BlackRock Employees Swap Their Suits for Lycra in 3,200 Mile Cycle Charity Challenge

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City workers Paul Meyers, 43, from Loughton, David Shaw, 43, from Bexleyheath, Justine Smeal, 35, from London, and Lee Woodyard, 24 from Dartford, can usually be found at global asset management firm BlackRock, in Throgmorton Avenue in the heart of the city. But they will be switching calculators for carbon fibre and their suits will be replaced by full Lycra, when they jet off to the US later this week. The quad will cycle 3,200 miles from the firm’s San Francisco office to their New York base in just 13 days, to raise money for The Prostate Cancer Charity.

Prostate Cancer Charity

Prostate Cancer Charity

The idea for the US ride came about over a coffee machine conversation that David and Lee were having, and with a glint of madness in the eyes a team was put together.

The gruelling US ride, will see the city workers clocking up between 250 to 300 miles per day in their bid to reach the Big Apple. The ride looks set to be the toughest challenge yet for Paul, David, Justine and Lee, who are all keen riders. To meet the challenge they will be riding unsupported in relay with one rider on the road at a time, with the three other team mates following in an RV. The team will be relying solely on each other for driving, navigation, and bike repairs.

Triple Olympic Medallist and Double World Champion cyclist, Rob Hayles, has backed the brave quad and had this special message for them as they make last minute preparations for their epic charity cycle ride: “I wish Paul, Lee, Justine and David all the very best of luck on their cycling challenge for The Prostate Cancer Charity. I’m used to riding with a full support team but these guys will be doing it all on their own, so I’m hoping they’re all skilled in sports massage, as I think they might need it after the end of each punishing day clocking up the miles! Joking aside, riding from San Francisco to New York is no small feat, so hats off to them for taking to two wheels to raise funds for such a great cause. I only wish I could be there with them.”

The extreme cycling challenge is the final fundraising feat for BlackRock, who picked The Prostate Cancer Charity as their Charity of the Year. Since the partnership began last June, employees at the asset management firm have raised more than £200,000 through a variety of events. The team hope this final challenge will increase the figure to a record breaking £230,000.

Paul Meyers, Director, Business Operations at BlackRock said: “The idea for the US ride came about over a coffee machine conversation that David and Lee were having, and with a glint of madness in the eyes a team was put together. After many months of planning, it’s now only days before we begin our epic journey. None of us know how we will feel when we finish but if we can raise some money for a great cause, that’s enough to keep me in the saddle.”

The Prostate Cancer Charity's Director of Fundraising, Mark Bishop said: "BlackRock have truly embraced the partnership with us and have gone over and beyond the call of duty with their fundraising efforts. They have raised an incredible amount of money for the Charity - more than any other group in the UK. We are hugely grateful to all of BlackRock’s employees who have got involved, especially Paul, David, Justine and Lee who are going to extraordinary lengths to support us. We wish them all the best of luck, just thinking about their ride makes me feel tired!”

To sponsor the BlackRock four and help raise money for The Prostate Cancer Charity, visit: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/BlackRockCyclesAmericaSeptember2011

For further information contact: Vivienne Francis, Nikki Nagler or Lucy Handford on 0208 222 7136/7670/7166. Out of hours contact: 0798 432 5001. Email: Vivienne.Francis(at)prostate-cancer(dot)org(dot)uk or Nicola.Nagler(at)prostate-cancer(dot)org(dot)uk or Lucy.Handford(at)prostate-cancer(dot)org(dot)uk

Notes to Editors:

About The Prostate Cancer Charity:
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in men in the UK. Every year in the UK 37,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer. One man dies every hour of prostate cancer in the UK.

African Caribbean men are three times more likely to develop prostate cancer than white men.

The Prostate Cancer Charity is striving for a world where lives are no longer limited by prostate cancer. The Charity is fighting prostate cancer on every front - through research, support, information and campaigning.

If you have any queries about prostate cancer, call The Prostate Cancer Charity's confidential Helpline 0800 074 8383 which is staffed by specialist nurses and open from 10am to 4pm Monday to Friday and Wednesdays from 7 - 9pm or visit http://www.prostate-cancer.org.uk

About BlackRock
BlackRock is a leader in investment management, risk management and advisory services for institutional and retail clients worldwide. At June 30, 2011, BlackRock’s AUM was $3.659 trillion. BlackRock offers products that span the risk spectrum to meet clients’ needs, including active, enhanced and index strategies across markets and asset classes. Products are offered in a variety of structures including separate accounts, mutual funds, iShares® (exchange-traded funds), and other pooled investment vehicles. BlackRock also offers risk management, advisory and enterprise investment system services to a broad base of institutional investors through BlackRock Solutions®. Headquartered in New York City, as of June 30, 2011, the firm has approximately 9,700 employees in 26 countries and a major presence in key global markets, including North and South America, Europe, Asia, Australia and the Middle East and Africa. For additional information, please visit the Company's website at http://www.blackrock.co.uk

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Lucy Handford

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