​Ross Sutherland RFC march into May with mental wellbeing focus

​Ross Sutherland RFC march into May with mental wellbeing focus

Invergordon, located on the Cromarty Firth north-shore and boasts stunning views towards the western Beins and Black Isle.

Based in Invergordon, Ross Sutherland Rugby Club have been able to capitalise on the surrounding beauty to launch their ‘March into May’ fundraising challenge.

The club was inspired by the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation ‘Doddie Aid’ fundraiser to launch a charity event of their own, following a similar activity based format.

The event saw club members and locals from the wider community split into competing teams, pledging to complete a set number of miles by walking, running, cycling or swimming.

Money raised has been split equally between the rugby club, to aid the development of their new clubhouse facility, and the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation.

The joint fundraiser, which started on March 28 and finished on May 1, raised nearly £19,000.

In 2020, the club pledged wellbeing as their focus for the year. Dubbed “the year of wellbeing”, this theme has been carried on into 2021, with ‘March into May’ being a key driver in supporting people’s mental and physical health.

Hundreds of club members and people from the community took part in the event, including men’s player Kevin Drain, his wife Shira and their three children.

Shira, who also supports the club as their International Ticket Co-ordinator, spoke to scottishrugby.org about the positive impact the challenges has had on her family’s mental and physical wellbeing.

“To clock up the miles for the challenge we did jogging, cycling and walking and I have also now started Munro bagging,” said Shira.

“We took part as a family and we all really enjoyed keeping track of our miles. We also did a few miles with my mum who celebrated her 60th birthday last year, and she completed over 1,000 miles for the challenge! Getting my mum involved was a a great way to keep contact with her in a safe way."

“There is no doubt that being involved in the challenge was a brilliant boost for both our physical and our mental wellbeing. We are lucky enough to live in a simply beautiful part of the world and being outdoors and enjoying it can really help put things into perspective, particularly with the restrictions of lockdown and being unable to do all the things we've normally taken for granted.” Shira Drain

Shira, Kevin and their two daughters and son (who play for the club's youth section) out walking in the 'March into May' challenge.

“What I enjoyed most was getting out to enjoying the beauty and nature on our doorstep, raising money and awareness for two great causes. The thought of our efforts making a difference to the MyName'5 Doddie Foundation and those individuals and families affected by MND is immense.

“The added excitement of helping to make our clubhouse facilities top notch and far more accessible was also a great motivator. It was the real boost we all needed and has got us all excited for when we can get back to the club in a more normal fashion.”

Another participant getting out and about in the challenge was Becky Shaw.

Becky, who was the Sutherland team captain, led a huge litter pick across the county of Sutherland, in not only an effort to collect her miles, but to give back to nature.

“When I was asked to join in with the fundraiser, I decided to clean a seven mile stretch of the A9 of litter. Of course my friends saw I was doing this, to which they said ‘that sounds really good, I’ll come and help you’. So every time I was out, they came out.”

Becky was joined by Carene Ross, Vida Ross, Hazel Lyon, and Brenda Irving.

“They were great moral support and it was good way to socialise whilst doing something positive. There is no way I could have done it without them,” said Becky.

Along with the encouragement of her friends, Becky added that the “waves, thumbs up and encouragement as people pass by” was also a fantastic boost to the effort.

Becky Shaw surrounded by bags filled with litter picked on one of her many jaunts along the A9.

Ross Sutherland President, John Scott, has been thrilled with the engagement from the club membership and community, saying: “March into May has been about so much more than the fundraising. It has provided members across our catchment area with a reason to get out into nature and the great outdoors, and it has encouraged safe social interaction during covid restrictions. All these things contribute to more positive mental and physical wellbeing.

“The response from participants has been really inspiring and there is a general consensus that this year’s challenge will be the first of an annual event.”

Rudi Urbach, Scottish Rugby’s Regional Director for Caledonia North said: “I would like to congratulate everyone who took part in Ross Sutherland’s ‘March into May’ challenge. It has been a phenomenal effort, not only in the amount of money raised, but for various ways in which they have encouraged engagement with the great outdoors to support mental and physical wellbeing.”

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