TWO fitness fanatic friends are planning the challenge of their lives – a cycle ride from Paris to Athens for charity.

Samuel Meredith and Freddie Smith, both from Leigh, are making the 1,864-mile ride in aid of the Lily Foundation, which raises money for research into cot deaths.

The pair, who met at a gym a few years ago, warmed up for the ride by running the Paris Marathon a fortnight ago.

Mr Meredith, 26, who lives in Blenheim Chase, said: “We’re feeling very confident. We have been taken back by how supportive everyone has been.

“It’s going to be the biggest challenge of my life, but I’m really excited.

“We cycled from Calais to St Tropez four years ago, but that was 900 miles, so this will eclipse that.”

Mr Meredith, an accountant, chose the Lily Foundation, which funds research into mitochonical disease, as one of his colleagues at Southendbased Chase Bureau Accountants has links the charity.

The pair also discovered Mr Smith’s mother suffers from the disease.

Mr Meredith said: “It’s good we were doing something connected to Freddie’s family.

“We could have done a variety of different things, so it’s quite nice we picked that.”

Training for the 15-day ride, which starts on June 21, has been going on for some time, but the pair decided to include another tough challenge in their preparation schedule – a 26-mile race in the French capital.

Mr Meredith said: “We are fitness fanatics. We ran the marathon in Paris two weeks ago.

“There was a joke going around that Paris to Athens wasn’t far enough, so we added the marathon on.”

The pair already have more than £1,000 in sponsorship pledges for the ride.

To add to that total, visit For more information about the Lily Foundation, visit