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Feeling the fear … and running 10 hours anyway

Name: Mark Dalgarno

Role: Employability Programme Manager

Date Joined: June 2021

Fundraising Aberdeen

My Story

On October 10th, Mark Dalgarno took on a 10-hour running challenging as part of the North East Big 10 initiative, running from Dyce to Fraserburgh to raise funds for DRiNKLiNK.

Here is a snapshot of what he had to say to our Volunteer Programme Director Lee on the challenge.


Lee: Our first question Mark, so you just completed 10 hours of running – on a scale of 1 to 10 how sore are you today? 

Mark: Nae denying, I was affa sare the day and getting down the stairs was a serious challenge, but I’m absolutely delighted that I was capable of taking on this and smashing it. In total, I was able to run 44 miles along the Formartine & Buchan Railway Line, over the 10 hours and raise an amazing amount for two local charities, so on a whole, it’s a 10! 


Lee: So what inspired you to take this on?  

Mark: This all came about because of the North East Big 10 Initiative. Where people were encouraged to do 10 of something, on the 10th October, to raise money for local charities.  

I’m a bit of a geek for old railway lines and have always loved walking and running along this route. I’ve wanted to do the whole distance in one go for some time, but never found the time, never had the fitness or had the inspiration. 

Well, this challenge was my inspiration. To achieve something that I’ve wanted to do but also raise money for charities close to my heart. There was never any doubt I was going to give it my best shot. 


Lee: Such an amazing achievement. How did you find the run?  

Mark: I mean, it was tough, definitely. But because of the reasons why I was running and because of the support I had along the way, in person and on social media, the encouragement and excitement never faded, which made it manageable. I never once felt like this was something I couldn’t do and if anything, it got easier as the time went on, because I knew I was going to complete it. If anything, I could have went longer, but 10 hours was more than enough. 


Lee: You should be so proud of yourself. It really is amazing what people can achieve when they put their mind to it. Did you ever for one second believe you’d smash your fundraising target and raise an impressive £1500 for charity? 

Mark: Not at all. I’d set an initial target of £500, so to triple it is unreal. I’d steadily received amazing donations over the 9 weeks that I was training but it really shot up as during the run. To see a ‘Great news, you’ve just received a donation’ email pop up on my phone as I was running, was an amazing feeling and shot of confidence. 


Lee: You’ll have chosen to split funds 50/50 between DRiNKLiNK and Mental Health Aberdeen. Why did you land on these causes? 

Mark: 2020 was the most challenging but best year of my life. Like many, I was put on furlough from my job at the time and eventually made redundant. We had our first child due in August and my anxieties started to really show through when left with too much time on my hands.

Throughout my adult life, I’ve struggled with anxiety and stress. I’ve struggled to feel confident about who I was and how I come across to other people. I spent too long doubting that I was good enough, or that a major issue was just around the corner. Many aspects of my life made me panic, but while I was distracted with work and general day to day life pre-covid, they never got a chance, or I never gave myself the chance to look at these and what I could do. I just got on with it. 

Lock-down number 1 changed all of that, and along with all the above anxieties, I developed Health Anxiety. Scanning my body every 10 seconds for lumps, spots and tingles.  

Long story short, I’ve managed to get myself to a place where I feel incredibly better about myself, managing my anxieties and their triggers a whole lot better. In truth, I feel fantastic and how I value myself has went up incredibly.


Lee: Amazing Mark, and a situation that I think a lot of people can relate too.  

Mark: Absolutely. Since opening up about my struggles, I have realised just how common the struggle is. But getting to this point, hasn’t been straight-forward. And I have to rely on countless resources to help me get there. It’s tempting to struggle in silence.  

And that’s where doing this run came into play. Everyone experiences their own challenges for the own reasons, and there’s not one quick fix or method that can help.  

One of those amazing resources is the support that charity organisations can provide. I’m a proud Aberdonian, and want to see folk fae here do as well as possible, in every sense. Knowing that both these charities provide amazing support to local folk, who are going through their own mental battles and challenges, is my inspiration.  

I know how important these resources are to people, and we can’t afford to lose them. So, if I can help them raise some funds to keep that support going and keep supporting people of the North East, then 10 hours running is nothing compared to what others have to go through.  

The support I’ve had has been incredible and I can’t wait to see the impact that this money has. 


Lee: Absolutely. It’s really great to see the conversation of mental health opening up and people like yourself challenging the stigma around mental health. Can you tell us what will the money go towards?  

I’ve recently took on role of Employability Programme Manager at DRiNKLiNK and the challenge to build out the charity’s employability and CPD volunteer programmes.  

The market is competitive as many people look to find new careers. Our aim is to make sure all volunteers benefit from the hours they put into helping reduce the ripple of alcoholism that impacts so many households across Scotland.  

To help the charity attract the commitment it needs from volunteers to drive solutions like, to create unique content that challenges people’s understanding of alcohol misuse and to fuel its signposting service, I have challenged myself to help those giving their time to the cause find employment and progress in their careers.  

Working for me is a welcome distraction and definitely soothes my anxiety and I look forward to have the opportunity to help people build on their passions, find a rewarding career and to build up their confidence on what they can achieve. 


Lee: Having volunteered with DRiNKLiNK for over a year now, I can speak to how much the team and community values your contribution. You should be so proud. On reflection of your run, what’s the one thing you’d like to leave out readers with?  

 Mark: You might think the fact that I’ve ran for 10 hours will mean that I’ve got a lot of confidence over running. But in fact, as much as I love running and pushing myself, I’ve got a fear of failure and doubt if I can actually complete what I’ve set out to do.

From the run and from working my through my own mental health challenges and anxieties, my advice to anyone that doubts what they are capable of is to ‘never trust your fears, they have no idea what you are capable of’ 



To find out more about the employability programmes please visit: or email Mark directly at 

There’s also still time to sponsor. Donations can be made to

Never trust your fears, they have no idea what you are capable of"

- Mark Dalgarno

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