Posts Taged 10k

Duncan Whyte – Ambassador Final Blog

Duncan Whyte Ambassador – Final Blog

Well, as I sit here writing my final blog a week on from having crossed the finish line at BT Murrayfield for the Mens 10k in Edinburgh, I still have an enormous sense of wellbeing from having participated in the race. I have really enjoyed acting as an ambassador for the event, raising money for a charity dear to me heart and meeting some other like minded people who share a passion for running. I was hoping to run a sub 50min time which didn’t quite happen as I finished in 51’11 but I thoroughly relished doing the run which has provided a focus and motivation for all those hours of training and preparation in advance. I find taking part in such events helps keep my own personal fitness agenda on track and supports me to keep up a level of activity that boosts my physical and mental health and gives me a greater sense of welfare in my life in general. The race was well organised and all the staff and many volunteers who without which such events couldn’t take place were superb and the course which was challenging (the hills on Holyrood Road and the Cowgate were tough!) took in many of Edinburghs historic and cultural landmarks. If you have read my previous blogs you will recall that I was running for a charity called ‘The Yard’ which provides adventure play services for children with additional support needs in the East of Scotland and is a facility that my family access with my son Theo. On the route, on many occasions I heard people referencing or shouting support for The Yard as a result of my yellow running vest with the organisations logo front and centre and it was great to see that so many local people cherish this wonderful organisation as much as I do. They really do provide invaluable opportunities for families in Edinburgh, Fife and Dundee respectively.

I started my first blog in this series by quoting one of Edinburghs most infamous fictional sons, Mark Renton, the squalid anti hero of Irvine Welsh’s seminal novel ‘Trainspotting’ and his rant about choosing life. It only seems fitting to sign off from my writing to reference the T2 reboot which was released as a contempory update as to the lives of the original characters.

Choose life
Choose Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and hope that someone, somewhere cares
Choose looking up old flames, wishing you’d done it all differently
And choose watching history repeat itself Choose your future
Choose reality TV, slut shaming, revenge porn
Choose a zero hour contract, a two hour journey to work
And choose the same for your kids, only worse, and smother the pain with an unknown dose of an unknown drug made in somebody’s kitchen
And then… take a deep breath
You’re an addict, so be addicted
Just be addicted to something else
Choose the ones you love
Choose your future
Choose lifeThe world had changed around Renton and his pals just has it has for all of us who have grown up or at least gotten older over the past 20 years. The Mens 10k sets out to promote mens health issues and as a Teacher in a Secondary school in Scotland, this is something I do in my professional life. Men of my generation and older never talked about our health, our fears, our passions, our stresses, our emotions and certainly not our mental health. Sharing any of this would be a sign of weakness which may lead to paranoia about being thought of as less of a man as a result. This was the sort of stuff women talked about. The myths about openly discussing male health of course have been greatly dispelled by well publicised research, far reaching media campaigns and thankfully a very robust and clear female narrative. As men, we all have women in our lives; partners, daughters, sisters, grandmothers, friends, best friends, colleagues, managers and so on. I think I could confidently proclaim that each of these female influences in our lives want us to be real men too. Men who talk about how they are feeling. Men who ask for help. Men who are strong enough to reveal their vulnerabilities and let others in. Men who are caring, nurturing, gentle and most importantly strong. Real strength comes from helping others, being that rock but also from being brave enough to let that guard down, be honest with yourself and those who matter in our lives. This does not mean being male means you have to give up swearing or following your team. We can be both football fans and show the chinks in our armour to those we trust.When I work with and talk to the young people in my school, it is very clear they all have a much better understanding of modern day masculinity than my generation and those that came before it do. They just get it and it gives me great hope that the world where my son and daughter will grow up in will be a much healthier and more supportive place for it. Attitudes are changing and I for one only see this as a transformational development. Further work needs to be done of course and I see the responsibility for that not lying with divisive and self-protecting politicians nor flimsy and faddy instagram influencers nor indeed our stretched to breaking point education system. It falls on all of our shoulders to model to our children and younger generations what it means to be a man, what being manly looks and sounds like and to model appropriate male behaviours to both our sons and daughters and those of others. After all, where did we learn all our bad habits from when we were that age?

Renton cited many modern day pitfalls of society; the inherent risks of inescapable social media digestion and regurgitation, financial strains and uncertainty as a result of economic mismanagement by the banking sector and the government bringing austerity to the doorsteps of many in a variety of guises, numbing the pain of the trappings of current life through junk food, substance misuse, self-harm and other escapist avenues. It’s certainly quite scary and undoubtedly more complex for young people growing up today and trying to make sense of the world, their place within it and trying to navigate a positive pathway through it. As I have matured in years, I have come to realise that in life, it’s never really about the destination, it’s the journey that matters. It’s about shared experiences, overcoming barriers, crossing paths and steering a course through life that brings you joy and happiness that is important. Not what you have to show for it at the end. If you can do that one day Theo, you will then be a man my son.

Running is more often than not about the journey also rather than crossing that finishing line. It’s about the progress, noticeable changes to fitness, differences to your body, times coming down, distances going up, the people you meet, feeling good about yourself, striding with a sense of purpose and finding a positive focus for your life. I hope you have enjoyed reading the blogs and if you are thinking about giving running a go for the first time then go for it. There are loads of support tools such as ’Couch to 5k’ to get you started and I guarantee you will have neighbours, workmates and others in your community who can offer advice and guidance. I am certain you won’t regret it and it could be another step in the right direction towards a happier and fulfilling life.

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Duncan Whyte – Blog 3

Duncan Whyte Ambassador Blog 3

With less than a week to go until race day for the Mens 10K in Edinburgh, I am starting to get excited for the event. The weather forecast for the week looks positive and here’s hoping it remains that way for Sunday 3 rd November at the start line on the Royal Mile where I hope to stand shoulder to shoulder with many of you reading this blog.

October seems to have gone past in a flash and has been peppered with amongst other things my birthday, a family holiday, far too much wine and much excited discussion about Halloween costumes from my 5 and 6 year olds respectively. A busy time for sure but nonetheless I have managed to keep pounding the pavement and continue at a pace with my training in preparation for the big day. Much of my running has now moved indoors as the nights draw in and the clocks have now gone back meaning darkness has invariably fallen before I get home from work never mind get changed and out for a run. This is a challenge for my own commitment and motivation as the prospect of boarding the treadmill at my local gym hardly makes my heart sing the way in which a brisk jog around the local park and all the sensory pleasures that are an intrinsic part of that does. Running face to face with a breezeblock wall or staring vacantly at 24hr news channels doesn’t really inspire the legs to keep turning but two recent visits to The Yard (see my previous blog post) in both Edinburgh and Dundee with my family have kept my fires burning and reinvigorated my determination to support this amazing charitable venture, to honour my responsibilities to those who have donated to this organisation through my just giving page (https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/duncan-whyte1), and to do my supporters and myself proud. Despite time away from home and the shortening days, my training has been going well and I am feeling positive about the physical and mental test that lies ahead. I don’t think I am quite in the shape to trouble my PB of 47:43 for a 10k but am hoping to make a sub 50 min time on Sunday.

I finished off my last blog by sharing that I was preparing to take part in my second half marathon. Having polished off a curry and a couple of cold beverages on a rare child free evening with my wife the night before, I can confirm that I completed the Great Scottish Run 2019 in Glasgow in a time of 1:53:57 which took nearly 4mins off my previous attempt at this distance. To say I was surprised would be an understatement. Whilst I have kept my running going over the course of the year it has certainly fluctuated as life has carved its own course of meandering paths and ups and downs throughout 2019. The rich food and alcohol turned out not to be the only way to ill prepare for the day. Normally I would look out all my essentials for race day the night before to ensure that I have all I need to run, stay comfortable and get home safely. In my childless glee I had neglected to do this and found myself rummaging around at a very unsociable hour on a Sunday morning trying to procure what I needed from home without waking the missus. The essentials were covered; shorts, t shirt, running socks, trainers, headphones, phone, gum etc. However two luxuries were nowhere to be found. Anti-chafe gel and plasters. Anyone who has run an extended distance will know exactly what these are for and the perils of running without them. Whilst I am undoubtedly rapidly approaching middle age (if I am not there already), my BMI remains to cling on to the ‘normal’ range if only just. However, rubbing thighs for 21.2km is not going to be fun for anyone and I would recommend anyone taking on this longer distance to liberally apply an appropriate gel pre-race to wherever you feel you need it. After all, you are worth it. The plasters of course are for protecting the most sensitive parts of anyone’s chest. This is something I have found to my cost especially when running in hot, humid conditions when the raw tenderness of sandpapered nipples has been felt for the following week. A simple band aid over your ‘mips’ (urban dictionary says this is a real term) can ease a whole lot of post-race recovery. I decided not to panic and planned a stop off at a large supermarket mid journey. What I envisaged to be a quick dash around the aisles turned out to be a bit more traumatic. Plasters, plasters, plasters, plasters, should be about here…. None left…double check…nope definitely none left….except…a child’s pack of plasters…peppa pig plasters. Fine I thought, my mips wont judge me and will thank me the next day. Next for the anti chafe gel. I tried every aisle, twice. Not a drop in sight. I can’t do this without this wonder serum. I must find a substitute. Time was now a factor. Think..think…I found myself back in the healthcare aisle. Then it happened. I turned and clocked what seemed like an oasis in the desert. KY Jelly. I wasn’t going to use it for its intended purpose(s) but surely it would do the trick, reduce the friction of my burning thighs. Before I knew it the most unlikely of bedfellows were in my basket. I headed for the self-checkout as I generally always do, scanned in a rush and looked out my credit card before the checkout spoke to me. Truth be told, it didn’t just speak to me, it felt like it spoke to the whole store. ‘Sorry, this item is not recognised, a colleague is on their way’. Before my heart could properly sink, my eyes fixated on the items in the packing area. As I lifted them, they met the gaze of a store assistant called Glenda. I know this because for what must have been just a few seconds, the world seemed to stand still and I had what felt like an age to decipher the letters on the store assistants name badge. The look on both our faces as we stood side by side at the checkout on a Sunday morning around 8.13am at my very light but curious shopping told two tales of disbelief as to what was happening. Things then seemed to snap back into real time and a swift key entry followed by some furious pressing of buttons had me on my way without a word being uttered between us. Glenda either meets a lot of people buying kids plasters and a sensual lubricant at all hours of the day or was just too polite to enquire further. Or perhaps the company have a policy of what goes on in store stays in store. Either way, I could swear the security guy at the door smiled at me as I made a hasty retreat to the exit. Not a good sign in any context. I made it to Glasgow, sorted myself out, really enjoyed the run, soaked up the atmosphere and felt a real sense of accomplishment in finishing the race at all and of course beating my previous time. I am very much looking forward to a similar experience in Edinburgh at the end of the week.It was unseasonably warm on that race day in Glasgow for late September and as I crossed the finish line and slowed my pace to standing still, I took a few minutes to catch my breath and congratulate some fellow finishers. Being such a warm day, my top was soaked and I decided to remove it as I walked through Glasgow Green. The air in my lungs and on my skin felt great. As my sense of post-race euphoria started to subside, I started to notice I was getting more attention than I was used to. Extended gazes from passers-by and some muffled smirking. What was going on? Then a child walked past me and duly pointed and laughed at me. I couldn’t work it out and put it down to some misplaced west coast sense of humour. It was when a man roughly my age and holding the hand of his daughter who would have been in the same year as mine had they gone to the same school walked past and hummed a tune at me with a wicked smile on his face that the penny then dropped. ‘Duh- duh, Duh-duh, duhduhduhduhduh-duh’. That tune is engrained in my brain like a twisted earworm from many an early morning being woken by my wee girl and crawling up on the sofa with her and switching on the TV for a few minutes before I need to make breakfast or role play in some terrible princess game. Peppa bloody pig. I looked down at my chest and loud and proud, having done the exact job they were procured for, still in perfect positioning were the child’s plasters I had bought earlier in the day. Of course in the days and weeks that have passed I have thought of lots of witty comebacks I could have retorted my tormentor with. None of which of course came to me at the time. All I could do was laugh at myself and then do what daddy pig would have done in such circumstances. Own the moment, walk like a boss and strut off into the sunset. I won’t forget that day in a hurry for lots of reasons.

Sharing what was a mildly mortifying experience on what was otherwise probably the best running experience I have had with you seems important for two reasons. Firstly, to ensure you have the best day possible, be prepared. Hopefully you have done some training already, gradually extending the length of your runs over an appropriate time period ensuring that you are in physical shape to take on what is a challenging distance. Be prepared to set yourself a realistic target of what you hope to achieve on race day and be prepared to exceed that as running with others nearly always results in quicker times. Be prepared at least the night before with all the essential and luxury items you need for the 3 rd November and plan out how you will get to and from the start and finish lines respectively in advance. This will lead to a more relaxed pre and post-race experience and add to what I am sure will be a great day for all those participating. Secondly, be prepared for an unshakable sense of solidarity with your fellow competitors who will be taking on the same endeavours as you. Be prepared for an overwhelming feeling of achievement and wellbeing on completion of the course that will last hours and days as the gravitas of your accomplishment sinks in. Be prepared for people on the streets and at BT Murrayfield shouting your name, spurring you on and getting right behind you as you seek to attain your personal goals. Be prepared to inspire others through your commitment and dedication in overcoming personal barriers. You won’t meet or hear from all the people who you affect through your involvement in the event, but you will have motivated someone somewhere to set their own individual goals and show the same gritty attitude towards achieving these as you set out to do on Sunday. Be prepared to promote the work of countless charitable organisations carrying out invaluable work in a myriad of settings supporting many lives. Be prepared to make the people who love and care for you proud. Finally, be prepared to be a focal point for raising awareness of men’s health issues. We all have men in our lives. We are all a man in the lives of others. We all matter and we all need to be better at looking after ourselves and at looking after each other. After all, that would be the manly thing to do now wouldn’t it?

I am hoping to see some of you other dads, grandads, sons, uncles and brothers at the start line on the Royal Mile for the Men’s 10k in Edinburgh 2019. In my final blog, I will let you know how I got on, share my post-race thoughts and feelings and share some key messages on modern masculinity. Til then.

If you are reading this blog and feel like you would make even the smallest of contributions to The Yard then you can do so by visiting my JustGiving page at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/duncan-whyte1 This would help to support The Yard continue to support the development of and create wonderful experiences for children with additional support needs.

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Fraser Baxter – Blog 2

Fraser Baxter Ambassador Blog 2

Since my last blog 4 weeks ago I have been busy running the Great North run (the most mental event ever!!!), The Scottish Half Marathon (A new PB!!!!) and training really hard for the Lochness Marathon in October. I say training really hard but to tell the truth is more of a distraction as the reality is that October is the month that I dread the most in the year, it is our daughter Jenna’s birthday and anniversary of her death. This as you would expect produces all sorts of different emotions – the joy of having a baby daughter and at the other end of the spectrum complete and utter sadness/ anger / grief that her life was cut so short.

During October I become more aware of the “mask of grief” that I wear and probably will for the rest of my life. What is the “mask of grief”? Well it’s this invisible shield that you develop that sort of protects from all sorts of vulnerably? It masks your true feelings to allow you to get on with your “new normal”. As with most masks they do become uncomfortable if you wear then for a long periods of time. I try to run about four times a week this allows me to take of my mask and recharge the batteries.

Your mask can help you in many situations for example when you get asked how many kids you have? It’s such a simple question but to me it’s such a difficult questions to answer. Depends on your audience right? Can you truthfully answer that to a complete stranger? Yes I have 3 kids but one died? That just make the situation totally uncomfortable and could lead to a lot of other difficult questions and maybe not fair to person asking the question. If say two the situation is normal and we can all move. This is where the “mask of grief” protects and everything looks ok for the outside but inside there is immense levels of guilt for not telling the truth. I should be saying three daughters because when I don’t I’m denying Jenna her rightful place in our family. I suppose that situation is much like running the more you train the better you get and after 3 years of being asked that question I have a well-rehearsed answer depending on who is asking!

October will no doubt be a month of ups and downs, much like the 26.2 mile back to Inverness. Once the Marathon is done and dusted am looking forward to a change in my training with the introduction of some sorter distance and speed work in preparation for the Mens10km. I am also looking forward to completely the Men’s 10K as part of a group of bereaved dad’s. As mentioned in previous blog, I go to a support group especially for Beavered Dads and we are planning to get some training runs in soon. I think running together will show unity and just emphasis the point that you don’t need to go along in this journey of grief alone!

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 a Men’s 10K start line this year at mens10k.com/mydetails.

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Duncan Whyte – Blog 2

Duncan Whyte Ambassador Blog 2

11am exactly on the 2nd of January 2013. My first born came into this world. For as long as I can recall, I wanted to become a father. It’s the only ambition I have ever really had. I remember trying to bluff my way through my Standard Grade French speaking assessment aged 15 as a result of a combination of being thoroughly under prepared and not giving a ‘merde’ when my teacher asked me ‘Quelles ambitions as-tu dans la vie?’. This I was ready for. I had been ready all my life. ‘Mon ambition dans la vie est de devenir père d’une famille’. Madame lifted her gaze from my assessment record which she had been annotating furiously for the past five minutes but which felt like an eternity and made momentary eye contact but long enough to utter what every kid who has ever darkened a French lesson longs to hear. ‘Tres bien Duncan, Tres bien’. Fast forward back to 2013 and I first lay eyes on my daughter. Three days after my wife was first admitted to hospital. I had pretty much lived in the maternity ward during those days overdosing on terrible daytime TV to pass the mindless boredom, getting frustrated at not being able to complete crosswords and eating meals in my car. My wife insists she had it tougher and of course she did. We were both shattered. My overarching memories of that day were primarily of relief that mother and child were healthy and safe. The rest was numbness and a strange level of disconnect. It wasalmost like this was happening but not to me. Like I was a voyeur watching a reality TV show where I was pleased that the characters I was rooting for had pulled through but that wasabout it. I was expecting fireworks, a sense of euphoria, something otherworldly. Maybe it was the fatigue. Maybe it was the spirit crushing game shows. Maybe it was the Entonox (which I would thoroughly recommend by the way) or the three square meals a day from a vending machine. Whatever it was, it wasn’t what I expected. Mother and baby were doing well so I was asked to kindly leave the premises (not for the first time in my life but under entirely different circumstances). I drove home. Opened the door. Navigated my way to my bed and fell asleep. Keys still in the lock of the outside of the door. It then hit me. Hard. I usually groggily phase myself gently from slumber to consciousness via at least three slams of the snooze button. Not on this day. I woke in an instant. Sat bolt upright with adrenaline rushing through my veins and feeling like my heart was going to burst out of my chest. I tried to engage my brain. I was too young for a stroke, what was going on? Then I realised. It had happened. I was a dad. Me. To a beautiful little girl. She was mine, I was hers. Throw on some clothes, a particularly clashing combination in my giddy haste. Get in car, drive too fast (nothing illegal but not in my usual frugal mindset of optimising my MPG manner). I held her in my arms and the world seemed at peace. 1000 merdique nappys later, being puked on in a supermarket where the vomit went down my coat neck and came out of my sleeve and countless sleepless nights since have knocked the rose tinted spectacles from my face. Well, just a little. Regardless, being a dad is the proudest achievement I have had in life and trying to be a good dad is undoubtedly the biggest challenge that I have ever faced. I make mistakes all too often but I am fiercely proud of my family and do my best to meet their ever shifting needs.

Running is one of the few aspects of my life where I can recreate some of the physiological sensations I experienced the day after my daughter was born. I enjoy entering mass participation races and being part of a supercolony of runners who thrive off each other’s energy, positivity and encouragement. Whether it’s a 5K, 10K or half marathon, I get a real buzz from taking part and pursuing individual goals and overcoming personal barriers. The finish is always the highlight and reaching around the last 500 metre mark is when the best feeling comes for me. I can feel wave after wave of endorphins washing over my body, turning it to jelly and simultaneously strengthening my resolve to push my body harder to get over the line. It genuinely gives me an enormous sense of wellbeing. Pencilling in organised events such as the Mens 10K in Edinburgh into my diary helps to motivate my running in between races and compels to me to go out for a run and reap all the benefits that this brings even on the coldest, windiest and wettest of nights the East coast has to offer. If you have never ran a race before, I implore you to do so. Perhaps you are new to running or have recently embarked on the couch to 5k training plan and feel that I’m not good enough or not fast enough to take part. Let me reassure you that running events in my experience are some of the most inclusive activities I have participated in. All sizes, shapes, abilities, levels of experience are represented and the community spirit amongst runners ensures everyone feels valued whether you finish first or last. When you feel like you are hitting the wall and a complete stranger who has made up the numbers who line the streets shouts ‘come on Duncan, you can do it’ as they read the name next to your number, it gives you a thrill and pushes you on to achieve things you thought were beyond you. Sign up for an event today such as the Men’s 10K in Edinburgh, I guarantee you will not regret it and suspect you will enrol in many similar events in the future.
Having ran quite a number of races over the past few years, this will be the first time that I have ran for charity. In a very selfish way I started running for me, kept running for me and entered races for the aforementioned high it gives me. Oh, and for the bling. I love a medal I do. I guess I have always felt a bit awkward asking friends and family for money for doing something I overtly enjoy, which I do to manage my own physical and mental health and for which I would quite readily pay to do. I feel very honoured to have been chosen to become a Mens 10K Edinburgh Ambassador however the most ambassadorial thing I have done to date is to gift wrap some Ferrero rocher to give to my granny at Christmas. Exquisite but hardly inspirational. Given that I have been lucky enough to have been chosen for this role, it only seems right to make my running be about someone else rather than myself for once. At the Mens 10K in Edinburgh this year, I am going to be raising funds for an organisation called ‘The Yard.

The Yard is an award-winning charity running adventure play services for disabled children, young people and their caregivers in the East of Scotland. The Yard provides physical as well as emotional support to families in an environment that allows children with additional support needs to have opportunities to promote their physical development and social communication in a safe and vibrant setting. My awesome son Theo loves visiting the Yard in both Edinburgh and Dundee. As his dad, it is so satisfying to see him explore the facilities at the Yard with confidence, take controlled risks that he wouldn’t in other contexts and moreover relax and have a bundle of fun. What The Yard gets so right is in fostering a culture and ethos of inclusivity and equity for children and families who often have experiences of feeling marginalised and excluded or simply having trouble accessing other services. Signing up for the Men’s 10K in Edinburgh and being lucky enough to do so as an ambassador for the event provides me with a platform to highlight the fantastic work of all the people who make The Yard what it is, to raise money to help support the services The Yard offers and to put a little something back into a facility which I and my son have benefited from and feel so passionate about.

Race day is just over a month away now and my regular running routine continues although I have not got out as often or ran as far during training runs as I would have hoped for. Things have been super busy at work, a short period of illness, the nights turning darker and just generally being shattered as a result of a busy professional and domestic schedule has meant that whilst I am keeping my body and running legs ticking over, I am certainly not in any shape to be aiming for a PB come November the 3rd. I much prefer running outdoors as opposed to in the gym and as the weather turns a bit wetter and wilder so it will take considerable personal commitment to motivate myself to get out and try to get into some form of reasonable shape. I just need to remind myself that I always feel better after a run even when the prospect of going for one in the first place can be a little less than appealing. To compound matters, I thought it would be a great idea back in May shortly after completing my first half marathon to sign up for another. This is now tomorrow (Sundaty 29th September). Tonight is an incredibly are child free evening as my cherubs go for a sleepover at their grandparents house. Thus I am preparing for the 21.1km having had two beers and a glass of wine to wash down the meal my wife and I enjoyed at our local curry house. I am not sure this is exactly how Mo Farah prepares 16 hours before his events but whilst running is important to me, being a father and a husband always comes first. I am sure Mo would approve.

Hopefully I will see some of you other dads, grandads, sons, uncles and brothers at the start line on the Royal Mile for the Men’s 10k in Edinburgh 2019. In my next blog, I will let you know how my balti fuelled half marathon went, update you as to how my training has been progressing and share with you my pre race thoughts and emotions prior to the big day.

If you are reading this blog and feel like you would make even the smallest of contributions to The Yard then you can do so by visiting my JustGiving page at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/duncan-whyte1 This would help to support The Yard continue to support the development of and create wonderful experiences for children with additional support needs.
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Fraser Baxter – Blog 1

Fraser Baxter Ambassador Blog Post 1

Well I guess the first thing you should know about me is that I am a bereaved dad. My life was turned upside down when my second daughter died on 20 th October when she was just 1 day old. Jenna Baxter was her name and she has changed my life in so many different ways!

The excitement of our second imminent arrival quickly turned to shock when she was born and quickly taken to be resuscitated. 25 minutes is how long it took the medical team to revive my beautiful baby girl, they kept going so long because she took a tiny gasp. The waiting to find out if she was okay was unbearable. The consultant came to tell us that our baby was very poorly and they were not sure if she would survive.

When I saw her for the first time up in SCBU, I was flooded with so many emotions but seeing all the equipment and machines she was hooked up to I felt and overwhelming sense of fear. She had to be moved to the Royal Infirmary in Edinburgh as they had more specialist equipment there. I travelled in a police escorted ambulance with her and wife travelled in a separate ambulance. We were told that she may not survive the journey but she did! After a team of consultants spent time assessing her they then spoke with us to tell us that there was nothing else they could do for her. These are words that no parent should have to hear. We were in shock but they told us to spend as much time as possible with her. Our parents came to see her and our little girl, Jessica came to see her baby sister. Jessica was 3 at the time but she was able to make some memories with her little sister. She kissed her and sang her ‘Twinkle Twinkle’. Those are memories I will never forget.

On the evening of the 20 th October we had to make the difficult decision to turn off Jenna’s life support. 42 hours after she came into this world she left again. Just a brief visit! Jenna died in her mummy and daddy’s arms knowing only love.

And just like that my life changed, all our plans for our new life as a family of 4 were cruelly taken from us the night we had to turn off Jenna’s life support. There are no words to describe the grief in the days and weeks that followed Jenna’s death.

Having never being a runner before I have no idea why I started to running but I remember just wanting to escape a house full of sadness. I soon realised that when I ran I could process my thoughts and feelings.  I used the time out running to try and deal with my grief and process my thoughts. It was like the more I ran the better I became at surprising my grief and coping with my new normal.

It has been nearly a 3 years since we had to say goodbye to Jenna and although life goes on and you have to put your life back together piece by piece but the sadness will never go away completely.  There are days when the smallest thing can trigger a memory or a thought about what could have been. 

After 2 years I could no longer out run my grief and decided that I need to talk to someone. So with the help of Sands Lothian, I get regular counselling and attend a support group for Bereaved Dads. We started the support group for the Dads about 18 months ago and this year we will around 10 bereaved dad running the men’s 10km which is amazing! Please look out for us in our Sands Lothian Running Vests.

It may be a bit farfetched to say running saved my life but is has been my anti-depressant during the dark times. Whilst I am still trying to come to terms with what’s happened I still manage to run 4 times a week most weeks and run a few races a year.

Having signed up for many events since my 1 st race in April 2017 the men’s 10km is one of my favourites. What’s better than running around the city centre of Edinburgh and that sprint finish inside Murrayfeild. Being an Ambassador will help raise awareness of beavered dads who are often forgot about and suffer in silence. If there are any beavered dads reading this please know that is ok not to be ok.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 a Men’s 10K start line this year at mens10k.com/mydetails.

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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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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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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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Niall Darroch to run Men’s 10K in son’s memory

Niall Darroch to run Men’s 10K Edinburgh in son’s memory

Niall Darroch will run this year’s Men’s 10K Edinburgh for SANDS Lothians; a local charity who offer befriending and counselling to bereaved parents, and he predicts that it will be an “emotional experience” for many reasons.

In 2015, Niall’s son Ryan was stillborn despite the best efforts of staff at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. Niall recalls:

“From the first difficult moments we felt the influence of SANDS Lothians.

“We were lucky to know a midwife friend who put us straight in touch with the charity, and they were able to support us from day one. They offer individual, family and group counselling, and events to help parents commemorate their babies. Not too long ago, stillborn children were whisked immediately away and parents encouraged to simply forget their babies as the way to recovery.

“The expert support SANDS Lothians offered really made the difference in coming to terms with Ryan’s stillbirth. We are able to think of him with love and pride, and being able to talk about such a difficult subject hopefully reduces the taboo that bereaved parents sometimes feel.

“Fundraising for this cause is really important to me for a number of reasons. First and foremost, helping SANDS Lothians fund their ongoing work means other families can be helped through difficult times. I knew that there would be a large and diverse group of SANDS Lothians supporters running the Men’s 10K, and I’m looking forward to being part of a pack of men with a shared focus.

“I’m also convinced of the mental health benefits of being active. I’m sure that running the Men’s 10K through my adopted hometown in the company of men all racing for the good of others and themselves will be an emotional experience.”

You can donate to Niall’s JustGiving page here.  

If you want to join Niall and thousands of others on the start line on the Royal Mile next month, there’s still time. Late entries are available until 5pm on Wednesday 1st November. Find out more and enter at https://www.mens10k.com/edinburgh/.

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Glasgow Men’s 10K a huge hit on Father’s Day

Glasgow Men’s 10K a huge hit on Father’s Day

Thousands of guys took to the streets of Glasgow for the Men’s 10K on Sunday 18th June in warm, overcast conditions. The collective spirit of the Men’s 10K runners never fails to generate a truly unique atmosphere as guys from all different walks of life come together each year, united by the same goal of completing the 10K run.

Supporting a 2,000 strong army of men were thousands more locals who gathered in George Square and along the route, further adding to the already fantastic atmosphere. Runners were cheered on as they headed east along the River Clyde, past the Glasgow Science Centre, the Armadillo and the SECC. Around the 5K point, runners passed by the south side of George Square and onto Glasgow Green crossing the Clyde twice more via Crown Street and Kings Bridge and then heading back to George Square to enjoy their moment of glory as they crossed the finish line.

Among the finishers was Ross Clift who completed today’s run in memory of his cousin Lennon Toland who tragically lost his life when a van mounted the pavement in September last year. Lennon was just 5 years old at the time and had started at school just a few weeks prior to the horrific incident. Ross, along with Lennon’s uncle Declan and other family and friends, donned a Spiderman morphsuit for the run as a nod to Lennon’s favourite superhero. The Men’s 10K makes up part of the family’s inspirational effort of taking part in an event for every month of 2017. You can donate via their JustGiving page here.

Joining Ross out on the course was professional wrestling referee Thomas Kearins who was running for Cahonas Scotland who work to raise awareness of male cancers.Thomas had a minor scare himself back in 2014, and decided to seek medical advice after the Cahonas Scotland website helped him to identify potential signs of cancer. Fortunately Thomas was given the all-clear, but decided to continue to support this brilliant cause. He said: “Cahonas Scotland eliminate the stigma attached to male cancers, and the embarrassment associated with it. Cahonas enable men to talk freely about their personal health. I’m delighted to be able to support the great work they do for thousands of people in Scotland and beyond.” You can donate to Thomas’ JustGiving page here.

Elsewhere, Grant Hutchison added some rocker stardust to proceedings; the drummer from Glasgow-based rock band Frightened Rabbit found time to complete today’s run in the midst of the band’s global tour. Grant, who has been vlogging for the Men’s 10K in the lead up to the event, was also raising funds for Cahonas Scotland. You can donate to his JustGiving page here. You can check out Grant’s progress throughout the year, as well as fellow video blogger Stephen Morrison here.

The event’s official starter was 73 year old Lachie Stewart who won 10,000m gold at the 1970 Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh. Lachie provided some extra inspiration for the Men’s 10K runners as he set them on their way, firing the gun at 10am outside the Riverside Museum.

Hundreds of guys took part in today’s run raising money for charitable causes, including the event’s official charity Cancer Research UK. Together, runners are estimated to raise over £100,000.

Event Director Neil Kilgour commented:

“It’s been another fantastic Men’s 10K here in Glasgow. The event never fails to generate a unique atmosphere, made so by the incredible runners, the local crowds lining the route and the brilliant volunteers and event crew that make it all happen – so a massive thanks to all of them.

“The event plays such an important role in Scotland, inspiring thousands of men of all ages and abilities to make a genuine difference. Whether that be improving their fitness, quitting smoking or running for a charity close to their heart, each and every guy that crosses that finish line is a hero in our eyes.
After some great feedback on last year’s new route, we stuck with more of the same this year. The 10K took runners on a whistle-stop tour of Glasgow’s city-centre, taking in the very best of this incredible city.”

Kilgour added:

“We hope our runners can now enjoy some well-earned celebrations for the rest of Father’s Day and reflect in their amazing achievements this morning.”

For those who want to do it all again or who missed out on Glasgow, there is still another chance to join the fun when the Men’s 10K returns to Edinburgh for the third time in November.

Edinburgh will host the event on Sunday 5th 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 results from Glasgow, visit https://www.mens10k.com/glasgow/.

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