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Season Ticket's No Ordinary Joe


Derry cyclist and former Commonwealth Games medallist Joe Barr comes out of retirement after 12 years to win the 1350 mile cycle race around Ireland.

Season Ticket: No Ordinary Joe, Wednesday, 9 December, BBC One Northern Ireland, 10.45pm

No Ordinary Joe is no ordinary sporting story.

In the third programme of the new series of Season Ticket, we follow Joe Barr's heroic efforts as he wins the inaugural endurance event, Race Around Ireland - a story which has already become part of our local cycling folklore.

A former professional cyclist and Commonwealth Games medallist, Joe came out of a decade of retirement to compete in the world's second most demanding endurance cycling race - a staggering 1350 mile circumnavigation of the Emerald Isle over four days.

Less than two years ago Joe's baby son Ross was diagnosed with cancer, changing forever his and his family's life.

"Whenever my son Ross got diagnosed with a brain tumour everything that you knew in life as normal just stopped," recalls Joe.

"We took on this whole new journey that was completely new and completely alien and frightening."

Two years of hospital visits and chemotherapy gave Joe a new perspective on life and filled him with a desire to give something back to the people who have played such a crucial role in Ross' treatment.

It was this motivation that led Joe to compete, racing for four days with just four hours sleep in an attempt to raise money for the Northern Ireland Cancer Fund for Children.

The last 75 miles was a bit insane. It was a bit on the other side of the line

Joe Barr

"Joe has been very inspirational," said Gillian Creevy, Chief Executive of the Northern Ireland Cancer Fund for Children.

"He's helped us in a practical way, he is actually inspiring other families.

"He speaks very frankly about his experiences, as a dad, which is rare.

"He actually will help people for generations and he doesn't even know it yet."

No Ordinary Joe follows Joe as he goes head-to-head with the world's top ranked endurance cyclist Fabio Biasiolo, racing day and night to the point of total exhaustion.

He was also involved in a crash at Mizen Head, forcing him to battle through the pain barrier, riding 300 miles with a broken foot.

"I think it's a fine line between someone being very good at something and insanity," acknowledges Barr.

"The last 75 miles was a bit insane. It was a bit on the other side of the line," admitted Joe.

"Joe Barr is an extraordinary man," said BBC Sport NI's Gavin Andrews, "and Season Ticket's No Ordinary Joe reflects levels of courage and determination seldom seen in sport."

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