Gordon Reid, 34, is a Scotland rugby player who is doing the virtual Kiltwalk in April 2021 in memory of his late father, also Gordon.
Rugby player Gordon Reid has set himself a challenge – to walk 500 miles in April, including the virtual Kiltwalk, and raise thousands for Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland.
Just don’t ask the Scotland prop to sing the Proclaimers’ song of the same name!
Gordon, 34, has thrown himself into his charity challenge with the same gusto that he shows on the rugby pitch. As well as walking 500 miles, he’s also gathering sports memorabilia from pals in the sporting world for a charity auction later in the year. And he’s even got plans for an attempt at a Guinness World Record.
The prompt for this positive action was the sudden loss of his father, also Gordon, to a heart attack at the age of 65 last year.
Gordon says: “The heart attack came completely out of the blue. Dad had been totally fine before it. But his own father had died unexpectedly in his 50s of a heart attack, as did my mum Pat’s father. So dad had been a bit paranoid that something like this would happen to him.
“We were all stunned and are really still getting over the loss.
“I wanted to do something positive in his name. My wife Marissa and I did some research, and we thought Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland was a great fit with what we are trying to achieve.
“The charity not only helps people with the physical effects of a heart attack or stroke but also with the mental health issues that can affect those who survive the condition and those who are grieving the loss of someone they love.
“They’ve tapped into something that matters so much to me. Everything they stand for and do is something I want to support.”
Gordon, who moved back to his native Ayrshire last year after two years playing with London Irish, isn’t letting a little thing like a sore leg stop him. He started his 500-mile challenge on April 2 and has already had to consult a physio because of the pain.
He says: “The physio said I’ve either fractured my tibia or it’s severe tendonitis. He told me I needed to stop and rest. But there’s no chance of that. I’m committed to this, so sore leg or not, I’m walking, running or hobbling 500 miles this month!”
Scotland’s Virtual Kiltwalk takes place over the weekend of April 23-25. This year every penny raised for CHSS will be topped up by 50 percent. That means for every £1 raised for CHSS, we will receive £1.50, thanks to the generosity of the Hunter Foundation.
Gordon has set his sights on reaching his 500-mile milestone when he pulls on his own kilt that weekend. Wrapping himself in tartan will also remind him of a very special moment with his own dad.
He made his Scotland debut in the summer of 2014, during the national team’s tour of the USA and against the host nation.
He recalls: “We were in the middle of Texas and it was boiling hot. I looked up and there was my dad in the middle of all this incredible heat and humidity in his own kilt. My agent had arranged for my parents and my wife to fly out to see me play.
“It was one of the best moments of my life. But the memory is always one that makes me smile so much, thinking of dad sweating in his kilt in 40-degree Texas heat.
“Dad wasn’t really into sport at all, but he learned the rules of rugby and he followed me everywhere. I know how proud he was of me. I want to make him proud again with the Kiltwalk fund-raising challenge.
“Dad was passionate about helping people himself. So this is just the first of hopefully many challenges I will do to help as many people as possible. And I want dad’s name to go down in history, which is why I’m looking at the Guinness Book of World Records.”
Gordon, who has now set up his own business restoring furniture and windows, is dad himself to two daughters – Emerson, five, and seven-month-old Roan. One of his greatest regrets is that his dad never got to meet baby Roan.
He says: “There are lots of bittersweet moments, lots of what ifs. I never knew my own grandfathers because they died before I was born. This challenge will help keep dad’s memory alive for my girls and for me.”
You can support Gordon in his Virtual Kiltwalk challenge by donating to his fund-raising page at https://virtual.thekiltwalk.co.uk/fundraising/ScotlandsVirtualKiltwalk2021-GordonReid
Lauren Mackenzie, Community & Events Fundraiser at Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland said:
“It’s absolutely amazing to have Gordon’s support. He is taking on an incredible challenge in memory of his Dad and at the same time helping people affected by heart conditions and their families across the country.
“We’re delighted to have him on team CHSS for this year’s Virtual Kitwalk. It’s thanks to inspirational supporters like Gordon that we’re able to make sure there is no life half lived in Scotland. We’re asking all Scottish rugby fans out there to get behind Gordon and show him your support!”