Thank You

There are so many people to thank that, for the second year in a row,  it’s a little overwhelming. I was, once more,  blown away by the amount of kindness and support I received on this 544-mile adventure.

I certainly couldn’t have done this alone and the contributions of the people below went a huge way towards helping me raise awareness and funds for the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation.

Thank you, and let’s get world free of MND!

Fay and Alan Tunnicliff

As has become traditional, I set off on my journey to the start line via a lift from Mum and Dad, this time to Southampton airport. Thank you for that and your unflinching support and help with preparing for this year’s run. I couldn’t do it without you!

Doing The Great Rugger Run turns my brain to mush. I find myself making mistakes that I never normally would – for example, telling my folks that I would be arriving back at Southampton Airport two hours earlier than my flight was scheduled! Thank you for waiting and being so patient.

Fay and Alan Tunnicliff
Lewis MacFarlane

Lewis MacFarlane

Lewis was an absolute legend. He organised everything for my start at Oban Lorne, including a fantastic guard of honour from the local school kids. He took me on a tour of Oban Lorne RFC and was kind enough to introduce me to all the members.

After my flight was delayed he commandeered a car and drove all the way to Glasgow airport in shocking weather to pick me up – what a legend. He then also put me up for the night and drove my bag all the way to Dalmally the following day. And he brought me a club tie. Thanks mate!

The Packham's

Huge thanks to my old footie team-mate (from nearly 30 years ago!) Jerry Packham and his wonderful family; Sara, Issy, and especially Erin who gave up her bedroom for me for two nights!

Countless lifts, wonderful food, incredible hospitality, laundry washed and dried on the Aga, packed lunches, tartan toast, and Jerry even dusted off his trainers and came running too. And they introduced me to Monty too!

Thank you!

Jerry Packham and family
Grant Montgomery

Grant Montgomery

Grant, a member at GHK and a rugby man through and through, was a fantastic supporter of this year’s run. Helping out with lifts and dropping me in Glasgow following the end of Day 4.

Thank you!

Tim Abrams

Tim put me up for the night at the end of Day 4 and fed me a fantastic vegan feast. A pick’n’mix bonanza of lovely foodstuffs. But more than that, he shared his story about how he’s transforming Glasgow Raptors and bringing so many new people into rugby. It’s an inspirational story and one I hope to share with listeners of The Amateur Rugby Podcast soon.

Thank you, Tim!

Tim Abrams
Marc Wood

Marc Wood

With zero fuss and a can-do attitude, Marc picked my bag up and drove it all the way to Whitecraigs for me, dropping it at my accommodation so it was waiting for me when I arrived, soaking wet and freezing cold.

It’s such an incredible help to have this support. Thank you, Marc!

Dougie Tyler and family

When Dougie invited me to stay with him and his family in Ardrossan, he did so with one of the greatest emails I’ve ever received. It went into so much detail about everything I could expect – it made me feel incredibly welcome and as a result, I was excited running all the way there from Whitecraigs!

Dougie picked me up from Ardrossan RFC, showed me around the club, then took me for a drive along the coast road to get a view of Arran at sunset. Sadly, the Scottish weather had other ideas as Arran was completely covered in cloud.

Then it was back home to meet the family, and the dogs and to enjoy a fabulous Spaghetti Bolognese! I was sent on my way with a wonderful packed lunch as Dougie dropped me off for another day’s running.

Thank you all!

Dougie Tyler
Rory McGee

Rory McGee (and Mum and Aunt and Uncle!)

My ‘Ayrshire Rep’, Rory was an absolute hero. He setup connections and contacts at several clubs, ran with me into Marr, introduced me to a ton a local legends, took me for dinner at his Aunt and Uncles and then got me a bed for the night at his Mum’s!
He also picked my bag up from Ardrossan and arranged a physio check up at Marr rugby club too. What a TGRR Hero!

Jackie McGee

Having only arrived home from a lengthy spell abroad earlier that day, I can’t thank Jackie enough for putting me up. Not only that, she sorted out my laundry and dropped me off the following morning with a packed lunch, too.

Thank you, Jackie!

Tony Peters - Marr Rugby

Tony Peters

Tony dropped me back to Marr Rugby to start Day 8. But before that he took me out for a smashing breakfast in Troon. The Great Rugger Run is really all about the people and Tony was terrific company. He then drove my bag all the way to Cumnock ready for my arrival.
Top man – cheers, Tony!

Harry Reilly

Harry was a superstar in Cumnock. He arranged a local hotel for me and then picked up my bag and drove it all the way to Strathaven the following day – finding one of the club shipping containers to hide it in until my arrival!

Harry absolutely lives and breathes rugby and it was a pleasure to spend time with him. Thank you!

Harry Reilly
Grant Neilson

Grant Neilson

Grant got a late call-up but was nothing short of astonishing in organising everything about my stop in Strathaven with less than 24hrs notice. It was remarkable.

He organised people to meet me at the club, a hotel room to get changed and showered in, a gang of lads to take me for food and beers, a hotel room for the night and then he even picked my bag up and drove it to Hamilton the following day.

Stuff of legend. Thank you!

Stevie Anderson

My former teammate (from 24 years ago!) was another bedrock of this year’s run. He jumped in to help me without delay and put me in contact with a ton of useful people around the rugby clubs of Scotland.

He met me at Hamilton Bulls, and showed me around the place. Then we took the short walk home for pre-dinner snacks and then a fantastic feast with wife Tara. Laundry was done and then it was time for a 90-minute soak in the hot tub. That and a glass or two of wine led to the best night’s sleep I had on this year’s run. Thanks, Stevie!

Also huge thanks to Tara for driving my bag up to Cumbernauld the following day.

Stevie Anderson
Chris Burns

Chris Burns

Chris was another remarkable human. Tasked with finding me accommodation (after he’d played a starring role in Cumbernauld’s victory that afternoon) he eventually ran out of options and so gave me his whole house! I mean it, he and his fiance house-sat for a family member and I got to look after their fluff-ball of a cat for the evening!

He then picked me up in the morning, drove me to my start line at Cumbernauld RFC and dropped my bag off at Bannockburn – absolute hero! Thanks, Chris!

Jimmy Samuel

Jimmy was an absolute force of good energy. Whooping and a hollering as I jogged into Bannockburn, he then gave me an absolutely fantastic tour of the club and grounds before driving my bag all the way up to Hillfoots later that evening – kindly timing his arrival to meet me the moment I finished my run.

You’re a legend Jimmy, thank you!

Jimmy Samuel
Jan & John Parker

Auntie Jan & John Parker

Talk about support. These two were supreme. And it’s another lovely by-product of The Great Rugger Run that I get to spend quality time with people that I don’t see as much as I’d like to. Due to a slight change of plan surrounding the Queen’s State Funeral, I ended up staying with them for three nights – which is beyond luxury on TGRR.

They both picked me up and dropped me off at Hillfoots and Perthshire RFC and finally drove my bag all the way to Dundee. I was given so much amazing food, including packed lunches and the best home-made flapjack in the world.

There might be even more thanks due their way next year as they’ve volunteered to do some of the behind the scenes work (which I’m not great at) to optimise future runs. But for now, Thank you!!!

Gavin Anderson

Gavin helped me so much across two days. He picked me up from St Andrews and drove me all the way back to his place in Cupar for a banging chili. Freshened up and with laundry on the way, he then took me down the local pub to meet up with some chaps from the Howe of Fife club for a few beers – probably one too many if truth be told 🙂

A smashing brekkie the following morning and then Gav had arranged a lift for me back down the road to St Andrews so that I could start my run from the same place I’d finished the previous day. I then ran all the way to Howe of Fife to see the 2nd half of Gav’s youth team playing against Madras in a local derby!

Finally, he had arranged that night’s stay with the family of one of his players and who helpfully live very close to the finish line of that day’s run in Glenrothes!

Thanks Gav, you did more to help than any single person should – you absolute hero!

Gavin Anderson and Steven Greig with Tim Tunnicliff
Gavin Anderson and Steven Greig with Tim Tunnicliff

Steven Greig

Steven was one of the Howe of Fife chaps I’d met with Gav the previous evening and he very kindly agreed to pick me up bright and early to drive me out to St Andrews so I’d have time to run back to see some of their fixture that afternoon.

Fabulous company over beers and a drive – thanks Steve!

Kirsten Bayne & Family

Kirsten, Colin and Laughlan, the lovely Family Bayne – I couldn’t have felt more comfortable in their company.

Kirsten and Laughlan were there waiting for me as I arrived at Glenrothes RFC – whooping, hollering and a cheering – what a lovely welcome. Kirsten then took me on a little drive around the local area so that I could get a feel for the place.

Then it was back home for shower, laundry and what appeared to be endless lasagne. It was absolutely delicious too. I think I ended up having 4th’s! Kirsten was, and continues to be, an incredible supporter of the run.

The following morning, full scrumptious scrambled eggs on toast, I was dropped off at Glenrothes RFC to start my run and Kirsten drove my bag to Dunfermline – legendary!

Thank you all!

Kirsten Colin and Lachlan Bayne with Tim Tunnicliff
Steve and Sarah Turnbull with Tim Tunnicliff

Steve & Sarah Turnbull

I’d spent all of 5 minutes in the house of lovely Steve and Sarah Turnbull before they invited me to stay for a 2nd night! We were discussing onward logistics, and well, it just seemed to make sense – how kind!

Steve had picked me up from Dunfermline RFC, taken me on a lovely tour of the beautiful city, pointing out plenty of points of interest; ‘King Robert The Bruce’ carved into the top of the Abbey like a medieval billboard being my favourite. Then it was home for a shower, laundry and even a post-dinner glass of wine to accompany the incredible cheeseboard. Properly spoilt!

The following morning, after a lovely breakfast, Steve dropped me off at Dunfermline for my run across the Forth Road Bridge and into Edinburgh. At the end of the day he then picked me back up from Edinburgh for another evening that broadly matched the one before. More cheese. More wine. Yum!

The following morning and with more than a tinge of sadness, Sarah drove me all the way to Murrayfield to kick off Day 21. Thank you Steve & Sarah – you were awesome!

Bruce Aitchison

What a geezer! Mr ‘Happiness is Eggshaped‘ could not have been more supportive throughout. From getting me on his podcast to appearing as a guest on mine. All the social media hype and pumping up. Putting me in contact with a bunch of good folk and being there to welcome me as I came through the gates at Merchiston Castle School.

I was invited to watch the senior squad train that afternoon – always an enjoyable thing for me – and then invited back that evening for supper. It was great to sit down and chat rugby with someone I’ve been dying to meet IRL for some time.

Bruce then, against all bets, even laced up his trainers and came running with me the following morning. And watch out Scotland because Eggshaped is now ON THE RUN – he’s signed up for the Edinburgh Marathon which he’s also doing in support of My Name’5 Doddie Foundation.

And there’s more… Bruce also took my bag and drove it over to Leith for some last rugby chats whilst we watched Leith RFC train. There was just time for one last vice-like handshake and a big, manly hug before we parted ways. Until next time, thanks Bruce!

Bruce Aitchison with Tim Tunnicliff
Jim and Margaret Smith with Tim Tunnicliff

Jim & Margaret Smith

Jim, Margaret and Cash the dog were just wonderful hosts. Jim welcomed me to Leith where I enjoyed their licenced bar within a school – true story. We then watched training before heading home for a lovely bit of food. Cash, after taking a few minutes to soften eventually became my new best friend.

The following morning it seemed Cash had forgotten about our new friendship as he took time out from his breakfast to bark at me. It didn’t interrupt my brekkie though and Jim and Margaret dropped me back off at Leith RFC to continue my journey.

They then drove all the way to Haddington later in the day to cheer me home, deliver my bag and stay for a lovely chat afterwards – it was so nice to see familiar faces, even if we’d only met the previous day!

Thanks Jim, thanks Margaret and thanks Cash!

Keith Wallace

Every year it seems like one person ‘gets’ The Great Rugger Run, jumps in with two feet and supports what I’m doing with incredible vigour and passion. This year that was undoubtedly, Keith Wallace. My first email from Keith months before the event had everything covered that I needed and many extra things that were his own ideas.

Keith organised 40 (forty) of the local kids to run with me for the last two miles into Haddington RFC. It was some sight, in the torrential rain, as I felt like Rocky Balboa but running down a Scottish High Street rather than through the streets of Philadelphia. Those same kids quickly formed a guard of honour as I was welcomed to Haddington by a lone piper and a gallery of applauding parents – and Keith himself resplendent in his My Name’5 Doddie Foundation cycling jersey which he’d purchased especially for my arrival – what a man!

Then there were pies and sausage rolls; really delicious ones from the local baker. People were being asked to make a donation to my fund in exchange for sumptuous baked goods – and it worked as my total rocketed during my time in Haddington.

Keith and I then recorded a really cracking video as we toured the club house. So many interesting stories, photos and even a goat. Then it was back to Keith’s place to freshen up and for some much-needed relaxation, a lovely dinner and some more fantastic rugby stories and anecdotes.

Lastly, Keith sorted me out with a smashing breakfast and most importantly didn’t get upset when I accidentally, due to my legs being a little tired, smashed a beautifully framed picture off his wall! I still feel bad about that!

Thanks Keith – and best of luck with your SRU Vice-Presidency!

Keith Wallace with Tim Tunnicliff
Paul Cranston with Tim Tunnicliff

Paul Cranston

Paul made my life very easy. He absolutely nailed everything about my visit to Jedburgh. From greeting me at Jed, introducing me to Roy Laidlaw, arranging bacon butties and more sweet tea than was probably good for me.

I was then presented with of a photo of the three 9’s – Roy Laidlaw, Greig Laidlaw and Gary Armstrong – who all came from Jed and went on to play for Scotland and The Lions! I also got given some delicious Jethart Snails and awesome club kit.

I was then whisked away to the hotel he’d arranged, courtesy of a kind club sponsor (see below), and he took my laundry home with him – a brave man! Later, he met me at the local burger joint (less than 100m from where I was staying) to treat me to a lovely meal – which I couldn’t finish – the burgers were huge!

The following morning Paul returned my laundry and wished me well as my incredible time in Jed was about to come to an end. Oh, he also transported my bag from Gala and onwards to Melrose – a proper TGRR Hero!

Rob from Meadhon Guest House

Rob agreed to sponsor my night’s stay in Jedburgh at his wonderful guest house. It was a truly delightful experience and it was brutal to leave the comfort and head out again the following day. Rob was an awesome host and told me all about the local area and customs such as ‘Common Riding’.

Thanks, Rob. I hope to visit again some day.

Rob from Meadhon Guest House with Tim Tunnicliff

Abi Smith

My finish-line hero. Abi organised everything at Melrose RFC including an incredible finale as I delivered the match ball for the 1st XV match vs Aberdeen – a game in which two of Doddie’s sons were playing. Just an incredibly kind and supportive host who also arranged my nights stay in the local hotel – thank you Abi!
So sorry that we didn’t get a photo!

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Thank you, and get out and run!