Walton-le-Dale flatmates set themselves the ultimate 24-hour challenge

Posted on - 23rd November, 2020 - 12:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Charities, Preston News, South Ribble News, Walton-le-Dale
A Guild Wheel distance sign on the route Pic: Blog Preston
A Guild Wheel distance sign on the route Pic: Blog Preston

Two fitness fanatic flatmates have set themselves the ultimate endurance test.


The pair will be cycling for 24 hours around Preston’s Guild Wheel to raise funds for two charities close to their hearts.

Ben Akin and Josh Reilly, who share a house in Walton-le-Dale, will be completing as many loops of the Guild Wheel as they can in 24 hours on November 28th.

Readmore: Rediscovering the Guild Wheel the quiet jewel in Preston’s exercise crown

They will be raising money for St Catherine’s Hospice, where Ben’s granddad Bill Akin was cared for in March, and Mind, in memory of Josh’s dad John who he lost to suicide when he was just seven.

Ben, 27, said: “At St Catherine’s Granddad was given as much comfort and dignity as possible in his last days. The hospice enabled us to be a family and provided the care that Granddad so desperately needed and deserved but we were unable to provide at home.

“No words will ever do the staff at St Catherine’s justice, nor do they ask for recognition or reward, they just continue to work tirelessly to aid people with life-shortening illness and their families.”

Ben Akin is taking on the huge 24 hour challenge
Ben Akin is taking on the huge 24 hour challenge in memory of his Granddad

Josh, 20, said as well as fundraising to help others, he hoped sharing his experiences would tackle some of the taboos that can still surround mental health problems.

He said: “In the past I have struggled to talk about the situation and how I felt. I suppose this is because I didn’t want to sound weak, or maybe even selfish. I just tried to crack on and avoided giving much attention to it.

“Although it has been over ten years, I will never forget the day we were told. It was a hard pill to swallow and still is difficult to comprehend, but luckily, I have a great family and they helped me, my brother, and my mum through the situation.

Josh Reilly is taking on the challenge in memory of his dad
Josh Reilly is taking on the challenge in memory of his dad

“The 24-hour, on and off-road bike ride, in the winter, in the dark, is going to be tough, but this feeling will be miniscule compared to how a person must feel when they are suicidal.

“As well as raising awareness of Mind and contributing towards their cause, it is important to me that everyone who reads this and is aware of what we are doing, is also aware that it is okay not to be okay, and it is important to talk and get help, especially at what can be a very lonely time.”

Ben and Josh met at UCLan where they are both in their final year of a Sport and Exercise Science degree. Ben, a former Royal Marines Commando, is retraining to become a secondary school biology teacher and Josh runs his own personal training business in Preston.

Read more: Santa Dash for St Catherine’s Hospice to return as virtual event

Ben said: “We are both competitive athletes – Josh in CrossFit and I am a triathlete so cycling makes up a regular part of training for both of us, although the longest sessions I do on the bike are in the region of four hours so this is definitely unknown territory for both of us!

“We haven’t done any additional specific training for the event, we’re both fit, but this is predominantly a mental battle. It’s going to take us to some dark places for sure!

“Thankfully we have my girlfriend and our fellow housemate Alanis as support crew chief, making sure we’re fed and watered each lap. We will also have a host of friends and family join us for a lap or section thereof – whilst maintaining social distance – throughout the challenge.

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“We’re really excited- we both love taking on the most outrageous physical challenges and they don’t come much bigger than 24 hours continuous cycling! We certainly aren’t taking it lightly, we know it’s going to be difficult but that’s the whole point.”

The friends have already raised nearly ÂŁ1,100 but are appealing for as much support as possible to help them smash their ÂŁ2,000 target.

To sponsor them click here.

Read moreSee the latest Preston news and headlines.

What do you think about the challenge? Let us know in the comments below

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