Cancer survivor takes on 3,000 mile bike race for charity

Cancer survivor takes on 3,000 mile bike race for charity

SCOTT Harkins may look like your average ‘Mamil’ – Middle-Aged-Man-in-Lycra. But don’t be fooled.

Cycling holds a much deeper significance for the 42-year-old father-of-two than it does for most other weekend warriors.

An avid rider in his youth, it was not until Mr Harkins was told he had testicular cancer that he got back on his bicycle to escape some “very dark” moments.

And now, days after the 10-year anniversary of his diagnosis, the cancer survivor is preparing to fly to the US to take on one of the sport’s most daunting challenges.

In a 3,000-mile race that will see him climb the height of Mount Everest almost seven times, Mr Harkins is likely to meet bears, rattlesnakes, mountain lions and wolves.

But that isn’t what fazes him.

“More than anything I am afraid of letting down all the people who have supported and believed in me over the years, I feel morally obliged to all of them,” he told The Irish Post ahead of his departure.

Mr Harkins, a harbour policeman originally from Bangor, Co. Down, will begin the ‘Great Divide’ race on Friday and hopes to raise £10,000 for cancer charity Marie Curie.

Explaining his motivation to take on the challenge, he said cycling became “iconic” for him as he battled cancer.

“I did amateur racing when I was in school but I got run over on my 18th birthday and didn’t ride again until after I was diagnosed with cancer,” he explained

“I was in a very dark place and contemplated suicide at one stage. But when I saw people cycling I said to myself ‘I used to do that and I used to enjoy it’, so I got back on the bike again.”

Half the participants are expected drop out somewhere along the Rocky Mountains route from Banff in Canada to New Mexico in the US.

While Mr Harkins is aiming to complete the course in 25 days, he expects to face big tests along the way.

“I have never done anything remotely like this before,” he said.

“But I have been told that the challenge is more mental than physical, so I hope my experience battling cancer will help me get over the line.”

To sponsor Mr Harkins, visit