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Wheelchair Rugby skipper spins his way to huge fundraising target

Saints Wheelchair Rugby captain Gerry Mac revealed his desperation to give something back to the Club inspired him to complete his incredible month-long cycling challenge.

Mac – who turns 45 next month – cycled 65km for 31 days straight, and 70km in the final session, as part of a personal fundraising campaign.

He wanted to complete a total of 2020km, and he did just that, surpassing his initial target of £2020 and actually doubling it.

The money was donated to the Northampton Saints Foundation and used to support the Wheelchair Rugby programme at Franklin’s Gardens.

Mac’s achievement would have been amazing with the use of two legs, but he did it all using just one!

“I wanted to give something back and I thought about a different challenge,” explained Mac.

“I came up with the 65km a day with one leg, so basically I would take my prosthetic leg off and cycle.”

Gerry Mac, Saints Wheelchair Rugby captain

“I did it every morning in my workshop. I’ve got my spin bike in there, so I just got up every morning and cracked on before I went to work.”

Mac hails from Northern Ireland and had a leg amputated in 2016, 12 years on from an accident, and part of his initial treatment took place in Northampton.

He has remained in the Town since 2004 and is now skipper of Saints’ successful Wheelchair Rugby side, which has been in existence for four years.

In that time Saints Wheelchair Rugby have blossomed into one of the strongest sides in the country, earning promotion to the WR5s Premiership in 2018 and keeping their place at the top table ever since.

But what is tougher – a brutal game of wheelchair rugby or cycling 65km a day for a whole month?

“The cycle was more of a mind challenge,” said Mac, who lives in Brixworth. “The physical part of it was easy. I could cycle all day long because I love cycling.

“It’s more of a mental challenge for me than a physical challenge.

“I would get up every morning and get it done because to come in and do it after a day’s work would have been a struggle for me.”

Northampton Saints inclusion officer Jamie Higgins, who coaches the Wheelchair Rugby team, has been hugely impressed with Mac’s mindset.

Higgins said: “Cycling 65km a day is no easy feat – but doing this with just one leg is amazing!

“Gerry has real determination and the Saints spirit that not only pushed him on to succeed with his fundraising attempt, but also shines through as he inspires his teammates as Club captain.”