Ryan Thomas will walk through Milton Keynes raising awareness for mental health causes during gruelling challenge

The former Celebrity Big Brother winner has dedicated himself to a marathon walking challenge to raise money for a mental health charity.
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Ryan Thomas the former long-term fixture on Coronation Street used the third lockdown to dedicate himself to a new challenge.

The former Celebrity Big Brother champion, has teamed up with the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) to complete a challenging fundraiser.

Ryan will be raising money for CALM by completing 10 marathons; 262 miles, in just 10 days. The 36-year-old is scheduled to reach Wolverton on May 12, the third leg of his 10-day extreme walk, the challenge has been scheduled to coincide with Mental Health Awareness week, which starts on May 10.

Ryan ThomasRyan Thomas
Ryan Thomas

Each day the former Coronation Street star will start walking early in the morning and walk for 26 miles until turning in roughly 11 hours later. He is only scheduling short 20-minute breaks throughout his day, meaning this will be a truly exhaustive challenge. He sets off on Monday from Buckingham Palace and his final leg will see him return home to Manchester.

Ryan told the MK Citizen when looking at charities to shine a spotlight on CALM stood out due to the sheer staggering statistics its work has spotlighted. Firstly, charity staff at CALM answered phone calls every 66 seconds to aid someone needing support with their mental health. But also, the charity claims that it helped prevent 564 suicides in just one year.

After reeling off those harrowing statistics, over the phone, when asked how his mental health had held up, Ryan commented: "I think we've all been tested during this period. It's all about learning to overcome and trying to appreciate what's around you.

"It's been a chance to remember what's important and really look after your family. I've been going for walks with them and really enjoying the lack of distractions and remembering what is precious in life. For a lot of people, it's been the first time in years where maybe, you're not working and you're not planning your next holiday and you can really stop and appreciate things."

Ryan ThomasRyan Thomas
Ryan Thomas

Having appeared on television screens for 16 years in Coronation Street and further boosted his profile by appearing on Celebrity Big Brother, Ryan has amassed a 1.1 million following on Instagram. He hopes that he can use his notoriety for good and his followers will understand the importance of the message behind this walking challenge. He added: "Look if people want to join in, that's great, if people are around to walk and talk, cool, if they want to donate that's even better.

"With it being Mental Health Week, it's a great time to get together and talk. I'm looking to use my profile to help show people the good work CALM do."

You can find Ryan's fundraising page here, at the time of writing he has raised well over £13,000 for CALM.

Depression and anxiety can cause a lot of people day-to-day problems and can be a lifelong struggle for many who just don't feel comfortable expressing their anxieties. With that in mind the MK Citizen asked Ryan about his own understanding of this complex, devastating issue, he said: "It's something I've really started talking about and understanding that letting people know how you're feeling is a strength and not a weakness.

"As men I think we're getting better, I think there's a lot of positives that comes out of doing things like this challenge. My dad was one of these people who never really let anyone know how he's feeling, and that was really the way with his generation. Now, on my Whatsapp group we were typical boys, there's lots of banter, taking the Mickey out of each other. But, we've started being really honest and telling each other they're amazing.

"From there you've started to see lads letting their guard drop and telling each other how they really feel."

Ryan was in good spirits when discussing the intimidating distances he's covering in a week-and-a-half, commenting: "I feel it's important to challenge yourself in life. Give your body a shock. It's something I've always enjoyed and found important. I did The Island with Bear Grylls and I've ran marathons before, I do like throwing myself out of my comfort zone."

You can find out more about Ryan's challenge, on his justgiving page here.