Published: 00:01, 11 July 2014
A charity fundraiser’s bid to cycle from London to Paris in 24 hours ended when he collapsed just 30 miles from the finish line.
Pride in Medway winner Roger Maddams was forced to retire from the race, suffering from hypothermia and the threat of a heart condition.
Roger, who has raised thousands for charity in memory of his son Jack, set off from Blackheath at noon on Saturday with a team of riders and cycled through the night.
After battling downpours for six hours and strong winds for 150 miles, Roger’s body couldn’t take any more. He stopped for a scheduled break and collapsed as soon as he got off his bike.
Roger, 53, has the same heart condition which killed his son Jack, a Rochester Math School pupil, who died in 2008, aged 17.
Jack had an undetected heart defect called brugada syndrome. After his death, Roger tested positive for the condition, which causes abnormally rapid heart rhythms.
When doctors assessed Roger and he told them about his condition, they refused to let him continue. He was just 30 miles away from the finish line in Paris.
He said: “I just burst into tears at that point. In hindsight I can see it was the right thing to do.
"But at the time I was bitterly disappointed. I had photos of my kids with me and I felt like I had let them down.”
Roger wasn’t the only rider to pull out of the race. Of the 273 who took part, only eight reached Paris in 24 hours and half didn’t finish at all.
He was treated for hypothermia and three days later, was still regaining feeling in his fingers.
Despite everything, it hasn’t put him off taking part in the race again next year.
He said: “The way I see it, I’ve got unfinished business.”
Roger and his family have raised thousands of pounds for the charity Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY) and funded heart screenings for young people.
Last year Roger led 200 cyclists on the Tour de Kent for CRY and Gillingham FC's chosen charity Take Heart Mercy Mission.
Roger and wife Janet were crowned overall Pride in Medway winners in 2013.
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