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The 26-year-old will join 22 other riders on the epic challenge, a 500-mile cycle ride from Niagara Falls to New York City in May, raising money for Rugby League Cares.
She will ride alongside Super League and NRL legends including Danny McGuire, Sam Burgess, Keith Senior and Robbie Hunter-Paul on the six-day adventure, which begins on Sunday May 2.
“It’s going to be an incredible experience and I’m thrilled to have this opportunity to help RL Cares,” said MacKenzie, who is currently studying for an Honours Bachelors in Therapeutic Recreation.
“I’ve never done anything like this before and would never describe myself as a cyclist, so I’m expecting it to be tough.
“I spent a year playing with Easts Tigers in Brisbane in 2018 and saw Sam playing for Souths, and though I’m familiar with the Super League players, I’ve had to spend a bit of time catching up on their careers on Youtube. They’re awesome!”
MacKenzie had only played one full game of Rugby League when she was selected for the Canadian team who competed in the 2017 World Cup. Their first game was against the Kiwi Ferns, who won 50-4.
She also represented Canada in Rugby League 9s at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on Australia’s Gold Coast before returning to Toronto to help plan last year’s men’s and women’s Rugby League tour to Serbia.
MacKenzie is now President of the Ontario Rugby League and hopes her involvement in the Empire State 500 will raise the profile of the sport across Canada.
“Rugby League is growing in Ontario, helped by Toronto Wolfpack, of course, and it would be great to see the sport’s fans getting behind me on the ride,” added MacKenzie.
The Empire State 500 riders will meet up in Toronto on Saturday May 2 and attend the Wolfpack v St Helens fixture before travelling to Niagara Falls, USA. The following morning, the ride sets off on its 500-mile off-road course along the Erie Canal, Catskill mountains and Hudson valley, arriving in New York City on Friday May 8.
To support MacKenzie on the UK Red Empire State 500, please make a donation via her Justgiving page