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Fraser Baxter Ambassador – Final Blog

Fraser Baxter – Final Blog

So this year’s Edinburgh’s Men’s 10K has been and gone. It was a great day and a fantastic race to end the year on! I had the pleasure of running alongside other bereaved dad’s in our Sand’s Lothian vests. This was the first time I ever that I have ran a race without having a time goal and I’m not going to lie, that was hard (years of swimming competitions have instilled a beat your last time mentality in me). However, running to show unity was what this race was about for me. Running with other bereaved dads and raising awareness was my goal.

In the month prior to the Men’s 10K it is Baby Loss Awareness Week and also my own daughter, Jenna’s, 3 rd heavenly birthday and also the anniversary of her death. That was a tough month and full of lots of emotions. The grief is heightened at this time of year for me. 3 years on and you think about all the milestones that you have missed out on and the truth is that this will never stop. I suppose that’s what is different about grief when your child dies. It is not the natural order, it’s not the way things are supposed to happen and that’s what’s tough. A child dying is not a grief that you can just get over, for the love that you have for that child doesn’t stop so the saddest that they are not here will continue for as long as you love.

Over the last couple of months I have been reminded of how important running has become in my life. The feeling of getting out in the fresh air and hitting the tarmac is fantastic. When you are running long distances you sometimes think, why the hell am I doing this? When everything is hurting and you think you can’t go on but you push yourself and then you cross the finish line! The feeling of crossing the finish line is amazing and before you know it you’ve signed up for your next race. I would recommend running to everyone! When I started I wasn’t able to run a full 5k with stopping and now I am running marathons. I even managed to convince my wife to go out and she completed her first ½ marathon in May. The only problem with that is now trying to bargain for whose training and when!!!

For me running has helped my mental health but I also knew when it was time for me to seek extra support when dealing with my grief. I was able to access counselling through the charity, Sands Lothian. I am lucky that I was able to get support in the months and years following Jenna death, however not all families are so lucky. It is a postcode lottery for getting the right psychological support you need and it is often charities that help fill this gap in support. This is why I want to raise awareness, as dads tend to be forgotten when a child dies but they need support too.

Fraser and his Sands Lothian runners
I think everyone can do there bit to support others. There is such a big focus at the moment on men’s mental health and lots of awareness being raised. However, I feel that people think that they are doing lots by sharing mental health awareness on social media and then doing nothing about it. Mental health issues could affect anyone, friends, family and colleagues. I suppose what I am trying to say is that if we start taking notice of the mental health of those around us then that can only be good. Starting with those closest to us, by taking time to talk and to listen (really listen) to what that person is going through. In the 3 years following Jenna’s death, I have been really surprised by the people who have taking time to message, listen and support me. It is often not the people expect to be there to listen but they are. I really thank those people who have taken the time to listen, ask me how I am and remember my daughter. I think that taking the time to dig a little deeper past “I’m doing fine” because like I said in my last post you wear a mask and I suppose that’s the same with anyone that’s going through any sort of mental health issue, you put a face on when you go out and it depends on your audience as to who you really let know how your feeling.

So I hope what people can take from this blog is that running is great for your mind and body, that is really is okay not to be okay and you can do you bit to support other too. As for my running………well I’ve just signed up for an Ultra Marathon in March so I will definitely be need to continue training throughout Christmas(limited mince pies and alcohol for me!!)

Thank you to everyone who read and shared my blog and thank you to everyone who came to support us as the Men’s 10k!!

Inspired? Watch, read and enjoy more content from our fantastic crop of 2019 Edinburgh Ambassadors at mens10k.com/edinburgh-ambassadors. If you’ve not yet taken the leap, secure your spot on the 2020 Men’s 10K start line at mens10k.com/mydetails.

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Greg Cann – Blog 2

Greg Cann – Ambassador Blog 2

WHY…? Why you going to the gym? Why are you out running? Why aren’t you smiling..? Constant questions I am always asked by variety of people (notably my wife!) when the topic of training and running come up…so it got me thinking, why AM I doing it? Why are ANY of us running/exercising…?

I remember when I first came to Glasgow, a close friend of mine was manager of a well-known gym chain and used to get me along to early-morning sessions (around 7am). In between breaths I asked him why we were thrashing ourselves so early in the morning (!)…he replied: “so we can play with our kids when we get old mate.”

Now that is certainly true – my youngest is the most sporty of all my kids, and while I sometimes wish he had been my first, despite my age, I am certainly able to keep up with him in the various sport activities he thrusts upon me across the year. I am also linked to @runningdads on twitter whose hashtag is #inspiringourchildren. Being (relatively) fit definitely helps me keep up with all of the brood and I hope it inspires them to maintain a healthy lifestyle growing up.

As for the wife…well, I am not so sure – she has claimed that running made me too skinny, then complained that I was too fat after being in the gym – my son actually commented I had a trampoline-belly, so not sure I can really win…BUT I am trying!

Secondly, I work in a job that uses sport and physical activity to assist people make personal changes to their lives. I have seen a huge number of people that are not taking care of themselves and are in serious danger to themselves on a health front…I NEVER wanted to be like that, and knew that if I didn’t do something when I stopped playing rugby, I could, with the amount of food I consume, blossom into the type of person I was critical of and who I am trying to help.

So the second reason I run/exercise, is linked to the first – to inspire the audience I work with. How can I enthuse about the power of physical activity to change lives if I didn’t participate in anything myself?! Weirdly, this group also encourage me – when I hit the wall in any run (happens a lot!), I think about this group – many of the people I work with overcome HUGE obstacles every day to progress. Some of these barriers seem alien to me, drugs, drink, prison etc, and I ask myself if a ‘small’ hill is really a VALID reason to stop?! If XX can make it past their problems, surely I can handle this run?

Finally, and perhaps more importantly, I run…FOR ME. Mentioned in Blog #1 (you have read it, yes?) – running and exercise is my escape – a way to maintain my mental fitness! That and music allow me the time to get away from everything and stay (relatively) sane.

SO, ignore the watch, and the times…ignore the stash of medals…ignore the weird looks and daft questions from people that just don’t get it…AND GET OUT and FEEL GREAT!

March – two months until the Mens 10k – a special one, as it is run on Father’s Day (see ‘reasons to run #1’).

It’s been tough to fit in the miles this month, although started well with the Glentress Trail Half at end of February (beautiful, brutal, scenic, hilly and tough!), and a couple of parkruns early-doors. Running then took a back-seat while I focused on my touch rugby sessions which included a trip to Manchester for a National Club Competition. I’ve been going to the gym when the weather has been bad, allowing me some HIIT and fitness work on the rower and bike (stay clear of the dreadmil!!) – cue some awful gym-selfies apres-exercise (check me out on @DRMSport)!

Then mental health took a hit towards end of month – not one reason, more a mix of things, but I lacked motivation for anything, even though knew it would help. Topped off with a horrible bug/virus/man-flu at end of month (honestly, I was near to death!), you can say that its been tough…BUT now I’ve recovered, and some motivation has returned. Had great chat with a contact at the Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH) who helped me clarify some things, and things are on the way up. I’m running at Kilomathon on Sunday, with some more rugby events planned later in April.

THE ONLY WAY IS UP – keep up all the good work troops, and look forward to seeing you on June 16th. Entries still open, so get along to one of THE best 10K events in the country…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 2

Richard Fenton – Ambassador Blog 2

So March is now over and done with and soon we will be able to enjoy some early morning training runs, with the sun beating down on our shoulders as spring bounces back into our lives once again…oh wait no we live in Scotland don’t we, so maybe not so much the sun beating down but we certainly will get much longer days on which to run, and that certainly is something to look forward to.

For me nothing gets me into running mode quicker than a nice day, not too hot and not too cold, in fact I like to call it a Goldilocks run, just right! And I had a day just like that on Saturday just gone (23rd March).

It was bright sunny and fresh; it’s going to stick with me this particular run as it came with very mixed blessings indeed. I got up around 6am not because I am committed runner but because I have a three year old little girl who likes to get up bright and early, which is good as that gives me time to fuel up before I hit the road, and this morning was no exception in fact the whole thing ran like clockwork.

I was up and fuelled and ready to run by 7:30, as I was feeling very much up for it I decided to push myself a little on my pace – training-wise I usually do around 5:35pkm but to get my PB in June I need to be hitting at least 4:50 on the day. I got myself out of the door and bashed out a solid 8k run with a mix of road and some trail in the middle, it felt good once I got into my rhythm which usually happens after around 1.5km and I felt I had worked hard. Once back home I checked my stats on my watch and Strava (please feel free to connect with me on Strava) to see that my average pace was 5:19, my fastest pace so far for 2019 while training, happy days!!

Richard celebrates in George Square after finishing the 2018 Men’s 10K Glasgow
On the back of my minor success I decided that Sunday would be a good day to push it further and do a nice 10k at the same or similar pace, but this is when I learnt that not all obstacles in training come from the road or the trails, by 3pm on Saturday I was out for the count with swollen glands and a very sore throat and barley able to speak, Sunday was a total write off with me struggling to even get out of bed and Monday I was at the doctors getting a prescription for antibiotics for tonsillitis. I’m now starting to feel a bit back to my old self, which is great.

I guess the point of this month’s blog is this, even when it going well be ready to deal with the unexpected, it may mean time out for a few days, but it doesn’t mean game over, my next run will be Friday it will be 8k, my pace won’t matter as long as run all the way.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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Five Reasons Runners Love Spring

Five reasons runners love spring

After what seems like an eternity of cold, dark, wintry evenings, there’s finally some light at the end of the tunnel – the road race season is firmly in sight and spring is on its way! But what does this mean for us runners? Here are five reasons we love spring…

1. Calm after the storm
A wise man once said “You never appreciate spring until you’ve been through a tough winter.” – and it’s the months of battling inclement conditions that makes the longer days, lighter nights and increasing temperatures all the more sweet when they finally come around.

2. Combine work and play
Spring is a great time to build training into your daily commute. Make use of the longer days by integrating cycling or running into your journey and watch your training go to the next level!

3. More mac, less mill
While treadmills make a great alternative to outdoor running when winter really bites, there’s no substitute for running outdoors. The changing of the seasons is a great time to get out and get stuck into those forgotten routes from the heady days of summer last year!

4. Time to get serious
Spring marks the start of the road race season proper; a joyous time for all runners! So whether you’ve got a marathon, half marathon, 10K or any other race planned, it’s time to start harvesting the fruits of your labour, scooping up some medals, PBs and most importantly some memories that will last a lifetime!

5. Flower like a spring pansy
It’s time for you to come into your own, just like a spring flower. Get prepared to show off those blooming bulbs and brightly coloured petals that you’ve been tending to all winter.

Inspired? Capitalise on the changing of the seasons by setting your next challenge at a Men’s 10K. First up in the 2019 series is Glasgow on Father’s Day, Sunday 16th June. We then head to Edinburgh on Sunday 3rd November, just ahead of International Men’s Day. Get involved!

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Running at Christmas: Dos and Donts

Running at Christmas: Dos and Donts

The festive period is always a challenging time for us runners. As the calendar fills up with work parties and social gatherings, and the kitchen cupboard fills up with mince pies and yule logs, you’d be forgiven for over-indulging and missing out on some running!

But if you’re feeling extra determined this year, we’ve got some top tips to help you keep fit this Christmas, and some dangerous pitfalls to avoid!

Become an early riser

If your calendar is chock-a-block with parties, gatherings and family reunions, why not set an alarm and get your run done nice and early? It’s a great feeling having it under your belt and knowing the rest of the day is yours to relax! Will it be cold? Probably – but winter mornings can also be pretty beautiful things to behold.

Don’t be self-righteous

You might be really enjoying the feeling of keeping fit while family members pour prosecco onto their cornflakes, but don’t go gloating! An endorphin-charged runner sitting on their high-horse is sure to ruffle some turkey feathers.

Get into the spirit

There are plenty of festive fun runs coming up in the next few weeks, so why not get yourself entered into one? Get some friends together, don your Santa hats and reindeer antlers and have a laugh with it!

Don’t expect any PBs

A few cheeky treats are inevitable and Christmas food is certainly more conducive to steady running than a max out effort! So don’t put too much pressure on yourself, just go out and enjoy running for the sake of running!


Merry Christmas and enjoy!

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Men’s 10K Edinburgh Provides Inspiration for Men Across Scotland to Prosper

Men’s 10K Edinburgh Provides Inspiration for Men Across Scotland to Prosper

The Men’s 10K Edinburgh once again provided a fantastic platform for runners to complete their personal goals. A huge variety of stories and backgrounds came together to create a unique and vibrant atmosphere throughout Scotland’s capital. Thousands of guys poured into BT Murrayfield on Sunday 4th November, to take their final steps to glory.

The 2,000 strong field were greeted with glorious autumn sunshine. Raucous local crowds and charity cheer groups provided the backing for the runners throughout the route; from the historic Royal Mile start, all the way to the finish at iconic home of Scottish Rugby, Murrayfield Stadium.

Amongst the thousands of finishers was Stuart Donaldson, who ran for the event’s Official Charity, Cancer Research UK (CRUK), in memory of his late colleague. Stuart explained:

“Denise’s illness affected myself and my work colleagues quite badly. On a personal note, myself and Denise were successful together in gaining a promotion at work and this where our friendship blossomed”

Denise was such a nice caring person and is sorely missed by us all at work. I have had had family members and friends affected by cancer too so to give anything back is great.” 

I returned from a week in Tenerife last night. Although I’m trying to convince myself it was warm weather training, it wasn’t the ideal preparation! But I did the best I could and raised as much money as possible for CRUK so I am happy.”

There was no shortage of inspirational stories in Edinburgh as Stuart Gunn crossed the finish line for Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity who have supported his son Archie since the day he was born.

Archie was born 25 weeks prematurely, with a perforation of his bowel. At just one day old he had surgery.. As well as this, he was also born with an open heart valve. Over the next few months Archie remained in hospital and had seven surgeries and this had a major effect on Stuart and his wife.

“My wife was in hospital all day every day, even when her maternity pay ran out. The support of the hospital staff was amazing and we made very special friends with many people”

He was referred to Glasgow Hospital to have his heart valve, which was still open, observed. To the shock and amazement of the hospital it had closed itself. Within 6-8 weeks Archie no longer required oxygen and managed to get out of hospital just in time for Christmas!

Stuart thoroughly enjoyed raising funds for a great cause as well as making a positive change for himself. He seemed to have an enjoyable experience of the Men’s 10K

“It was a great day and the weather turned out fantastic!”

Army veteran and double stroke survivor, John Owens, was another one of our heroes as he completed the Men’s 10K Edinburgh for Help for Heroes. He explained his difficult journey to the finish line:

“My strokes had a serious effect on my life, as at my lowest point I hated who I had become, it drove my marriage to break up, and I was in denial and just wanted it all to end.”

“Mentally, being able to do running events has helped in abundance with my rehab and recovery.”

His best friend Davy, who tragically took his own life in 2017, was a major inspiration for John. He said: “Davy is my inspiration. I wanted to go and make him proud today.”

On his decision to fundraise for Help for Heroes, John said: “I chose to run for Help For Heroes because of the phenomenal work they do with affiliated charities, such as Army Benevolent Fund and Soldiers Sailors and Airmen Families Association who continues to aid my recovery.”

To find out more and donate please visit: www.ayrshirerunner.wordpress.com

Hundreds more guys took part in today’s run raising money for charity, including Cancer Research UK. Together, runners are estimated to raise more than £150,000 as a result.

Event Director Sandra Scott commented:

“We’re delighted that the Men’s 10K continues to inspire the men of Edinburgh, Scotland and beyond to make a real, tangible and positive change to their lives. The atmosphere in Edinburgh is always special as the participants make their way around what has to be acknowledged as one of the most incredible city centre routes that Edinburgh has to offer.

“We continue to be inspired by the courage and commitment each of the participants make, whether is it a decision to take personal steps to better health and fitness, or to those raising funds for charities close to their hearts.”

“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 Edinburgh who have shown such incredible support for the participants across the route and also to our amazing Event Team who give their free time, skills and enthusiasm to ensure that every single participant 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 of you who want to do it all again next year, EARLY BIRD entries are now open for Men’s 10K Edinburgh 2019.

If you fancy a change of scenery why not complete the Men’s 10K double by hopping over to Glasgow on Father’s Day 16th June 2019.

The Men’s 10K in Glasgow starts at the spectacular setting of the Riverside Transport Museum. The route heads East along the River Clyde and takes in the Glasgow Science Centre, The Armadillo, The SECC and the SSE Hydro and all within the first 2KM. The route then heads towards the finish at George Square, where you will come across Glasgow Green and Kings Bridge.

To see the full list of finisher’s times from Edinburgh, visit https://www.mens10k.com/results

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