54-year-old IT Manager Marcia Roberts will aim to be the first woman to cycle from Lands’ End to John o’Groats and back in just 8 and a half days. She will be raising money for leading Hampshire and Isle of Wight mental health charity, Solent Mind.
Her online fundraising page has already surpassed £1,480 before she even set off this Sunday 23rd August.
Marcia has also decided that she wants to give the opportunity for other people to get involved too. Marcia has set up a virtual version of the challenge, where people can register and walk, run, ride or push their wheelchair the same distance over a period of four months, until Christmas Eve 2020. Individuals or teams can register online and start fundraising. All profits from the registration fee will go to Solent Mind.
Marcia set off on Sunday 23rd of August on her epic ride, with only her husband Del as her support crew. Marcia has always been a keen long-distance cyclist and was due to take part in her first ever self-supported race this year. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic the event was cancelled and she was soon inspired to start a challenge of her very own instead.
Marcia says, “I spent all winter training and I didn’t want to waste it. I’ve had my own low moments, but I’m lucky in that I know I always seem to bounce back. I’ve seen friends of mine really struggle through this, so I wanted to do something to help.”
As there is no female world record for the ‘LEJOGLE’ ride (Lands’ End to John o’Groats and back again), Marcia has set her sights on this target. She will need to complete it in 8 days and 12 hours to register as an official Guinness World Record.
Neil Mitchell, fundraising representative at Solent Mind adds; “This is such an amazing challenge that Marcia is taking on, and the fact that she wants to get other people involved too is just fantastic. The ongoing crisis is having a huge impact on people’s mental health and wellbeing, so to receive support at this time is hugely helpful.”
Solent Mind supports over 26,000 people each year through a network of Wellbeing Centres, talking therapies and specialist recovery-focused services across the Solent region. Although face-to-face appointments have been temporarily suspended, many core services continue to operate a vital telephone service for both new and existing service users alike. They have also launched a new dedicated Coronavirus helpline to support people during the crisis and reduce pressure on the NHS.
The Solent Mind Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Helpline is available to residents in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, Monday to Friday, 10am – 1pm (except bank holidays) on 02380 179 049.