Islington doctor’s cycle challenge featured on TV

Andrew O'Brien in Pyrenees

Andrew O'Brien in Pyrenees - Credit: Archant

A doctor’s battle to complete a bike race through the Pyrenees so gruelling it is known as the “Bone Breaker” has been featured in a TV programme.

Dr Andrew O’Brien joined 8,000 of the world’s best cyclists to compete in the 124-mile battle of endurance through the mountain range straddling France and Spain after answering a call from a TV production company for out-of- shape doctors to take part in a sporting challenge.

The 30-year-old, who works at the Islington Central Medical Centre, Laycock Street, Islington, joined three other UK doctors for the race last June and their achievements were documented on Channel 5’s Go Hard or Go Home show last month.

He said: “I was talking to a patient about the need to exercise and lose weight last year when I realised I could do with losing a few pounds myself.

“The practice manager had sent around an email that morning from a TV production company looking for ‘out-of-shape’ doctors who were keen to get fit and willing to complete a sporting challenge. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to do something about it.

“We had an intense 12-week training period ahead of the race – other cyclists train for it all year. I noticed that being more physically active meant I was more alert, motivated and better able to concentrate.”

Dr O’Brien, who also works for Islington Clinical Commissioning Group, hopes his challenge has inspired other adults in the borough to do the recommended 150 minutes of weekly physical activity to help combat heart disease and a range of other conditions.