This week’s blog post is an interview with Kevin Brown for our content theme of endurance. We talk men’s mental health, exercise and keeping up healthy habits during lockdown.
Mind Waves sat down with Kevin Brown, the mind behind Fit Ayrshire Dads, a Facebook page for men to share training tips, have a laugh and motivate each other to reach their goals.
Kevin is from Ayrshire and started the page Fit Ayrshire Dads on Facebook nearly three years ago. The page began as a way to meet likeminded people on his journey back to health and fitness. He says “I started to use my own experiences to help other people which has led to the position I am in now. I don’t consider myself an athlete but I do ultramarathons and a few years ago I could barely run a 5km.” Kevin believes that running is a huge part of his mental wellbeing: “I have a professional job and a family so running is my escape. It keeps me grounded.”
Kevin started the Facebook group to promote awareness of mental health issues and to introduce people to exercise as well as the endorphins that come with it. He has a belief in what he refers to as ‘situation and response’. “If you take two people who find themselves in a negative situation and one person goes for a run and the other goes home to dwell, they process things differently.”
Although the group began as a way to highlight the positive effects of exercise, it quickly grew into more than that. When the group began, there was a lot of focus in the news on high male suicide rates, especially in Scotland. Kevin says: “In my experience, men are more likely to bottle up their problems and not talk to each other. I wanted to create a safe space for men to trust each other and open up. I expected it to be a small thing but it’s blown up.”
After the success of the group, Kevin started a new page called Fit Ayrshire Masses. This group is open to people of all genders and has also been a huge success. He also acknowledges the negative side of social media during our interview: “Sometimes it can be really negative and if you put yourself out there you can attract trolls. I want to use social media as a positive tool.”
In 2020, during the height of the pandemic, Kevin ensured that the motivation of the Fit Ayrshire Dad’s didn’t falter. They continued to do weekly challenges on Facebook all throughout lockdown – from 5km runs to press up trials – and Kevin stresses the importance of showing up to support each other even when times are unprecedented. Kevin also monitors a weekly check-in post on the Facebook group for everyone to vent and share highs and lows.
You can search for the group Fit Ayrshire Dads on Facebook and Instagram or @ayrshire_s on Twitter.