Luton Cyclist Pushing All the Way

Luton Town supporter Mark Crowther is close to completing his 2023/24 endurance cycling challenge, and harbours hope that the Hatters continue to match his extraordinary efforts.

Throughout the current football season, Luton have arguably been everyone’s second team as the club that was non-league as recently as 2014 has been competing in the Premier League. Despite being the heavy odds-on favourites to be relegated, the Hatters have produced a series of inspiring performances to battle against the odds and remain in contention to survive relegation from England’s top tier.

While Luton have been putting in the work on the pitch, keen cyclist Mark has been putting in the work off it. This season, Mark has been cycling to every one of his beloved Luton’s away games to raise money for charity.

“I took up cycling as an alternative to running,” Mark told Fen Regis Trophies. “I decided to get into fundraising and use my passion for cycling to raise awareness for some charities that I was passionate about.”

Struggling With Mental Health

Mark has made no secret of the struggles he has had with his mental health, which is what has spurred him to take on the challenges he has.

“The thing with mental health,” he said. “It’s very much irrational thoughts that you have, it’s not logical.

“It’s not something that you just plan and manage, you become cocooned, and you feel like you are discouraged and feel like you’re suffocating. You’re in a dark room with no windows, no doors, and with depression you have a lot of irrational thoughts, and you think there isn’t a way out.

Mark has been raising money for four charities that are close to his heart as he cycles to every Luton Town away game this season. Those charities are Noah Enterprise, MIND BLMK, Keech Hospice Care, and Prostate Cancer UK.

All four charities are close to Mark’s heart, as he explained: “In 2020, when lockdown hit, I really struggled with my mental health.

“With no football and no work, I just felt very isolated. My mental health wasn’t in a good place, so I wanted to give myself some direction and focus of supporting some charities.”

Mark’s Premier League Challenge

Mark’s original cycling fundraiser saw him travel to all of Luton’s away games in the 2021/22 season, during which he raised over £60,000. Following that, Mark upped the anti to cycling to all 116 grounds in England’s top five divisions, covering the Premier League through to the National League Premier.

“Someone had done the 92 [league grounds],” he said. “I thought I can’t just do that; I have to go that extra mile.”

That would have been that for Mark’s cycling adventures until a conversation with Luton midfielder Jordan Clark persuaded him to keep peddling away for charity.

“That was it,” Mark said of completing the 116 grounds challenge. “I had done every ground and there was nothing else to do.

“Then Luton got promoted to the Premier League and I had a chat with Jordan Clark, who said I had to do it in the Premier League.

“I couldn’t say no to Jordan…he scored the goal in the play-off final!

“So, I’ve got on the bike for one last time, and this is the last one.”

Mark has been successful in surpassing the £5,000 target he set himself for this season’s challenge, and anyone can still donate through his Just Giving page.

By Aaron Gratton

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