Stratford cancer survivor reaches halfway point in Race across America

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Mike Grisenthwaite

STRATFORD-UPON-AVON resident Mike Grisenthwaite and his four-member team of cancer survivors have nearly reached the halfway point in the cycling event Race Across America.

According to live tracking through the Race across America website, as of late Wednesday Mike and his team were near Wichita, Kansas, at the centre of America.

Follow the team’s cycling progress by typing in their team name in the search box on the RAAM website.

Mike said: “We‘re going to be setting a world record. We‘re the first team ever of cancer survivors to race across America.”

Each team member will try to average 18mph for a week cycling about 800 miles each.

The team shares a common bond of all having survived cancer.

Both Mike and Richard Salisbury, who‘s from Manchester, have survived blood cancer, Kevin Musgrave from Wakefield has survived testicular cancer and Carol Sheehan from Somerset, thyroid cancer.

The team started the race on 16th June and hopes to complete the course within around seven days. The ride is a non-stop relay over 3,100 miles across the country starting in Oceanside, California, and to the east coast at Annapolis, Maryland.

Mike added: “We‘re all club cyclists, we cycle at the local level and we‘re racing against some of the world‘s best cyclists. To ride 24 hours throughout the night is quite a ride, especially for someone who‘s 55 years old like me.”

The team trained for over a year with a special cycling coach in all kinds of weather to prepare for the cross country challenge. The race is the world‘s longest time trial, about 30 per cent longer than the Tour de France. Racers must complete the distance in roughly half the time, with no rest days.

Mike added: “It‘s just to show cancer doesn‘t have to mean the end and you can go on and do great things.”

The team has set a fundraising target of £100,000, which will go to the Cyclists Fighting Cancer charity started by Mike in 2005.

“It‘s about raising awareness of what the charity does to help children, and seeing what you can achieve despite having gone through life-changing medical procedures,” he said.

The ride is fully funded by corporate donations, so all donations to the cause will go directly to the CFC charity.

The charity helps support children and young people living with and beyond cancer across the UK with their rehabilitation during and after treatment. The charity also helps children regain their physical fitness, strength and confidence by giving them new bikes, adapted trikes, tandems, other equipment and support.

He now works full-time with the charity in the Stratford area where he lives with his family, which includes two children who attend Stratford High School.

He added: “Our culture says if you‘re not well you should rest. It‘s really the opposite. Medical studies have shown exercise at an appropriate level improves your response to treatments and you ultimately come out of the treatment program in a better position. You‘ve got all this toxicity in your body the best thing to do is to exercise.”

More about the team‘s challenge, including how to donate can be found HERE