A FITNESS instructor cycled 260 miles from Teesside to London.

Paul Murphy, 35, needed every ounce of his energy as a fitness instructor to complete the 24-hour ride.

Neither he nor his two close friends had cycled in the dark before and wet weather added to the challenge, particularly after they ran out of dry clothes at 150 miles.

Paul, from Stockton-On-Tees, set himself the challenge after Henry, the son of his childhood friend, Keith Robson, was diagnosed with Becker muscular dystrophy.

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He said: “It was really hard to start and end the ride in the depth of darkness, particularly as a lot of the group, including myself, had never ridden anywhere in the dark, let alone through the night.

“The first place where there were no lights at all was just outside of Peterborough - still nearly 100 miles away from our end point!

“As we entered the Surrey Hills a section of our group was almost blindsided by a group of deer crossing from field to field and the noises not normally noticed were amplified in the dark of the night.

“We continued on into the outskirts of London and started to experience the unforgiving nature of London traffic alongside having to navigate the cycle ways and streets having been awake for over 20 hours.

“The tiredness really started to kick in at this point which led to many missed turns and U turns on the route.

“We crossed Blackfriars Bridge heading into Southwark with mixed emotions including feelings of pure elation. I thought about Henry and his family, the single motivation for the challenge.

“Finally arriving at the MDUK (Muscular Dystrophy UK charity) headquarters to be met by our support team of friends and family, as well as some Muscular Dystrophy staff who had selflessly given up their Saturday evening - and by this point Sunday morning to welcome us certainly got the tears rolling.”

Wojtek Trzcinski, MDUK Director of Finance and Resources, said: "It was a great fun to stay up all night to welcome Paul and his friends when they cycled to the office door. As the Finance and Resources Director snowed under budgets and reforecasts most of the time, I don’t often see the fund-raisers in action so it was a real pleasure to see them rolling in."

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