By Immy Share
A Leeds-born man is cycling 2030km throughout November to raise money for the leading charity changing the face of men’s health: Movember.
22-year-old Gerard Ellis aims to travel 2030 km on a watt bike this month to echo Movember’s aim to reduce the number of young male deaths by 25 per cent by the year 2030.
Gerard said: “I’ve always liked doing different fitness challenges and I wanted to raise money specifically for two of Movember’s biggest purposes: prostate cancer and mental health.
“My dad had prostate cancer for a while so the cause is all the more important.
“Also, mental health is so important for students especially and for guys it’s a big thing at the moment, especially those coming from groups of guys such as in sports teams which I’ve always been a part of.”
Gerard said that he is finding the challenge demanding, and spends around three hours in the gym each day to clock up around 80 km, and around seven hours across each weekend totalling 200 km.
“It’s daunting that I don’t have a single day off and my legs are sore all the time.
“But, from the mental health side, this must be what someone feels like; it’s just me and my bike and I’m alone all the time.
“Apart from work I will probably have socialised with a friend once throughout the entire month.”
Gerard added: “With this, though, I can see the end and I only have a month of pain and suffering which is nothing that isn’t going to come to an end anytime soon.
“That’s not the case for those who are suffering.”
Gerard is also growing his moustache throughout Movember and sees the growing of facial hair as something “every guy can do to some degree” to help to raise awareness that “everyone’s in it together.”
“With a moustache, it doesn’t matter what it looks like and everyone’s looks different but there’s a kind of solidarity associated that you aren’t on your own.
“That’s the biggest message of Movember: just talk about stuff because you’re not on your own.”
Gerard admitted he was worried about the time and physical demands of his challenge before starting.
But, so far due to its success, he has beaten his initial target of £500 with £605 and so has shifted his target to £1000 to try and raise as much as he can for the charity.
“I’m running out of documentaries to watch whilst I cycle!
“I started with comedy panel shows and probably watched over 10 hours worth of highlights on YouTube, then I watched podcasts and listened to music a bit but now I’m onto sports documentaries of people who have done quite ridiculous things.
“I think to myself – ‘if they can do something five times harder than this, this should be easy for me!’”
Gerard hopes he will complete his 2030 km two days before the end of November, and is looking forward to resting.
“I won’t completely stop cycling, though.
“I won’t continue it to this extent but I will make sure I do a significant distance maybe once a week.”
Donations can be made to Gerard here.