This is my favourite run of my running/triathlon calendar and there was no way a little illness was going to get in my way.
I’d not been feeling the best for about 2 weeks, not really sure what’s up but just feel out of sorts and the past week I’ve not trained at all as I’d had no energy. So yesterday I ran a wee 5km to see if I had it in me and I felt OK but last night was urgh terrible!
So I probably shouldn’t have ran it but I had to as I’d made my mate (when he was under the influence) agree to do it with me- and he’s not a runner! SO I had to do it as he was and he’d been putting in the miles of training!
So this morning came, feeling OK but not great I stepped out into the miserable drizzle and turned up! I was entered into the race starting at 10:15 and he was in the challenge starting earlier at 9:45. The course is the same for both, run up all of Edinburgh’s 7 hills, stamp your number and come back to the start on Calton hill to finish!
I’d taken him out on a reccie a couple of weeks before on our bikes to make sure he knew the short cuts and the way to go.
Off I went and immediately didn’t feel great, a bit sick and a bit unfit! but nevertheless I made the castle and punched my number, flying down the hill into the gardens the hill slippy with all the rain I made it to Princes street where the steady stream of runners had managed to stop the traffic and barged right across the road (They don’t close the roads for this race for the simple fact as it’s local, cheaply run and it makes it more fun dodging traffic.. oh and they’d have to close most of Edinburgh down as there is no set course).
Off up to Corstorphine hill, I still felt awful so kept off the throttle and steadily ran up the hill. The top was soggy, running through lakes ankle deep of muddy water! It was great!
Stopped for a wee water at the station and then carried on toward Craiglockart.
This was fun, it was back on roads and downhill, and so I managed to catch my breath. feeling OK now but still could feel my fitness not being the best I’d thought to myself, I’ll definitely make it all the way round and stopped doubting.
Reaching Craiglockart there was a kind guy who was pointing up the steep muddy bank saying “that way” with a wry smile as he knew how slippy and muddy it was.
Clutching onto roots and branches, traversing up the slope watching people with no grip slide down 7 metres only to take out other people trying to get up! Great fun! but it tires you out.
Top of the hill there was more water to be drunk and we were in the cloud which was giving us a nice cooling mist.
Running down the hill and onto the roads toward Braids hill there is a choice where most of the racers who know the short cuts take a route through the houses but I think this is worse so i kept to my guns and followed my tried and tested route, though not many followers!
I was going well slow so I took a gel and perked up a bit. Onto Braids I managed to walk up it, feeling out of breath and lousy! I expected it would be here that I would pass my mate but he must have been making good time or had got lost!
Running down the side of Braids, takes a short cut over a very water logged golf course and then down a rabbit run through gorse and nettles made even more challenging by the mud! People were just sliding down
Made it down there without incident but the way was blocked by a tree that had fallen and part felled. Trampling through this got me to the path and down into a dell and small valley knowing that there was another steep muddy bank on the other side to scramble up.
I saw a guy covered in mud, slide all the way to the bottom after nearly reaching the top of the 20ft climb, he decided to go the long way, I was gonna try the scramble!
Choosing my path carefully and with my trail shoes on I was doing OK, some guy had stopped ahead to give me a had which was welcome! and I in turn helped him further up. Team working with a stranger, only for him to find out at the top that he’d lost his watch!!! I felt bad I didn;t go back but I was soooo tired.
Reaching the top of Blackford hill, there was my Mate, having a drink! He turned round and caught my muddy face and we both gave a big man hug!
He’d been suffering from cramp as he isn’t a runner (though he is now!) and he isn’t’ used to so many hills so no wonder his calves were cramping. Knowing I wasn’t on a good time target I ran with him for a bit but after a while it was tough keeping to his pace, though it was good to catch my breath I eventually ran on.
Up Arthur’s seat, the big one is the last(ish) one. Walking up it we had to cross the path of the Race for life who were looping around Arthur’s seat. We were making way for the summit and a few looks of “you dafty for running hills” or ” OMG you’re covered in mud!”.
I took the stairs and made the top of the hill by walking. Arthurs seat is tough rock that is very slippy on top especially when wet so care had to be taken!
Running down was fun, as it always is and crossing the hundreds of women again we got a call out from their tannoy announcer which was a nice touch.
Onto the last hill (the first one) up Calton and it was tough going, spurts of running with bits of walking. I made it to the end in one peice but feeling a bit rubbish. Not bad really.
2:34 I think (last years was 2:13) so not too bad. My mate finished in 3:30 I think and did great! I think he can call himself a runner now especially as he was like “Next year?”
It’s a great race, well organised, nice and cheap, and you always get a good bunch of friendly people on the way around
Peter Buchanan created a video of the days race to give you a better idea of what it is like..