Active 2014

Cops are on the run to protect Queen's Baton on its journey around Scotland

THE facts and figures of the Queen's Baton Relay make impressive reading:

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Ewan Logie and Lynne Steele at the Kelvingrove museum, GlasgowPictures: Kirsty Anderson.
Ewan Logie and Lynne Steele at the Kelvingrove museum, GlasgowPictures: Kirsty Anderson.

a 248-day journey around the globe to 70 countries.

When it arrives in Scotland it will pass through the hands of 4000 baton bearers as it travels nearly 5000 miles, from Edinburgh and Hawick to Ayr, Dundee, Aberdeen and Kirkwall.

If you feel tired just reading about the distances, spare a thought for the team of police officers who will accompany it for the 40-day trip around Scotland, running the equivalent of a half marathon every day with the emblem of the 2014 Games.

Running in teams of six with a baton bearer, the super-fit officers will be on the move for four or five days in a row with two rest days before hitting the road again, and jogging into Celtic Park for the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony on July 23.

"It's a real honour to be involved," says Ewen Logie, 34, from Stewarton, who normally works behind a Pitt Street desk.

"It is also a great responsibility to ensure the event is a safe and enjoyable experience for all the communities of Scotland we visit."

Along with Lynne Steel, 37, from Stranraer, Ewen will be part of a team of nearly 40 officers who will spend long days on the road. Hand picked from more than 800 hopefuls, they have spent recent months in training.

"We've been doing a lot of specific training because there will be lots of different levels of fitness among the baton bearers," says Ewen.

"There may be people who are elderly or disabled, or there may be schoolkids, so you've got to gauge your pace and work with the team to run at that same pace.

"We've had guidance from the physical education instructors at the Police College in terms of how our bodies might react."

He adds: "While the police are used to dealing with big crowds it may be daunting for the baton bearers, so a big part of our job on the road will be to reassure and support them and allow them to enjoy the experience with their family and friends."

After being inspired by the Olympic Games, Ewen decided to exercise every day between the end of London 2012 and the start of Glasgow 2014 to raise money for SportsAid Scotland.

So far he has raised £2500 after taking part in everything from rugby matches to triathlons, and got behind Fit for 14, a Police Scotland project that has seen officers setting themselves fitness goals to be achieved by August.

"The start of the Commonwealth Games is the end date of it all, so being part of the Queen's Baton Relay team is a fantastically fitting finale for my challenge," he says.

The QBR team is fundraising for charity Over The Wall, providing free activity camps to help children with life-limiting illnesses.

Several officers on the team are making the most of their fitness to undertake exercise challenges which will make a difference to the children.

Meanwhile Lynne, a black belt in kickboxing and a keen runner, is proud to accompany the baton through her home town.

The crime reduction officer, from Newton Stewart police office, says waving to her two young children in the crowd will be a highlight of the journey around Scotland.

Running 13 miles a day at baton bearer, rather than training, pace has meant changes in training for officers involved.

"Some people run three marathons a year but they might have to train at night as well as they have to prepare for that change in speed," says Lynne. "It will be quite difficult."

EATING correctly for the demands of the role is another consideration.

Lynne said: "We were advised to eat more brown rice and wholewheat pasta for energy, as well as multigrain bread and to think about our water intake - things we do anyway but just to be more aware when we're running every day.

"We finish at the opening ceremony but we could be drafted in for other duties so it's unlikely that any of us will get a chance to go to any of the Commonwealth Games events. We'll just have to watch them on television instead."

Lynne laughs that she's lucky - she only has to run rather than think of the logistics of the operation.

Police organisers of the baton relay are preparing for 40 separate operations, one for each day of the relay, with an early start each day reviewing the previous day's operation and looking forward to the day ahead.

"The excitement will build as the baton visits every local authority area before it arrives in Glasgow for the final three days of an epic journey," says relay operational commander Superintendent Stewart Carle.

"We will work with our colleagues in local divisions, other blue light services, Glasgow 2014 and local authorities to keep the baton and spectators safe while the baton bearers enjoy their moment in history."

angela.mcmanus@ eveningtimes.co.uk

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Tips to help you keep active from the Glasgow Club

  • Be realistic about what you want to achieve
  • Build up the intensity and frequency of your activity sessions gradually
  • Find an activity which you enjoy
  • Exercise with a friend
  • Use the stairs as often as possible
  • Make active choices as part of your daily routine
  • Get out at Lunchtime! Why not go to the shops or park at lunchtime instead of staying at work? The walk will also make you feel more awake in the afternoon