On your marks: reasons why Great Scottish Runners will pound the streets of Glasgow

Sabrina Pia

The training is almost over, and competitors are poised to start the Bank of Scotland Great Scottish Run, which takes place in Glasgow this weekend.

Up to 30,000 people are expected to take part in either the 10k or half marathon, with many running for an inspiring reason,  including spreading hope to other countries and cultures all over the globe.

Here are some of the inspiring runners and their stories:

Student nurse Sabrina Pia, 19, from Glasgow

Sabrina has set herself a tall order: the 10k this weekend, only days after climbing Ben Nevis.

She is raising money for a trip to Thailand, where she is going next July with 29 other student nurses. All the money raised is collected by the FutureSense Foundation who organise the Challenge Abroad programme.

They will be helping children and families in disadvantaged communities by promoting health and wellbeing, as well as teaching the children about healthy eating, dental hygiene, and drinking clean water

Sabrina said: “I am a student paediatric nurse who cares about the health of children and want to help make a difference to the lives of children living in deprived and poverty-stricken communities.

“I am very passionate about the career I am about to enter and it is very rewarding to help those who are less fortunate. I Hope to make a huge difference to the lives of children and families in Chiang Mai, helping them to live a safer and healthier lifestyle.

“Additionally, this experience will be a good opportunity for me and my future career as a child nurse, gaining me the knowledge and insight into the lives of those who live in a developing country.”

Student Paul Muir, 17, from Largs


Medical student Paul Muir was deeply affected when he saw an African mother grieving after the loss of her newborn daughter.

Paul was working in a hospital in Tanzania with four other students, and he saw how people struggled to get the care they needed and the lack of basic medical equipment available.

He said: “There are so many lives that could be saved if the doctors had the proper equipment that people in the UK take for granted.”

Back home and continuing his studies, he and four friends are hoping to raise £3000 this weekend which will help a hospital buy equipment for basic surgical procedures.

He said: “As well as raising money, we want to raise awareness and show that there are thousands of people living in terrible conditions that need our help. There are people who can’t afford to pay for their treatment in many places across the world and not just in Africa.”

Paul, who admits he is not the fittest, said that running 10k is going to be a challenge for him, but it’s nothing compared to some of the pain he has witnessed.

He said: “My worst experience working in the hospital was watching a mother grieving over her newborn daughter who had sadly passed away shortly after birth. I have visited orphanages and have been aghast at the number of parentless children living there, and some of the deaths of their parents could have been prevented with the right medical care.”

Civil engineer Niamh Callaghan, 27, from Glasgow


Niamh is on a mission – to build five houses for five families in nine days. She’s part of a group of 10 runners raising money for the Gathimba Edwards Foundation, a charity founded by champion runners Myles Edwards and Gideon Gathimba, who trained together in Kenya.

GEF offers sustainable support for disadvantaged children in Kenya and their projects provide much needed accommodation and running water for Kenyan children and their families.

Niamh said of this weekend: “We are hoping to raise a collective total of £4000, which will cover the £2500 cost of one house plus a lot more. A small amount can go a long way – £10 pays the tuition fees of one primary school child in Kenya for a whole year, and £35 pays the education, food, clothing and shelter of one child for a month.”

Next week, four of the running group, including Niamh, will be travelling to Kenya on the volunteer building trip. The aim is to build the five homes, which will be home to 25 children.

She said: “I want to allow Kenyan kids to achieve anything they put their minds to, just like every runner does when they refuse to stop putting one foot in front of the other.”

They will be helping families like Monica and her five children, Nelson, Jelegat, Faith, Victor and Kevin, who live in Kessup, near Iten.


Last year the family lost their father to HIV. Short on food, they were living in a mud hut and sharing a bed, with the children unable to go to school because the family couldn’t afford the fees. After some assistance from the foundation they are sleeping comfortably in bunk beds, eating regular meals, wearing new clothes and the children are back in school.

They are, however, still in a cramped mud hut and they are one of the families who will receive a new home next month.

Alastair Seaman, Tillicoultry, director, International Nepal Fellowship


Alastair was living with his family in Nepal when the earthquakes hit and experienced the devastation first-hand.

He said: “The minutes of shaking were some of the most anxious moments of my life. I’ll never forget the overwhelming relief of getting out of the building safely with my family, mixed with a heavy heart in the knowledge that thousands would not be so lucky and that millions would be left homeless.”

Now living in Tillicoultry near Stirling, he was back in Nepal last May to see how the International Nepal Fellowship has supported rural communities to re-build their lives.

Some of the people he met included a teenage girl who had been badly burned. The earthquake had destroyed her home and she was living in a tiny cow shed with her dad. While he was out in the fields, she had an epileptic fit and fell into the fire, suffering horrendous burns.

Alastair said: “It’s an example of how people with disabilities often face additional hardships and suffering following natural disasters.”

INF has a special project to help people with disabilities affected by the quake to re-build their lives and their homes, and work with local community leaders to identify the most vulnerable.

Alastair has set an ambitious target of raising £1900 which is the cost of re-building a house in Nepal. He said: “I want to bring shelter, security, hope and a new start for a person with disability in Nepal and their family.”

Entries for the half marathon are now closed but you can still enter the 10k until Saturday. Go here

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