Sporting heroes Stuart Hogg, Greig Laidlaw and Samantha Kinghorn calling on Borderers to back Doddie Aid 2023

Former Scotland rugby captain Stuart Hogg is calling on fellow Borderers to go the extra mile in memory of late Melrose legend Doddie Weir once the latest Doddie’s Active Inter-District Challenge gets under way this coming weekend.
Stuart Hogg on the ball for Scotland during their 31-23 loss to New Zealand at Edinburgh's Murrayfield Stadium in November in front of a crowd including former Scottish international Doddie Weir (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)Stuart Hogg on the ball for Scotland during their 31-23 loss to New Zealand at Edinburgh's Murrayfield Stadium in November in front of a crowd including former Scottish international Doddie Weir (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Stuart Hogg on the ball for Scotland during their 31-23 loss to New Zealand at Edinburgh's Murrayfield Stadium in November in front of a crowd including former Scottish international Doddie Weir (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

The annual fundraiser, known as Doddie Aid for short, is back for the third time and Hawick’s Hogg is captain for the south district, taking in Weir’s native Borders.

The 30-year-old is up against three other Scottish districts – the north and midlands, captained by Olympic curling champion Eve Muirhead; Edinburgh, skippered by 11-times world cycling champion Chris Hoy; and Glasgow, with ex-Scottish rugby international Ryan Wilson in charge – and two teams from outwith the country, one for Wales, led by Scott Quinnell, and an exiles side overseen by Jason Fox.

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Doddie Aid is a mass-participation fundraising event in aid of the motor neurone disease charity Weir set up in 2017 following his diagnosis with the condition the year before, the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation, and its format, devised by his ex-Scotland team-mate Rob Wainwright, is based on rugby’s old Scottish inter-district championship, challenging teams to amass the most money.

Greig Laidlaw in action for Urayasu D-Rocks in Japan last year (Photo by Toru Hanai/Getty Images)Greig Laidlaw in action for Urayasu D-Rocks in Japan last year (Photo by Toru Hanai/Getty Images)
Greig Laidlaw in action for Urayasu D-Rocks in Japan last year (Photo by Toru Hanai/Getty Images)

It has helped to raise more than £2m for MND research, thanks to more than 35,000 participants covering four million miles since its launch in 2020.

Starting this Sunday and running for six weeks third time round, it’s calling on anyone wanting to support the foundation to raise money by engaging in any form of exercise and logging the distance they cover, either virtually or actually.

Exeter Chiefs full-back Hogg, capped 96 times since making his international debut in 2012, is calling on Borderers to make an extra-special effort for Doddie Aid third time round following ex-Border Reivers, Newcastle Falcons and Melrose lock Weir’s death at the age of 52 last month, posting a film on social media saying: “We were all deeply saddened by the news of Doddie’s passing.

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“What a legacy he leaves behind, a gentle giant and one hell of a rugby player.

Andy Nichol, Jill Douglas, David Zyw and John Barclay launching Doddie Aid 2023 earlier this month in Edinburgh (Photo: Craig Watson)Andy Nichol, Jill Douglas, David Zyw and John Barclay launching Doddie Aid 2023 earlier this month in Edinburgh (Photo: Craig Watson)
Andy Nichol, Jill Douglas, David Zyw and John Barclay launching Doddie Aid 2023 earlier this month in Edinburgh (Photo: Craig Watson)

“All the work that he has done for motor neurone disease and the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation is just the beginning.

“We are going to kick on – we are going to increase it and make it even bigger and better than it was before, and that starts with Doddie Aid 2023.

“Please get involved. Download the app for Doddie Aid and run, swim, cycle, canoe, whatever you want to do – get involved with it.

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“There is only one thing I would ask you to do and that is to join team south.

Samantha Kinghorn in action at the Tokyo Paralympic Games in 2021 (Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)Samantha Kinghorn in action at the Tokyo Paralympic Games in 2021 (Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)
Samantha Kinghorn in action at the Tokyo Paralympic Games in 2021 (Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

“We’ve got big names – we’ve got Greg Laidlaw, Lee McKenzie, Carl Hogg, Neil McIlroy, Jill Douglas – and we want you to get involved as well.

“All the work that Doddie’s done, let’s continue that legacy and make the big man proud.”

Jedburgh’s Laidlaw, Hogg’s predecessor as Scotland national team captain, was co-skipper of the south district team last time round, along with Gordon wheelchair athlete Samantha Kinghorn, and he’s recorded a message of support for the ex-Green.

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“It’s time to get involved in Doddie Aid 2023,” said the 37-year-old, currently with Japanese side Urayasu D-Rocks.

“After the extremely sad news that we’ve lost Doddie, it passes to us to help his incredible legacy change the future of MND research.

“Over the years, Doddie Aid and the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation have raised millions of pounds for that fight.

“You can help by getting involved. Stuart Hogg and myself are part of team south this year, so why don’t you come and join us?”

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Kinghorn, 26, added: “I’m so proud to be part of Doddie Aid 2023 for team south under captain Stuart Hogg.

“It’s so, so sad that Doddie is no longer with us but I know that we can all make him incredibly proud and carry on his memory and try our hardest to raise as much money as possible so we can try to find a cure for MND.”

Though no miles have been clocked yet, Hogg’s team have already signed up 3,006 members and their pledges of £61,151 put them in second place on the challenge’s provisional leaderboard, just behind the total of £62,156 posted by the north and midlands team’s 3,084 members.

Foundation chief executive officer Douglas said: “We are overwhelmed by the huge number of people who have already signed up for this year’s Doddie Aid.

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“It’s a real testament to Doddie’s legacy that he has inspired so many people to make a difference and help others living with MND and to one day find a cure for this disease.

“Doddie Aid has become a regular and hugely popular way to kick off the year, and with over 9,000 people already signed up, I think this will be the biggest Doddie Aid yet.

“Doddie enjoyed a full life full of fun and love, and it was this approach to life which shone through in his determination to make a difference and help others when he was diagnosed with motor neurone disease.

“Our vision of a world free of MND remains at the heart of our strategy. As we look to the future, we will honour Doddie’s name and deliver on his legacy. There is much still to do and with your support, we will continue our work, remaining true to the values and ambition of our founder.”

For details of how to join up and get hold of the smartphone app used to clock miles, go to doddieaid.com