Edinburgh woman competes in gruelling Tour o the Borders to raise Parkinson's cash

A keen cyclist from Edinburgh is taking on the Tour o The Borders to raise funds for Parkinson’s UK Scotland.

Thursday, 26th August 2021, 4:45 pm

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Michelle Sturrock, 29, will get on her bike for the 74-mile journey which takes place on September 5.

A family member of Michelle’s was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2019 - the fastest growing neurological condition in the world.

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Michelle gets to view stunning scenery as she trains

About 12,400 people in Scotland have Parkinson’s - which is around one in every 375 adults. Parkinson’s is a brain condition that happens when the brain cells that make dopamine start to die. Everyone is different, but there are over 40 recognised symptoms that affect every aspect of daily life.

The Tour sees participants start in Peebles and cycle 120 kilometres around the Scottish Borders.

Michelle admits she couldn’t have pictured herself doing this sort of event a few years ago but admits lockdown made her fall in love with cycling.

She now hopes to raise as much as possible before the event next weekend after already raising over £500.

It's not all downhill free-wheeling on the Tour o the Borders

Michelle said: “I'm a keen cyclist and it was something I wanted to take part in anyway.

"If you'd asked me that about four years ago I would have said absolutely not. But over lockdown I really got into cycling.

"My dad and brother are cyclists and they've done events like this before so I thought 'Here's a challenge, I love a challenge. Let's go ahead and do it.’

Michelle takes a break from her tough training regime

"I had seen loads of people raise funds for charities in this event before but there had been nothing that had meant anything massively to me previously.

"Unfortunately, a family member was diagnosed with Parkinson's a couple of years back and it became more important and this is the first event I've been able to take part in because of lockdown.

"I've donated to Parkinson's UK in the past and other family members have done runs in the past to raise money but this is the first big event I have done.

"I've been following the training plan they have on the event website which has been really helpful because I wouldn't even know what I'm meant to target or anything.

When the going gets tough... Michelle forges ahead with her training

It's been a range of long-distance rides on a weekend and evening rides after work to get in some miles.

"For me, the distance is a big thing. I've done 70 miles before in one go but only once. So getting up the miles as much as I can per week is what I'm aiming for.

"I'm hoping whatever I raise can go towards research because I want to help find a cure. It's had a huge effect on the whole family so the main goal is to not have it within the family as it's horrible to see them go through it."

Marion Pirrie, Regional Fundraiser for East of Scotland at Parkinson’s UK, said: "There are just under 1,000 people in Edinburgh living with the condition. They will all be behind Michelle as she takes on this extremely challenging event.

“We are extremely grateful to Michelle for her fundraising efforts and wish her the best.”

You can donate to Michelle’s fundraising page here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/michelle-sturrock-touro

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