A schoolboy is going the distance for the NHS by riding from Reading to Milan on his stationary bike.
Cycling entirely from his living room and covering a distance of 50km (31 miles) a day, he is on his way to raising £1,000 for NHS Charities Together.
Not one to sit back and relax, the idea came to Alain Colangelo, a pupil at Leighton Park School, after he considered what he could do to help, amidst the coronavirus pandemic.
“The NHS is under huge strain at the moment andwe should do all we can to help them,” explained Alain.
“The UK and Italy, especially the Lombardy region, are hugely affected by the Covid-19 virus. I’m Italian-born and living in the UK; these two countries are my home.”
Since he started his ride on Easter Sunday, the Year 7 pupil has not stopped.
Often exceeding his daily target of 50km, Alain has already gone past his aim of cycling 1,300km (807 miles) – the exact distance from the Shinfield-based school to Milan.
Completing the daily feat with his mum by his side for encouragement, the pair have said they are willing to go as far as it takes to raise as much money as possible.
“We will keep on going, whatever it takes,” said Alain’s mother, Justine. “However, saying that, I don’t think we could manage cycling all the way to China.
“I think Alain’s gesture to support the NHS is so thoughtful. Aside from that there is even an educational element to it. We like to track where we would be on the map and find out more about those places.”
Alain’s JustGiving page where he posts daily updates on his progress, are complete with photographs and facts about the places he and his mum have discovered.
On Day 8, upon his arrival in Laon he recorded, “This medieval city is isolated atop a 100-metre-high limestone rock that punctuates the low, flat plains around. In the high town, encircled by eight kilometres of walls and formidable gates is France’s biggest protected historic centre. Great for sightseeing.”
Even though Alain usually enjoys keeping fit as a goalkeeper at Berks Elite Football Club, he had little experience of cycling before now.
On his third day he wrote “Another 52km (32 miles) done. My legs are killing me, but I’ll keep going. I’m almost in Folkestone.”
The next day he made it across the pond to Calais, matching his distance. But by day five he had ramped up his progress even further by cycling 62km in total.
As the Summer Term commenced and Alain returned to his schoolwork, he has taken to cycling in the evenings. Neck and neck, while he broached the halfway mark of his journey, so did his fundraising target.
Following his fantasy finish across the line, Ron Colangelo, Alain’s cousin congratulated him on his achievement via Facebook, “Good job Alain. You did a very nice thing.… Congratulations cousin. You are a very special young man, your parents must be very proud of you for thinking about other people.”
You can support Alain and the NHS over on his Just Giving Page: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/alain-colangelo1