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80-year-old who completed this year’s Étape Caledonia complains that he will be barred from next year's event because of his age

John McNally finished ahead of over a thousand riders

An 80-year-old cyclist who completed Étape Caledonia last week is urging the organisers to alter their entry policy so that he can take part again in 2018. John McNally has completed the event on eight occasions, but the rules say that those over the age of 80 can’t compete.

This year’s course was 131km with almost 1,200m of climbing. McNally completed the event in five-and-a-half hours, finishing 2,265th and ahead of over a thousand riders.

This means his average speed – including stops – was almost 24km/h (15mph).

UK study to examine how people can be encouraged and supported to keep cycling into old age

However, The Étape Caledonia website states that the event is only open to individuals between the ages of 17 and 80 and McNally would like to take part again next year.

McNally told the Scottish Sun: “Rules say if you are over 80 you can’t compete. They should increase this to 85. I’ve not got any aches. It’s a tremendous event.”

The Étape Caledonia organisers have been contacted for comment.

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17 comments

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Haggisbasher | 6 years ago
3 likes

I know John and have met up with him at Pitlochry, for the last 5 years. This is a man who does the Etape as a training event for a tough Duathlon a few weeks later.

Yes, he could just turn up on the day, but its the event and the taking part that he likes. I have also emailed the company  to see if they will shift their position. I have emailed the "face of the event" Chris Boardman to see if he will use his influence, as we are constantly told, cycling is good for your health.

As John says, if the goverment can raise the retirement age, then so can a bike event. There was another 75+ guy on the event who got round in 4:30 ish I think. Puts me to shame.

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OldRidgeback replied to Haggisbasher | 4 years ago
0 likes

Haggisbasher wrote:

I know John and have met up with him at Pitlochry, for the last 5 years. This is a man who does the Etape as a training event for a tough Duathlon a few weeks later.

Yes, he could just turn up on the day, but its the event and the taking part that he likes. I have also emailed the company  to see if they will shift their position. I have emailed the "face of the event" Chris Boardman to see if he will use his influence, as we are constantly told, cycling is good for your health.

As John says, if the goverment can raise the retirement age, then so can a bike event. There was another 75+ guy on the event who got round in 4:30 ish I think. Puts me to shame.

The guy's a star if you ask me. They should be inviting him to take part and waiving the fee. The same goes for the 75+ rider.

The fact that someone of that age group can clock impressive times that are better than people 50 years younger surely stands for something.

 

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antonio | 6 years ago
1 like

No age limit and no medical required on lots of funeral plans, organisers need to get with it, healthy aged cyclists can boost their numbers!smiley

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Leviathan | 7 years ago
2 likes

So I won't be able to do sportives in 2057? All I will have to look forward to then is yet another disappointing Spiderman reboot.

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oceandweller | 7 years ago
2 likes

I'd guess the organiser's insurance sets the rules & there's nothing the organisers can do about it. Easiest solution is he just lies about his age. Or enters under a fictitious name & age. Or whatever. I really seriously doubt the organisers have access to the kind of information that would allow them to check an entrant's personal info.

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Yorkshire wallet | 7 years ago
4 likes

Public road, he can do it without a number and just bring his own food. Problem solved. Save himself some coin as well.

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devon__tri replied to Yorkshire wallet | 4 years ago
0 likes

Yorkshire wallet wrote:

Public road, he can do it without a number and just bring his own food. Problem solved. Save himself some coin as well.

 

Nail on the head, I've done numerous sportives and charity rides without having to pay for them they're just a bunch of riders all following the same route on the same day...personally I wouldn't avail myself of the food stops on route but again if some people are opening up a food stop in the middle of nowhere and giving out food for free why not?

Paying £40 for a cheap medal, a top up of water and a bannana for riding nowt' more than 180km?

One Born Every Minute.

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Rapha Nadal | 7 years ago
5 likes

I hope I'm still riding like that when I'm 80!

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BehindTheBikesheds | 7 years ago
2 likes

I guess they ignore all the age records set by octogenarians, nonagenarians and centenarians

this is why i hate these events, as above, public highway, just ride on the road and anyone telling you you can't ride tell them to go forth and multiply!

Insurance my arse!

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mingmong | 7 years ago
8 likes

Let the lad ride.   Age discrimination sucks satans cock.

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Grahamd | 7 years ago
7 likes

"Those over the age of 80 can't compete" It's a sportive not a competition!

 

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Alessandro replied to Grahamd | 7 years ago
3 likes

Grahamd wrote:

"Those over the age of 80 can't compete" It's a sportive not a competition!

 

Ordinarily I would agree with this and, as far as I'm concerned, it should be non-competitive given the narrow roads and enormous range of abilities. However, I was slightly perturbed on Sunday morning when the MC at the start pens was advertising the King and Queen of the Mountain awards for the quickest people up Schiehallion (not much risk involved because of the relatively low speeds) as well as Lord and Lady of the Loch which basically encouraged folk to hammer it round Loch Rannoch. The overall results of the event are also listed in time order rather than alphabetical as is the case for the official Ride London. So although the organisers may very well bill this as a 'sportive', they certainly encourage participants to compete. 

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peted76 | 7 years ago
2 likes

I wonder if there's a legal insurance reason why 80 is the age limit which restricts the organisers.. or it's just an abitary age limit which someone just made up for the sake of it?

 

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rct replied to peted76 | 7 years ago
1 like

peted76 wrote:

I wonder if there's a legal insurance reason why 80 is the age limit which restricts the organisers.. or it's just an abitary age limit which someone just made up for the sake of it?

 

 

Normally insurance reasons as you have posted.

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VonPinkhoffen replied to rct | 7 years ago
3 likes

rct wrote:

peted76 wrote:

I wonder if there's a legal insurance reason why 80 is the age limit which restricts the organisers.. or it's just an abitary age limit which someone just made up for the sake of it?

 

 

Normally insurance reasons as you have posted.

We could offer to crowdfund his insurance if that's the case? 

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growingvegtables replied to rct | 4 years ago
0 likes

rct wrote:

Normally insurance reasons as you have posted.

Perhaps more appropriate to consider age limits for those insurer-employees making "insurance-related-decisions" based on age?

I'm sure there may be brief moments of rational lucidity in their sad, grey, financial careers?

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Alessandro | 7 years ago
7 likes

I guess they have an upper age limit to minimise the risk of any health events but I'd imagine that a fit 80 year old such as this chap is probably less of a risk than a tubby 70 year old. Having done the event myself this year, I'd say that if he can't get in officially then just come and join us on the roads leading out of Pitlichry - the barriers don't go the whole way round the course and I seriously doubt whether anyone would call him out.

We need to encourage people of all ages to become and remain active, not put barriers in the way. 

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