THE REGION’S medical director put his own physical fitness to the test, running the London Marathon in support of local charity Blood Bikes.
Dr Kenneth Donaldson took on the 26.2 mile challenge which he describes as ‘long, tough but inspiring’ for the charity which he credits with playing a key role supporting the region’s health services – raising a mighty £3048 in the process.
Praising Dumfries and Galloway Blood Bikes, Dr Donaldson, 51, said: “This team provides an invaluable service to our region, and does so on an entirely voluntary basis.
“Day in, day out, these bike riders and car drivers are moving from location to location, transporting materials ranging from urgent blood to blood samples, medical equipment, medical notes and medications – so much of which will be pivotal in the lives of so many patients within Dumfries and Galloway.
“This is an entirely free service, staffed entirely by volunteers and funded through charitable donations.
“For everything they do every single day, I was happy to put on my running shoes and take on the 26.2 mile challenge to raise funds for them.”
Dr Donaldson reveals it was seeing a friend take on the London Marathon which put the idea in his mind.
He said: “I watched a good friend run the London Marathon last year and found myself getting quite emotional, so I entered the lottery for a place in this year’s event.
“Everyone told me no one ever gets a place on the first go, and none of my friends who tried with me did, but I was successful.
“In the past I’ve done regular 5 and 10k runs and did a half marathon in 2017 but taking on the marathon in London last month represented a major challenge, and prompted long months of training in anticipation of the big day.
“The atmosphere was electric on the day, and that together with the determination to deliver on the pledges people had kindly made in support of Blood Bikes helped carry me round the route.
“That said, it was a really tough challenge. The training itself took up a lot of my time and was often quite lonely, the exact opposite of the experience on the day. I will never forget the encouragement from the crowd which restored my faith in humanity! My t-shirt had my name and ‘Running for Dumfries and Galloway Blood Bikes’ on it and for over 5 hours I was regaled with ‘Come on, Ken, well done, Ken, do it for the Blood Bikes, Ken’. This definitely helped get me to the finish line.
“I’ve always loved the film Chariots of Fire, and one bit that always gets me is when Eric Liddell is struggling and when it looks like he won’t win his friend mutters. ‘His head’s no back, yet’.
“His head goes back and he wins.
“While I definitely didn’t win the marathon, my head did go back at the finish line, and with some pride at what those people who had pledged their donations in support had been able to do to help such a worthy cause.”
Dumfries and Galloway Blood Bikes have welcomed the fund-raising efforts, expressing gratitude for the monies raised.
Chairman Dave Hook said: “What Ken did in support of Dumfries and Galloway Blood Bikes is amazing.
“He put himself through an extremely physical challenge, but was also fantastic at encouraging people to make donations as he prepared to do this – all of it set to benefit our teams, supporting the work they continue to undertake every day.”
To donate to Dumfries and Galloway Blood Bikes, visit https://dgbloodbikes.org.uk/donate/