Firefighters from Cleckheaton began a mammoth 500-mile charity bike ride in the early hours of this morning.
A group of 13 firefighters, led by Cleckheaton fire station’s Blue Watch commander Damian Cameron, decided to take on the challenge, dubbed Dutch Courage, after their colleague Matt Wood, 42, was diagnosed with stage four oesophageal cancer.
The team, which set off at 12.01 this morning, hopes to complete the 500 mile bike ride from Cleckheaton to the capital of the Netherlands in 48 hours.
As if that wasn’t enough, the group will then complete a 26.2-mile marathon from the city’s historical olympic stadium through the Dutch countryside, before cycling home!
Damien Cameron said: “We all had lots of ideas for fundraising and wanted a great challenge and something to do as a team. I raised the suggestion of the bike ride and the lads jumped at the idea.
“The level of fitness on the shift is reasonably high anyway due to the nature of the job and the six monthly fitness tests we have to pass. We have guys who have completed a range of events from 5k runs to an Ironman Triathlon, although this will be a huge challenge for everyone.”
The event will raise money for the Firefighters Charity and Yorkshire Cancer Research.
The team has been steadily increasing running miles and arranging bike rides on their days off in the run up to the start of the challenge today – one year to the day that Matt was told he had cancer.