TWO teenagers have shown true grit after suffering injuries in a road crash while training for a challenge – and then refocusing to take on a new mission.

Matt Howkins, 17, from Leigh and Adam Swift, 18 from Astley are both sprinters with Leigh Harriers athletics club.

They both decided to take on a cycling challenge in memory of Matt’s relative Alex Campbell-Thomas who died in April 2019. He had received care from Sue Ryder, a palliative neurological and bereavement support charity.

The pals took their training seriously, working out in isolation through lockdown and then linking up as lockdown restrictions eased.

Their goal was to cycle 340 miles for Sue Ryder on Friday, July 10. But while training together the duo were hit by a car on June 22. The crash destroyed both of their bikes and left them with upper body injuries.

Leigh Journal:

But far from putting them off, the pair decided, while still in hospital, to still go ahead with doing something for the charity on the same date.

So on Friday, July 10, the same day as their initial proposed challenge, Matt and Adam walked 38 miles from NHS Nightingale North West in Manchester to the Liver Building in Liverpool.

Matt’s proud mum Janet, 38, said: “They both took their training seriously as they both compete with their running, so they are used to pushing themselves, but after the crash I didn’t know if they would go ahead.

“But in the hospital they both decided to do something and I was so proud. They started at 7.15am on Friday and arrived in Liverpool after 8.30pm.

“They did really well, it was the final 9 miles where they struggled. But after my husband Paul finished work at Asda after a 10 hour shift, I dropped him off and he did the final bit with them to keep them going.

Leigh Journal:

“They walked 38 miles, in 13.5 hours and when you think of everything they have gone through to get to this it’s incredible really. They both suffered injuries, but they said it wasn’t to their legs so they’d walk. Matt always makes us proud, but what they both did was incredible and I’m bursting with pride for them both.

“They have raised £1,260 for Sue Ryder so far and given the current situation that charity is needed more than ever. These guys wanted to pay something back during lockdown, hopefully this will help a few families just like they supported ours last year.

Leigh Journal:

Both have said they won’t do a walking challenge over 10 miles again and I know Adam got some blisters, but they should both be proud.”

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