Great Edinburgh Run race report. 10 miles – 9 of them hilly !

As the name suggests there is something great about being one of thousands of runners pounding past the capital’s historic landmarks creating a ribbon of gaudy lycra through its historic streets.  As city races go – Edinburgh provides an impressive backdrop.

This was the second time I have taken part in this race and as with the Inverness Half earlier in March, I really noticed the difference during the race from losing some weight and improved fitness. On a route that is not short on hills it is very nice to be carrying fewer pounds when pushing up the inclines and aside from the physics – I feel more confident in my running these days.

The route starts and finishes at Holyrood Park with Arthur’s Seat – a popular walk and run route – lumbering behind. Despite it being mid April it was a very chilly morning – with a temperature of around 3 degrees and a biting wind – so waiting for the race start in shorts was somewhat character building.

As I don’t very often race this distance and with only 1 previous attempt I had given my time as 1. 45 – meaning I was in the slowest pen and amongst the last to leave. On a cold race day morning this was maybe not one of my better ideas – but although there was a small delay in starting – the race organisation was good , and runners all got away safely and without too much fuss.

Edinburgh 10 mile - 1 (11)

As is often the way on race day – waiting around gets the nerves going and in my case the inevitable – do I need a wee ?  The wave I was in set off just after 9.50 and after all the hanging around I was very glad to start running to warm up . It was pretty easy to find space to get past slower runners and looking at my race splits I did the first mile in 8.46 – so a bit faster than my start in Inverness.

The first mile is a loop that takes you back almost to the start and the back of the Palace of Holyrood House ( the Queen’s residence in Scotland ), then on up the first of the many hills as the route follows the Royal Mile before dropping down past Waverley station then a route change to the second hill – straight up Market street to the Mound to rejoin the Royal Mile before heading towards the University area and the Meadows and a chance to gather breath.

The route then does a chicane of sorts after a length of the Meadows  to Lauriston place then doubling back along the Cowgate before another longish climb up past the Pleasance heading towards Holyrood park once more.

There is a lovely section from miles 6 – 8 where the race route follows the path of the Innocent Railway to Duddingston village – then a short but nippy hill from Duddingston to the low road beneath Arthur’s Seat. Mile 8 – 9  was a bit tough as we were into a headwind – but the sun was shining by now and the goal was to get to mile 9 and the promised downhill finish.

Edinburgh 10 mile - 1 (4)

A short slog to the mile 9 marker and then the end was in sight. This is the only race I have taken part in that has such a long downhill finish and it is certainly very welcome. But even with the downhill run, I could not quite work out exactly where the finish was , although I  could hear the PA announcing runners’ arrivals. I kind of mis-timed the very last 1/3 of a mile section as my legs started feeling a bit jellyish after the long downhill – but I still managed a decent sprint finish of sorts to cross the mat with a time of 1.32.35 – a full 8 minute improvement on my previous time for this race.

Edinburgh 10 mile - 1 (7)

Edinburgh 10 mile - 1 (3)


Got to get in the groove …

Stevie Wonder

I think I have been mourning the loss of my daily running, now December marcothon is behind me for another year. January seems to be littered with good intentions, but it is hard to keep motivated when the days are still dark and reality of work and the everyday looms large.


running picture
New Year’s Day Run- Tim Cockburn picture

There is something quite effortless about the simplicity of running every day- knowing that as long as I completed 3 miles my target was met. Now to keep a level of fitness and with a Half Marathon looming I am bamboozled thinking about the myriad of possibilities and the need to have a balanced training regime.

It is great to have the base of a month’s daily running to build on  but should I now add in swimming, Pilates or strength training- speed work and longer runs ? It all seems a bit complicated by comparison.


This year I have not yet written any goals – ( I gave up on resolutions when I realised looking back that I had churned out the same meaningless guff year after year around trying to be a better person but had pretty much failed to achieve said ‘betterness’ ).

For 2013 I did commit to some goals, many with a running flavour, and looking back this is my 2013 scorecard. Goals in black results in RED

  1. Run a half marathon without feeling I want to kill someone/myself after mile 9 –  partially achieved at Inverness half, it was mile 11 before the death wish set in
  2. Get over my Parkrun bogey and do a minimum of 5 in 2013 FAIL – carried forward to 2014 
  3. If I fall back in love with Parkrun, try to get PB below 27 minutes AS ABOVE FAIL 
  4. Run some different places ( very vague I know, but I must have one goal that I know is pretty much achievable) SUCCESS – Amsterdam, Montpellier, Utrecht, Devon, Cologne etc
  5. Start reading books again and read a minimum of 10 by the end of the year moderate success – think I managed 6, but I read every issue of Runners World from cover to cover and sampled a LOT of cook books ! 
  6. Go to see one film a month 50 % SUCCESS definitely saw more than in 2012
  7. Tidy the ridiculous pile of papers, books etc at the side of my bed (see number 5 ) MASSIVE FAIL – see number 5 hahaha ! 

I think I will give myself a credible pass with a ‘could try harder’ rejoinder, and see what I can come up with for 2014.

red sky morning

Dunfermline Abbey
Dunfermline Abbey

Beyond navel gazing and thinking what challenges I might set, by way of immediate running targets the Inverness Half Marathon is on March 9th, and just over 7 weeks to go.The big challenge for me will be to increase my mileage without injury, and get myself to a place where I feel confident I can keep running for the two hours or so I will need.

Screen Shot 2014-01-12 at 19.17.39

My December running total of 106 miles equals 4 marathons or 8 half marathons, but it is one thing to run an average of 3 miles a day, and quite another to get fit enough to run 13.1 miles in one go.

Tall tree

But this will be the third time I have run this race, and although I might be running solo, Inverness is my home town and  I enjoy going back there and being looked after by family. It is a well organised race with a  good atmosphere and it is a nice course.

Today with Lil and Alison, I managed just over 6 miles and did not feel too creaky afterwards.The weather this weekend has not been ideal for running as it has been icy underfoot in some places, but even though we had a couple of stops we managed a pace of around 10 min mile, so lets hope the omens are good.

6.44 miles