Aberdeen's tough mudder
Published: 09 Jan 2017
Jobs in Scotland looks at one of the many ways to raise money for charity.
Andrew Sutherland, 27, from Westhill took part in his fifth World’s Toughest Mudder this year in Las Vegas. World’s Toughest Mudder is a 24-hour extreme obstacle course challenge with 21 obstacles to be defeated over each five-mile long lap. Andrew combines his passion of obstacle course racing with his drive to raise money for his chosen charity, Maggie’s.
As the son of Maggie’s Aberdeen centre head, Susan Sutherland, he sees first hand the work that the charity does and helps to raise the valuable funds required for it to continue supporting those who are undergoing or have undergone cancer treatment.
Andrew has lived in Westhill all of his life and spends some of his time training by running three to five miles either on the road or on the trails around Tyrebagger Woods as well as playing football a couple of times a week. Keeping fit is essential for helping Andrew to raise money.
He said: “Running in these obstacle course races is something I really enjoy doing on a personal level and to have the opportunity to do something I love whilst helping Maggie’s is a no brainer really.
“Pushing my body to the limit in these races is difficult but running for charities like Maggie’s always reminds me that no matter how hard it gets during the course of one of these events, I can push through to the finish.”
Andrew gets to see time and time again the work done at Maggie’s and the support provided to people with cancer, their families and their friends.
The cost for running the centre each year is £500,000 and if he can help reach that target in any way, Andrew feels he is doing something to help the team there continue to provide their valuable support. To date he has raised over £4,000 for Maggie’s Aberdeen – a total he is immensely proud of.
Away from work and training Andrew likes to play and watch football and spend time with his wife and family, just like everyone else. Outside of his life as a tough mudder athlete his job is a client project manager with ATR lifting solutions. His main role is to manage the lifting equipment supply and inspection with one of the major clients in the North Sea.
For the Toughest Mudder event Andrew didn’t alter his regular training routines. The only real addition was getting comfortable running with a wetsuit on. More than half of the event is run wearing one in order to keep the body temperature of the runners up.
“I had to get comfortable being uncomfortable – a challenge in itself,” he said.
“This year was my best performance to date in a World’s Toughest Mudder. I achieved 55 miles throughout the course of the 24 hours. In other numbers that equated to 8,987ft of elevation gain in total, more than twice the height of Ben Nevis, and over 200 obstacles. I finished just inside the top 300 from a 1,500 strong field,” said Andrew.
He believes that it is the support of the people around that really gets the runners through. Luckily he had his parents there for support this year and ultimately everyone is there to help each other.
Andrew said: “For me completing the event is the ultimate test of physical and mental strength but knowing it’s all for charity really helps.
By completing more than 50 miles in the race it automatically qualifies me for the Obstacle Course Race World Championships in Canada next October. However, that’s a decision for a later date as to whether I actually go or not.”
Maggie’s offers free practical, emotional and social support to people with cancer and their family and friends. Built in the grounds of specialist NHS cancer hospitals, Maggie’s Centres are warm and welcoming places, with qualified professionals on hand to offer a programme of support that has been shown to improve physical and emotional wellbeing.
The people of Scotland have raised nearly £50million to build and run eight centres since the first centre opening in Edinburgh in 1996.
Maggie’s relies on voluntary donations to support and grow its network of centres and to develop its unique, high quality programme of support. The charity’s aim is to make the biggest difference possible to people living with cancer and their family and friends.
For further information aboutMaggie’s and their work you can visit www.maggiescentres.org