I am running nine races in nine months in memory of our friend Gavin Burns, who we sadly lost in 2022.
I am far from athletic. The closest I came to sporting prowess at university was coxing the women's third rowing boat, where I proved very adept at crashing. But I started running a few years ago after yet another period of excessive workload led to me being signed off from work. I found the odd run here and there was useful in keeping low mood at bay. I then started running in earnest during the pandemic as a means of keeping both mentally and physically healthy, as well as socially distant. Running is now a regular part of my life.
While running has helped me with mental health, not everyone is so lucky. So in 2023 I am running nine races in nine months to raise money for the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) in memory of Gavin Burns (1975-2022). CALM is leading a movement against suicide, the single biggest killer of men under the age of 45 in the UK. Anyone can hit crisis point. CALM run a free and confidential helpline and web-chat 7 hours a day, 7 days a week for anyone who needs to talk about life's problems.
My current plan is as follows:
18 March - The Cupar 5, Cupar
23 April - The Scone Palace 10K, Scone
14 May - The Loch Leven Half Marathon, Kinross
4 June - The Chariots Beach Race, St Andrews
23 July - Scurry to the Sea, Musselburgh
27 August - The Perth 10K, Perth
10 September - The Great North Run, Newcastle
1 October - The Great Scottish Run, Glasgow
5 November - Scurry around Tentsmuir Forest, Tayport
If all goes to plan, this is about 125 km. So why not just run a marathon (or two)? I had indeed planned to run my first marathon last year. I obtained expert advice from a marathon-running colleague, and then proceeded to ignore this advice since it meant running less regularly than I normally do. I ended up overtraining and injuring myself. My marathon aspirations are therefore on hold because I am an idiot.
Why nine races? I am limiting myself to one race per month to try to prevent another injury. Similarly, running races in Scotland in the middle of winter is asking for trouble, so I plan to stop in November. But I hope that this still provides sufficient challenge to raise money for a worthwhile cause. I am aiming to raise £100 per race and hope that you will consider supporting me.