Speedo Mick is going to go on one final marathon trek to help charities hit by the cost-of-living crisis.
1 year ago
Speedo Mick will be digging out his famous Everton blue trunks and his walking boots to cover 1,000 miles from John O’Groats in Scotland to Land’s End in Cornwall.
He also plans to tackle other challenges on the way including the Three Peaks and some open water swimming.
Mick will be setting off on December 16 – a year after he completed his previous trek which raised more than £200,00
But he says at 57, and having suffered some health issues recently, this is going to be his final big gruelling stomp.
“I’ve been doing this for seven years and I’ve put my body through a hell of a lot,” he says. “It’s generally always been in the cold months, and honestly I’m tired. I’m no spring chicken anymore and I’m feeling my age a bit. I’ve had some health problems over the last few months, kidney infections and the arteries to my heart were a bit knackered, so I’ve been in and out of hospital a few times.
“I’ve taken a lot of time out of family life, and they’ve been really accommodating and supportive, but I do think this has to be the last.
“The one in 2021 was six-and-a-half months and it was a slog to keep going, my energy wasn’t there, but we made it to the end and we raised £211,000 which is amazing and we gave £250,000 back to 108 charities along the way so it was worth every day of being tired and freezing.
“There were lots of suicides through the pandemic and we were meeting all these brilliant mums and dads who’d just lost their teenage children to suicide so there was a lot of good done on that last walk. I saw a lot of beautiful people along the way who’ve turned a really negative thing into a positive thing, trying to help other people.
“It’s not just the fundraising side of things, I wish I had a camera on me like The Truman Show because then everyone would see just how lit up people get along the walk. They connect and it makes a difference to their mental health, and it can help them change direction in their lives.”
Mick says this three-month walk will help charities whose donations have been badly affected by the cost-of-living crisis. He also wants to use it as an opportunity to highlight mental health again.
“There’s still a massive fallout after the pandemic, people are still suffering with their mental health as a result, so we’re going to be raising awareness of that and hopefully supporting a lot of charities through the cost-of-living crisis.
“We are going to do another fundraiser and I’m not expecting to get as much as before, but I wouldn’t put it past the British public to do that again because it’s blown my mind all the support I’ve received.
“If we can get to £200,000 this time then I’ll have raised a total of £1million in my knickers!”
Along with his Speedos, Mick will be taking a tent with him so he can pitch up anywhere along the route.
“I’m going to be doing a bit of camping and I think it’ll be more entertaining. I’m really up for a good laugh and really excited about this walk, so there’s going to be all kinds of antics going on.”
As usual, he’s chosen the coldest time of the year to do the trek, but he’s still determined not to wrap up.
“I want to do every step in my knickers and usually my wife says to me, ‘put your coat on for a minute’ but people don’t want to see Overcoat Mick, they want to see Speedo Mick!
“Someone actually travelled 700 miles to see me last time, so it’s a bit of a problem putting clothes on because I don’t want anyone to be disappointed.”
Even though it’s unlikely there’ll be any more walks, it won’t be the last we’ll see of Mick. He intends to focus on his own mental health projects in Liverpool, with the Speedo Mick Foundation, and carry on his involvement with charities.
“I do like to challenge myself so I am going to miss stomping,” he admits. “Everything I do is all linked to the past because I never ever forget what happened to me. I lost everything – my dignity, my home, my self-respect and my hope.
“That’s why I do as much as I can. It serves me well and it serves the community well.
“And I’d rather die with my boots and my knickers on the A81 in Scotland than sitting on the couch.”