Rugby players’ 24-hour cycle ride for mental health awareness – BBC News

Graham Hogg and Adam Clayton held Instagram chats during the ride with the likes of former Scotland footballer Kris Boyd and Scotland winger Tommy Seymour

Former Scotland Sevens player Graham Hogg and ex-professional Adam Clayton have completed a 24-hour cycle run to raise awareness about mental health.

The duo, who have endured mental struggles since injuries ended their top-tier careers, recently set up the charity Make Minds Move.

Their plan to cycle from the Chiefs’ Sandy Park to Murrayfield was scuppered by the lockdown.

They rode instead on static bikes, with Hogg covering 370 miles in 24 hours.

They staged a webinar on Sunday where footballers and rugby players from past and present talked about their careers, coping with setbacks and how they are keeping a healthy mind during lockdown.

While cycling from 0800 BST on Saturday through to 0800 BST on Sunday, Hogg and Clayton were joined by Graham’s younger brother, the Scotland rugby captain Stuart Hogg, Scotland star Finn Russell and his Racing 92 team-mate Simon Zebo, ex-Scotland favourites Greig Laidlaw, Tommy Seymour and Jim Hamilton, and former Scotland striker Kris Boyd, among others.

“We only allowed ourselves two-minute toilet breaks,” joked Hogg. “We had a quick pee and then were back on the bike. I was 32 when I started the 24-hour ride but I feel much older now.

“I had got to know Adam when we were playing together about five or six years ago in London with G-Force. He told me some of the issues he had been having.

“It’s hard to get men to open up about mental health. Things are better now but there is a long way to go.

“I wanted a new challenge to get stuck in to. With Make Minds Move, the idea is to get people to talk about their mental health and their feelings through sport.

“Rugby players have a macho persona that nothing affects them and they can’t speak. We are trying to break that down, to say it’s OK to talk about how you’re feeling.

“We decided to do something because there are a lot of people struggling, especially now in lockdown. The help we have had from the rugby world has been outstanding.”

Graham Hogg represented Scotland at age grade levels and then played for Scotland Sevens

Hogg is back home in Hawick and hoping to transition into coaching after rounding off his playing days with Greenock Wanderers where he was also the development officer for the area.

The money the pair raise will go to the Murrayfield Injured Players Foundation, who have helped Hogg out “a lot” in his 10-year struggle, Springfield Minds for whom Clayton is an ambassador, and Restart Rugby.

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