Mike Tindall is cycling 12,000 feet uphill on Sunday as part of the Raid Local event in aid of The Cure Parkinson's Trust, of which he is patron

By Phil Boucher
June 26, 2020 03:35 PM
Mike Tindall
Mike Tindall

Queen Elizabeth’s grandson-in-law Mike Tindall has opened up about the devastating toll that Parkinson’s disease has had on his father, Phil.

“My dad has had Parkinson’s for the past 17 years,” Tindall, who is married to the Queen's granddaughter Zara Tindall, told the Daily Mail on Friday. “Over the last few years, I’ve really seen him deteriorate.”

This gradual decline has been particularly hard on the former rugby star because his dad was also a high-level rugby player and even taught the 2003 Rugby World Cup winner how to tackle in the family’s backyard.

"It's a nightmare disease because there are over 40 symptoms of what Parkinson’s can look like," Tindall told Good Morning Britain in April 2019.

"The research that has come out (shows) how many people think they're drunk or people can suddenly freeze in the middle of the street and you might upset somebody who’s walking behind you and they just don’t get it. They don’t understand that can be part of it. That’s the difficult side of it."

Mike Tindall
Mike TIndall/Instagram

To help his dad and thousands of others with Parkinson's and their families, Tindall is jumping on his bike this Sunday to take part in the grueling Raid Local event in aid of The Cure Parkinson's Trust, of which he is patron.

This will see riders all over the world leave their homes and attempt to cycle 12,000 feet uphill and complete a distance of at least 85 miles each.

“It’s about other sons and daughters not having to see their dad go through what I’ve seen mine go through,” Tindall tells the Daily Mail about Raid Local, which is designed to emulate the most difficult stage of the annual Raid Alpine event in France, which has been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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To prepare for the epic event Tindall has been cycling the rolling hills near the Gloucestershire home he shares with wife Zara and daughters Mia, 6, and Lena, 2, on Princess Anne’s Gatcombe Park Estate.

"1 week to go till the #raidlocal quick training run with @otperry," Tindall posted Instagram midway through a training ride last week. "Please join in if you can 137km 3700m of ascent in your local area, we have cyclists from UK, Spain, Gibraltar and evening as far as Australia taking part!"

In a previous post, he also confirmed that over 100 riders have committed to take in Raid Local, raising over $200,000.

The event is just the latest physical fundraiser the couple has undertaken for charity. On April 17 the Tindall’s completed a 5K run in support of U.K.’s National Health Service workers for The Run for Heroes challenge – with Zara supporting the Pittsburgh Pirates with her headwear!

Zara and Mike Tindall
Mike Tindall/Instagram

In September 2018, the couple also participated in a charity bike ride supporting the Blue Marine Foundation, an ocean conservation organization — just three months after Zara gave birth to Lena Elizabeth.

“Here we go!!!!," Tindall captioned a twitter snap ahead of his 85-mile ride from London to the Dover on the south coast of England.

It all represents the results of a serious learning curve from Mike's first cycle-based outings as a paperboy, where he flew over the handlebars and knocked himself unconscious mid-delivery.

"All I can tell you," he says, "is that when I came to, it hurt!"