The long-running Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride fundraiser for prostate cancer and men’s mental health will go ahead on September 27 as a solo rider’s event to comply with social distancing restrictions under the COVID-19 pandemic.
The inaugural event in Sydney eight years ago drew 3000 riders and was quickly adopted across the world. Supported by various Prostate Cancer Foundations from the UK, USA Canada and NZ, Movember got on board in 2016 and, after losing a ride host to depression, the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride turned its focus and fund-raising goals to men’s mental health programs.
In 2019, 116,000 riders joined from 678 cities in 106 countries and organisers say $33 million has been raised since Mark Hawwa started the fundraiser, inspired by a photo of dapper Don Draper from the hit TV show Mad Men sitting astride a classic bike.
Mark organised this year’s event around the coronavirus shut down to ensure all necessary risk assessments and best practices are in place to progress with the ride.
"We still feel that we can have an outstanding event and raise a lot of money for prostate cancer research and men's mental health by still being able to wear those suits and go for a ride on our own," he told ABC News.
The campaign website states that, “there will be no mass-participation event, but just because we're not riding in groups doesn't mean we're not dressing dapper and riding! 2020 is our year to prove how connected and caring we are. We will be riding on the same day and for the same cause, but it will be solo. Socially distanced, but globally connected.
The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride says money raised will go to cutting-edge research into prostate cancer, and mental health and suicide prevention programs, “as part of our mission to support men’s health globally.”