Cyclists Gear Up For The Sixth Annual Ultimate Granite Challenge

Action Mental Health is working in tandem with Northern Ireland’s growing league of lycra lovers to raise funds for its vital Men’s Shed project in Downpatrick at this year’s AMH Granite Challenge, on Sunday, October 8. Pictured with Lanterne Rouge cyclist Peter Bohill (right) are AMH’s Gavin McConvey (centre) and Men’s ‘shedder’, Noel Walsh.

Cycling enthusiasts are invited to put their endurance to the test by competing in the annual Granite Challenge event to help raise funds for Action Mental Health (AMH).

The 55-mile long distance cycle takes place on Sunday, October 8, and is being staged to raise vital funds for the charity’s Men’s Shed project in Downpatrick, a support network for men aged 50 and over.

The Men’s Shed, with three units, in Downpatrick, Antrim and Fermanagh, provides a relaxed and friendly environment where men can build new friendships while sharing skills and learning new ones.

Men’s Shed brings together men to work on practical activities of their choice, at their own pace, while having a laugh and a cup of tea. Activities include horticulture, joinery, photography, arts and crafts, IT and cooking – every Men’s Shed is led by the needs and skills of its ‘shedders’.

The event comes just two days ahead of World Mental Health Day when Action Mental Health will host a variety of events across its services to mark the annual day when mental health issues come into focus.

Back for its sixth year running, the event is being supported by a number of local businesses including North Down Physio and Sports Injury Clinic, Lanterne Rouge Cycling Club, White’s Oats, McConvey Cycles and Rapid Relief Team.

Following a nutritious bowl of White’s Oats porridge at registration – at the start of the race at AMH’s New Horizons Service in Downpatrick, cyclists will get their wheels spinning at the starting line at AMH’s New Horizons Service in Downpatrick and follow a route that takes in the scenic surroundings of Tyrella, Newcastle, the Mournes and Silent Valley before returning via Bryansford, Maghera and Clough.

Chief Executive of Action Mental Health, David Babington said physical activity plays a huge role in keep our minds healthy as well as our bodies.

“With as many as one in five people in Northern Ireland experiencing mental ill-health at some stage in their life, it’s important to remember that simple things such as cycling to work or walking the dog can really help to reduce stress and clear the mind.

“As World Mental Health Day approaches we couldn’t think of a more fitting tribute other than hosting a large scale sporting event that unites the community in a show of support for those impacted by mental illness.

“We’re always really excited to host our annual Granite Challenge, which over the years has proved hugely popular with local cycling clubs and individuals alike. Each year the number of cyclists continues to grow, so we are very much looking forward to participating and sharing in what is sure to be another highly motivating experience for all involved.”

Food and refreshments will be provided for on the day, with the added benefit of a soothing sports massage at the finish line for competitors, kindly provided by North Down Physio and Sports Injury Clinic.

Entrance fee is £20 which includes a tea stop at Spelga Dam where delicious tray bakes and sweet treats will be provided.

Spaces are limited so register your interest now by clicking on

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