RFL congratulate Ride to Rio heroes as they complete their journey

RFL Chairman Brian Barwick has congratulated former Super League stars Paul Highton and Keith Senior after they completed an epic fundraising cycle ride to Rio de Janeiro.

Paul was one of three cyclists to cycle 2,800 miles from the Olympic Stadium in London to Rio while Keith rode over 1,000 miles through Brazil with them to reach the famous statue of Christ the Redeemer earlier today.

The pair have been raising funds for Rugby League Cares and the Jane Tomlinson Appeal. RL Cares is the sport’s official charity that helps ex-players who are suffering hardship or distress and provides education and training grants for current players to help them plan for life after rugby; whilst the Jane Tomlinson Appeal supports young cancer sufferers.

“On behalf of the whole game I would like to heartily congratulate Paul and Keith on what has been a superhuman effort for two great causes,” said Mr Barwick.

“Both players gave great service to Rugby League during their distinguished careers and it is heartening to see them going to such extraordinary lengths to put something back into the game.

“We have followed their progress on the Ride to Rio via their daily blogs and have nothing but admiration for what they have achieved.

“It is very pleasing, if not at all surprising, to see that so many Rugby League fans have supported Paul and Keith during their fantastic journey and I would urge anyone who has not yet made a donation to do so in recognition of their efforts.”

Former Salford and Halifax forward Paul Highton left London on June 27 for Portsmouth, where he boarded a ferry for Caen. Riding alongside TV presenter Charlie Webster and Mike Tomlinson, the husband of the late Jane Tomlinson, Paul spent the next three weeks cycling through France, over the Pyrenees into Spain and on to Portugal to catch a connecting flight to Recife in Brazil.

Keith, the former Leeds Rhinos and Great Britain centre, had to miss the European leg of the journey because of his work commitments as assistant coach of Sheffield Eagles, but joined up with the rest of the Ride To Rio team in Recife.

Over the last two weeks the riders have braved monsoon rains, dirt track roads and Brazil’s infamous ‘Death Highway’ to reach Rio on the eve of the opening ceremony of the 2016 Olympic Games.

“It’s been a life-changing and life-affirming experience, something I never thought I’d ever do and a journey I will never forget,” said Paul, who last lost over four stones in weight training for, and completing the Ride to Rio.

“Rugby League Cares does a fantastic job supporting former players and it has been a privilege to help them, as it has the Jane Tomlinson Appeal. I’m sure lots of good will come from a lot of pedalling!”