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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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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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