UPDATED: James Phelps to Take On Big Mountain Challenge for Second Year Running

While Fred Weasley may always be up to no good, James Phelps, who portrays him in the Harry Potter movies, is always up to do some good for charity! Thames Hospice has recently announced that the Potter alumnus will be participating in the Big Mountain Challenge for the second year in a row to raise funds for the British nonprofit organization.

Touted as “the cycling equivalent of playing tennis on Wimbledon’s Centre Court,” the Big Mountain Challenge is an annual event where professional cyclists accompany recreational riders on a four-day road cycling challenge through the scenic Alps and iconic Tour de France climbs. All funds raised will go toward funding the vital operations of Thames Hospice, which is a palliative care center facing a significant shortage of resources.

There are three routes of varying difficulty, so participants can choose the route that they are most comfortable with. The Matterhorn route (3–4 hours of cycling per day) is the easiest; the Mount Kilimanjaro route (4–5.5 hours) is a step up, while the Mount Everest route (5–7.5 hours) is the most demanding.

After successfully completing the challenge last year, Phelps had nothing short of praise:

Four days, 299km [sic], and it was fun from start to finish, and more importantly, it was all for a great cause. I’m a newbie to cycling, but everyone on the Big Mountain Challenge made me feel welcome. As soon as I crossed the line, I signed myself up for next year!


James Phelps participating in the Big Mountain Challenge 2019 is pictured.

James Phelps beams with excitement at Big Mountain Challenge 2019. (Credit: Big Mountain Challenge)


Another participant, Mark Willis, lauded the event as well:

I took part in the Everest cycle in 2019 and can only describe it as being 100% the definite highlight of my year. Having the support of Mavic, High 5, Chain Reaction made it so much easier. People really pushed themselves and supported each other, excellent organisation and a relaxed, friendly atmosphere with awe[-]inspiring scenery and incredible Tour de France climbs. I really can’t rate it highly enough, 10/10!

Since the French government has lifted lockdown restrictions, the Big Mountain Challenge will be held in person. The organizers have guaranteed that it will be carried out in accordance with safe distancing measures and government restrictions.

Interested in finding out more about BMC 2020? Head down to its website to book your place now! Will you be joining James Phelps in the mountains?

Press Release


Thames Hospice is thrilled to announce that James Phelps, best known as Fred Weasley in the Harry Potter films, has signed up for the second year running to take on the Big Mountain Challenge in the French Alps, to help raise funds for the hospice.

James, whose adrenalin conquests include Tough Mudder, Sky Diving, Big Mountain Challenge 2019, and the Three Peaks Challenge, will join cyclists on the 3.5-day road cycle challenge, experiencing stunning mountain scenery overlooking the beautiful Lake Annecy. James said of the 2019 challenge:

“It was fun from start to finish, and more importantly, it was all for a great cause. I’m a newbie to cycling, but everyone on the Big Mountain Challenge made me feel welcome. As soon as I crossed the line, I signed myself up for next year!"

Participants can ride alongside James, as well as pro cyclists from international teams, to conquer iconic Tour [d]e France climbs, benefiting from professional standard mechanical support and welfare. Riders will ascend the equivalent of Mt Kilimanjaro or for more advanced cyclists, the height of Mt Everest over 3.5 days. For a gentler pace, the Matterhorn route offers a climb in the morning with a descent in the afternoon. The route includes some of the most iconic and scenic mountain climbs in Europe.

The event is run in conjunction with some of the best names in cycling, including Chain Reaction Cycles, Mavic, Mountain Drop-Offs, Vitus, [and] HIGH5. Every detail has been thought of to guarantee the highest standards.

James commented: “I’ve known Thames Hospice for several years and have always admired the incredible support they offer their patients and families. When I heard about the new hospice build, I was delighted to do my bit to support it. If you’re into cycling, Harry Potter, or both, we invite you to join us for a stunning long weekend in the Alps.”

Jason Bevan, a film marketing executive and Thames Hospice Ambassador, is fronting the event. He said: “I am absolutely delighted to have James returning for the second BMC. We have a wide range of abilities taking part, from international pros and national squad members to weekend cyclists like James. At £395 per rider including hotel, it’s a superb deal thanks to all our sponsors. As well as being an exceptional experience in the mountains, we are all there to ensure it’s great fun.”

Last year, the event raised at incredible £100,000 for Thames Hospice, with over 50 riders taking part. This year, the Hospice needs funds more than ever as the result of losing income, due to fundraising and retail income[-]generating streams being halted. All sponsorship money from the event will go towards the services, ensuring every local patient and family member who needs support can receive it.

To join James and other participants, book your place today at www.bigmountainchallenge.com.

UPDATE (August 21): Unfortunately, we have learned that Big Mountain Challenge 2020 has been postponed until 2021, due to concerns about a recent increase in COVID-19 cases in Europe and increased restrictions on travel as a result of those cases. Thames Hospice has released a statement on the challenge’s postponement.

With recent changes to travel restrictions in Europe, Thames Hospice has decided to postpone the Big Mountain Challenge to 2021, to ensure the safety of everyone involved.

Seventeen riders have already signed up to ride in 2021, including some triathletes. The Big Mountain Challenge has been rescheduled for September 16–20, 2021, and will take place at Lake Annecy in France. More information is available from Thames Hospice.

If you would like to donate to Thames Hospice to support its work in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, you can do so on its website.


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Elizabeth Grace

I (often unsuccessfully) wear many hats. Officially, I'm a full-time student. Unofficially, I'm a debater, quizbowler, writer, content editor, and aspiring journalist after graduation. Secretly, I'm a film/TV shows nerd, esports enthusiast, and F1 fan. Read my articles at: linktr.ee/elizabeth.gh