During one week in November, Leigh will cycle more than 2180 miles to break the record. In the lead up to his attempt, he would like you to take part in your own seven-day challenge of cycling, running, walking or any other physical activity, to keep fit and do your bit for mental health research.
The challenge begins on the first day of Mental Health Awareness week, Monday 9th of May, and finishes in November when Leigh completes his world record attempt. Your 7 Days don’t need to be consecutive and can be spread out over those six months, so you have plenty of time.
It’s as simple as that!
In joining our online community of fundraisers, we can support each other throughout our chosen challenges. Feel free to post updates about your activities on our Facebook group and ask fellow participants for advice – we are all in this together.
This is all about enjoying your unique 7 Days of activity. However, since 2022’s Mental Health Awareness Week theme is loneliness, why not do it with friends or family, or even organise something bigger! Post your activity ideas on our Facebook group and encourage others to join you and do the same.
For every 7 Days of Smiles top bought, the good people at HUUB will donate to MQ. However, if you wish to do more you can either make a donation at MQ or start your own fundraising page at the MQ Just Giving page.
At 25 years old, I believed I’d fulfilled society’s expectations and had all the ingredients for ‘success’. However, it didn’t work for me. Overworked, lonely and sabotaging my own life, I was diagnosed with depression. One question I was asked during counselling will always stand out in my memory, “What colour do you see when you look to the future?” “I don’t see anything,” I replied from the leather chair in the sterile consultant’s office, “Just black. Emptiness.”
That summer, two friends and I took our own month-long motorbike adventure across Iceland. It was an introduction to a world unknown to me; a world of National Geographic panoramas and the freedom to explore them however we chose. Thriving on the challenges of new languages and landscapes, I came to life. It was the catalyst that changed my outlook; within a month of returning home, I cut my ties with the trappings of ‘success’ and set out on the journey that led me to cycling around the world.
Previously, life had been governed by prescription and routine but on the road, where nobody could teach me what to do, I had to find my own answers. Discovering my own way gave me my life back. I’d been doing everything to please others and suddenly I was pleasing myself.
At first, I believed that in cycling the world I would be out there alone, one man against the mountains, jungles and deserts, but accepting my vulnerability became my greatest strength. Turning to strangers for help, I shared my challenges and realised I wasn’t on a solo quest against the world, but rather an adventure working with it.
The more I experienced of the world, the more I discovered I wanted to do with my life. The emptiness that represented my future in the counsellor’s chair became a rainbow of colours and opportunities in the saddle of the bike.
My motivations for attempting the Guinness world record for the Greatest Distance Cycled in Seven Days remain the same as for cycling around the world, it’s a continuation of my journey of self-discovery. This is my opportunity to take all the lessons I learned in the ‘dream world’ of travel and test them in the ‘real world’, pushing myself to another level.
We are all athletes trying to break our own world record; we each have a different target, but we can all use the same tools to reach it. Attempting this record not only presents an opportunity for me to continue my own personal development, but to raise awareness of mental health in the hope that others won’t end up in the same situation as I did.
Throughout training, planning and the attempt itself, I’ll be bringing you behind the scenes videos and blogs, documenting what it takes to prepare for a world record. I look forward to sharing my journey with you and I look forward to being a part of your 7 Days of Smiles challenge, too.
At the age of 25 I was diagnosed with depression. I found my salvation in adventure and went on to cycle around the world. Attempting this record presents an opportunity for me to raise awareness of mental health issues in the hope that others won’t end up in the same situation as I did.