Scotland Rugby Legend Leads Memorable Ride to Rome for Doddie Weir Fundraising

Estimated read time 4 min read
Former Scotland rugby captain and motor neuron disease (MND) campaigner Rob Wainwright OBE will lead more than 240 cyclists and crew on an gruelling journey to Rome to raise money for the foundation set up by the late, great Doddie Weir.
Wainwright, who played 37 times for Scotland and once for the British and Irish Lions during an illustrious rugby career, will be amongst 19 teams joining in the 1,600 mile plus All Roads Lead to Rome challenge to deliver the match ball for the Italy vs Scotland Six Nations match on 9 March to raise vital funds for the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation (MNDF).
The challenge has already raised more than £400,000 – all of which will be donated to My Name’5 Doddie Foundation – with donations continuing to flood in.
In addition to the cycling teams, who will travel the full distance or in relay with any route permitted, rugby fans and supporters of the foundation have also been urged to join the journey to the Italian capital by any means necessary – foot, road, train, boat, or plane.
All those involved will congregate in the Piazza Navona on 8 March for a celebration in honour of 61-cap Scotland legend Weir, before meeting again on the Saturday at noon (CET) to march together from Piazza Del Popolo to the Stadio Olimpico for the Cuttitta Cup clash.
The first cyclist to depart for Rome is dad-of-seven Roy Thorburn, 63, from Coll, who set off on 21 February, from Murrayfield on a 1,400 mile journey.
Thorburn, a grandfather-of-five who also joined Wainwright on the Doddie 555 from Cardiff to Murrayfield last year, will be one of the only cyclists taking on the whole journey solo.
He has cycled more than 120 miles per week in training including at least 42 circumnavigations of Coll, and has so far raised more than £3,000.
‘I’ve seen how devastating MND can be to people and their families, and there’s no greater motivation to help than that. Doddie was a giant of the game and everybody still looks up to what he stood for. His reach goes far beyond rugby now and that’s why I wanted to get involved,’ he said.

Doddie Weir.

‘When Rob asks you to do something, there’s no saying no, and I’m excited and nervous in equal measure about the ride. I’m looking forward to the challenge (although maybe not the Alps) and the thought of meeting everybody for a beer in Rome will get me through.’
Notable participants amongst the challenge include another former Scotland captain Stuart Hogg, grand slam-winning Ireland centre Gordon D’Arcy, Scotland legends including British and Irish Lions winger Roger Baird, Italy’s record try scorer Marcello Cuttitta – whose late twin brother the Cuttitta Cup is named after – and campaigner Davy Zyw, who is living with MND.
All Roads Lead to Rome will be Wainwright’s fifth major fundraising cycle for the Foundation, which included last year’s Doddie 555 from Cardiff to Murrayfield that raised more than £820,000.
The 58-year-old former doctor hailed the importance of this year’s challenge to the ongoing pursuit of effective treatments and one day a cure for MND, and called on as many people as possible to get behind the cause.
‘Doddie was an icon in the rugby world and the MND community, and has united an army of supporters in pursuit of a world free of the disease,’ he said.
‘It’s a tragedy he is no longer here – and we all miss him so much – but it’s up to us to take on the mantle and continue his mission until we have beaten MND. We won’t stop until that happens.’
‘So much progress has been made since Doddie’s diagnosis, but there remains a huge distance to go.
‘There are still no treatment prospects, but we are getting closer and there is hope for a breakthrough soon.
‘We need to keep MND in the spotlight, and All Roads Lead to Rome is as much about raising awareness for the MND community as it is about digging deep to raise money for vital research – the only thing that will ultimately lead to an end to this devastating disease.
‘It will be a tough challenge, but a rewarding one, and it will be even more special when we all meet in Rome on March 8 to celebrate the achievement and Doddie’s memory.’
To donate to All Roads Lead To Rome visit
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