Date: 7th January 2017
Profile: One Big Hill
Weather: Dry and mild, for the time of year
Positives: excellent organisation, positive crowd support
Negatives: that hill!
For years, I’ve watched the Great Winter Cross County Championships and the Great Winter Run from the comfort of my living room. But every year I’ve also always said that I’d love to take part.
Well, 2017 was the year.
As we had decided to buy the Great Run’s Scottish Season Pass, it gave us entry to the 5K Winter Run. And so, instead of heading home after work on Friday, 6th January we headed off to our hotel in Edinburgh instead. We had booked the Ibis on South Bridge, as we knew we’d be pretty close to the start time, and to the action, at Holyrood Park. As usual, I made sure my kit was ready the night before:
On Saturday morning we were up early, and on our way to the start line with all of the other runners. The venue was well laid out, clearly sign posted and easy to access. We got there round about warm up time, which was perfect. We made our way into the corral and took the obligatory selfie:
As @TheWelshWookie was injured, we had already agreed to run our own race, and so when the start came, I headed off amongst the crowds and headed up Arthurs’ Seat. We had been allocated the Pink Corral, and in future I’ll definitely upgrade my time. Within moments I was surrounded by walkers who had either set off running too quickly, hadn’t anticipated the hill or had only ever intended to walk. Now, @TheWookie was walking – and I would never criticise walkers – but here’s where extra corrals would help – if there was a walk/run or walk corral it would help, I’ve seen it work elsewhere. Anyway, I spent the first kilometre dodging lots and lots of walkers, which was frustrating and did affect my pace. More than once, people stopped dead in front of me.
When we reached the first kilometre marker we were greeted by a piper which lifted my spirits a little, and the walking crowd certainly dispersed a bit. The second kilometre continued the climb up the hill, and as we reached the third kilometre, we had levelled out and were greeted with beautiful views across the city of Edinburgh.
Then, the fun started; the long, downhill section taking us back to the start line. It was ace! My legs moved faster than they have done in quite a while, and I felt like I was gliding downhill. I overtook a guy who was playing an accordion, which was fab!
As the hill levelled out with a few hundred metres to go, we could hear singing, and as we crossed the finish line there was the ‘Sing in the City’ chorus to sing us across. It was great! I collected my goodie bag, which already contained my t shirt and medal before heading back to the hotel, and to meet @TheWelshWookie.
This was my first run trying out the NRC App on my Watch, and it worked great – no need to worry about finding a GPS signal, which was so much easier.
We’ll be back next year, definitely!