LISBURN sporting legend Jimmy Kirkwood will be joining fellow sporting heroes from Northern Ireland when he takes part in the annual Finn MacCool 100 bike ride from Belfast to Coleraine this month.
The Olympic Gold winning hockey star and well known local cricketer is keen for local people to join him on the cycle which will raise funds for Action Medical Research, a charity which supports research to help babies and children affected by disease and disability and which is currently funding research into serious diseases and conditions including meningitis, pneumonia and cerebral palsy.
Jimmy, who is a committee member of Sparks NI, the group which organises the cycle, is hoping to lots of people from his home area will jump on their bikes to join him and fellow organiser, former Ireland rugby player Trevor Ringland, as they take part in what Jimmy describes as "a great day out for a very good cause.
"This is the third time we have organised the cycle and it is quite unlike a lot of the cycles that are out there. Normally we would have 6070 cyclists, although this year we are hoping to have 100 to take on the 100 miles we cover."
The Hillsborough man, who claimed an Olympic Gold with the British Squad at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, also hopes to outdo the £9,000 which was raised for the charity at last year's event.
"We do expect to see a lot of new faces so I would be disappointed if we don't exceed last year's total. Although we are in a credit crunch the numbers are greater and it is all going to a very good cause."
Those taking part will leave Belfast City Hall at 9am on Sunday September 13 before stopping off for lunch at Cushendall Golf Club. The cyclists will then continue on their journey, finishing off with a barbecue in Coleraine Rugby Club before returning to the City Hall.
"It is a challenging cycle," said Jimmy. "The route is unique, the scenery is second to none and I think people enjoy the craic.
"If you are thinking you would like to do it, just come along. It would be great to see you."
The registration fee for those taking part is £25 with a minimum sponsorship of £100. Drinks and refreshments available at the rest stops, lunch and the celebratory BBQ at Coleraine are all complimentary. There is also a bus provided to transport riders and their bicycles back to Belfast. To register to take part please contact Jenny on 90622518, email firstname.lastname@example.org or go online at www.action.org.uk/finn_mccool.