A Scottish rugby hero is to cycle almost 500 miles in aid of charities dedicated to stricken former players.
Perth-born Rob Wainwright, who captained Scotland and played for the British and Irish Lions, will lead a team of players in a two-day journey from Twickenham Stadium in London to BT Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh.
The event, dubbed the Wounded Lions 500, is in aid of charities headed by Doddie Weir and Tom Smith.
The group, which also includes current Edinburgh flanker John Barclay and former Scotland International Kelly Brown, will deliver the match ball for kick-off at the Scotland v England match, at 4.45 pm on February 8.
The team aims to raise more than £100,000 for two charities close to the hearts of all involved.
The My Name’5 Doddie Foundation was set up by former Scotland International and Lion, Doddie Weir, in 2017 following his Motor Neurone Disease diagnosis and aims to fund research for a cure to the devastating disease.
40tude was selected by Tom Smith, a 61-cap Scottish International and two-time Lions Tourist who was recently diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer. 40tude helps to fund pioneering research projects, targeted at the early diagnosis and treatment of colon cancer.
Wainwright said: “I’m hugely honoured to have played for Scotland and the Lions alongside Doddie and Tom. Both are top men and both have tragically hit hard times with their health recently.
“Whilst we cannot heal them, we can point our bikes north for 48 hours and inspired by their fortitude and courage in the face of huge adversity. Two very different characters, but legends the twain.
“We aim to beat last year’s £65k fundraising total, and help improve both the treatment and the prognosis for MND and Colon Cancer.”
This is the second year that the ride has taken place, having raised £65k in 2019. Riders last year averaged two hours of sleep across 48 hours during the gruelling challenge, which saw them maintain speeds of 15mph in order to deliver the match ball on time.
This year’s ride will be split into legs with short breaks at rugby clubs throughout the UK, including professional side Northampton Saints, former club of Tom.