Race Report: The Great Winter Run 2017

Race Report: The Great Winter Run 2017

Date: 7th January 2017

Profile: One Big Hill

Terrain: Road

Weather: Dry and mild, for the time of year

Website: greatrun.org

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.

Here’s the goodie bag: 

And the medal and long sleeved T shirt: 

Here is the route of the run, too: 

After we had showered, changed and packed, we headed back to Holyrood Park to cheer on the participants in the Cross Country Championships. Yay! 

We’ll be back next year, definitely!

The Gin Thing

The Gin Thing

I’m sure you all know by now that included in the long list of things I love are running, eating, vino and gin.

For our first wedding anniversary, we were able to indulge in most!

On the day of our anniversary, we were celebrating with family, as it was also the Saturday closest to my brother in law, Andrew’s, 40th Birthday. His two eldest sons, Kieran and Aidan, were to be player escorts that day at the Partick Thistle v Motherwell game, and so we went along to see them – and to show support of course!

It was a gloriously sunny day, and we were able to sit in the sunshine, soaking up the fun and the atmosphere. When the boys came out onto the pitch, we couldn’t see Aidan, who is 4. He was escort for Scott Fox, the goalie, and Scott had scooped Aidan up and carried him onto the pitch! Too cute!

Here’s some pics, just to illustrate 😉

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After the game, the boys were able to head back to a meet and greet with the players, and one of my other nephews, Liam, was able to go with them. I think they had a ball!


Afterwords, it was back to the Donnelly’s house for a bit of a party. As @TheWelshWookie and I were heading to Edinburgh the next day, we went to our hotel and celebrated with a bottle of fizz, overlooking George Square.


And yes. That’s not an optical illusion. This 4 star hotel in the city centre really DID give us hugely different glass sizes to enjoy our fizz with. And @TheWookie had to open it himself 😮 . And no, we won’t be back.

Sunday arrived with heavy rain 😦 but we headed to Edinburgh, excited for our short trip. We made our way to 56 North, where my friends, Pauline and Gavin, had treated us to an afternoon tea with gin tasting 😀 Hurrah!

We were greeted with a really friendly welcome, and with the fab news that Pauline & Gavin had treated us to a bottle of fizz! Yay!

We settled down with around 20 or so others, eager to get started. This was the joyous sight in front of us….


The two guys hosting the session took us through the first four gins which were all strikingly different. The pace was relaxed, and there was no rush at all. We had a selection of different mixers to try, and the whole session was interactive – we could ask questions, and add comments – good or bad!

We then had a short break, with afternoon tea of sandwiches and small cakes, before starting again with the final four gins. I won’t spoil it for anyone by telling you which gins we tried, what we found out about them, or which were my favourites. You can try for yourselves!

After the session, we bagged a great window table, with the sun – newly surfaced through the rain – beating in. The bar is stocked with around 300 different gins, so I chatted with the barman, telling him what I liked in a gin so that he could recommend a gin for me. I had a Daffy’s, which is a small batch gin made in Edinburgh, while @TheWelshWookie had a Hoxton grapefruit and coconut gin. Yummy! They serve their gins in gorgeous continental style goblets with ice, a suggested tonic, and a garnish designed to compliment the flavours.

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We had some lunch with our fizz- @TheWookie had a burger, I had a gorgeous chicken caesar salad with a poached egg. It was delish!


We finished off with another gin each – @TheWookie had a Brecon Welsh gin, while I had a Rock Rose, which may well be my new favourite – it, too, is a small batch Scottish gin. We then headed to our hotel, to get ready for our evening in the city – with the ghosts!

Monday Motivation 

Monday Motivation 

Hi everyone!

Congratulations to all of those who conquered marathons this weekend: I hope the aches aren’t too bad today.

While you’ve been running, @TheWelshWookie and I have been celebrating our first wedding anniversary: first, at a Partick Thistle football match 😳, then on a trip to Edinburgh which involved gin tasting, a ghost tour through the the city vaults and a graveyard, a tour around Mary King’s Close then Edinburgh Castle. Phew! No running, but plenty of walking for us. We even visited the coffee shop where JK Rowling wrote much of the early Harry Potter books 🙂

I’ll share some pics when I’m back home. For now, we’re on the train heading back to Glasgow, for a spot of impromptu babysitting. 

In the mean time, I hope this makes you smile 😀  

 Wouldn’t it? 

Rockin’ and Rollin’ into 2014

Rockin’ and Rollin’ into 2014

Evening, all!

Are you fed up with me titling my blogs with words ending in -in’ this week? I promise this will be the last. Ok, at least I think it will, so I’d better retract that promise, just in case!

After signing up for the Zombie Night Run UK event this morning, as a Zombie, I’ve been excited all day, thinking about it. Now that I know where it is (it’s still a secret, except for those who have entered early 😉 ) and I’ve decided to be a chaser rather than be chased, I’m looking forward to it! It also comes at the end of a week’s holiday for me, so it’ll be something to look forward to.

And when I arrived home from work tonight, I found that another amazing run has been announced.

Drum roll please………………………………………………..


2014 will be the inaugural Rock and Roll Liverpool Marathon and Half! Woop! Woop!

@TheWelshWookie and I have already been considering dreaming about the possibility of doing the RnR Madrid run next year. I’ll more than likely do Edinburgh, and I’d love to go back to Dublin, too!

Does this mean a possible 3 or 4 RnR events might be on the cards for us?

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Ooooh, decisions, decisions! Whatever I decide, I’ll be looking to add another of these to my collection:

photo (22)

Today’s stats

Run: ANOTHER run-less day…. I need to get that sorted soon! Stretching (and eating) instead 😉

Favourite Stretching Track today: an old Coldplay fave

Today’s life lesson: think before you speak. That’s all.

Have you planned any runs for 2014 yet?

Race Report: RnR Edinburgh Half Marathon

Race Report: RnR Edinburgh Half Marathon

Date: 14th April 2013

Profile: Hilly (my view, that is!)

Terrain: Road

Weather: Wild! Wet, windy, very stormy

Website: http://uk.competitor.com/edinburgh

Positives: great course, lovely medal, fab experience

Negatives: goody bags, weather!

I was so excited about running my first ever half marathon!

Training began on 30th December 2012. I wanted to start the New Year with a bang, and so I started with some cold, wet, windy runs. Turns out that this was a good plan! @TheWelshWookie and I were looking forward to our weekend away in Edinburgh, and had booked into the Holiday Inn at Cowgate for the night before the race.

We chose that hotel because it was within easy walking distance from the start and finish. Perfect!

We had a lovely walk on the Saturday, past this aptly named pub:


I took that as a good sign! I noticed at this point in the walk that the route was going to be quite hilly, and on the cobbled streets for part of it too. Hmmmmm.

We walked past the office of the Children’s Commissioner, who is Tam Baillie, who I knew from working with Barnardo’s. I just love the pic of him on the window! Looks just like him! 🙂


@TheWelshWookie and I then headed for an early dinner to the Hard Rock Cafe, and we were seated under a cool piece of memorabilia:


After an early night, @TheWelshWookie was up and out early, as he was a volunteer marshall on the course. I was looking forward to having a supporter at some point! I headed for breakfast, to find the restaurant filled with fellow runners (and joggers like me) from all over the world! I knew, by then, that it was raining outside, but the forecast was, apparently, OK.

But nobody told the weather that….

It was wild! So much so that the T-shirt marquees blew away, and there was a delay at the start until they made things safe 😮

I was soaked through, despite wearing my anorak, before the race begun. There was little race build up (probably due to the weather) and I was in the fourth wave, just eager to get going!

Here’s the Scottish Government building- the starting point of the race:


When it was our turn to start, I started slowly (ahem… more slowly than usual), I didn’t want to get carried away in the first couple of miles! The first miles took us through Leith, and along the waterfront, to Musselburgh. The rain was pelting, the wind was blowing, and I felt good!

By the time I got to the 5 mile mark, I found @TheWelshWookie’s posting- he was the gate lock keeper, on the main road. It was a welcome wee boost to see him!

I turned left, and realised that the road ahead was cobbled and uphill. This seemed to go on forever, and was quite slippery underfoot. We made our way back to Edinburgh city, to head around Arthur’s Seat, which was both hilly and wet. And windy. So windy, in fact, that in some places I was blown backwards, and could barely make any forward movement!

Then, at around 9.5 miles, disaster struck! I had been using my iPhone both for music and for measuring my progress on the Nike+ Running app. But the battery died! Argh! I had enough juice left in it to call Tony and let him know that I wouldn’t be able to call him when I was done. Lesson learned! That was the low point in the race- but I pulled myself together, and pushed on.

Things got much better after that- though the weather didn’t change! As I reached mile 10.5, we arrived back at Cowgate, for the final run through the old town, when I slipped on a metal cap in the road, and almost fell- almost! I walked for about 1/4 mile, just to check that I wasn’t injured, and I plowed on uphill again.

The final couple of miles were great- the crowd support was good at the end of the race, and that certainly helped. There were supposed to be bands at eery mile mark, but perhaps some cried off because of the weather. Those who did perform were great, and a welcome boost for joggers like me!

The pacemakers were also good- upbeat, friendly and encouraging.

I crossed the finish line in 2:22:49 feeling really proud, elated and full of energy- not quite as shattered as I thought I would be! And I knew that this was the start of a new jogging phase for me 🙂

@TheWelshWookie was waiting for me, which was great. Can’t wait for next ear- though I see that the date has changed to June- because of the weather, I assume?

My stats:


The Medal:

Brilliant. Shiny, sparkly and heavy! I love it!


Goody Bag: there were no bags, so I had to try to pick up and balance what I could, which wasn’t much. I managed a PowerBar, an energy drink and a bottle of water. That was all. Hope the bags are available next year.

T-shirt: I love the technical shirt, so much so that I wore it for the MOK10K:

Yay! We did it! :D

We had to queue for some time to get the shirts, but that’s because of the problems with the tents blowing away! Fortunately, the organisers were handing out foil blankets, which were essential given the low temperatures. Don’t I look fetching after all of that?


Bring on next year!