The culprit? Edinburgh. The gorgeous old city was in full-on boasting mode.
Scotland’s capital is a beautiful place in most weathers but when the sun is shining and the monkey puzzle of winding streets which make up much of the intriguing city centre -particularly the oldest part of town – are handed over to runners for the day, it’s really, really difficult to beat.
I don’t normally need an excuse to head there but my reason for being in Edinburgh was (surprise, surprise) to run. More specifically, I was there to take part in the Simplyhealth Great Edinburgh Run, a 10-mile event which presents the chance to push on through avenues and alleyways which are normally crowded with ancestor-seeking, tartan devouring tourists. Coincidentally, it would also be number 10 in my 40 for 40 challenge.
It felt right to be running that day. A few hundred miles south, at the same time thousands were hitting the streets to tackle the London Marathon so there was a solidarity about being on a start line. Also, with Stirling Marathon training to be done, this was the perfect way for me to clock up some miles and get another good fitness test under my belt.
We were to take in many of Edinburgh’s ‘greatest hits’, starting in the shadow Arthur’s Seat before winding our way past the Scottish Parliament building and then up Canongate at the foot of the Royal Mile before threading through various parts of town, not to mention the gloriously blossom-filled Meadows, before eventually ending up back where we started.
If there is one downside, it’s the uphills. Edinburgh is not flat. This is certainly not a PB course but the blow of the biting ascents was cushioned by the odd glance around and an awareness of the fabulous playground which had been made available for the day.
I’d done a few miles before the race got going to recce the closing stages of the race, to warm up and, with the marathon on my mind, also to simulate running on tired legs. The ‘running on tired legs’ part of the experiment certainly worked and I can safely there was a distinct absence of spring in my step when the course brought us back under Arthur’s Seat’s gaze.
There is a pay-off for participants, however, in that the final mile is all downhill and there was a great deal of satisfaction to offset my grumbling muscles when I crossed the finish line.
Not for the first time, I’d had an excellent day out in Edinburgh and, in the process, hit double figures for a challenge which is really starting to grow on me.
- I have challenged myself to complete 40 events – involving running, swimming and triathlon – in the calendar year of 2017, the year I turn 40. I am raising money for Macmillan Cancer Support. You can find my JustGiving page here. Thank you to everyone who has donated so far. It really is very much appreciated and if you have any event recommendations, please get in touch!