Robbie getting back in the saddle on the UK Red Empire State 500

Robbie getting back in the saddle on the UK Red Empire State 500

Robbie Hunter-Paul is the latest Rugby League superstar to sign up for the UK Red Empire State 500 to raise funds for Rugby League Cares.

The former New Zealand international, who had a successful club career with Bradford Bulls, Huddersfield Giants, Salford Red Devils and Leigh Centurions, will join 21 other riders on the epic adventure in May.

The RL Cares peloton also includes modern-day rugby legend Sam Burgess, who will fly in from his home in Sydney to take part in the 500-mile cycle ride from the spectacular Niagara Falls to Central Park, New York.

Robbie joined RL Cares in cycling to the Challenge Cup final on the UK Red Ride to Wembley in both 2018 and 2019 and admits he is both excited by, and nervous about, the trans-Atlantic challenge.

“When I got off the bike at Wembley two years ago, I swore that was it, never again. What had I been thinking, putting my broken body through that?” said Robbie.

“Inexplicably, I did it again last year, which was even tougher, and now I’m flying to another country where there are bears and racoons and all kinds of things that can kill you, to ride a bike further than I ever thought possible.

“The UK Red Empire State 500 is going to be an incredible experience and a challenge that will bring out the best in everyone. More importantly, we’re hoping to raise a lot of money for a very good cause.

“I have nothing but admiration for RL Cares, especially the help and support it gives to players when times are tough, and the work they do in promoting good mental wellbeing across the sport and beyond through the Offload programme.”

The Empire State 500 riders will meet up in Toronto on the eve of the Toronto Wolfpack v St Helens Super League fixture on May 2, when RL Cares will be the official gameday charity partner of the Canadian club.

The following day the riders depart from Niagara Falls on a gruelling six-day off-road cycling challenge that passes through the heart of the Iroquois nation along the Erie Canal before heading south for Manhattan via the Appalachian trail.

To help Robbie raise fund for the important work RL Cares does enhancing the lives of people involved at every level of Rugby League, please sponsor him via his Justgiving page