Gennaro’s 300 mile bike ride to Paris for MND

Gennaro Barbato completes his 300 mile cycle from London to Paris
Gennaro Barbato completes his 300 mile cycle from London to Paris

A Kirkcaldy fundraiser has completed a gruelling 300 mile cycle from London to Paris to raise funds for motor neurone disease (MND).

Gennaro Barbato (27) raised more than £11,000 in memory of his mum Cheryl, who died at the age of 54 in December.

Gennaro and mum Cheryl

Gennaro and mum Cheryl

Gennaro’s initial target of £1600 was raised in just a day, so he decided to reach higher for a £10,000 goal.

Now the fitness instructor with Fife Sport and Leisure Trust covered a distance of over 300 miles between July 24-27 before arriving at the French city, raising funds for MND Scotland.

Gennaro said one of the main factors was the heatwave which hit France at the time.

“It was amazing,” he said. “There were some tricky bits but it was mainly the heat and the tiredness that got to me a little bit, but it was some experience, I’d do it all over again.

“It had a good atmosphere, there were over 100 people doing it so there was good buzz about it.

“I cycled from Croydon to Dover, then got the ferry across.

“It got to 42 degrees one day. They actually stopped the cycling at 1pm because of the heat.

“There were some challenging climbs coming out of London and heading to Dover as it was really hilly. But the other bits weren’t too bad.”

But when Gennaro arrived at the finishing line, he already felt inspired to continue fundraising.

“It was surreal, my family had made a banner saying ‘Congratulations Gennaro’ with a photo of me and my mum. It was nice to see that and I was just full of mixed emotions.

“I was already thinking, what’s my next challenge?

“With all the training I’d put in, I felt like I could have easily cycled back home. I was doing it for my mum, and I had that adrenaline to push through it.

“I did see another challenge which goes from London to Geneva, so maybe next year.

“I just want to raise as much awareness as I can.”

Gennaro chose MND Scotland after the support received from them.

“MND Scotland were brilliant. From the point that my mum was diagnosed and even aftercare when she passed away, they were just amazing.

“I’d just like to say a big thank you to everyone that’s helped and supported me, it’s been really overwhelming.

“If it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t have been able to do this.”

To donate, go to www.justgiving.com/fundraising/gennaro-barbato