This is definitely the most amazing running experience I’ve ever had. Previously I would have said that nothing beats your very first marathon but this blew that completely out of the water. What was the best bit? Everything!
I’ve been running on average a marathon a year since my first one in 1998, which changed my life and lead me to change my career and become a Personal Trainer and I suspected this event would become a similar kind of event in terms of life experiences but I didn’t expect anything quite as much as this.
I decided to go for all 4 races at the Edinburgh Marathon Festival as part of my wider fundraising challenge for Macmillan in memory of my dad to thank him for all that he taught me, including introducing me to running, and also I wanted to do something that would really challenge me and this was it.
Running the 10k first at 9am was actually the most nerve-wracking part of the whole thing as it was the first event but once it got under way, I knew I’d be fine. Let’s face it, 10k is hardly a challenge when you’re about to do a half and marathon back to back! The route around Holyrood Park, Arthur’s Seat and Duddingston Loch was actually pretty good! An uphill climb for the first couple of miles was fine by me as I’m used to running uphill anyway and the views at the top were amazing too so that took my mind off the running. As always with an uphill climb, you’ve got a good downhill stretch to go and this was gratefully received as I was able to pick up a bit of speed through momentum and use it as a bit of recovery also. The second half of the run was pretty good but the hardest bit for me was coming back, slightly uphill giving us all a good test before a downhill stretch again to the finish although the first 400m of it was into a headwind.
It felt great to cross the line and have the first race out of the way. My time of 41:33 is far from my fastest but I was pretty happy with that, particularly as my Garmin showed I had run the first 5k in 19:54, 30 seconds faster than my previous best and the first time I’ve ever run sub-20mins for the distance! I was also delighted to meet up with Mark Riddell, who had started at my running club in January and was running his first race.
The next race was the 5k at 11am and I had time to go to the loo, have a quick drink, catch up with Allison and also do an interview with Grant Stott for Radio Forth. The organisers liked my story and invited me to do the interview along with a few others for whom this weekend would be memorable for. Before we knew it, it was time to get ready and line up for the 5k. This was the same route as the 10k but with a long straight downhill section to the finish. There was a slightly smaller field in this one and so I was able to get pretty close to the actual start line. It was quite interesting to do the same route again and see if I could beat my new PB time but sadly I was a little bit slower due to the effects of the 10k and still finished in 20:39, roughly 20 seconds outside my previous PB and a time I would’ve been very happy with at the start. I was also pleased to finish in 9th overall and 2nd in my age category.
After this race it was time for a quick photo of Allison and I from the organisers with our medals from the morning’s races, get a recovery drink then head across to our hotel to freshen up and generally relax ahead of my big challenge on Sunday. At this stage I was feeling pretty good and generally buzzing from the photos, interview and my performances in both races. I was starting to feel like a bit of a celebrity!