Fundraising firefighter to cycle 870 miles

AGareth Johns firefighter is getting in gear for the biggest challenge of his life after vowing to cycle from Land’s End to John o’ Groats in just five days.

Gareth Johns, of Powey Lane Fire Station in Cheshire, is taking on the 870-mile challenge to raise funds for, and awareness of, Mind, the mental health charity.

The 38-year-old from Great Sutton in Ellesmere Port will be riding alongside his friend Mike Barrett, a former soldier.

They will set off from the most southern point of England on Sunday 18 July and aim to reach the most northern point of Scotland on Thursday 22 July.

This is the latest in a long line of fundraising challenges Gareth has set himself in aid of worthy causes.

He is looking forward to ticking the increasingly popular Land’s End to John o’ Groats (LEJOG) challenge off his bucket list whilst helping people suffering with mental health issues.

Gareth said: “Cycling from Land’s End to John o’ Groats has always been an ambition of mine.

“Over the past year or so, whilst having more time on my hands due to the Covid-19 pandemic, I decided that I should stop thinking about it and arrange to actually do it.

“We are all too aware of the immense challenges that people have in terms of their mental health in modern society.

“More and more people are losing loved ones as a result of a decline in mental health.

“As a firefighter at Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service and a trained Trauma Risk Management (TRiM) practitioner, I have seen first-hand the affect mental health issues can have on people when they do not get the help that they need.”

Most people taking on the LEJOG challenge give themselves two weeks to do it in. The amount of training that Gareth has done in the lead up to the challenge makes him confident of completing it in less than half that time.

“My preparation has been solid,” Gareth said. “I’ve managed to get a dozen 100km plus rides in and feel confident that my nutrition and hydration plan is sound and that I will complete the full 870-mile challenge in five days.

“Mike and I have done endurance challenges before and know what works for us preparation wise.

“In a sadistic way, I’m looking forward to seeing how I handle 325kms in 17 hours straight on the bike.

“I’m also excited to see Great Britain whilst travelling through it on a bike. I have only heard good things from others who have completed LEJOG, who all said that they couldn’t believe how beautiful the British Isles are.”

A crowdfunding page has been set up for the challenge. It has raised more than 1,000 for the Mind charity so far.

The charity offers information and advice to people with mental health problems and lobbies the Government and local authorities on their behalf.

To make a donation for the charity challenge visit Virgin Money

Last updated: Friday 23 July 2021

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Gareth Johns