“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/