Over a thousand cyclists are planning to saddle up to help a national cancer charity reach an impressive £200,000 fund-raising target at Etape Loch Ness next year – one of country’s most popular cycle events.
General entry to the 66-mile closed road sportive, which takes place on April 23, sold out in a record 50 hours, with spaces reserved for Macmillan charity riders – the official charity of the event – filling up soon after.
Capacity has increased to 5,200 places in 2017, which means that more cyclists than ever are raising funds for Macmillan at the popular Highland sporting event.
Event director Malcolm Sutherland says, “Every year we are staggered by the generosity and determination of Etape Loch Ness participants, in particular those who have decided to use the event to raise money for charity. Their fervour for fundraising is second to none, and we are incredibly proud to provide a platform for their efforts.
“The feedback we get from cyclists every year – whether fundraisers or just biking enthusiasts – is that the route around Loch Ness provides one of the most scenic rides in the country. One participant said that although he had cycled in some of the most amazing locations around the world, it was Loch Ness that really took his breath away.
“Macmillan Cancer Support has been our official charity partner since the event began in 2014, and our riders have raised an incredible £444,220 so far. We look forward to another successful event in 2017, and wish all fundraisers luck in their effort to raise money for a variety of worthwhile causes.”
All cyclists riding in Team Macmillan have been asked to raise a minimum of £100, however many go above and beyond to generate cash for the well-known charity. The money raised at Etape Loch Ness will go towards providing specialist nurses in the Highlands, as well as providing financial support for cancer sufferers and their families.
Jessie Longhurst, challenge events programme manager for Macmillan Cancer Support, says, “Etape Loch Ness is a highlight of Macmillan Cancer Support’s challenge events calendar in Scotland and we are thrilled to be the charity partner once again for 2017. Over 800 Macmillan riders took to the closed roads of the world-famous loch in 2016, raising over £190,000 to support people affected by cancer.
“We have over 1,000 people riding for Team Macmillan in the 2017 Etape Loch Ness. Every single rider that crosses the finish line for Macmillan helps ensure that we can keep providing our vital services, so no one has to face cancer alone. With 2.5 million people in the UK currently living with cancer, and this number set to rise to four million by 2030, taking part in this event is more important than ever.”
Beginning in the Highland capital of Inverness, the Etape Loch Ness route follows the A82 along the northern side of the loch, before passing through Fort Augustus onto the south side for the most challenging leg of the course – the King of the Mountain – a 4.8 mile climb which rises to 380m in height. The route then continues around the southern side of the loch before returning to the event village at Eden Court in Inverness.