Weekend warriors aid battling Mark Nugent
They expected about 200 hardy souls - but that didn't take account of the fellowship of those weekend warriors who love cycling but know only too well its manifest dangers.
By early morning yesterday, more than 1,000 cyclists from all over the country converged on Maynooth for a fundraiser for Mark Nugent, a local man who was out on a spring training spin when he was involved in a collision, with devastating consequences. He is now paralysed from the chest down.
Mark (39) was himself an inveterate fundraiser and a stalwart of Maynooth Students for Charity, which over the last 27 years has raised more than €1m for charities with its annual Maynooth to Galway sportif event.
Mark trained beginners in the rules of group cycling so they could complete the tough challenge of the cycle west and back again and many of those cyclists turned up yesterday for the charity spin to the Hill of Tara.
The monies raised will start the process of urgent works to his home as he faces into the challenges ahead with his fiancée Jacqui, also an enthusiastic cyclist, who he was due to marry just weeks after the accident that left him fighting for his life.
After a period of rehabilitation in Dun Laoghaire, Mark has made remarkable progress, helped in no small part by his strength and fitness. The fundraising has not finished, and a golf classic is planned for Kilcock Golf Club on September 30. A gala night with food, music and dancing is planned on the same date at Maynooth GAA Club, where Mark played football and hurling.
The charity cycle fundraising page is at: www.gofund me.com/2b2hxs4. A new website, marknugentfund.com, will also go live this week, where more details about forthcoming events can be found.