Number 10 accolade for University doctor
He juggles his job as a sports doctor and GP with campaigning on health issues and conquering extreme runs for charity. Now the University's Dr Andrew Murray has been recognised with an award from the Prime Minister.
At the University, Andrew is a member of the team at the Physical Activity for Health Research Centre, part of the Moray House School of Education, which aims to provide evidence of how to encourage people of all ages to sit less and walk more.
He's also part of the medical team at the Fitness Assessment and Sports Injury Centre at the Pleasance, a role that allows him to help and educate students, staff and alumni who are feeling the strain of beginning intense activity. It is an issue he is passionate about:
After university, I needed a good kick up the backside to get active again, so I know how it feels. But now I urge everyone to get out there and stay active. Spread the word, too - it really is the best thing you can do for your well-being. Each step is a step to health.
Andrew also works with the European and Challenge Golf Tour, the SportScotland Institute of Sport, and Scottish Rugby. And Andrew runs - a lot.
His running CV is not only impressive but also record-breaking. He has run seven ultra-marathons on seven continents within seven days, covered 4,300km from John O’Groats to the Sahara desert, reached the summits of Britain’s 10 highest peaks in a single day, and has run across the Namib Desert.
He has also proven his extreme running prowess by topping the podium in both the Sahara Race and the Genghis Khan Ice Marathon in Outer Mongolia.
It is for this love of running incredibly long races in some of the world's most remote and testing environments that Andrew is now being widely commended, since he has fundraised for several charities in the process.
I have raised more than £170,000 for charities including the Yamaa Trust, the African Palliative Care Association UK and the Scottish Association for Mental Health. I'm also committed to raising awareness of the benefits of physical activity and passionately try to promote its importance to life, health and overall happiness.
Working in communities
As if the preparation and recovery for such gruelling races and the fundraising efforts weren't enough work in themselves, the GP also uses his time to provide the local communities where he runs with medical support. On a recent trip to Namibia, he packed not only his running kit but also sufficient medical supplies to stock four remote medical clinics, something that earned him great respect from a local tribal community.
Andrew and his father, Scott Murray, Professor of Primary Palliative Care at the University, also raised £10,000 for the African Palliative Care Association, as well as advising on local care projects.
Now Andrew's efforts are being recognised by the Prime Minister herself.
The Points of Light award is a national accolade awarded by Downing Street, which recognises outstanding volunteers who make a difference to their community. One recipient is announced each day, with Andrew receiving his on St Andrew's Day in 2016. He was the 62nd winner of the prize and received high praise from Theresa May:
Your remarkable running challenges are raising funds for three important charities, but also inspiring countless people to become more active and improve their health.
Andrew is rightly proud and energised by the recognition:
To be honest, running around in deserts and cold places, and having the opportunity to work with communities in projects in places like Outer Mongolia, Kenya, Namibia and back home are all great fun. I'd encourage people to explore, try new things and also to volunteer - it’s given me some of the best and most memorable experiences of my life. It's a great honour to be recognised by Points of Light, and, of course, by the Prime Minister.
The Future of Health
Andrew will be speaking at Surgeons’ Hall in Edinburgh on 16 February at 7pm . In his Future of Health talk, he will discuss the status of health and healthcare in an ever-changing environment, and will provide a glimpse into a future that may scare and excite in equal measure. The event is open to the public and tickets are priced at only £2.