Screen Shot 2015-07-23 at 10.05.33SIX cyclists will embark on an 800-mile challenge to raise vital funds for a North East Charity.

The team, led by 52-year-old Ali McLean, from Newcastle, will circumnavigate the Peloponnesian coastline, Greece, in aid of The Percy Hedley Foundation in September.

The challenge isn’t just like any other, though, as Ali and his team will race against four Greek catamaran sailors to add even more spice to the gruelling 800-mile route that includes more than 50,000 feet of hill climbing.

Ali, managing director of tour operator, Artisan Travel, will be joined by Charlie Ryan, 39, from North Shields, Rob Campbell, 60, from Horsley, Northumberland, brothers Steve and Graeme Self, 39 and 32, from Gateshead and Daniel Marcal, 39, from London.

Together, they hope to raise £16,000 for The Percy Hedley Foundation, which will cover the cost to kit out a room with specialist equipment at the charity’s new children’s residential unit in Killingworth, North Tyneside.

On September 11, the cycle team will roll out of Olympia, Greece, the site of the original Olympic Games and head west towards Katakolo where they will meet the sailing team and officially begin the race.

With a combined age of 261, the brave cyclists will endure unfamiliar temperatures pushing 35°C over a ten-day period with the longest stage covering 108 miles of unforgiving, mountainous terrain.

“I’ve wanted to cycle the Peloponnese since 1992 so a chance encounter, a few glasses of Ouzo and a challenge to race around the peninsula was too much to resist,” explained Ali.

“It’s going to be a huge, huge test so we thought it should benefit a very worthy cause and Percy Hedley met our criteria of being both local and child supportive.

“We also researched a few charities and looked at the percentage of income that actually goes to the causes rather than the directors. The Percy Hedley Foundation came out very favourably in this respect.”

Ali McLean and the team are available for interview. Please contact The Percy Hedley Foundation’s Media Officer Steph Clark on 0191 2381325 or steph.clark@percyhedley.org.uk to arrange.

Donations to the cause, no matter how big or small, will be welcomes via the PeloVelo Just Giving page at https://www.justgiving.com/pelovelo

Follow race progress at www.pelovelo.co.uk and to find out more about The Percy Hedley Foundation visit www.percyhedley.org.uk

Picture: Charlie Ryan (left), Rob Campbell and Ali McLean