In a sport so often viewed as the preserve of the young, there is no substitute for experience. When 70-year-old athlete Mel Edwards stands up to talk, the next generation take notice.
The former international competitor is still a regular sight on the streets and paths of his native Aberdeen, taking regular runs to keep fit, and now shares the expertise gained during a lifetime with enthusiastic audiences across the North-east.
Mel will be hosting a workshop on behalf of CLAN Cancer Support on Wednesday (March 6) in Aberdeen, designed to aid runners planning to take part in the forthcoming programme of charity events. Training tips and other advice to be outlined during this week’s session at CLAN House on Westburn Road from 7pm. Booking is essential due to demand for places.
CLAN is one of a number of good causes which will have representatives taking part in the Balmoral Road Race on April 27 and Baker Hughes 10K in Aberdeen on May 18.
For Mel, who remains an active leisure runner despite being diagnosed with the bone marrow cancer Multiple Myeloma in 2006, the charity aspect of the race calendar is close to his heart. He is a patron of CLAN.
Mel, who continues to serve as a civil engineer, said: “My own condition is not curable, but fortunately it is manageable. In the last five years I have only had one day off work, and even then it wasn’t related to the illness. I still run five days a week and the only downside is that one of the drugs I have been prescribed has an impact neurologically on my legs, so my running action is not smooth.
“Because of that frustration I no longer compete, but I do enjoy being involved and by sharing my experience I hope to play a part in events such as the Baker Hughes, Run Balmoral and the likes of the Edinburgh Marathon by helping those who are taking part.”
Mel, a Scottish international at his peak and with more than 100,000 career miles under his belt, believes preparation is the key to success.
He said: “I will be talking about the mental approach in particular, as that is just as important during training as the physical aspects. You have to prepare your mind for the challenge ahead. The necessity to build rest into the schedule is another factor I will touch upon, along with a number of other practical elements.
“I can help put people in touch with training groups, as athletics can be a very lonely pursuit without the right support network around you, and also provide templates for a six week training plan which can be copied and rolled out for as long as required. With Run Balmoral just around the corner, we’re approaching a vital stage.
“Whether people want to push themselves to compete or simply want to ensure they complete the course, I hope I will be able to offer help and advice. It is really is a session for everyone and the response I have had at similar events has been fantastic, with great questions from those attending.”
CLAN is continuing to sign up participants for this year’s Baker Hughes 10K and the Balmoral Road Race. Last year over 170 runners took part in the Baker Hughes event on behalf of the charity and raised over £25,000. This year is the first in which the charity has been a nominated charity for Run Balmoral.
To book a place for the Mel Edwards session on Wednesday, or for more information on entering races on behalf of CLAN, please contact Steph Dowling, fundraising co-ordinator, at CLAN House on 01224 647 000 or email email@example.com
CLAN Cancer Support is an independent charity which provides comfort, support and information, free of charge, for anyone, of any age, affected by any type of cancer. CLAN aims to support people to reduce anxiety, stress and to increase their ability to cope with the effects of a serious illness. Based in Aberdeen, the charity covers the whole of Grampian, Orkney and Shetland. CLAN has a presence in Ballater, Inverurie, Peterhead, Stonehaven, Kirkwall and Lerwick.
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