Runner Nick Clennett is swapping his spikes for a bike to raise money to build a house for a poverty-stricken family in Africa.
Nick, a pharmaceutical consultant from Amberstone, Hailsham, plans to cycle more than the entire length of the South Coast in nine days next month, pedalling over 500 miles from Land’s End to Ramsgate.
He is hoping to raise more than a thousand pounds for the Herstmonceux-based charity, the Quicken Trust, which has spent 14 years working to alleviate poverty and bring hope to the Ugandan village of Kabubbu. Through Quicken, Nick and his wife, Jan, have already sponsored one child through school in the village and recently started backing another, seven-year-old Andrew. It was Andrew who was the inspiration for Nick’s cycle marathon.
“I had the idea that I wanted to do something more for Andrew and his family,” Nick said. “His Mum has three children. They live in the corner of a mud-floored storehouse. There is no safety, no security. I thought that if I could raise money towards buying them a house of their own, it would make all the difference to their lives. It would be a first step on the ladder for them – lift them out of desperate poverty and give them a chance.”
Nick is a member of Hailsham Harriers and regularly runs in 10k and 10 mile events. He prefers running to riding but took to the saddle in the gym as part of his recuperation from a running injury. The bike marathon has meant a change in training.
“I have been building up to riding 50 to 60 miles in half a day,” he says. “I am pretty confident I can manage that when I start, especially on the flatter terrain. I am buoyant about it most of the time, but some days I do think ‘oh my goodness, what am I doing’.”
Nick has seen Kabubbu for himself. He has travelled there twice with Quicken to help with building projects and supporting poor families.
“It is an amazing place,” he says. “Everyone is so positive it is so uplifting. The people have virtually nothing yet they are so upbeat. It is a humbling experience.”
Quicken founder, Geoff Booker, says Nick’s marathon is a fantastic gesture.
“We really appreciate what Nick is doing. To cycle 500 miles is an amazing feat. But it will be worth it. For the family in Kabubbu, having their own house will be absolutely life-changing.”