Annual awards

Above: Group of the Year 2016, jogscotland Kintore

We are delighted to announce the 2017 shortlists for this year’s jogscotland Awards. With an incredible 276 nominations across four categories, the challenge of drawing up shortlists was even tougher than usual this year, but we have identified the groups and individuals who we feel particularly exemplify what makes jogscotland such an extraordinary network.

We were particularly pleased with the nominations for the new SAMH Mental Wellbeing Award, established for the first time this year as part of our partnership with SAMH (Scottish Association for Mental Health). The award recognises people and/or groups who have used jogging to improve their own or others’ mental wellbeing.

The jogscotland awards will be presented as part of the jogscotland and scottishathletics Annual Awards Dinner at the Hilton Hotel in Glasgow on Saturday 4 November. Special guests on the night will be Jenny Meadows and Kelly Sotherton.

And the nominees are…

The nominees in brief are as follows – then read on for full details of each.

jogscotland Group of the Year
jogscotland Meldrum
Tain Joggers
The Runbetweeners

jogscotland Achiever of the Year
Keith Cowe – jogscotland Kintore
Ray Cunningham – Galavanters
Yvonne Douglas – Alness jogscotland

jogscotland Leader of the Year
Arlene Botha – Galavanters
Pauline Irving – Nuffield, Queen’s Cross and Airyhall, Aberdeen
Ian Shield – Leven Las Vegas
Duncan Stark – Cambuslang Jog Scotland

SAMH Mental Wellbeing Award
Emma Bidwell – Inverness Leisure
Ted McPake – jogscotland Salsburgh
Jenni Rees-Jenkins – jogscotland Kintore

The nominations in full…

JOGSCOTLAND GROUP OF THE YEAR

jogscotland Meldrum

jogscotland Meldrum began on a cold, dark Thursday evening in February 2016 with a dozen joggers doing 30 second jog intervals. It now has around 100 members, tackling everything up to marathon distances. Joggers range from age nine to 60+, and travel from a wide area to take part in sessions. The group even helps with childcare to enable participation. Members are always visible – and audible – at events as they cheer their friends on, and will often run back to chum one another over the line. The group supports local charitable causes, and marshals at local fundraising events. One nomination said: “The best decision I ever made was joining jogscotland Meldrum and I never want to leave, absolutely love my running family.”

Tain Joggers
Also known as Team Purple, the group is relatively new, having formed in April 2016. Founder and leader Cynthia Duncan is the driving force behind the group, pre-running session routes to check their suitability, keeping in touch with members who have taken time out, and leading two sessions a week – along with a monthly pay day run, which finishes at the pub, dubbed ‘The Prosecco Run’! The group also takes part in virtual runs, completing set distances together and receiving medals for logging them online. Having started with Couch to 5K, 22 members of the group are now preparing to travel together from the Highlands to London to take part in the Landmarks Half Marathon, all supporting different charities of their choice. With options of routes and sessions for all abilities, the group is praised as supportive and sociable. One nomination said: “We are like a big family and support each other so much. Everyone has been on such a journey since we started in 2016.”

The Runbetweeners
The group, which meets at Run4It in Giffnock, has great camaraderie, with many members giving back to the running community by volunteering at parkrun and other events. Members have also enjoyed ‘parkrun tourism’ together, travelling to several different locations. Leaders Jack Arnold and Kenny Taylor are praised as encouraging and inspiring, and never let the group down, winning over even those who were previously sceptical about running. They offer a wide variety of sessions, with time trials to track progress. One nominator said: “Thank you… for turning me into a 63-year-old crazy running lady whose calendar is full of training sessions and race dates!”

JOGSCOTLAND ACHIEVER OF THE YEAR

Keith Cowe – jogscotland Kintore
Keith has not let treatment for cancer get in the way of his running. While recovering from chemotherapy for his second cancer diagnosis in recent years, he took part in the Garioch 5K. Since then has gone from strength to strength, taking part in a number of 10K runs, and the Bennachie Hill Race. He has taken the opportunity to raise money for local cancer charity, Anchor, and even took part in their first male catwalk show to help raise money. His nomination said: “He is full of life and always friendly, encouraging others in the group. Seeing how far and fast he has progressed in his running, it is incredible to think that he received his diagnosis less than a year ago.”

Ray Cunningham – Galavanters
Ray completed his first marathon at the age of 70, and since then has completed a second, with his third scheduled at the time of writing. His nomination said “I have never met such a cheery motivated person… Ray has a way of getting the best out of you – he is super speedy and he is always waiting at the end of a race to cheer his running buddies in.” He makes it his duty to ensure new members feel welcome and give them heaps of encouragement, making sure they come back for week two. His achievements since joining the group are incredible but he always makes sure to look out for others as well as pursuing his own goals.

Yvonne Douglas – Alness jogscotland
Yvonne began Couch to 5K with Alness jogscotland in August last year. Since then she has lost six stone, and knocked an incredible 16 minutes off her 5K time, despite battling injury. Before taking up jogging, Yvonne suffered a badly broken ankle and spent nine days in hospital after having pins inserted. To try and lose the weight she put on as a result, she and a friend decided to take up jogging and signed up with Alness jogscotland. With an original 5K time of around 50 minutes, she has improved steadily and surely, and is due to take part in her first 10K run this autumn. She suffered a further injury at the beginning of this year, but took time to recuperate and went straight back to working towards her running goals. Her nomination described her as “a total inspiration”.

JOGSCOTLAND LEADER OF THE YEAR

Arlene Botha – Galavanters
Arlene leads five sessions a week for her group members, and is described as “A Mrs Motivator, a very good friend as well as a leader”. This year she has achieved all this while training for an ultramarathon herself. Her sunny personality, both highly organised and caring, is an inspiration to all her members, who range in age from 16 to 72. Galashiels is now flooded with blue jogscotland T-shirts, with 60+ joggers turning up every week – all of whom Arlene knows by name. She puts huge amounts of energy into every session, organises social gatherings after every race, and makes people of all ages feel good about themselves, helping them set and achieve their own running goals.

Pauline Irving – Nuffield, Queen’s Cross and Airyhall
Pauline leads at not just one, but three different jogscotland groups in Aberdeen – Nuffield, Queen’s Cross and Airyhall. Having joined Airyhall as a beginner in 2008, she has hardly missed a Tuesday night there in the nine years since. She takes on everything from beginner walk/jog intervals to chumming runners through 20 mile marathon training runs. She is described as “the glue that holds us all together” “the marathon whisperer”, and by one nominator as “my running mum”. Irene has never forgotten what it’s like to be a new runner and regularly gives up the chance of her own PB to run alongside group members at events.

Ian Shield – Leven Las Vegas
Ian has given stalwart support to jogscotland this year. In the face of funding cuts, Ian mobilised a significant campaign to highlight the benefits the jogging network brings to members, and to Scotland as a whole. He organised a 1000-signature petition, arranged for his group to take part in a Reporting Scotland feature demonstrating the benefits of jogscotland, and mobilised members to write to politicians in support. His nomination, from a jog leader with another group, said that, in addition to the campaign’s intention of making a case for funding, it had achieved wider goals: “What I think it has done, of equal importance, is to have brought us all closer together. It’s helped us remind ourselves how important jogscotland really is to a lot of people in a lot of ways.” Ian continues to promote jogscotland on as wide a stage as possible, meeting politicians in person and lobbying the NHS to recommend jogscotland, among other things.

Duncan Stark – Cambuslang Jog Scotland
Duncan is a devoted jog leader who shows compassion and commitment to his members. He even ran on the morning of his daughter’s wedding so as not to let anyone down! He has raised thousands of pounds for charity through the group, leading for free and gathering the £1.50 session donations for good causes. He then gives everyone in the group a turn to choose a charity close to their heart for a £100 donation. Among them was a group member who chose to donate the money to an orphanage in their home country of Malawi, funding baby milk and other essentials. One nominator said his leadership had changed their life for the better: “Not only did joining jogscotland change me as a person physically and mentally but I have made genuinely lovely friends.”

SAMH MENTAL WELLBEING AWARD

Emma Bidwell – Inverness Leisure
Emma has Asperger Syndrome along with some other health issues. She joined jogscotland Inverness Leisure in 2015 to try running alongside her passion for rowing. She instantly enjoyed it and progressed quickly into an accomplished runner. Although a vulnerable adult, she decided she wanted to take part in races and with support of care workers at Key Housing has completed many races, including the Loch Ness Marathon. She has taken part in the Special Olympics, and makes sure that her health issues don’t stop her from living her life, with exercise being a part of that. She is described as “An incredible character and so good for jogscotland.”

Ted McPake – jogscotland Salsburgh
Ted uses running to support his own physical and mental wellbeing and understands that giving something back to others and his community helps others to achieve their goals too. He established and leads jogscotland Salsburgh, and has fully supported the jogscotland and SAMH partnership, completing both in-person and online mental health awareness training. He also volunteers as a runner with JAPES, an inclusive charity that helps people with disabilities to take part in running events, assisted by a team of runners supporting them in a specialised wheelchair called a Joelette. He ran with the Joelette at Stirling Marathon, the Great Aberdeen Run and North Lanarkshire Leisure Christmas Cracker, and also on a trip to take a schoolboy up Ben Lomond. As well as using running to support his own mental health and wellbeing, Ted has opened up the wellbeing benefits of the running world to those who can’t physically run themselves.

Jenni Rees-Jenkins – jogscotland Kintore
Jenni started running again in 2011 when she was mum to a sick baby and toddler and was battling chronic tiredness and on-going depression. Her friends persuaded her to join a jogscotland group and within eight months she had lost five stone and completed her Jog Leader qualification. Since then she has never looked back and quickly went from a 10km road runner to taking up hill running – and now appears regularly on the ultra-marathon scene. Jenni is very open about what running has done for her mental health and explained in a recent article that “some days I don’t cope with planet Earth very well but a run in the woods or up a hill gets it all sorted and I give myself a good talking too”. She ran ultras throughout 2016, completing 5000km and raising more than £5K for MNDScotland. She also ran London Marathon to raise funds for the mental health charity Heads Together and met Princes William and Harry afterwards to discuss how running has helped her mental health.

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