Some of the most common questions I’m asked are about sponsorship, namely:

  • Any tips for raising money for charity ?
  • How to get sponsors to help you with kit and costs ?

Below is my personal opinion, based on what I’ve learned from people a lot more successful than me !

Doc Andrew Murray, S2S challenge
Doc Andrew Murray, S2S challenge

Tips for raising money for charity

  1.  Involve people, get them excited about your project !
  2. Update friends and family regularly – how is training going ? What’s going well, what are you going through ?
  3. Use Facebook, twitter, and a blog/website to share your story.
  4. JustGiving, or other similar sites make it easy to donate, and people can Gift Aid donations.
  5. Thank people for their generosity wherever possible.
  6. Consider a raffle/auction, or another event – find some great prizes and you are away.
  7. Make sure you get plenty photos of the event itself, and share them.
  8. Speak to your chosen charity – what are their top tips for fundraisers ? Can they offer you any advice ?

How to get sponsors to help you with kit and costs ?

  1. Rather than asking directly for kit, or money, ask companies or friends if they know anyone that could help. People are usually proud of their contacts.
  2. Think what you can offer the company. It’s got to be for mutual benefit, otherwise expect a “No thanks”. Be specific about what you can offer them.
  3. Let people know what you’ve done previously, and what companies have got out of it in the past.
  4. Be realistic – ask for something you need, and that the company could give you.
  5. It sounds obvious but if sending request by letter or email, put the important bit at the front, and make it as short as possible. 250 words max.
  6. Get a website, and give your sponsors a plug on this, or via social media (ie: a Facebook page), and keep them updated.
  7. Work out which companies have sponsored similar ventures before, and try them!
  8. Pick your event wisely – the more profile the event has, the more chance of success.

Thank you for visiting my sponsors page.

Physical Education


Running to from John O’Groats to the Sahara Desert last year, I was eating enough calories for a 700kg crocodile. I did a fair bit of reading about nutrition for runners. Here are some things I learned. Please feel free to add some tips/comments, and let me know if you disagree:
1) Eat loads of carbohydrate the day before. Things like bread, rice, pasta, potato, etc.
2) Have a smallish meal 2 or 3 hours before the start – a couple bananas or pop tarts are my usual.
3) Eat small amounts often during a race – jelly babies or a gel every 30 mins.
4) Carbohydrate is the body’s preferred fuel during a race – eat this rather than things with fat or protein.
5) DRINK TO THIRST. Drink if you are thirsty, don’t if you’re not.
6) Can get calories in a drink as well as food – 6% carbohydrate is about perfect.
7) Caffeine in the last hour or two of a race improves performance.
8) Eat plenty in the “golden hour” after you finish- you’ll recover better.
9) Take one immodium tablet at the start, it can prevent excess loo stops.
10) Make sure you are used to the food you will race with. Use it during training runs also.

Physical Education

RUN YOUR FIRST 5K, 10K OR MARATHON – with Donnie Campbell

Donnie  was once 17 stone and by his own admission could barely run a 5k, but in 2008 he took up running to lose weight and improve his fitness.  Since then he’s lost 4 stone but won a load of races. He is now a top Running Coach and Personal Trainer.

Doctor Andrew Murray and Donnie Campbell
Doctor Andrew Murray and Donnie Campbell

Donnie  shares 10 tips that personally helped him get started.
Enter A Race
As this will give you a goal to aim for and will help keep you focused and motivated. It does not matter what race you enter as long as its a realistic target for your abilities, so for example if your goal is to run a marathon but have never ran before don’t enter a marathon thats 2-3 months away instead enter one maybe a year away as that will give you plenty time to train and build up for it. Check the Scottish racing calendar.
Get a Pair of Running Trainers
I am a big fan of natural/minimal running as I believe its a more efficient running style, however there is no evidence it reduce injury rate compared to Normal running trainers. So my best advice is find a pair of trainers you feel comfortable to run in and go for it.
Get Out And Run
No matter what your ability is everyone can run, if you are a beginner and can only run for a min, then run min, walk a min and repeat and gradually build it up.  Find an excuse to go running- visit a friend.  For more advice on training check out
Speed Work
No matter what race distance you are doing speed work is important, as if you keep increasing the distance and time you run and don’t do speed work your pace will become slower. I recommend at least 1 speed session depending on what race and fitness level you are at. The most common speed session are Interval, Fartlek, Hill repetitions and Tempo Run. Get more info and suggested speed session.
Join a Running Group or Get a Running Partner
There are so many benefits from joining a running group or having a running partner, it can increase motivation, adherence to your training, as you are less likely to miss a session if you have to cancel on someone. My favourite reason is it make running more sociable and there is nothing I like more than going away for a weekend with friends to run in the hills. Find a running club in your area
Change Eating Habits
The majority of people take up running to lose weight, and when it come to weight loss diet counts for 70% and exercise 30%, so even if you train like an athlete if you have a poor diet and consume more calories than you burn you will still struggle to lose weight. As a Personal Trainer I don’t like to put people on diets as there are only a short term measure, instead I like to try to change the eating habits and behaviours this way once they have lost the weight they will be able to keep it off as well. I recommend only making a few changes to your diet at any one time this way it increase the chance of sticking to it and less likely to fail and give up. So for example change semi skimmed milk to skimmed milk and white bread to brown bread, once this has become a habit then I would look at changing something else like limiting chocolate to one bar a week and so on.
Cross Train
Cross Training can be really effective as it can reduce the risk of  injury especially if you have just started running while still improving your cardiovascular and muscular endurance, also means in some case you can still train even when injured to maintain your fitness. Types of cross training I recommend for running are core workouts (stomach and back muscles), cycling, yoga, Pilates, swimming and walking, basically anything that get your heart above its resting rate and holds it there for at least 20min!
Reward Yourself
Rewarding yourself can be a wee trick used to increase your adherence and motivation to your training. For example if you reach my target or even if I I don’t miss a training session this week I will reward myself with a new piece of running equipment. Also posting about your training on social media sites can be looked as a reward as your friend will likely congratulate you on your commitment to  your training. Note of caution don’t reward yourself after every run with a cake or a take way as this is a short cut to a bigger pair of jeans!!
Running is a Skill
Just like kicking a football running is a skill. Yes everyone can run but some people run more efficiently than others, just like everyone can kick a football but David Beckham can kick a football more effectively than me. So towards the end of a run try to run like you did at the start
Most Importantly have Fun, the best form of physical activity is the activity you enjoy doing as you are more likely to do it more regularly, so if you enjoy running excellent if not find a sport or physical activity you do enjoy doing. Running decreases risk of dying prematurely by 30% so you’re doing yourself a massive favour by getting out there

Running Challenges


Doc Andrew Murray, Gobi Challenge
Doc Andrew Murray, Gobi Challenge

Winner of the 2012 UVU North Pole Marathon, UVU prototype tester and Olympic torch bearer Dr Andrew Murray writes about his experiences doing the Gobi Challenge.
There can be no finer experience in running out there than the Gobi Challenge. The 218km course winds its way through mountains and ice gorges, before descending into the desert plains where the famous Fire Cliffs and sand dunes of the Gobi Desert rear up.
I’d set up the medical cover for this boutique event, but the volume and skills of the doctors and first-aiders present left me free to run also – I couldn’t resist the chance to take on the heat and the terrain.
There were 11 runners at the start as well as a walking group. A couple of good Mongolian runners blasted off on the first day whilst I struggled with a bit of jet lag and a heavy cold. I’d felt fevered in the tent prior to the start, never mind in the 41 degree heat, so it was an uncomfortable day. This was helped massively by the stunning views cutting through high mountain ranges, and the vision of clogs of ice inside the gorges, despite the heat. The stage was won by Mongolian ultra marathon champion Batargal who welcomed me with a sympathetic grin at the finish.
This 6 day event is a self-sufficient Marathon des Sables style event, so you carry all your food and bedding for the week. Each day the pack would get lighter and even on day 2 this was noticeable. Batargal and his compatriot Bayar launched off the front again, although I caught the former sling shotting out of the final canyon, and the latter eventually 2kms from the finish. Cold water and camels snorting greeted us at the finish.
Part of the joy of the trip was having my wife Jennie walking the route, and having the opportunity with the Yamaa Trust to get a bit of work done and see first-hand some of the things the charity had achieved. Day 3’s finish was high in the mountains in a small community who had lost their shelter and goats to fire. The generosity of people supporting my run last year had allowed these to be replaced, and the warm hospitality of our hosts in their new Ger was one of a number of special moments for those on the trip. As a cultural experience, the Gobi Challenge is unsurpassed.
In cooler conditions I’d won days 3 and 4 by decent margins, although cool is a relative term in the Gobi. Running was punctuated by visits to local hospitals, family homes, and other trips with the Yamaa Trust.
I joined forces with Bayar on day 5, for the whole run passing a world of dinosaur fossils and red sandstone bluffs. It was something from a different world. Sandy conditions underfoot had increased the average number of blisters to 6, and forced a couple runners to retire. Day 6 again skirted towering cliffs before plunging UVU North Pole Marathon.into the plains, and the sand dunes the Gobi is famous for. I was grateful to my “Sandbaggers” gaiters for keeping the sand at bay whilst others continually stopped to remove shoe-fulls of sand. The uphills on the dunes remind me of the “travelator” from Gladiators. One step forward half a step back.
Experiences shared, fantastic photos and wide smiles were what I’d recall of the finish. There were some great runs from Englishmen Jon Gillott and Greg Harris, and I’d sneaked home in first. Conditions had been completely different, but no less inspiring than my previous race, at the UVU North Pole Marathon. With a heavy heart we left the Gobi, glancing behind us all the time…



Look how simple it is to burn over 2,900 calories more a week !

Scotland To Sahara


Absolutely loved running out to the sahara, but must say the drive back was a bit tedious. It was interesting virtually retracing the steps that it had taken me 78 days to run, and revisiting some fond memories. The terrain remained spectacular, and wild, but seemed gentler from the comfort of the campervan. Gone was the worry regarding the weather, and whether the local shops had ice, or painkillers. I had plenty time to reflect on the run, interspersed with some fairly terrible CD’s which were mostly mine.
It’s easy to see the run through rose tinted spectacles and say “that wasn’t too bad”, but it still strikes me how physically arduous and mentally draining i found scotland2sahara. It was exactly as i hoped it would be, a decent test of what my body is capable of, and i feel blessed that i chose something that although difficult, was achievable. The prevailing wind direction and the hills certainly taught me a lesson on occasion, and the one over-riding memory is that i never felt i was having to deal with these things alone, but had the support of friends, and family, and everyone else that sent me best wishes and advice. Some of the views, and conditions will stay with me forever.
Back home i’ve had a shower and smell better than i did in the desert. The flavour saving beard has gone leaving me with a ridiculous tan line. My stats show i ran 2659 miles, and lost o.3 kg only. I ate literally hundreds of bananas, satsumas, milkshakes, bread rolls, eating a grand total of 663 000 Kilocalories. I lost 3kg running a self sufficiency jungle race a week before starting, and i’ve put this back on in the last 4 days. An added treat for me will be to see my good friend ian edmond having to try to eat 20 pickled eggs in an hour. We had a sporting wager about how far i’d get, and i’m glad to avoid the fate that awaits him, and his bowels.
It’s also been humbling hearing of other people’s efforts and achievements. For clarity, as this is not always accurately reflected in press articles, i am pleased to have reached the sahara to fulfil a personal ambition. It’s difficult to beat seeing the sahara sands shift during the day, and seeing the african sky at night knowing that you’ve tested yourself and come out the other end. The run is in excess of what the guinnes world record was at the start of the challenge, but i have no desire to claim this, as i’ve learned about Running the Sahara, where Ray, Charlie and Kevin ran 37 miles a day for 111 days. They never claimed the record, but it would not be correct to claim a record, knowing they had exceeded it. I presume it would construe a British record for consecutive ultramarathons, but am happy to stand corrected.
That run, and several others are just fantastic. Hugh Symonds “running high”, over all 3000 feet peaks in GB and Ireland was a brutal accomplishment, and Other great ones include Richard Donovan’s immense 7 marathons in 7 continents in 5 days. Brilliant. I’m also following Ray Zahab crossing the Atacama at present, and Sean Newell cycling between all the commenwealth countries.
No such capers for me, as i sort out all my stuff, and leave the washing machine on non stop. Doing some serious wedding planning this week, and there will be a preview on Adventure show on Tuesday, and other stuff like Reporting Scotland etc. I’ll get some blood tests to confirm that i’m probably a little anaemic, and need to take it easy for a couple weeks but otherwise i’m tickity-boo
On tuesday i’ll meet with Dave and Karen from the yamaa trust, to discuss plans for future fundraising, and projects. Any suggestions or ideas for the trust appreciated. It has astounded me to see the big hearted response from everybody including the likes of Mark Beaumont, Ian Rankin, and Chris Cusiter.
The S2S auction finishes tomorrow, with bargains still to be had. A specialised and individually tailored internet/ phone training plan with supercoach Mandy Miller, is £120, probably a quarter of it’s value, and there are still cut-price opportunities to get into some of the world’s best, and most scenic races. The raffle will also be drawn, good luck to all with tickets.
I’ll blog an update with some stats from the challenge next week, thanks