Meet the Sheffield student attempting to cycle 1, 780 miles - without leaving his apartment

Sheffield Hallam student and personal trainer Patrick Muirhead has come up with an amazing way to keep physically and mentally fit – he’s going to take on a virtual round-Britain cycling challenge.

Thursday, 11th March 2021, 11:47 am

Patrick has set himself the challenge to cycle 1,780 miles, which is the distance around the coast of mainland Britain, while raising much-needed funds for Sporting Minds UK.

He was inspired by British adventure and ultra-marathon swimmer Ross Edgley, who was the first person in history to circumnavigate the 1,780 miles around the UK by swimming in 157 days, propelled by muscle power alone. Ross’s feat was declared the world’s longest sea swim in 2018.

Aged 24, Patrick usually juggles studying for his MSc Applied Sport and Exercise Science at Sheffield Hallam University, being a personal trainer at PureGym and playing semi-pro football for Handsworth FC in the Northern Counties East Premier Division.

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Patrick Muirhead practising for his cycle challenge in support of Sporting Minds UK

He said: “I’ve already started seriously training for the challenge, which as the current UK lockdown means an actual bike ride is out of the question, I’ll be using an exercise bike in my apartment.

“My aim is to complete the challenge in just a week, starting the event on March 18, and if all goes to plan, I’ll finish all 1,780 miles on March 25, which is also my birthday.

“I think the work Sporting Minds UK does raising awareness of the topic of mental health in sport, and actually offering one-to-one support for young sportspeople, is fantastic.

“I feel that athletes and people from sporting backgrounds, such as personal trainers, coaches etc, have a sort of superhuman vibe about them and others find it hard to believe that they may struggle with mental health issues.

“Having been on the wrong end of mental health issues myself, I found that my struggles were disregarded and ‘surely not’ there. My hope is that by doing this, I can help at least one person and give them the confidence to speak up.”

Patrick thinks that his friends and clients could be keen to see his discomfort and ups and downs, so he is planning to live stream his challenge, while encouraging donations, on his personal Facebook and Instagram pages.

Sporting Minds UK has seen a month-on-month increase in athletes reaching out for mental health support, so fundraising for the charity is crucial to be able to deliver the help needed.

Callum Lea, the 20-year-old founder of Sporting Minds UK, said: “What Patrick is doing for us is just fantastic and very much welcomed - his fundraising will go a long way to help us to help others.

“It’s a fact that during the pandemic, those with existing mental health conditions are struggling more than usual, and particularly with the impact of the uncertainty of many sports including the 2021 Olympics.

“Many who have never experienced mental health issues before are experiencing anxieties for the first time too.

“Patrick’s challenge really is up there in terms of a physical and mental challenge, and we wish him all the very best with his training plan and then the actual 1780-mile cycling challenge. Patrick deserves lots of support!”

To support Patrick’s fundraising, go to https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/virtual-big-bike-ride

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