Scottish teen is doin' it for Doddie in 6 Nations inspired running challenge
Since the start of the new year, people across the country have been pledging miles and money for My Name’5 Doddie Foundation in the inter-district challenge, Doddie Gump.
At the same time Doddie Gump took off, Ben Liddall, aged 17 from Edinburgh, began his own challenge in aid of MND which will see him run over 1,000 miles in 100 days.
Other than flying out from the back row of a scrum, BATS Rugby player Ben admittedly has never been much of a runner:
“Because of lockdown, I wasn’t able to take part in rugby as usual. I knew loads of people who took but running but me and my mates started cycling to stay active and as a way to hang out.”
Unfortunately, on one of his cycling trips in the summer of 2020, Ben was involved in a nasty accident.
“I was cycling through Princes Street gardens in Edinburgh, and I thought I could make it down the steep hill that’s there, but it didn’t exactly pan out as I’d hoped, and I suffered a serious concussion. I went to hospital to get checked over and I was placed on bed rest for two weeks. That meant no technology and no exercise at all.”
“I was really lucky, it could have been a lot worse”, said Ben.
After two weeks of rest, Ben decided to set himself a new fitness goal as a means of active recovery from his concussion. The goal? To run a marathon!
On 25 August, Ben completed his first marathon, running all the way to South Queensferry from his home and back again.
Although the run was tough, Ben was left feeling invigorated and motivated, so he decided to keep up the running. That's when he devised the 1,000 miles in 100 days challenge.
“Since that my challenge will take place during the 6 Nations tournament, I came up with the idea of running the distance between the home nation’s stadiums. So, I’m virtually going from BT Murrayfield to the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, to the Principality in Wales, to Twickenham and back to BT Murrayfield. That’s 1,042 miles in total.”
Given the enormity of the challenge, Ben wanted to add another layer to it, and so he began to cast his mind back to his two weeks of bed rest, when he read Doddie Weir’s autobiography.
“I think everyone in Scotland knows who Doddie is and what he has been through in the last few years. To read his story from his playing days to where he is now, it’s so inspirational, and being a rugby player myself, I felt this connection to Doddie’s story. So, I figured I could do my challenge as a fundraiser for My Name’5 Doddie Foundation.”
Ben, who is currently averaging 11 miles a day (with the aim of crawling back a day or two for some well-earned recovery) initially set a target of £50, which after no time at all was smashed, and his current total sits at over £2,800.
Over the last few week’s, Ben’s challenge has caught the attention of rugby icons including Scott Hastings, Jade Konkel and John Eales who have all sent messages of support and encouragement to Ben via social media.
“I really didn’t expect my challenge to take off in the way that it has, but the support I’ve received online has been amazing. To have had legends of the sport like John Eales reach out and donate has honestly been mind-blowing!”
“To everyone who has supported me and donated, I’d like to say a huge thanks. It means a lot to me and the money raised will make a huge difference.”
From everyone at Scottish Rugby, we wish Ben all the best of luck for the rest of his challenge.