Robbie Elliot

A former Newcastle United favourite is teaming up with one of the region's best-loved charity champions to prepare for an epic journey this autumn.

Ex-Magpies defender Robbie Elliott is cycling across Europe and the UK in October as he embarks on Bike For Bobby.

Elliott and friend Phil Gray will cycle 3,500 miles non-stop visiting all of the clubs Sir Bobby Robson managed during a celebrated coaching career.

And next month the duo will join Mark Allison - better known as Run Geordie Run - in an event hand-picked to prepare Elliott for his fundraising marathon.

The trio will compete in the 2012 Castles Challenge Triathlon on July 28th and 29th with Allison running, Elliott cycling and Gray swimming.

"I follow Robbie on Twitter and as someone who's undertaken a big challenge in the past it's great to see his journey taking place," said Allison, who will embark on his own marathon trek across Australia next year.

"The fact that he started out as a footballer and now he's attempting to become an endurance cyclist is fascinating. He's seeing the miles building up and the event drawing closer and I'm right behind him all of the way.

"I like following lots of people's journeys on Twitter and Robbie's is one of them. It's a bit different, very ambitious and a great journey to follow."

It was only after a meeting with Allison that Elliott decided to set up The Robbie Elliott Foundation (TREF) and raise money for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and Breakthrough Breast Cancer through Bike For Bobby.

And Allison added: "The fact that I inspired him to do Bike For Bobby is really humbling and I was very flattered when he asked me to be part of his team for the Castles Challenge. I'll be looking at doing the run in around one hour 50 minutes and I'm sure he could have found someone faster!

"But it's come full circle. It was after I met him following my trek across America that he decided he wanted to do something big for charity and a year down the line we're back together doing an event to promote Bike For Bobby.

"And it's extra special for me as I spent my summer holidays as a child under the shadow of Bamburgh and Alnwick castles. It will bring the memories flooding back and I can't wait to get going."

Former England Under 21 defender Elliott, who played for Newcastle during two spells at St James's Park, is proud to have Allison on his team.

"Mark is a big part of why I'm doing Bike For Bobby and he's supported me every step of the way," said the Gosforth-born strength and conditioning coach.

"When I saw what he had done and how much money he had raised I felt genuinely moved. I'd always wanted to do something similar and he gave me the inspiration to launch my Foundation and embark upon Bike For Bobby."

This is the fourth year of the Castles Challenge Triathlon but for the first time there will be Junior Triathlons and a Sprint Distance Triathlon on the Saturday, which will start and finish at Bamburgh.

The race on the Sunday - featuring Elliott and Allison - will become a Middle Distance (Half Iron) Race and follow the same format as in previous years starting at Bamburgh and finishing at Alnwick Castle.

Junior races will take place on the Saturday lunchtime with the Adult Sprint Racing taking place at 5pm followed by a post race presentation party. Organisers have promised a packed programme of activities with food and entertainment throughout the weekend.

To back Bike For Bobby text TREF03 to 70070 and make your donation or visit www.robbieelliottfoundation.com

For more information on the 2012 Castles Triathlon visit www.castletriathlon.co.uk