As recently as 2013, long time Sotonia member Mary Corbett had been taking part in 24 hour cycle races on a tandem with Simon Hall from Andover Wheelers. However, an illness that was subsequently diagnosed as ME or Myalgic Encephalopathy curtailed her sporting activities (Mary is also a keen runner) and resulted into a long fight back to regaining some of her former fitness

More than 250,000 men, women and children in the UK have ME. It affects the central nervous system and the immune system and renders the most severe sufferers to remain bedbound or housebound, sometimes for many years. There is no known cure.

Mary followed a schedule of Graded Exercise Therapy set out by her physiotherapist and it took 9½ months for her to be able to run for 30 minutes. By November 2014 she was also able to include 5 minutes of steady pedalling twice a week on her indoor wtrainer.

Last week was ME Awareness Week and Mary took the opportunity, in concert with her club Sotonia CC and the Bournemouth and District Woman’s Cycling Association, to raise money for the ME Association which fund vital research into the physical nature and causes of ME and supports sufferers and their families.

The club and Association organised two 10 mile time trial on course based near Lyndhurst with all funds going to the charity. So far Mary has raised £645 in cash donations with another £250.00 pledged and she is hoping to push the total to £1000 with an auction of a signed poster of Jens Voigt breaking the UCI hour record (51.115km) donated by a supporter.

[quote align=”center” color=”#999999″]Commenting on her efforts Mary said, “My goal has not only been to promote awareness of the condition, but to show what can be achieved despite having ME. I targeted the Sotonia 10 as my first race back in the saddle to coincide with ME Awareness Week. It seemed very fitting as I have received fantastic support from my Club”


Mary completed her comeback ride in 36 minutes 35 seconds, somewhat short of her best, but a great achievement after a period where she thought her cycling career might be over.

Mary’s Just Giving page is still open for those who would like to donate

The ME Association website is: