Oxford University Lacrosse Club (OULC) are supporting Oxfordshire Mind by running and cycling the distance of the UK from Land’s End to John O’Groat’s. Francesca Peacock and Catherine Tiplady (OULC’s Charity and Outreach Officer and Social Media Secretary respectively) came up with the idea of a ‘virtual tour’ as a way of keeping the club active when they are unable to be together.
Francesca Peacock explains why OULC chose to support our cause: “We really value all the help and services you provide and your commitment to opening up the mental health discussion. So many young people at Oxford [University] struggle with mental health problems – it is a cause that is close to many members’ hearts.”
Although the challenge is to run and cycle the length of the UK, from Land’s End to John O Groats, the team have increased the distance so that their virtual route can pass team members’ homes. The total distance is 2,155 km. Members of the club are running and cycling individually and logging every activity to track their progress. All three teams of the club (Women’s, Mixed, Men’s) have been involved – including some of the alumni. In total, there have been around 50 people running and cycling regularly.
Maya Mendoza, one of OULC’s Mixed Team Captain, explains: “the team challenge gave me a sense of purpose – knowing that going on a run or cycle would both contribute to our team effort and also raise money for [Oxfordshire] Mind was a great feeling! Daily exercise definitely improved my mental wellbeing and is something I’ve been motivated to continue since the challenge ended.”
Sophie Rogers, OULC’s other Mixed Team Captain describes the benefits that physical activity has had on her mental health during lockdown: “Keeping motivated and happy throughout lockdown has been tough; losing my usual routine and not being able to see my friends has meant I’ve had good days and bad days. Going for a run, no matter how long, has managed to give structure to my day and really feels like I’m achieving something which is good for me and my mental health – and doing it to raise some money for [Oxfordshire] Mind has made it all the more worthwhile”.
Dan Knowles, CEO of Oxfordshire Mind, said: “We know that keeping physically active can help to improve our mental health. It is excellent that OULC have chosen to raise awareness of this, as well as making mental wellbeing a priority for their own club. At Oxfordshire Mind, we firmly believe that everyone who experiences mental health difficulties should have somewhere to turn to for advice and support, especially in these difficult times. By supporting us in this way, OULC will ensure that we can continue to make that happen.”
This is not OULC’s first fundraising challenge for Oxfordshire Mind. They have been trying to raise £1270 per team to represent the 1270 average patient suicides a year (Mental Health Network, 2016). In February 2020, the Mixed team ran for 1270 minutes straight (starting at 5.00am and ending at 2:10am the next day). So far, OULC have raised a fantastic £2,520 to support those in Oxfordshire experiencing mental health problems.
You can visit OULC’s JustGiving page here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/oulc