Sunday, November 15, 2009
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Mike gearing-up for Enduro rally

MIKE Harris, the owner of The New Saints Football Club and The Venue, is gearing himself up to take part in the fund-raising adventure of a lifetime.

In October, the Oswestry businessman will be joining 100 other riders to tackle this year's Africa Enduro, a gruelling eight-day, 1,000-mile off-road motorcycle rally through some of South Africa's most rugged and isolated terrain - the famous Wild Coast.
Last year's Enduro saw Princes William and Harry tackle the course, helping to raise more than £300,000 for important causes such as The Princes' Fund for Lesotho.
Despite such high-profile names associated with the rally, Mike stumbled across the Enduro by more modest means.
"I spotted an advert in a national newspaper, they were looking for applicants and it seemed like a great chance to give something back," he says.
"I feel very proud to be picked, as not everyone who applies is selected. I'm not as fit as I should be – yet – but I will be by October."
Having been riding since the age of 13, Mike is having to "get back in the saddle" for the event, which will see him negotiate river crossings and tackle steep ascents, as well as coping with rocky coastal paths in 90-degree heat.
This is not to mention the health risks associated with the journey such as exhaustion and even rabies. But this isn't enough to deter Mike.
"I'm really looking forward to the physical and mental challenge," said the businessman.
"I've been going to the gym and, of course, playing football to keep fit. It's a long course and we'll be riding for up to 10 hours a day. Hopefully there will be a good team of people taking part, so we can all share stories and keep each other going."
When asked about his inspiration to enter, Mike said: "I watched a few episodes of A Long Way Down with Ewan McGregor, but that wasn't my main motivation. I've been to Africa a couple of times over the past 10 years. I saw poverty worse than anything I've ever experienced in the UK. No-one deserves that."
To take part in the trip, Mike needs to raise a minimum of £5,000 in sponsorship, which will not only get him to Africa but will also be split between four worthy charities: UNICEF, The Princes' Fund for Lesotho, the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund and Touch Africa.
"I've appealed to friends, family and my own social network, but I'd like to extend the appeal to the wider community – perhaps to people who know me through football, or anyone who would like to donate money to a worthwhile cause.
"Hopefully by raising this money, we can give back some hope to people who are perhaps not as privileged as ourselves."
There is a dedicated website for Mike's venture at www.saints-alive.co.uk/enduro