This morning was the Bupa Great Edinburgh Run, a 10 mile course around the centre of Edinburgh. I had talked a couple of the guys from my running club into joining me which was great both for the company and for Greg who had some idea where we could park!
We arrived in Edinburgh at 8am and made our way to Holyrood Park at the foot of Arthur’s Seat, the 250 m high extinct volcano that dominates the skyline to the east of the city. The weather was chilly, misty but dry.
The 4000+ runners made for a good size field: not too overwhelming and not too long to wait for the three corrals to move through the start line and get going. We headed out of the park and onto cobblestones before weaving back onto the foot of the Royal Mile for the first of many, many hills. The first 5 miles of the course wound through the old town of Edinburgh past 17th Century buildings, the Scott’s Monument, the National Gallery of Scotland and through The Meadows, past trees bursting with spring blossom.
The course then headed out of the centre of Edinburgh to Duddingston, along a Loch and back into Holyrood Park, skirting the foot of Arthur’s Seat. If you know Edinburgh at all, you will know there is no shortage of hills and this course made the most of them.
With the Edinburgh Half Marathon 4 weeks away, this race was the ideal practice run. With this in mind my goals included; getting there 0n time, running the whole distance and trying out my half marathon pacing. I planned to take the first few miles at 10:20-10:30 min/mile pace and then hopefully increase the pace to 10:00 min/mile for as long as I could manage it.
However I struggled to keep my pace back at 10:30, and it crept up to around the 10:00 min/mile mark, although each hill pegged it back a bit. I felt strong throughout, never once being tempted to walk and managing the hills well. By mile 8, it looked like my time would be around 1:42:00, but then I hit the mile long downhill stretch to the finish line and I was able to let gravity do its work! My final finish time was 1:40:28. Which I was very, very happy with.
(One of the side effects of having an unique/unusual/weird name is that no one attempts to shout it out at events like these…until today that is when I was very chuffed to be announced crossing the finish line 🙂 )
As an overall experience, I would highly recommend this race. It is the first year of the 10 mile course (previously a 10km race, held in summer) and the route was truly spectacular, passing through the highlights of Edinburgh city centre and then enjoying the full spring colours of The Meadows and Holyrood Park. The race size was large enough that I was never on my own, but was also not overcrowded. Organisation was spot on, and there were small groups of pipers and drummers strategically placed, plus a choir and a drumming group just when you need the boost!