Race Report by Martin Smith
There is nothing like having a family challenge, so coercing my son, Adrian, and nephew, Stuart who lives near Edinburgh, we agreed to this 10 mile challenge which takes in several of Edinburgh’s famous historic landmarks. This was going to be a nostalgic run for myself as I would see parts of Edinburgh I had not been to since the 1980s !
The weather was kind – bright sunshine but a cooling east wind. The start was from Holyrood Park with the Palace on one side and the rocky Arthur Seat rising up on the other.
We set off at 10.15 and after a short lap returned to the Palace of Holyroodhouse and then the Scottish Assembly Building – not seen before and thoughts of Nicola Sturgen ! – and then up the Royal Mile towards the Tron Kirk before turning right down to Waverley Station. From here we had a 500 foot climb up to the Mound, passed the former iconic Bank of Scotland HQ – a great name until 2007! – until we reached the peak at Deacon Brodie’s Pub on the Royal Mile. No time to stop ! Deacon Brodie was hanged in 1788 but his life was the inspiration for Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.
As Adrian had overtaken me on the climb I needed to get on. Next we passed Greyfriars Bobby – the statue of the famous sheep dog – and then onto Edinburgh University. Unfortunately due to construction hoardings I could not see my old University building. We turned at the former Edinburgh Royal Infirmary now sadly being converted to flats – and headed towards The Meadows – memories of exhausting Monday night Fartlek training sessions round the park. From there we dropped down to the Grassmarket – much changed with modern bars, cafes, and restaurants for the tourist from my day ! We passed halfway which was a relief although we had another climb ahead of us as we entered the Pleasance and passed the Edinburgh University Sports Centre – a converted brewery ! – and climbed steadily towards the Royal Commonwealth Swimming Pool. We had now reached 6 miles and I thought there were no more climbs. My memory had failed me !
We headed for Arthur Seat and dropped down onto The Innocent Railway trackbed – our old summer Wednesday night training route – but I had forgotten about the climb on the other side of Duddingston Loch !
So I enjoyed the mile on the old railway remembering past runs before I hit mile 9 which was uphill along the side of Arthur Seat – it even had a goat’s kick at the end – but the relief was – the last mile was all downhill to the finish at Holyrood Palace.
Amazingly all three of us finished within 3 minutes of each other. I had not noticed I had passed Adrian as he stopped to tie a lace and later take a quick toilet stop !
We dragged our weary bodies to nearby Abbeyhill in search of the Artisan Bar on London Road where we met up with three old running mates of mine from Edinburgh AC. I had not seen them since 2011. Always remember – running friends are for ever !
For those of you running the Edinburgh Marathon and Half Marathon at the end of May do not worry as your course is coastal and flat ! You should pass the Artisan Bar as the London Road and Regent Road starts merge. Also take time out and visit some of the historic sites and bars on the Saturday if you can !
Martin Smith – 437 position – 1:17:46
Stuart Smith – 499 position – 1:18:54
Adrian Smith – 576 position – 1:20:10