Richard's Duchenne Dash

Richard Clark first heard about the Dash from his neighbourhood bike shop which just happens to be Dash sponsor, Pearson's. After becoming friends with veteran dashers, Will and Jud Pearson, and hearing about Duchenne UK and our work, he was sold.

Richard has ridden in the Dash every year since he first took part.

This is Richard's Dash story.

From neighbour to friend, to lifelong supporter

Spirit, positivity and hope; why I ride

“I have been neighbours and a long-standing customer of Pearson Performance Cycles and now consider Will and Jud Pearson to be our great friends. Jud is a Partner in a GP practice and both completes and supports the Dash in the capacity of a medic. Will coordinates and facilitates the Ride Captain component of the Duchenne Dash each year.”

“When Will first approached me in 2017, my two boys were aged 6 and 8 years old. As soon as he explained the ride and described the work of Duchenne UK I was instantly hooked and was fully invested in the Dash.”

“My first training ride was a roller coaster of emotions. I spent much of the ride in the company of a dad whose son had been diagnosed with Duchenne. I shed tears on the bike as I listened to him explain the diagnosis and prognosis. I finished the ride, however, with the same spirit of optimism that he had, given the difference that Duchenne UK’s work is having so far as affecting outcomes.”

“The work and results that Duchenne UK are realising (enabled by the efforts of their Dash riders and fundraisers) is truly phenomenal and means that the Dash is overarched by a spirit of real positivity that keeps riders coming back year after year.”

“Check out the Duchenne UK Impact Reports over recent years to see examples of the ground-breaking work that this charity has already realised and to understand the positive action and results that have been achieved.”

So many great memories

“I’m a massive fan of the Tour de France and so rolling over the same cobbles that adorn the Arc de Triomphe and that the legends of the pro peloton have ridden across, never fails to thrill. Finishing what is an epic ride under the Eiffel Tower is pretty special.”

“Also seeing my two boys become inspired to complete the Dash AT HOME, clocking up miles and raising funds in aid of Duchenne UK was a proud moment.”

“In honesty though, there is not a single best Dash memory that sums the event up for me. Instead, it’s the heady mix of a challenging ride on which friendships and relationships are forged on the bike, the backdrop and scenery of the route along with the camaraderie that is built amongst the riders. And it’s all wrapped up with first-class organisation and support that makes this a ride like no other.”

Changing the future for people with DMD

“Duchenne UK is a small, nimble and highly efficient charity that creates and innovates solutions in response to this cruel disease. The Dash and the amazing fundraising efforts of the riders enables Duchenne UK and its tenacious founders to meet Duchenne head-on and improve the quality of the lives of those impacted by this disease. Their work is changing the future for people with DMD.”                           

“The purpose and impact that everyone’s efforts have in the fight against Duchenne makes this such a special event that results in both new riders signing up and many riders returning year after year.”

You are not alone and you will get to the finish

“Remember why you are riding in the first place. What made you sign up for the event in the first instance? Focus on who or what are you riding for and dig in deep.”

“Also, know and understand that those around you will have either suffered already, are also suffering or will suffer at some point on the ride. You are not alone, and you will get to the finish. Those around you will get you through the difficult periods. There is an amazing spirit of camaraderie that flows through the Dash and so support your fellow riders and know they will support you.”

“Focus and visualise how you will feel on completing this epic ride. The pain immediately subsides when you get off your bike at the foot of the Eiffel Tower – I promise!”

“Finally, the Ride Captains are there to help support, motivate and get you to the finish so let them know in case you are struggling. They will help get you to Paris.”

Richard's training tips

I think consistency is key. Enjoying the training process itself is important to this end. 

Figure out what motivates you to get out on the bike as much as possible in the lead-up to the Dash. It’s different for everyone. It might be setting yourself clear and specific goals and targets in terms of the volume of rides and distances being completed. Tracking your progress and celebrating achieving the goals that you set yourself may be key to staying motivated. Or, it might be more about riding with friends, enjoying catching up with mates and enjoying a good coffee stop as a reward for your efforts.

Getting out on the bike regularly and building up those base miles will ensure that you fully enjoy the challenge of the ride to Paris. 

Figure out what encourages you to get out and start ticking off those miles.

Richard's fundraising tips

Make the most of your network and capitalise on the networks of those close to you.

Social media is a powerful means to champion your endeavours and to raise awareness of the amazing fundraising that you are completing. Tap into your network via all means available. The generosity of people even in difficult times is always surprising. 

Post training rides on Strava with links to your fundraising page. Share images from your rides on Instagram along with links to your page and use other platforms such as LinkedIn in and raise awareness of the challenge that you are taking on. Let people on WhatsApp groups that you are part of know about the challenge that you are taking on and why – in short don’t be shy! 

Finally, let the folks at Duchenne UK know if you need ideas to realise your targets in case you have fully exhausted your network of contacts. They are there to help!