THE MANAGER of Bromsgrove Sporting FC will be going the extra mile for a mental health charity this weekend when he tackles the Velo Birmingham.
Paul Smith will be swapping his tracksuit and boots for a jersey and trainers on Sunday in aid of Birmingham MIND, the largest independent mental health charity providing services in and around the city’s boundaries.
Starting at Broad Street in the heart of the Second City, the 40-year-old self-employed floorer will take on the 100-mile course which goes through Staffordshire and Worcestershire via Sandwell and Dudley.
The gruelling ride also features 1,754m of climbing.
As well as trying to raise £1,000 for Birmingham MIND, Paul is also hoping to raise awareness of issues surrounding mental health.
“Mental health is a secret killer,” he told the Standard.
“I suffer with some mental health issues myself.
“But with support, help and guidance I manage to control it and crack on with my life.
“There are too many people who bottle it up but they have to speak out.”
The Barnt Green Chaingang member added: “Mental health is an issue that is not brought up often enough.
“It is amazing what work Birmingham Mind does and if I can raise funds for it as well as improving mental health awareness, Sunday’s event will be worth its weight in gold.”
In what will be his first charity bike ride, Paul admitted he was not as well prepared for Sunday’s event as he should have been, with most of his time dedicated to work, family and football commitments.
But as a man who strives for success both on and off the football pitch, the father-of-two is determined to rise to the challenge.
“Without doubt this is the hardest thing I have ever done,” he said.
“100 miles is no short distance but I am capable of doing it and I am sure I can get through it.
“I have not had much time to practice but I am thoroughly looking forward to it and hopefully there will be nice weather for what will be an amazing day.”
So far £460 has been pledged to the cause.
Visit Paul’s JustGiving page at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/paul-smith-bromsgrove to boost the coffers further.