The physical effects of cycling around the country to 25 different matches this season is a gruelling thought, but how about the mental aspect of what Mark Crowther has managed to achieve?
At his lowest point 18 months ago, Mark recalls the struggles he faced and how the challenge of cycling to every Luton Town away match this season has helped him immeasurably.
Much like his cycling, mental health is a ‘continuous journey’ for Mark who spoke openly about his difficulties during this week’s Mental Health Awareness Week.
“You get good days and you get bad days but the important thing is that you have friends, family, or someone you can speak to when you’re feeling down. For me it is about not feeling guilty about having these thoughts. It is natural and there is help out there available.
“It is a really important week (Mental Health Awareness Week). Its really important to let people know who are struggling with their mental health that there are people out there to help you, people to speak to.
“My own personal experience is that 18 months ago I struggled and was suffering with depression and luckily I had friends around me who encouraged me to go and get counselling and speak to someone. Whether it’s a friend, member of family or whether it is someone professionally, it is so important to speak to someone.
“These weeks help raise the profile of mental health and there is people out there you can turn to, that you can speak to. When I was struggling, it was a struggle to even leave my house and I have a lot of unhealthy thoughts.”
That is part of the reason why one of three charities he is raising money and awareness for is CALM – Campaign Against Living Miserably.
“CALM primarily is a suicide prevention charity. They run a 24 hour helpline and they also support people with other mental health issues, money, family, whether it be anything. For someone who in the past has had suicidal thoughts, I wanted to support and raise awareness of the helpline that is out there.
“Through my challenge, if it helps one person realise there is help out there and they didn’t know about CALM, then there is somewhere to go. For me, it is quite overbearing, you’re consumed with thoughts and it’s very difficult to make sense of everything. It is knowing anyone can pick up the phone, speak to a stranger and just say they are struggling, they need help and need to speak to someone.
The open roads and long cycles a short while ago may have been a daunting thought but the tremendous outpour of love and support from the football club and the wider football family has helped Mark continue on his incredible journey.
“At the time I planned this 18 months ago I was at my lowest point. I couldn’t leave the house and I had anxiety about going out and meeting people that I’ve known a long time. This challenge has helped me take the focus off myself and if you told me 18 months ago some of the things I’ve done, people I have spoke to, and some of the things I have embraced on this challenge, I would never have believed it, bearing in mind the struggles that I had.
“This challenge is helping me focus on helping other people and I’m following my passion of watching Luton Town and cycling.
“I didn’t realise how much it would help me just having something to focus on, having a project which is about me doing a challenge, all the planning, organisation, this challenge has been my life for a year, and it has just helped me on something else.
"It has been so rewarding, it’s helped me personally but also I hope that I’ve helped someone through their challenges. It has been a brilliant year and hopefully I will continue to raise awareness and money for the charities.”
Donate to Mark's cycle HERE.