Ride for Sick Kids kicks off

Broken Hill Ride for Sick Kids participants (From left) Judd Carpenter, Mark Craven, Tim Ferguson, Nick Mann and Nigel Lawrence. PICTURE: EMILY FERGUSON

The Ronald McDonald House Charities South Australia Ride For Sick Kids kicked off in Melbourne on Sunday, with five locals partaking for the charity which helps many local families.

Mark Craven and Tim Ferguson are pedalling in the 1000-kilometre charity ride for the second time, while Nigel Lawrence, Judd Carpenter and Nick Mann join for the first time this year. Nash Mitchell is also part of Team Broken Hill but unfortunately had to withdraw in the lead up to the ride.

Team Broken Hill has hit new heights with fundraising, thanks to the Broken Hill community. Nigel Lawrence said they are reasonably confident they’ve broken a fundraising record. The team’s efforts saw them raise a combined total of just under $100,000.

“That epitomises the Broken Hill spirit and their generosity to get behind these sorts of charities. They’re very supportive. Ronald McDonald House is so important to Broken Hill and our community recognises that,” said Lawrence.

“We’re just the face of it. At the end of the day we can’t do this without the community, and they have been absolutely unbelievable.

“It’s been a privilege to be a part of it so far, to raise that sort of money and we’ve raised just under 50 percent of the total money raised to date (by 2022 RFSK SA Team) which is around $220,000,” he said.

COVID has halted the charity ride for the last two years, and while it’s able to go ahead in 2022, protocols play a part. All riders participating have essentially been in a ‘COVID bubble’.

Nick Mann said they’ve been completing COVID testing measures in the lead-up. “So, Thursday afternoon we had to arrive at Ronald McDonald House (Adelaide) between a certain time with a RAT test on arrival, then we dropped off our bikes and picked up our bikes for the trip.

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“This morning (Saturday) again at Ronald McDonald House (Adelaide) before we hopped on the bus, we had to have another COVID test which obviously had to be negative, before we could get on,” said Mann.

“And then we travelled down, all the riders stuck together on the bus and the support crew came down separately to keep us in our bubble. We have a third test on Wednesday morning for a mid-week test.”

Preparation is key for a ride of this length and duration, which Judd Carpenter says the Broken Hill team have done well.

“We’re all pretty confident. We’ve put in the hard yards with the training. Tim and I work seven and seven, so we get seven days off to ride, but Nigel and Mark ride just about every day and Nick rides when he can on the weekends.

“We normally pump out about 100 kilometres every ride, so it’s good training and we feel pretty confident that we’re going to finish it with ease,” said Carpenter.

“It’ll probably be mine and Nick’s PB’s, but I think Nigel, Tim and Mark have all rode a fair distance. It’ll be challenging but we’ll all get the job done.”

Tim Ferguson spoke of the importance of this ride and how it supports the local community.

“It’s a fantastic charity. It’s very close to all of our hearts. Being from Broken Hill we’re a long distance away from specialised care and we have a lot of sick kids in our community and around the local area.

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“At any one time you’ll probably find a Broken Hill family in the House down in Adelaide and that’s why we support it so strongly,” said Ferguson.

“We choose to ride because we can make a difference in their lives and their families’ lives with the money raised. We put in a bit of pain for their gain essentially.”

The ride spans across seven days, leaving from Ronald McDonald House North Fitrzroy in Melbourne and finishes in Adelaide. Mark Craven detailed their ride route along the Great Ocean Road.

“Day One (Sunday March 6) is from Melbourne to Queenscliff with is 125.3 kilometres with 819 metres of climbing. We go down the Mornington Peninsula and get a ferry across the bay. Day Two (Monday March 7) is Queenscliff to Apollo Bay, so 131.6 kilometres, 1,252 metres of climbing, Day Three (Tuesday March 8) is 136.4 kilometres, it’s Apollo Bay to Port Fairy and it’s 972 metres of climbing.

“Day Four (Wednesday March 9) is 167.8 kilometres, 1,051 metres of climbing, Port Fairy to Mount Gambier. Day Five (Thursday March 10) 148.7 kilometres, luckily only 403 metres of climbing and that’s Mount Gambier to Robe. Day Six (Friday March 11) is 191.5 kilometres Robe to Meningie, 695 kilometres. And lucky last (Saturday March 12) is 112.2 kilometres, 1,114 metres of climbing Meningie to Adelaide. So North Adelaide we’ll finish and have our friends and family meet us there with sore legs and bum.”

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