Mallen said, had chosen to get on their bikes for the event.

The 48-year-old said: "I think this is an amazing event and we've rallied together quite a few of our friends to take on the 64-mile course.

The Crazy Flying Monkey Space Invaders Running Club from Kingswinford prepare to take off

"We raise a lot of money for charities and it's like a big community, so we like a big challenge and we thought this event would be right up our street.

"We started about five years ago, coming up with a crazy name, as a way of getting people involved in running and fitness and fundraising and this is a great charity to get involved with helping."

The riders get their 64-mile odyssey underway at Dudley Kingswinford Rugby Club

Hugh Porter has been at the forefront of publicising the event and getting people involved and the 82-year-old said he was over the moon to see so many people taking part.

He said: "Having seen how many people are here, it's music to my ears as I've spoke to one or two people and they reckon there's more than 600 people have entered for this wonderful course.

"Remember that we've been out of action for three years because of Covid, so it's dipping your toes in the water again, but it just shows the popularity of the event and is testimony that the organisation is still there by the evidence of the entry.

"I shall not be trying to do any special performance as I'm just riding around and one of the great pleasures of being involved in this event is at the end where I help my wife, along with others, to present the medals.

"It's a big day for me as I came here earlier to say hello to one or two people and then do the ride and present the awards at the end, so it's a full day, but a really rewarding one."

Most Read

Most Read

Top Stories

More from the Express & Star

UK & International News