The family of a Stirlingshire dairy farmer are celebrating his life four years after he passed away, as they prepare for the third Thornhill 10k run in his memory.
The Thornhill 10k was created in honour of Steven Black, who passed away on 2nd February 2020 aged 54. Steven’s close friend, Neil MacLaren, started a challenge where he ran 10k every day for one year to fundraise for Beatson Cancer Charity. He completed the challenge in April 2021 and raised over £11,000.
Following Neil’s success, Steven and Neil’s families teamed up with Tay Fitness Events to create the Thornhill 10k, where £2 from every 10k entry fee is donated to Beatson Cancer Charity.
The event is returning on Sunday 5th May 2024.
Steven passed away in February 2020 after being diagnosed with duodenal cancer just one month earlier.
PICTURED (L-R): Claire Black, Gregor Black, Emily Black, Steven Black & Pam Black
Steven’s wife, 58-year old Pam Black, said: “It was our 30th wedding anniversary in October 2019 and we went away on a really nice cruise with my sister and brother-in-law.
“Steven was absolutely fine, but towards the end of the cruise he lost his appetite. We thought it was maybe stomach ulcers and that he should see a doctor when he came back home so that’s what he did.
“He went to the doctors a couple of times and then got blood tests taken and they showed something that wasn’t quite right.
“He was formally diagnosed on 2nd January 2020 with cancer of the duodenum and unfortunately it was stage four so there was nothing they could do.
“By that time he had gone downhill quite quickly after being a very fit man and on 2nd February he sadly passed away at home with his family.”
Pam said they decided to fundraise for Beatson Cancer Charity following a visit to The Beatson with Steven before he passed away.
PICTURED: Emily, Pam, Claire & Gregor Black at the Thornhill 10k
Pam said: “It just had a lovely vibe around the place and that just stuck with me. I thought it would just be so nice to help other people in a similar situation because it’s such a lovely vibe and everybody was so lovely and helpful - if they could have done something, they would have done it.
“We also had a friend who had terminal cancer and he had had a lot of visits and a lot of treatment at The Beatson and that was very close to our hearts too.”
The Thornhill 10k event has so far raised over £15,000 for Beatson Cancer Charity, while Steven's family, Neil MacLaren and the Thornhill community have raised over £36,000 for the charity.
The scenic 10k route goes past Stirling Castle, the Wallace Monument, Flanders Moss, Ben Ledi and Ben Lomond.
PICTURED: Participants taking part in Thornhill 10k
Tay Fitness Events, who organise the run on behalf of Steven’s family, claim participants have the potential to achieve a personal best time due to its relatively flat route.
Pam and Steven’s children, 30-year old Claire, 27-year old Gregor and 21-year old Emily, also help to organise the day.
Claire Black said: “The first year we were really overwhelmed by the response. We’d never done it before so we were like rabbits in the headlights.
“We were also a bit nervous about how people in Thornhill would react because roads were getting closed, but the community all came out to support.
“Everyone was shouting from their houses, people were coming down and just coming in to get teas and cakes – it was a really nice atmosphere.”
750 runners signed up to the event in May 2023 and the family are hoping to break that record this year.
Emily Black says he would be emotional knowing what the family have achieved since his passing.
Emily said: “He was a very emotional man, he’d cry at sports so he’d probably shed a tear knowing that everyone’s come out to support not only the event, but also him as well. He’d probably be very emotional.”
Maisie McCormick, community fundraising manager at Beatson Cancer Charity, said: “We’re completely overwhelmed by the support the Black family and their friends as well as the Thornhill community have shown us since Steven passed away in 2020.
“The Thornhill 10k has become an annual success, thanks to the community and Tay Fitness Events, which people look forward to taking part in each year.
“The incredible amount of money raised so far allows us to support other cancer patients and their families who are going through treatment.”