Fabio Spiteri will embark on another gruelling challenge as plans to cycle around Sicily non-stop in under 48 hours to collect funds for animal shelters in Malta and Sicily.
In 2020, ultra-athlete Spiteri cycled around Sicily in two days and eight hours covering 950km in the process. Spiteri bettered his previous time by 16 hours and was the third-fastest cyclist in history to do so.
Although Spiteri is all too familiar with the Sicilian coastline having trained there for his many Ironman triathlons, last year’s challenge was perhaps the most arduous.
If the distance and the time limit he set himself weren’t enough, he had to contend with the appalling weather conditions which battered him and his backup team for hours on end.
And why, you might ask, did Spiteri undertake such an arduous task? His answer was simple – animal welfare.
Last year, Spiteri fell slightly short of his €30,000 target but that did not stop him from setting himself a higher and more ambitious target – €50,000 and covering the distance non-stop in under 48 hours.
The money collected will be distributed amongst eighteen local animal shelters, cat feeders, and a Sicilian animal sanctuary in Canicatti.
“In doing this challenge, I am not solely aiming to raise much-needed funds for the animal shelters so that they can continue their never-ending work to provide clean and comfortable accommodation, affection, and medication where necessary but to also educate and inform the general public about the importance of respecting animals and the effects of cruelty and neglect has on animals,” Spiteri said.
In the run up to the challenge, Spiteri has been training long hours on the bike, clocking hundreds of hours – many of them during the night for him to adapt to the challenging environment especially when cycling at night and sleep depravation can be a serious issue to contend with.
“Riding long distances over several days will take a lot out of me and the backup team,” he said.
“The toll is not just physical but emotional and logistical. I am grateful to have a wonderful support team who already have been supporting me in my local training programme and who will have my back in Sicily.”
Spiteri’s crew will be made up of Oliver Canni, Mark Schram, Matthew Mirabelli , Diana Balogh, Germaine Vassallo and Steve Zammit Lupi.
Their duties will range from car and scooter driving, food preparation, cycling a few kilometres with Spiteri at various intervals, and the production of a video to assist with the promotion of this event.
“I am very fortunate to have confirmed the support of Maurizio Mezzasalma who will be joining my crew for this endeavour. Maurizio is the only person to cycle around Sicily non-stop under 48hrs. He achieved his Sicilian record in 2014, clocking a time of 43hr 44min! Maurizio is a legend in our circles and is very much looking forward to getting good tips from him,” said Spiteri.
Mezzasalma’s knowledge of the route will also see him helping the crew with navigation and driving.
Spiteri’s challenge will start on September 14. He put in an impassioned appeal to the general public to contribute even as little as €1.
“If the majority of the population did just that, many animal shelters would have less financial worries and could focus all their energies on the animals under their care,” Spiteri concluded.
Backing Spiteri in this gruelling challenge are Gasan Mamo who are the main sponsors of the event, whilst other supporters are Garmin Malta, The Pasta Shop, Go&Fun, Hills Pet Nutrition, Eurosport Malta, Wheel Wizard, Lawrence Sofa Cleaning, Happy Initiative, Vitamina and Depot.
Donations can be carried out through the following channels:-
Revolut: +356 99816248; Paypal: [email protected]
€ 2.33 | 50617312; € 4.66 | 50618075; € 6.99 | 50618923; € 11.65 | 50619260
Bank Transfer – BOV IBAN : MT40VALL22013000000050010082877