A FITNESS fanatic is taking the lead on a cycling challenge to raise money for vital lifesaving equipment.

Marion Rubins, from Radcliffe, completed the first of four Wattbike challenges at the National Cycling Centre in Manchester on Sunday (April 19) in aid of the Lifebox Foundation.

The Lifeboxes for Rio campaign is aiming to raise enough funding for 600 pulse oximeters – machines that measure oxygen levels during surgery but are absent from more than 70,000 operating theatres worldwide – before the next Olympic Games in Rio next year.

The fitness instructor, who runs Whitefield Pilates, heard about the charity after meeting fundraiser Dr Andrew Hartle at a London 2012 press conference, to which she was invited as a Local Leader.

The 56-year-old said: “It’s a really worthwhile campaign that I’m very happy to be involved with.

“It has a lot of backing from well respected people like Seb Coe, so hopefully it will get a good deal of support.”

Ms Rubins, who cycles as part of her rehabilitation programme after breaking her shoulder while windsurfing, is hoping to fund at least six pulse oximeters through her four challenges, the next of which is on October 11.

She was joined at last week’s event by fellow sports enthusiasts from the Bury and Bolton area, who she subjected to a demanding hour-long high intensity interval ride.

She added: “It was a very tough workout and quite a few people could barely speak by the end."

Anyone interesting in taking part in the next Wattbike challenge can contact Ms Rubins via whitefieldpilates.com