TWO friends are taking part in an unusual cycling challenge to raise money for a women’s charity.

Sara Mumford, from Brighton, and her friend Katie McManaman travel to Madagascar this month to cycle 350 kilometres around the country to raise money for the Genesis Research Trust.

The charity funds research into issues including stillbirth, miscarriage, birth defects and problems with fertility.

It also works to improve treatments used to fight female cancers such as cervical and ovarian cancers.

Ms Mumford, 54, from Marine Gardens, said: “Our desire to take part in this challenge is fuelled by the knowledge that all money raised will fund life-changing research to help other families.

“Not many people have heard of this charity so I wanted to give it a bit of publicity, especially as it’s quite personal to me.”

The conditions supported by the charity affect thousands across the UK, including Ms Mumford herself, who experienced the loss of a baby boy in 1993. She is cycling in memory of little Ryan, who would have been 24 this year.

A member of Ms McManaman’s family suffers from polycystic ovary syndrome, which puts her at a higher risk than usual of developing cancer later in life.

The women set off on Saturday, September 23, for their challenge, which will cover a distance of 350km around the island of Madagascar over five days.

The pair will ride past highland villages, paddy fields, plantations and Indian Ocean coastal trails – which may sound like paradise but they have been training hard for their expedition.

Ms Mumford said: “It is going to be the toughest adventure of my life. Training has started already to ensure I am physically fit to undertake such a challenge.”

The fundraiser has already smashed its £3,500 target – but the women want to raise as much money as possible.

Ms Mumford added: “It would be great to raise £5,000 – just anything else we can get.”

Anyone wishing to donate to the charity can visit: