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Ride to Rio: Ex-Devil saddles up for epic 3,000-mile bike challenge

Former Salford Red Devils prop Paul ‘Highto’ Highton is swapping rugby boots for cycling shoes as he prepares for an epic journey raising money for the Salford Red Devils Foundation.

Highton, alongside former Super League and Great Britain star Keith Senior and a team of fundraisers, will set off from the Olympic Stadium in London on 27 June, covering over 3,000 miles to arrive at the Maracanã in Brazil six weeks later.

Much of the trip is expected to be off-road and on difficult terrain, leaving Paul no choice but to embark on a gruelling training regime.

Paul Highton in training

Highton played for Salford Red Devils for 11 years, and is looking forward to raising money for the club’s Foundation, saying: “I had a great time during my years at Salford and it will be great to be able to give something back.

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“The work the Foundation in the community does is superb so hopefully I can raise a good amount of money to support this.”


Paul and Keith are joining Mike Tomlinson – widower of epic challenger Jane, for whom the Jane Tomlinson Appeal is named.

Jane was 36 when she was diagnosed with terminal breast cancer. Over the next seven years she took on improbable challenges in marathon running and bike riding to raise over £1.8 million for children’s and cancer charities. She sadly passed away in 2007.

The Road to Rio team will ride to Southampton and then sail to Le Havre, from where they will cycle through France into Portugal.

From Lisbon they will then fly across to Recife, and cycle along the stunning Brazilian coastline.


Salford Red Devils Foundation Director Mark Brocklehurst added: “I think what Highto is doing is brilliant.

“To take on such a large a challenge is something that most of us would never even consider doing, so the fact he’s raising money for the foundation in the process is fantastic.”

To donate head to the RidetoRio JustGiving page or you can text JRTR70 £5 to 70070.

Main image: Keith Senior (left) with Paul Highton (right)

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Tom is SalfordOnline.com's News Editor and community co-ordinator.