Posts Taged menshealth

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.

Read More
Richard Fenton – Blog 1

Richard Fenton – Ambassador Blog 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read More
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/.

Read More
Men’s 10K Glasgow launches for 2018

Men’s 10K Glasgow launches for 2018!

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

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

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

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

Event director Neil Kilgour said:

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

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

Read More
Jay Cruz Semple: “Men’s 10k Glasgow – my favourite event”

“Men’s 10k Glasgow – my favourite event”

“Men’s 10k Glasgow – my favourite event”. An easy and obvious sentence to open a blog about the Men’s 10k, and one you’d probably expected. But it’s true. It is in my heart, it’s a passion to me and part of who I am as a runner. But who am I?

My name is Jay Cruz Semple. I’m a visually impaired, 37 year old athlete from Glasgow, and I suffer from a degenerative eye condition, Choroideremia, which affects the blood cells around the retina leading to a total loss of sight.

Back in 2012, the Glasgow Men’s 10k was my first ever running event. My eyesight at that time was already deteriorating and I only had tunnel vision. Two close friends had lost their father to prostate cancer in May 2012, and my poor eyesight was not going to stop me running in his memory, and raising money for a deserving charity.

I ran a further 28 races that year, running in my trademark kilt and raising money for Prostate Cancer, Macmillan and Cancer Research UK. Of all the events, the Men’s 10k remained my favourite – for the route, the piper leading runners to the start, the amazing support along the route and the family atmosphere.

Fast forward five years; I’ve completed every Glasgow Men’s 10K since my first. There was a wobble in 2013 when the event nearly didn’t go ahead. I campaigned furiously with the running community and local councillors to ensure the event continued. The Men’s 10k is the only event on the calendar aimed solely at men, and promoting men’s health issues. New organisers were brought in, the Edinburgh Men’s 10K was added in 2015 (which I will hopefully complete this year) and there was talk of a London event; I think this would be an amazing addition to the running calendar. I was the official starter for the Glasgow edition in 2016 which being a Glaswegian myself was a great honour and a fabulous experience.

I am now a father to a beautiful 4-year-old son, which adds an extra something to the Men’s 10k as it is always held on Father’s Day and Tyler-James is there to greet me at the finish line. My eye condition has deteriorated to the point where I can no longer see his cheeky wee smile, and the drawings and pictures he brings home from nursery.

I now require a running guide to participate in events but haven’t let this stop me. I aim to represent my country at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, and recently completed my first marathon in Stirling, where I met my running idols, Liz McColgan and Zola Budd. Men’s 10K Glasgow 2017 will be my 100th race, all wearing my kilt. I travel around the UK to compete in events raising awareness of my condition, and funds for the private treatments necessary to hopefully help me see my son again.

To donate visit: justgiving.com/crowdfunding/jaycruz

To follow my progress, follow me on social media: facebook.com/JayCruzSemple/

Read More
Men’s 10K Glasgow to mark number 327 of Dunbartonshire man’s 365 10Ks challenge for Dementia Charities

Men’s 10K Glasgow to mark number 327 of Dunbartonshire man’s 365 10Ks challenge for Dementia Charities

Maurice Donohue from West Dunbartonshire will run the Glasgow Men’s 10K on Father’s Day, Sunday 18th June as part of an incredible challenge which he embarked upon last summer. Maurice pledged to run 365 10K races and 27 Half Marathons in 365 days, in a bid to raise funds and awareness for the Sporting Memories Network and Race Against Dementia which offer support to dementia sufferers and fund research into a cure for the condition, respectively. His decision to raise for these charities is part of a tribute to two Dunbartonshire-born sporting legends: Formula 1’s Jackie Stewart who has seen his wife suffer from dementia in recent years, and Jackie’s namesake Lachie, who won Commonwealth Gold in the 10,000m for Scotland at the 1970 Games in Edinburgh.

Maurice commented: “I am particularly passionate about two things; sport and helping to tackle dementia. My first love is distance running and helping people to get active. As a proud resident of West Dunbartonshire, I wanted to honour my sporting heroes Lachie and Jackie Stewart. I hope the challenge I’m taking on will help raise awareness of dementia, get people physically active and support the fight against dementia, celebrating the role that sport can play in this battle.”

Maurice, pictured above after his 289th 10K in Dumbarton this week, is firmly on track to achieve his target having also completed six half marathons to date. The Glasgow Men’s 10K will be 10K number 327, pushing Maurice ever closer to his pledge, which has also been officially passed by the Scottish Parliament with their best wishes. To add an extra sprinkling of startdust to proceedings, Maurice will also be joined on the Glasgow start line by MSP and Olympian Brian Whittle who raised the motion referenced above and is fully in support of Maurice’s #RunWithMaurice campaign.

You can find out more about Maurice’s fundraising and make a donation here.

Read More