Swinton Lions Mascot Dana the Lion is taking part in a 60k Movember challenge this month to help raise awareness for male suicide prevention.
The challenge, set up by Movement, a male suicide prevention project based in Warrington, involves running or walking a total of 60 kilometres across the month of November for the 60 men lost to suicide every hour across the world.
Joshua Cresswell, 22, is the man behind the costume who is taking part in the challenge having been invited to get involved by the Warrington-based initiative.
“Originally, when I started to do it, I was thinking I’m not a person who goes out running, cycling or on walks for leisure, so for me I was planning it out on my head to see what I thought I could do,” he said.
Not in Warrington, but I’ve been requested to take part. It’s to raise awareness of something very important.
I started off with a “gentle” 3.7km this morning 🥵🦁
— Dana The Lion (@TheSwintonLion) November 1, 2020
“On the 1 November I went for a run and a walk and I was talking to a friend, and he was saying you can easily walk 2k so why don’t we set ourselves a challenge to do 10 5ks throughout the month.
“So, as well as doing the 60k, I’ve set myself another challenge to do with my friends.
“It’s really good for my mental wellbeing because I’ve just got a new job so that’s given me something to do going out, especially in lockdown.”
Three weeks into the challenge, Joshua is two thirds of the way towards the 60-kilometre target to be completed by the end of November.
Representing the club as Dana, he’s received a plethora a of support via the mascot’s designated Twitter account throughout the month from supporters, players and even Head Coach Stuart Littler.
“I get a lot of support from the Supporters’ Trust, the support I get off people who know it’s me is great and I really appreciate it,” he said.
“When I see the supporters liking the posts about how far I’ve ran, you know you’re doing something right and that’s the whole point of this to raise awareness.
“After my first week, I put a tweet out about how far I’d done and included Stuart Littler and he retweeted it with how proud he was which is brilliant.
Great work 💪💪💙🦁
And a great campaign to support 👌
— Stuart Littler (@stuartlittler3) November 7, 2020
“It’s great to see the first team and the head coach acknowledging me who’s just volunteering to do this role.”
Stephen Parker, Chair of the Supporters’ Trust and Director at Swinton Lions, also praised the club’s mascot for his work in helping to raise awareness for male suicide prevention by taking part in the challenge.
“Dana has took it all on his own merits to help out this great cause throughout November,” he said.
“All credit to him and the others taking part in the challenge this month!”
Joshua is one of the 114 members that is actively involved with each participant’s progress being tracked on the challenge’s designated Strava page.
As well as encouraging others to join the group and get involved, he hopes the challenge can inspire others to strive towards similar goals during the current national lockdown.
“I definitely hope it does (inspire others to take on similar challenges).
“I want people to join the Strava group that Movement have, it might be unrealistic for people to achieve but the whole thing is about not only raising awareness about the 60 men an hour, it’s about getting your own mental health, wellbeing, and personal fitness well in lockdown.
“This is a hard time for everyone in the world now but these little things, if they make people happy or give them encouragement to go out, that’s all that matters.”
You can find out more about Joshua’s challenge and join Movement’s Strava group here.