TWO local men who raised £27,000 for charity by cycling from London to Gibraltar spoke about surviving painful injuries to reach their goal.

Ben McNulty and Mark Cooper cycled for 300km a day to get to the Rock in just seven and a half days after setting off from Big Ben.

Crowds of family and friends welcomed the pair at Ocean Village after they finished the Clock2Rock challenge on October 8.

McNulty told the The Olive Press how they had trained all year after only starting to cycle long distances last January.

“We had a conversation with a few people who said it wasn’t possible to do it in nine days,” McNulty said.

“So we aimed for nine days and we managed to do it in seven and a half.”

That involved 15 hours of cycling a day which led to nerve damage in their hands and feet from the pressure of the constant movement.

“It was nearly a month ago and I still can’t feel my hands from holding the bars,” McNulty said.

Beating pain

On the second day, Cooper injured himself when he came off his bike but despite this they kept on going.

“He dislocated his shoulder so he was cycling with his arm resting on the handlebars taking Tramadol every couple of hours to get through,” McNulty recalls of his partner.

“I ripped my quad muscle as well at some stage.

“But we’d set ourselves the target and there was no way that we were going to give up.”

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Ben McNulty (right) speaks about his ride with Mark Cooper (centre) and the Mayor Christian Santos (centre left)

Supported by friends in a van, they made their way from London to Portsmouth, through Bordeaux, Biarritz, the Pyrennes, Pamplona, Madrid and Ronda on the way to Gibraltar.

They stayed off motorways, instead finding the best cycling routes on back roads.

It meant that they didn’t do any sightseeing on the way either, even choosing to sleep at the side of the road to save money and time.

“We were burning 15 to 20,000 calories per day and we did not feel it much through the trip but when we stopped we were constantly hungry and falling asleep for two weeks,” he said.

Last week, the pair presented cheques to Cancer Relief Gibraltar and Calpe House at the Town Hall.

Not content with just sitting on his hands when he retires from the Gibraltar Regiment, McNulty will look to see what else he can do in the future.

“There’s always a challenge so while I’ve still got some years left and some fire in my belly so I will see how it goes,” he added.

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