On Monday 17th June 2019, Laurence Brophy began his epic 874-mile adventure from Lands End to John O’Groats. The 87-year-old from Pencoed set himself the challenge last year but unfortunately had to withdraw after being struck by an infection at 600-miles in. This year, however, was to be the year Laurence completed the journey, joining the '87 club' alongside keen cyclist Donald Wells, who successfully made the trip the year before. Laurence may well hold the record for the oldest person to complete this challenge, but humbly told us he’s not interested in finding out whether he’s older than Mr Wells.

“It really doesn’t matter who holds the record. What does matter is that we’ve both successfully completed the journey at 87, so we share something special. Although I definitely hold the record for the fastest 87-year-old to complete the ride.”

Laurence completed the challenge in 15 days, sleeping rough next to road sides and in public parks and gardens for 11 nights along the way.

“I wanted to put myself in the shoes of a homeless person so I slept rough almost every night. Some nights when it rained it was harder than others. One night in Loch Lomond I slept next to a road under construction, which made it very noisy and hard to sleep. I remained conscious however unlike someone on the streets, I had money in my pocket and a destination to cycle to the next day. Sadly, homeless people have none of those luxuries.”

Laurence decided to fundraise for Llamau after learning more about our work through family members working for the charity. Through his efforts, he raised over £1,000.

“I have a personal connection because of my daughter and son-in-law plus my other daughter supports young people with learning disabilities so we’ve always been a family that help others. I’m thrilled to have raised so much and would like to thank everyone who donated.”

So what’s next for Laurie? We asked whether he’s ready to rest on his laurels for a while. Having completed the London marathon three times and the grueling 'Racing the Planet' ultramarathon, it wouldn’t hurt to take some time off, right?

“My 88th year will see me do the Three Peaks Challenge again as well as the Tour of Great Britain route on my bike, which’ll include the Lands End to John O’Groats route and I’ll end the year by walking the 110 mile Taff Trail [start to finish and return]. I’ve done that in 58 hours and 15 minutes before so that’s the time to beat.”

Laurence’s advice to anyone considering taking up the Lands End to John O’Groats challenge:

“You have to be a certain type of crazy to try but you should always be curious about what you can achieve. If you try it, do it because you want to. It’ll get you through the tough times.”

Laurence would like to thank Off Beat Bikes (Fort William) and Lack Isle Berries Bunkhouse of Tore (North of Inverness) for the kindness they showed him and his bike during his challenge.

Laurence also cycled to support Cwm Academy Football Club.