Castleford’s Oli Holmes explains how Garreth Carvell’s “short” charity ride was a lot longer than planned!

CASTLEFORD TIGERS ace Oli Holmes will get back on his bike today to raise more money for Rob Burrow and Motor Neurone Disease Association – hoping not to end up quite as disorientated as former team-mate Garreth Carvell.

Friday, 4th December 2020, 7:16 am
Doing his bit: Castleford Tigers forward Oli Holmes is riding 100km a day for seven days to raise money for Rob Burrow and the MNDA. Picture by Alex Whitehead/

England second-row Holmes is cycling 100km per day for seven days to help back Burrow, the ex-Leeds Rhinos scrum-half who is battling MND.

He was joined on yesterday’s route by Carvell – the former Rhinos, Castleford and Great Britain prop who ended up riding for longer than he bargained for!

Wakefield-born Holmes explained: “We’d headed east towards Snaith and then North Cave when – about 40K in – Gaz said he was going home to get some work done so he could join us again on Friday.

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“My missus’ dad Dave was with us and we carried on but slowed down a bit as Gaz is quite fast. When we got back home, I pulled back on to the drive and Gaz’s car was still there.

“He should have been back a long time before us so I rang him and there was no answer.

“I thought something had happened and he’d been run over or something...

“He rang me back 10 minutes later - and said he was lost! He was in Cawood, about 20 miles from Eggborough where I live. It turned out he’d done more than 120km!

Detour: Castleford Tigers' Oliver Holmes, left, with fellow riders Nathan Massey and Garreth Carvell, right, who ended up getting lost on a recent ride.

“I had to get in, get changed and go pick him up. He was that cold he couldn’t even take his helmet off!”

Holmes, who faced Burrow numerous times in Super League before the Rhinos legend retired in 2017, has now completed three days of the challenge. Former Leeds captain Kevin Sinfield is in the middle of seven marathons in seven days – aiming for all to be under four hours – in his own bid to raise funds for Burrow and the MNDA.

Explaining what prompted Holmes to take up his version, he said: “I started getting into cycling during lockdown.

“I’d never really done it before and I was on my mountain bike being overtaken by 40 year old blokes on these road bikes.

“I didn’t know what was going on so I got a road bike myself and it really is different.

“And now I do really enjoy it. I’d say I’m a keen cyclist.

“I wanted to do something (for Burrow) lockdown and was going to do a triathlon but couldn’t find any open water I could use due to Covid.

“Then we were back playing (in August) and now we’re finished. I’d seen Kev doing seven marathons in seven days which is just unbelievable.

“I thought I’d nick that idea but change it to a 100km bike ride. I’m sure he wouldn’t mind as it’s all in aid of Rob.

“As a club we’d not done anything yet so we were throwing ideas around and said I’d do it on behalf of Cas Tigers.

“Rob has really inspired everyone during his career – let alone this last year or so – and we really wanted to do something to help.”

Holmes, 28, added: “I played in his last game – the 2017 Grand Final (when Leeds beat Castleford).

“Funnily enough the last time I saw him to speak to was in the drug testing room after that game.

“Me, Luke Gale, Anthony Mullally and Rob all got tested and I remember thinking what’s the point doing that with Rob when he’s retiring anyway!

“Obviously nothing came back positive anyway and he was unbelievably nice to us that night. He is an inspiration.”

Holmes initially hoped to raise £2,000 but has already passed £5,000 as he continues his challenge today.

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