6250-mile relay follows the bear: Soft toy acts as baton in charity epic

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More than £6000 has been raised by a 12-day biking relay covering the length and breadth of Britain – with a cuddly toy bear doubling as the baton passed between riders.

The 2022 National Relay took place between June 20 and July 2 and was the first event of its kind for three years, due to Covid-19. It was organised by Tom Hurford, Jason Percival and Christina Jackson of Relay Riders and was done in aid of Mental Health Research UK.

The round-the-clock, two-week adventure saw more than 150 people each take a leg of a 6250-mile route passing the bear on to the next rider.

It was started by Rob Wilkes at Halesowen dealership Streetbike in the West Midlands, before meandering as far as Plymouth, Folkestone and up to Fort William. Organiser Tom Hurford finished the final leg at Squires Café just outside Leeds on July 2.

Participants at a late-night stop on the relay

“It brings great pride to not only organise this event but also to take part and bring so many people together for such a worthy cause,” Hurford told MCN. “The money we raise will undoubtedly make a huge difference to the charity and in doing so has bought great joy to many bikers all over the UK who will have taken part. Planning has its ups and downs and brings a great deal of stress but once we hit that finish line it’s all be worth it.”

The longest individual leg was 99 miles with the shortest just 11. £6012 has been raised so far but you can still donate.

Founded in 2014, Relay Riders’ first event was to benefit Help for Heroes. The success of that first run, which raised £3000, led to it becoming an annual event, fundraising for different charities each time.

This includes Friends of PICU, NABB, Soldiers off the Street, UKAMB and the DocBike project. The 2020 and 2021 events had to be cancelled due to the pandemic.