Glasgow

Greg Cann – Final Blog

Greg Cann – Final Ambassador’s Blog

YYYEEEEEEAAAAAAHHHHHH BAAAABBBBYYYYYYY! Mens 10K, thats what I’m talking about….

I had great plans for the week’s run up. After the exertions of last weekend’s Race to the Tower, 52 miles and thousands of feet elevation, I was planning some rest, a couple of loose runs and lazy day ahead of the Sunday….BUT, crappy times at work, feeling low and lethargic, and then a day of reffing at the Homeless Rugby International meant only ONE run and on my feet most of 48 hours before the run (and a rock gig and a couple of beers – but that was self-inflicted!)

So Saturday evening was spent resting up, eating and packing small bag – couple of gels to choose, chew bloks and drinks…pack the red ‘intraINing’ shirt and some socks – we are good to go. Scotrail did the business Sunday morning and I arrived at Riverside with plenty time to warm up.

Love the Mens 10K as you always meet a similar group of people – first surprise of day; received a text from an old friend I’d first met 20 plus years ago when in America. He had seen my Ambassador blogs and was running as well – could we meet? HELL YEAH – nice start to the day. He had recently run the London Marathon and was, like me, using running as a way of personal fitness as well as raising awareness of a good cause – in this case for MS. Nice work Grant! We met up again after and will do our best to stay in touch more!!

So, into the pen and ready to go…apprehensive and excited, as well as surprisingly emotional. Mentioned in my last blog, this year is the 15th Anniversary of my Dad’s death, and with kids myself, running a Men’s race on Father’s Day, seeing all the children with signs for their Dads, I have to admit I did tear up a couple of times while running…BUT great work to every dad that ran, and their kids that supported!

Fantastic route, with plenty of support – packed the music in after 5k and enjoyed the atmosphere. Even sort of enjoyed the rain around Glasgow Green – helped me take mind off the hidden hills that kept appearing!!!  Felt pretty good for at least 7k – second surprise of day, was overtaken by the legend that is Scott Meenagh. Some of you may know of him, but he was a promising young rugby player who joined the Army, but while serving lost both his legs – he now competes in Paralympic disciplines and is SERIOUSLY fit. Was great to chat (briefly) to him as he almost flew across the bridges and away! Apparently his first Mens 10K…45mins?! How can you not be motivated by someone like Scott – so inspirational!

I finished in my target of sub 50mins…depending on what watch you look at, something around 46/47 mins. Looks like I am at a plateau since that is the same time(s) as the last 3 years, but I am comfortable now with myself, my pace and am NOT constantly comparing myself to times & other runners. Not the fastest (saw someone came in around 33minutes! HOW IS THAT EVEN POSSIBLE?!), but the pace is unimportant – today more than ever, it is the belief in completing, the passion to compete and complete, no matter the distance. It is using the time to think and free/clear the mind and focus on what is important to YOU… whatever your reason for running today (and in past/future), WELL DONE. While we share a lot, our motivations are personal, important and should NEVER be withheld…

I continue to be honoured to have been selected as an Ambassador for Mens 10k (Glasgow) – it has been a fantastic opportunity to promote my thoughts and hopefully raise awareness around men’s health, and in particular, mental health.

There are too many people to thank for this, but Michael and the Men’s 10k crew for selecting and supporting; Robert at SAMH for being a sounding board; Running Dads and various twitter accounts for putting up with my tweets and musings; work colleague(s) & friends for encouragement & support (and putting up with my ‘swelfies’); Family for EVERYTHING… <3. Now, time for bacon sandwiches, tea, cake and biscuits…whatever you are up to, with whomever, enjoy it. Thanks to you all… G

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Greg Cann – Blog 4

Greg Cann – Ambassador Blog 4

OH.MY.DAYS…only 5 weeks to go 🙂 …that was the thought at the beginning of May.

With my place confirmed for Race to the Tower (RTTT) at start of June, and the Men’s 10k the week after, something got very real (as they say!). Decided to focus on the RTTT training plan to ensure I had the stamina – after all, if can run 52 miles (80 km) over 2 days, surely a 10km run would benefit?!

SO, longer runs… back to back days run… hill runs…runs with food (not as nice as sounds!)…runs in the rain – you get the drift! Feeling stronger, enjoying the lighter nights still, and fitting in some more activity around the daily grind of miles: touch, gym, playing with Max, work!!

While out running, my mind wanders – Various topics…music, work, family, self, problems, successes, the future etc etc. The time alone allows me the break to think (or to forget!) about things. This month a couple of thoughts came up:

(1) Why was I pushing myself to go through 52 miles? Well, that was easy…a weekend away, and the chance to sample some new sights and trails. Ran the whole weekend with NO MUSIC, focusing instead on my form and how I felt – pushing through the pain of the hills and the mileage by focusing on ME and what I know the runs were doing to my physical AND mental fitness.

(2) Then the 10k that would be following RTTT – was I stupid to have entered both? Did I deserve to be an Ambassador? Could I actually do the run justice? Thinking about these things allowed me to check off some points….maybe I had been foolish to sign up to all, but by pushing ourselves, it focuses the mind on what we need to do to achieve. By following the plan set out, I knew I had the mileage and ability to run the distances…something that we can all then take with us outside of running: FOCUS & PLAN. Did I deserve to be an Ambassador? When my mental fitness drops, I constantly question myself – we all do. Periods of time when we don’t have faith or confidence in our own abilities…but by again focusing on our strengths and having BELIEF & RESILIENCE, allows us to make the steps back up. Why couldn’t I be an Ambassador – hopefully some people have read the blog and if ONE person changes a belief about themselves, or makes a decision to start improving their, or someone elses, life, then it will be a job well done. We are not taking part in this to compete against others,  but to raise others up and help people achieve their personal goals.
 
I love the Men’s 10k – every year in Glasgow it take place and hundreds of men (& women!) turn out to show strength and enjoyment in something that anyone can do, but few choose…

It always falls around Father’s Day – a very interesting & conflicting time for me. As a Dad, I love sport & physical activity and love sharing this passion with my kids as well as spending time with them being a father. Each of my three kids are very different…they do/did enjoy sport,  and while some cant be bothered anymore, each of them has enjoyed had some special time with me because of some form of sport or physical activity and I wouldn’t change that for anything. June 16th is also the anniversary of my own Father’s death – this year will be tough for me…it’s the exact date of Father’s Day, and I will be running the Men’s 10k. My relationship with Dad wasn’t brilliant – we were different people, with different ways of living – especially as I got older. We went through years of not talking at all, only really reconciling once he had been given the news of his illness. Typically as men, we never talked about stuff, and his generation would never open up about how he felt. One reason the Men’s 10k is so important, and why I try to raise awareness around Mental Health, is because it/we need to challenge this!

I miss him every day, resent the illness that took him, and am so disappointed that he only met one of his grandchildren, and would never meet Ruby, who would turn out to be his only granddaughter. We ALL have our special reasons for running, and for me, this year’s 10k will be for him…

Whatever YOUR reason for running – whether it be the 10k, a marathon, ultra, or simply around the park with your kids…just do it! (Apologies to a well-known kit supplier)…

Get out there and enjoy – see you on the start line (or at George Square finish!)

THANKS FOR READING AND SUPPORTING…G

Inspired? Watch, read and enjoy more content from our fantastic crop of 2019 Ambassadors at mens10k.com/ambassadors. If you’d still like to be part of this year’s event, you’ll have to be quick! All entries close at noon on Friday 14th June! Sign up at mens10k.com/mydetails.

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Greg Cann – Blog 3

Greg Cann – Ambassador Blog 3

‘We never lose our demons…we only learn to live above them’

8th October …6 months later

The start of April was a tough month for us as a family – it marked six months since my wife’s younger brother took his own life. This was a MASSIVE shock to us all, and while the wider family knew things to be tough, no-one ever thought he would take this ultimate step and end things in the way he did. While I had been aware of the impact of mental wellbeing for a while (due to the nature of my job), it was this event in October really made me think about what mental fitness meant to me, and how I needed to review how I maintained mine.

For years, I was one of the majority that only ever viewed ‘mental health’ as ‘mental illness’…a negative thing…a negative. I have since become far more aware that mental health is aligned with ourselves in the same way that physical health is – everyone has it, and it can go up and down as a matter of course.

When we feel ‘down’ this is a dip in our mental health and we should look to try and improve, in the same way as if we felt tired and our physical health was poor we would take something for it. Loads of things can impact on mental fitness, and it can be different for everyone, but more importantly should NEVER be ignored. There are also loads of ways that we can help ourselves and our mates – simply talking is a good start! For me, as already outlined, running, exercise & music are ways I look to help myself. Unfortunately, things were too much for Chris and maybe he didn’t or wasn’t able to see the support that he needed, which is why he did what he did…

The quote at the start of the blog takes on a new meaning with this in mind….did you recognise it? It’s from Marvel, and the words that The Ancient One says to a colleague in the movie Dr Strange (my life
can be a trail of strange and obscure references , quotes and music lyrics!).

The demons I relate to are our worries, our scares, our negative thoughts…we always carry them, and must learn to rise above them and function and cope. Sometimes, and in the case of my brother-in-law,
the demons (or monsters) take over, and this doesn’t or can’t happen 🙁

He is constantly in our thoughts and is another driver in my running ‘career’ – RIP Chris

Good for you, you fooled everybody
Good for you, you fooled everyone…
Don’t get angry, don’t discourage
Take a shot of liquid courage
’Cause my monsters are real, and they’re trained how to kill
And there’s no comin’ back and they just laughed at how I feel
And these monsters can fight, and they’ll never say die
And there’s no goin’ back, if I get trapped I’ll never heal
Yeah, my monsters are real

April – 1 month til the Glasgow Mens 10k – Found out at the start of the month that I also had a space on the race to the Tower event. A double trail marathon, 52 miles run over 2 days in the Cotswolds…a MAJOR reason to up the training! Fantastic event and venue, but BRUTAL hills…makes Glentress relatively easy in comparison!

SO, after getting over March Man-Flu (a particularly vicious strain!), I was back on it from 1st of the month. First test up was the Kilomathon, a 13.1km run in Edinburgh on 7th April – my goal was to finish under 1hour 5mins and ‘better’ time from two years before!

Despite a MAJOR faff getting to start line (who knew Scotrail didn’t run trains into capital that early on a Sunday?!), a nice morning saw me enter Murrayfield stadium in 1 hour 04…NICE ONE!

The usual training followed: some Parkrun activity, couple of longer training runs, some touch ruggers, gym-work, HIIT/WOD’s, hill shuttles with littlest Cann and even some golf to mark the arrival of warmer weather (for one weekend anyway!). Training almost back on track for the month – good to get some miles under belt and on whole, physical and mental fitness has been good. Lighter nights and nicer weather always helps as well.

I’m feeling confident for the Men’s 10K, and more happy now not constantly clock-watching and judging myself and my performance against others and time! Glad to say as well that (as you can see), my selfie- game is still NOT strong!

So moving into May – the training plan ramps up…more activity and some longer distances. Will be adding some trails into the plan – getting up into Beescraig & possibly the Pentlands. Checking out what nature can offer and help support my mental & physical fitness!

Be aware that May is Mental Health Awareness Month so check out some details and review YOUR mental fitness…why not get in touch with a mate and ask them how they are? Remember, we all have monsters and #itsoknottobeok. A simple ‘How are you?’ can make a world of difference…

Take care – have great month and see you at the start line…!

Greg

Inspired? Watch, read and enjoy more content from our fantastic crop of 2019 Ambassadors at mens10k.com/ambassadors. If you’ve not yet taken the leap, secure your spot on a Men’s 10K start line this year at mens10k.com/mydetails.

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Richard Fenton – Blog 3

Richard Fenton – Ambassador Blog 3

So April has been a good month of running after my short illness which slowed me down in March, the break in the weather was certainly a welcome treat over Easter and really did test my mettle under warmer circumstances – a good reminder that you need to make sure that you are hydrated when you are out running on warmer days. It doesn’t need to be cracking the pavements, but just a slight increase in temperatures will mean that you have to up your game when it comes to those vital running fluids!

With the longer days of spring and summer comes a greater window of time in which to run. Personally I like to get out nice and early for my training runs, this gives me two major advantages: firstly by going out in the morning I personally feel more energetic and keen to run longer distances, secondly nothings starts the day off better than knowing that before you begin you’ve already completed a good run. It really sets you up for a good day ahead and it defiantly increases my overall energy levels for the day.

April has been a good for progression when it comes to my distance, my last three runs have all been hitting the 10k mark which is great because now know that I can complete the full distance on the big day, my confidence is also growing which means I can concentrate on enjoying the day when it arrives.

May will be a vital month for me as I want to beat my PB, so I have decided to change up a couple of things outside of my running to give me the edge I will need to beat me. May will be a dry month all the way up until race day and I will be watching what I eat too. Nothing major, no diets, just reducing sugars and fatty food and less red meat. I did this last year in the run up to a big race and it made a huge difference to my performance on the day; little changes can deliver big results.

All in all training is now going well and I can’t wait to see everyone again at the start line for this great event, but the real fun comes at the moment when you cross the finish line, no matter what your time or how tired you are at the end nothing beats that feeling of finishing your race, if this is your first race I am a bit jealous as the first time you do this it’s the best feeling in the world.Inspired? Watch, read and enjoy more content from our fantastic crop of 2019 Ambassadors at mens10k.com/ambassadors. If you’ve not yet taken the leap, secure your spot on a Men’s 10K start line this year at mens10k.com/mydetails.

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Ross Russell’s 10K run for SAMH

Ross Russell’s 10K run for SAMH

Suicide is the biggest killer of men under 50 in the UK – a statistic that resonates with 25 year old Ross Russell who has had some very real struggles with his mental health in the past few years.

Ross is currently in training for the Men’s 10K Glasgow on 16th June and has decided to fundraise for the Scottish Association of Mental Health (SAMH) – a charity who put mental health care and awareness at the forefront of their work.

Here’s Ross’ story:

“Two years ago, I finally opened up about struggling with mental health issues after over a year of not feeling myself and not realising that I needed help. The problems started shortly after entering my third year of university in September 2015. I was making a two hour round trip most days, wasn’t enjoying the course, was struggling to make friends and started falling behind with work and submissions.

After months of stress – trying and failing to keep up with assignments, I stopped attending and eventually dropped out in early 2016. I didn’t have a job at the time, so I was totally unemployed and no longer a student.

Job hunting wasn’t easy – applying to several jobs a day and hearing nothing back. When I finally managed to get a job in March 2016, I only lasted two months before quitting because I was experiencing panic attacks before and during shifts. I was dragged to my GP by my mum as I really didn’t think I could face going. I was put on anti-anxiety medication and offered counselling, which I accepted.

Waking up and spending every day sitting in the house either sleeping or applying for jobs I knew wasn’t going to hear back from, started taking its toll. I felt so low and my self-esteem was non-existent.

One Saturday night in March 2017, I broke down to my mum after a night out in town with friends. It was then, my mum helped me to realise that I needed to get help to get my life back on track. I was put on a course of antidepressants by my GP. Antidepressants were a last resort for me – I always said that I would never take them unless I really had to.

Three months later things started looking up and in June 2017, I was given a job interview for an apprenticeship with my local council. I started in August, was gradually taken off my antidepressants at the end of the year, and haven’t looked back.

These past two years (although I still have my bad days) I have never felt happier, and it’s all thanks to the support I’ve received from my friends, family and a few others who know who they are, especially my mum who I don’t think I’d still be here without.

Having experienced all of this, I want to do the best I can to try to help others who are battling their own mental health problems.

My message to anyone who is struggling: opening up about how you’re feeling is the most difficult part, but something as simple as talking to your loved ones can make the world of difference. People do care and things will get better.

Any size of donation for SAMH is greatly appreciated and will help motivate me in my training!”

To donate to Ross’ fundraising efforts, visit his JustGiving page here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ross-russell4.  Join in the chat on social media. Twitter – @Mens10k, Instagram – @mens10k, Facebook – Men’s 10K. #Mens10k #positiveMENtality

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Greg Cann – Blog 1

Greg Cann – Ambassador Blog 1

Have you ever agreed to something and then in hindsight wondered why? Have you ever been excited by an opportunity and then feel uncertain if you can carry on? You’re not alone…

I started running 2 (or 3!) years ago…I don’t remember exactly when or why – just felt I needed to do something to fill a gap and keep me occupied. At 40-something, I had been playing rugby for over 30 years and realised that it couldn’t continue – but I didn’t want to sit around and balloon in size. PARKRUN – that would be it! How hard could running 5k actually be…easy for a fit, rugby-playing afficionado of exercise – right? WRONG – it was torture. I remember the feeling and time – something I became obsessed with for almost a year.

After the 5k buzz, I started 10ks, then half marathons – that wasnt enough…I decided I needed on a goal. SO, I would use the new regime to raise money for a charity – one that I had been involved with personally and professionally for a couple of years. 2017 would see me run the equivalent of 10 marathons over 12 months…how hard could THAT be? Blooming murder actually…5k, 10k, Mens 10K, Kilomathon, Hairy Haggis, RED January etc etc, the list was endless…BUT I did it – finished some 14 months later (yeah yeah!)….WHAT NEXT? Wait and see…

So WHY have I carried on? Do you ever ask yourself the same question…? I found that running was my escape…from the pressures of work, from family squabbles…a time that was only me, (although usually with my second escape; music) and a space that allowed me to think, recharge my mind and get away from everything else. Through work partnerships, I found out more about the impact of physical fitness on mental health and began to realise that my mental health was all over the place – up and down constantly, linked to loads of external things that I had no control over – BUT YOU CAN IGNORE THEM ON A RUN!

I see firsthand the impact of physical activity on confidence, self-esteem and mental health of the people I worked with, especially amongst men who didn’t open up or talk about ‘that kind of thing’…so I ran, and carried on running, and will continue to run and exercise because I know the power and impact it has on me, and on every individual that gets out there…

This is why I am so excited and honoured to have been selected as an Ambassador for Men’s 10K Glasgow. Follow my journey to this year’s event and support…why not even get involved yourself!? You never know, you might just enjoy it!Inspired? Watch, read and enjoy more content from our fantastic crop of 2019 Ambassadors at mens10k.com/ambassadors. If you’ve not yet taken the leap, secure your spot on a Men’s 10K start line this year at mens10k.com/mydetails.

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Richard Fenton – Blog 1

Richard Fenton – Ambassador Blog 1

I ran my very first competitive 10k in September of 2017 and got myself a time of 49:33 after training for seven months from a standing start and being two stone overweight. The second I crossed the finishing line, I knew I had caught the running bug. That’s why I signed up for a few more races including the 2018 Men’s 10K Glasgow where I managed a time of 50:15. Since then I have completed 10 more events of varying distances and types, but as far as 10k races go, my favourite event is the Men’s 10K which is why I am back again this year with a target to beat my best time!

As I write I have really begun to step up my training with a mix of road running and on those cold icy days getting into the gym and onto the treadmill. If you have signed up for your first run and you are happy to take some advice around training, I have a couple of suggestions which worked very well for me. Firstly one foot in front of the other, then repeat; may seem obvious but pace isn’t really important at this type of event, it all about getting to the start line and moving forward to the finish and enjoying the journey. This rule applies to training too which is very important; the fact is the more you train the more fun you will have on the day. Secondly eat the right stuff, fuel is vital when training and even more so on race day. You don’t have to get a team of nutritionists involved, for me its peanut butter on toast with sliced up banana to make a toasted sandwich and a bowl of porridge, two hours before, for you it may be something entirely different, although I would recommend staying away from a fry up.

As it stands I am up to pace with my distance so getting in some regular 10k runs. I recently managed to cover 10k out on the road in just under 53 minutes, so quite pleased given that I am 49 in May this year. One thing that I always love about race day is the fact that you get boost to your pace time, which means whatever your best time is training you are more than likely going to smash that on the day, the reason is simple, you get carried along with the pace of your fellow runners and the atmosphere – the Men’s 10k has one of the best.

I will be back again soon with another blog and hopefully a video, in the mean time you may see me out on the roads of East Kilbride or on the trails in Calderglen, either way good luck with all your own training efforts! 
Inspired? Watch, read and enjoy more content from our fantastic crop of 2019 Ambassadors at mens10k.com/ambassadors. If you’ve not yet taken the leap, secure your spot on a Men’s 10K start line this year at mens10k.com/mydetails.

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Men’s 10K Glasgow inspires positive change for men across Scotland

Men’s 10K Glasgow inspires positive change for men across Scotland

The Men’s 10K Glasgow continues to produce an event day like no other; each runner’s personal journey and reason for running adding to the atmosphere and vitalizing the collective identity that the event is built on.

Over 2,500 men took to the streets of Glasgow on Father’s Day, Sunday 17th June in ideal running conditions – the morning rain clearing just in time for the start of the run. Supported by local crowds along the route, they tackled the stunning city-centre 10K from the Riverside Museum to George Square, taking in many of Glasgow’s most iconic landmarks along the way.

The event also coincided with the final day of Men’s Health Week; a nationwide campaign to raise awareness of a variety of men’s health issues.

Among the finishers was Martin Kilcoyne whose 10K run for Cancer Research UK (CRUK) was an emotional one. Martin explained:

“Last year my father was diagnosed with a very aggressive cancer and had multiple tumours which had spread rapidly. He had a brain tumour which was operated on, but a successful operation and a few months of good treatment eventually stalled and the tumours started to grow back.

“While on a break from his treatment down in London, he suffered a large stroke that led to him being left unable to communicate or get out of his bed, and doctors had no option but to end his treatment. He was taken home for end of life care at the start of November and passed away around a week after getting home.

“My brother and I decided that it would be a fitting tribute to our father to run the Men’s 10K for CRUK on Father’s Day.”

You can read more and donate to Martin’s JustGiving page here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/martin-kilcoyne.

The inspiration continued as William Shirriffs crossed the line at George Square, raising funds for the Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH).

William was diagnosed with depression several years ago, and shared his journey to the start line:

“Looking back, I have no idea how I kept functioning and going to work. I managed to get the help I needed and over the course of a year and a half, I got back on track – I spent a great deal of time rebuilding, made some changes and started to going to the gym.

During the rough times, I relied heavily on techniques for managing my depression, as well as mental health services offered in Glasgow, and I’m proud that I’m back on track, now with more knowledge and awareness and even more ways to manage things if they start getting difficult.”

On his decision to fundraise for SAMH, William said:

“I believe that awareness and provision of support services for mental health is just as important as those for physical health.”

You can read more and donate to William’s JustGiving page here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/william-shirriffs10k.

SAMH also benefited from the Men’s 10K pacers team who, as big fans of Glasgow band Frightened Rabbit, wanted to remember lead singer Scott Hutchison who tragically took his own life last month. On Frightened Rabbit’s request, they made their donations to SAMH.

Hundreds more guys took part in today’s run raising money for charity, including the official charity Cancer Research UK. Together, runners are estimated to raise over £100,000 as a result.

Event Director Sandra Scott commented:

“We’re delighted that the Men’s 10K continues to inspire the men of Scotland and beyond to make a real, tangible and positive change to their lives. The atmosphere in Glasgow is always special, and we hope the runners enjoyed the incredible city-centre route and their whole Men’s 10K experience.

“Each year, we’re inundated with amazing runner’s stories, from those taking personal steps to better health and fitness, to those raising funds for charities close to their hearts. We are humbled to be a part of these personal journeys and congratulate each and every runner who crossed that line today.”

“Our ultimate aim is for the event to play a small but significant part of an urgent need to change the face of men’s health in Scotland and the rest of the UK.”

Scott added:

“We want to say a special thank you to the people of Glasgow who have shown such incredible support for the runners across the route and also to our Event Delivery Team who give their free time, skills and enthusiasm to ensure that every single runner enjoys a welcoming, safe and enjoyable event.

We hope that you wear your finisher’s t-shirt with pride and we look forward to seeing you all again.”

For those who want to continue the journey or who missed out on Glasgow, there is still another chance to join the fun when the Men’s 10K returns to Edinburgh later this year.

Edinburgh will host the event on Sunday 4th November just ahead of International Men’s Day with a stunning route that begins on the Royal Mile in the heart of Old Town and finishes in style at BT Murrayfield Stadium.

To find out more visit https://www.mens10k.com/edinburgh/ and to see the full list of finisher’s times from Glasgow, visit https://www.mens10k.com/glasgow/.

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Ryan Watt: Why I’m running the Glasgow Men’s 10K for SAMH

Ryan Watt: Why I’m running for SAMH at the Glasgow Men’s 10k

Father’s Day was never a big deal in my family. Every year it panned out in more or less the exact same way, a trip with my sister in the car down to see our Dad at his flat in Troon. Equipped with a gift (usually a wooly jumper bought in the never-ending GAP sale) and a card. The gift and card being the only thing that distinguished this trip from any other weekly trip we would make to see him. In previous years, we would maybe venture out to the local cafe for a coffee and some food. Sadly, in more recent years, this visit was usually confined to his flat on account of his worsening health.

Last year, on Father’s Day, we again embarked on the car journey to Troon. The journey to our Dad’s flat. Sadly, on this occasion, it was to clear the flat out of all his belongings. He had passed away just a few days previously due to respiratory failure. Let me assure you, that day I would have done anything to give him the wooly jumper and card one last time.

My Dad had been suffering with COPD since around 2009 which naturally had a severe impact on his quality of life. To compound this, for as long as I can remember, he has had a running battle with his mental health, mainly chronic depression. Quite often he would have the upper hand in this battle, however, like many others who struggle with mental health there were extended periods where it got the better of him. I am no psychiatrist or doctor, but my experience with my Dad has exposed me to how mental health and physical health are intrinsically interwoven. There can be a vicious cycle between the two, a race to the bottom so to speak. In my Dad’s case, his poor physical health served to worsen his mental disposition, which lead him abuse cigarettes and cannabis, which only further worsened his mental and physical health. Like this, the cycle continued.

Throughout this sad time, my sister and I were acutely aware that any attempts to try and improve his physical health, and thus his quality of life, would be futile unless we were able to help him to a better place mentally. We tried going down the typical avenues to seek help for this, primarily through the NHS. Given the lack of public funding for mental health services, this usually involved a six month waiting list to see a psychiatrist, followed by another extended wait for a follow up appointment. In my Dad’s case this felt like putting an elastoplast on gaping wound. Looking back, I wish my sister and I had known about the incredible work of charities such as the Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH), which is why I am writing this blog today.

As difficult as the last eight or nine years of my Dad’s life was, there was still a lot of laughs and happiness to be had. The relationship we had together was less that of a father and son, and more that of two lifelong friends. We would sit and listen to music, usually starting on the Beatles but progressing through the decades up to the current era. We would play guitar together. We would laugh at his inappropriate jokes. He was very easy to speak to. He spoke open and honestly about his mental health with me, even from a very young age.

Looking back, I can’t say how invaluable that has been to me. When I was in my early twenties, I had a spell of mild depression and severe anxiety, the latter of which I still manage on a day to day basis.

Thanks to my Dad not only was I equipped with the vocabulary on how to articulate what these feelings were, but I had someone with whom I could pick up the phone to and talk about it with which made me feel so much better. My sister would tell you the exact same thing. The need to share this knowledge and vocabulary with others, as well as the need for increased mental health service provision, feels greater
than ever.

That is why this Father’s Day I will be running in the Men’s 10K in Glasgow, to raise funds for the Scottish Association for Mental Health. SAMH are active in communities all across Scotland, providing mental health care and other vital services that are generally woefully underfunded by the government. I only wish I had been made aware of SAMH sooner. I cannot think of a better way to commemorate my late father and friend than to raise funds and awareness for a charity who make such a big difference to people suffering from mental health problems. Moreover, since his passing, my fiancé has becoming increasingly at pains to inform me that I have put on a few pounds (she’s going easy on me, its the best part of
two stone).

Given the aforementioned association between mental and physical health, training for this run can only do me the world of good. Though he is gone, my Dad is never far from my thoughts. Every other day I play his vintage Hofner guitar, listen to the music that he brought me up on and espouse his, often inappropriate, sense of humour (much to my fiancé’s dismay). Though I couldn’t be with him last year, he will be by my side every step of the way this Father’s Day. Cheering me on from the side, booting me up the backside when I start to tire, waiting for me as I cross the finish line.

He will be the wind on my back and the sun on my face. This, along with the massive amount of support and donations I have received, will keep me going, right to the end. I hope to do him proud, along with everyone who has supported this cause so far. To anyone else out there running to raise funds and awareness for SAMH or any other mental health charity, I leave you with the rather fitting lyrics of one of my dad’s favourite Neil Young songs.

Long may you run,
Long may you run,
Although these changes have come.
With your chrome heart shining,
In the sun,
Long may you run…

Read more and donate to Ryan’s JustGiving Page here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ryan-watt1.

To fundraise for SAMH at a Men’s 10K event this year, head to https://www.mens10k.com/charity/affiliates/?charities_id=88.

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Men’s 10K Glasgow launches for 2018

Men’s 10K Glasgow launches for 2018!

Entries open today (Monday 26th June) for the 2018 Glasgow Men’s 10K. In keeping with tradition, next year’s event will take place on Father’s Day which falls on Sunday 17th June 2018.

The Glasgow Men’s 10K, along with its brotherly Edinburgh event, aims to be a catalyst for men across Scotland and even further afield to take control of their health and make a genuine, positive change. Each year, thousands of guys come together to complete the Men’s 10K, each with a different reason for running, whether that is to gain fitness, lose weight, quit smoking or raise funds for a charity close to their heart.

Regardless of time, each and every runner across the line at a Men’s 10K is held in equal esteem and fully deserves their medal, commemorative t-shirt, and race recovery pack. 

A fantastic city-centre route has become a mainstay of the Men’s 10K events and both Glasgow and Edinburgh offer just that. The Glasgow route takes in many of the city’s most iconic landmarks including the Glasgow Science Centre, the Armadillo, the SECC and Glasgow Green before a finish line to remember in George Square.

Event director Neil Kilgour said:

“The Men’s 10K plays such an important role in Scotland, inspiring thousands of men of all ages and abilities to make a genuine difference. Each and every guy that crosses that finish line is a hero in our eyes.”

Entries are open now, with discounted early bird entries available until midnight on Sunday 16th July. Head to https://www.mens10k.com/glasgow/. Charity entries are also available. To find out more about running for charity, including the event’s official charity Cancer Research UK, head to https://www.mens10k.com/charity/

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