The runners will complete the journey from Glasgow to Edinburgh on 28 November.
Three University of Glasgow medical students plan to run 100k in one day to raise funds and awareness of men’s mental health this Movember. Angus Reynolds, Rory Anderson, and Pri Anthonyrajan are currently training to run 100km in one day in what they call the "Tash Dash", from Scotstoun, Glasgow to Murrayfield, Edinburgh, which is more than twice the distance of a marathon.
The run is set to go ahead on Saturday 28 November and has garnered a significant amount of attention so far with just under 500 likes on the Tash Dash Facebook page and has already raised over £1500 in donations. The Facebook page for the event is also filled with colourful updates, humorous “runner profiles” and the most recent addition: a “Giveaway” raffle whose competitive prizes include a signed Scotland Rugby shirt, gym memberships and a myriad of food and coffee vouchers.
Runner one is Reynolds, who alongside studying for his medical degree has also, and arguably more impressively, rode an ostrich, time and location unknown. He states his “spirit animal” is a honey badger (further details provided on request) and proclaims his favourite running track to be an age-old classic: The Chain by Fleetwood Mac.
Anderson, the second of the trio, hasn’t let go of his primary school chess victory and hopes to add another medal to his apparently modest collection by the end of the month. Motivated by his spirit animal, the sun bear, a unique and potentially mythical choice, it’s Jimi Hendrix' All Along the Watchtower that he says will help push him through the run in a few weeks' time.
Completing the group is Anthonyrajan, a moustache veteran and Movember loyalist, proudly clinging onto his title of The Glasgow Tab’s “highly coveted and incredibly official” 2019 Moustache of the Year. His spirit animal of “labrador puppy” and running anthem of Frisky by Tinie Tempah and Labrinth combine to give the impression that perhaps 100km may not actually be enough for someone of so much energy.
However, behind the jovialities of the posts stands a far more serious message. Talking to The Glasgow Guardian, the runners state: “Movember is extremely important to us as we feel that it is important to kick the stigma around men’s mental health whilst also raising awareness of Movember’s support for physical health such as testicular and prostate cancer.
“It is very common for men young and old to put on a “brave face” and get on with their problems without sharing them - we feel that this is detrimental both to mental and physical health and that by undertaking this challenge, and raising funds for Movember, that we can help raise awareness regarding men's mental health.
Movember has never been more relevant than this year - in light of Covid-19 many peoples’ mental health has taken a massive hit due to lockdown and its implications. We believe that being able to raise people's awareness of this and get people talking about mental health would bring us a massive amount of satisfaction and reinforce that our Tash Dash has been a positive challenge.”
Movember was started in 2003 by two trend-setting Australian friends who missed the presence of the moustache as a feature of daily life. What initially started as a fad with 30 participants transpired to become a registered charity within the next four years in partnership with the Prostate Cancer Foundation, spread across Australia, NZ, the US, Canada, Spain and the UK.
Several nominations and awards later, there are currently over 6 million worldwide participants of Movember and the number steadily increases. Not only has Movember made striking changes in the international social landscape, but it has also contributed to scientific advances too. The first-ever targeted drug therapy for prostate cancer, Olaparib, was researched and licensed with the aid of Movember’s funding.
Whilst starting out as a charity that raised money for prominent cancers, the Movember Foundation has been particularly vocal in the domain of male mental health. With male suicide rates in England and Wales at the highest levels in two decades, the stigma of mental health discussion by men remains ever-present. The Samaritans website gives detailed figures, describing Ireland’s male suicide rate as three times higher than the female rate. In Scotland, Samaritans detail an increased suicide rate in younger men, in the 15-24 age group, and states that “the suicide rate among young people...has increased by 52.7%,... the highest it has been since 2007.”
Movember has correspondingly helped to stimulate conversation about topics that were once deemed too uncomfortable to discuss. In 2017, the foundation funded a three-part series on the Australian network channel ABC called “Man Up”, which examines gender stereotypes and the high rates of male suicide. With almost three-quarter of a million viewers, Movember helped to revolutionise conversation about men’s mental health. In 2019, the Rugby League World Cup 2021 announced that Movember would be its official delivery partner, ticking off the first mental health charter for an international event.
If you are struggling with any of the issues mentioned in this article, there are always people to speak to. The Samaritans number is free on 116 123, and for immediate online chat, text SHOUT to 85258 to speak online with Heads Together. The University’s Nightline service is available from 7pm to 7am, on 0141 334 9516 or online at www.gunightline.org/. Further University-associated resources can be found here.
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