New Zealand’s largest farm, the Molesworth Station in the South Island, is renowned for its unforgiving terrain and is aptly named the land of extremes. Driving, hiking or biking across the high country station is difficult enough, but try unicycling the 182km of steep, gravel road, while wearing a tutu.
That’s the challenge Seddon man Lee Griggs has set for himself to raise awareness of mental illness and to fundraise for the Mental Health Foundation.
“My job involves sitting in a tractor for hours at a time, so that’s probably where I came up with the idea,” Lee says.
If Lee completes the challenge during Easter weekend next year, he’ll be the first person to ride the Molesworth Station on a unicycle.
“I wanted this to be really challenging for myself and I wanted other people to think that too. The more out of the ordinary, the more people will be interested and the more awareness there will be. Mental health is really important and this will get people talking about it.”
Experience with depression and anxiety
For Lee, the motivation behind his unicycle challenge is personal. He experienced and lived with depression and anxiety.
“I have a job and kids, including a newborn baby boy. That’s another reason behind this idea – trying to make this a better world for the children I’m bringing into it.”
Lee is also hoping to inspire his community of Seddon. Lee left England 11 years ago and is proud to call New Zealand home.
“Seddon has been at the centre of the earthquakes. We’ve had three decent ones since 2013 so mental health has become a prominent thing in Marlborough.”
Lee started training on his unicycle in July, which he’s documenting on film. He hopes to make a short video once he completes his potentially record-breaking challenge. You can follow his journey online.
Lee has a fundraising target of $4,000. If he raises over $2,000 by Christmas Day, he’ll do the ride wearing a tutu. With unicycle and tutu in hand, it’s safe to say Lee is taking the land of extremes up a notch.
Lee did reach his target of raising $10,000 for the Mental Health Foundation and has raised a further $2,000 pogo jumping up Mt Fyfe.