TXM Recruit are proud to sponsor former New Zealand Rugby International Robbie Hunter-Paul as he gears up to take part in a gruelling bike ride to raise money for the Rugby League Cares' 'UK RED Ride to Wembley' challenge later this month.
Over 30 riders will attempt the arduous challenge starting on Monday 20th August, racking up an incredible 300 miles off-road, leaving Manchester's Media City bound for Wembley Stadium. They are scheduled to reach the National Stadium by Friday 24th August at 2:00pm – 24 hours before the sport's most prestigious and historic competition, the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup Final.
£20,000 was raised in 2017 as riders battled tough terrain for the Rugby League Cares campaign – which supports current and former professionals as well as members of the Rugby League Community.
Suicide is the biggest killer of young men under 45 and one in 10 males will suffer from depression in their lives and RL Cares moves to offer information, direction and resources to help support the mental welfare of those in and around the sport.
In the middle of preparations ahead of the cycle, Hunter-Paul has spoken of what inspired him to attempt what he has proclaimed as his toughest challenge ever.
“Firstly, I would just like to thank all the staff and executive team at TXM Recruit for sponsoring me, it is fantastic that an organisation like TXM Recruit who is working hard to become industry leaders not only in their field but also act as role models for businesses in their community,” said Hunter-Paul.
“I know they undertake a number of different community initiatives that support teams and individuals in sport and it is a real pleasure to see them extend that support for this wonderful charity that works hard in the North of England.
“I am excited and a bit apprehensive, I do lots of exercise, but I have never embarked on an endurance event of this magnitude in my life. My body shuts down after 30 minutes in the gym let alone an 11 to 12-hour cycle over rough terrain so I don't know what it will do to my body after my 18 years as a professional sportsman, but I am preparing, and it is going well, I hope!
“The reason why I am taking part in this gruelling ride is that the Rugby League Cares charity do an incredible amount of work within the game of Rugby in the heartlands, they put time and energy into their 'Offload' programme which I hold close to me.
“There are some shocking statistics in the United Kingdom where suicide is the biggest killer of young men under 45. Culturally, and none more so than in the sport of Rugby, we were traditionally taught to ‘man up’ and keep our emotions to ourselves, we were told not to share how we feel, or show any weakness.
“That is where the danger lies, and this is where Rugby League Cares is working hard to reshape the cultural beliefs within the sport and community.
“I believe I have a duty of care to help my peers, players that have retired and have not had the opportunities I was blessed with, and players of today and tomorrow, that is why I am taking part.
“In 2010 the sport was rocked by the suicide of Terry Newton, an England and Great Britain international who I knew personally and we all started to question whether or not we could improve our sport emotionally and very quickly we realised we could.”
“Rugby League Cares are leading the way with their 'Offload' programme and as a former player that has navigated my way through the psychological pressures of competing at the highest level, dealing with life, the pressures of dealing with social media as a public figure, making the transition from being an athlete to the real world.
“I know how challenging this can all be, so it is good to know an organisation that has the game and the players best interests at the heart of what they do are leading the fight on this front, and I would like to thank them again personally.
“I am in the middle of preparations and training is going well but I need to spend more time off-road, I am spending 4-5 hours a week training and will step up that intensity next week with the hope of being in peak condition come the start of the ride.”