Fraser Baxter – Final BlogSo 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.
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.