130 Challenge raises over £2,500 to support student hardship

Led by alumnus Oliver Sidwell, a group of 11 alumni and staff from the University have completed the 130-mile cycling challenge over the last two weeks to raise funds for the COVID-19 Emergency Hardship Fund.

Ollie, President of the Alumni Association, originally planned to cycle 130 miles from the University’s London campus on the Queen Elizabeth Park to Loughborough – and adapted the challenge so that it could still take place during lockdown. By doing so, cyclists joined in from across the world to complete the virtual challenge.

From Wales to Spain and New Zealand to America, our cyclists came together via the popular running and cycling app, Strava, to track their mileage and share their incredible routes.

Many of the cyclists have been out in their local areas, whilst others have cycled from their living room or garden.

Ollie, who completed the challenge in one day on a turbo trainer in his London garden, said:

“A big congrats to everyone who has completed the 130-mile challenge. Thanks to everyone for getting involved and a huge thanks to everyone for the support for this wonderful cause.”

Elsewhere there have been flat tyres, injuries, storms and freezing temperatures.

Joining from New Zealand, alumnus Tom Baker completed the challenge on a mountain bike in a gorgeous, but frosty, Queenstown (pictured below), whilst fellow Telford Hall alumnus Manuel Costa has battled with a stormy Florida and a torn tyre.

Supported by family and friends, the 130 Challenge team have raised more than £2,500 (including Gift Aid) for the COVID-19 Emergency Hardship Fund. The fund was set up in March to raise money for those students who have been financially impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Cyclists each had their own pages on Just Giving and aimed to raise £130 each, or a total of £2,000 between them. Alumni President Ollie raised a huge £735 in support of the fund.

Surpassing their team target, the donations will support those Loughborough students who are most in need during this difficult time.

The donations will add to an ever-growing COVID-19 fund for the students, which currently stands at more than £90,000 thanks to donations from alumni, friends, staff and corporate organisations. Students are already benefitting from this money, which will help them to buy essentials, support their online studies and more.

Congratulations and thank you to the cyclists. Thank you also to everyone who has generously supported the team with donations.