Rugby Union

UKAF's Rugby Director Completes 907km Nightingale Charity Cycle Challenge

The Director of UK Armed Forces Rugby, Lieutenant Commander Michael 'Doc' Cox, has completed his 907km Nightingale cycling charity challenge.

His challenge was to cycle from Glasgow to London and visit every Nightingale hospital, set up in the early stages of the pandemic to deal with COVID patients.

He took on the challenge as a thank-you for NHS charities and the Armed Forces charity SSAFA, which have got the country through the pandemic, and to mark the military involvement in building the Nightingale hospitals for COVID patients.

After 11 days of cycling, he arrived at the ExCel Arena in London – the capital's Nightingale and the first in the UK – to complete the marathon cycle.

Forces News was there to get an immediate reaction from the Navy officer as soon as he was finished.

"I can't explain how I feel, to be honest," he said. "It’s come to an end so all the emotion you have while you are doing it just stopped.

"I feel lost, to be honest.

"I'm now thinking about what I can do for my next challenge."

The final leg of the challenge started at Permanent Joint Headquarters in Northwood.

Chief of Joint Operations Vice Admiral Sir Ben Key came to offer his support as the rugby director set off for the final 40km leg of the ride through the streets of London, giving Lt Cdr Fox a boost in the final stages.

He said: "It was an amazing send-off for the final leg. To have them see us off... meant so, so much.”

With more than 19,445 calories burned during the challenge, what had been the toughest moments during the cycle?

"The toughest parts were day two from Edinburgh to Berwick because of the weather," he revealed.

"I was absolutely saturated for nearly 10 hours. That took a lot out of me.

"I was physically low. The next day was an emotional low point.

"Some motorcyclists that stopped and clapped as I rode past lifted my spirits. It actually broke me. I had a few tears in my eyes.

"That emotional lift just set me up for the rest of the day," he added.