The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Saturday, 11 March 2017

Edinburgh ParkRun

We know from past experience that there is good TV reception at Edinburgh Caravan Club site and, whilst we have managed nicely for 19 days without such entertainment, Mick was keen to watch the rugby this weekend. A booking was made and we arrived here yesterday (Friday) lunchtime.

After a week of hills, I thought that equated to a weekend of sitting around with my book, with maybe a gentle stroll along the Firth. Then Mick wondered out loud whether there is a local ParkRun – even though his calf is yet again crocked and he is sworn off running until after the TGO Challenge.

A quick search told me that that the most local event starts 1.5km away from the campsite entrance (and, indeed, then runs past it on the Firth-side promenade). How could I resist? 

With legs feeling a bit tired, and various tiny niggles from falling off tussocks and the like, I had no illusions of a fast (for me) time, but I was up for a gentle jog, so at just after 9 this morning, we left Bertie for a brisk walk up to Cramond. At 9.30 the ‘Go!’ command was issued … and I didn’t move. There were 524 people there today (rather a contrast to the field of 8 in Toulouse in December!), and whilst the promenade is wide, it still took things a while to get moving. It took much longer for gaps to open up to be able to pass anyone.

Using my usual trick, I found someone (or, in this case, a trio) running at a nice pace and I followed them, earwigging as I went. These were obviously serious runners and I was pleased to be keeping up – until there was a casual mention of their having run 10 miles to get to this morning’s run!

At the half way point I realised that the going was easy and that I could go faster (it’s a flat course and today there was almost no wind), so I left my trio of pace-setters behind. At the 4km marker, I picked it up again.

I crossed the line 3 seconds behind my ParkRun Personal Best, which was annoying from the point of view that I could easily have run three seconds faster, but was very pleasing considering how long it had taken to get moving at the start. Moreover, even with the slow start, based on the stats recorded on my GPS, my average pace was higher (i.e. it was a PB really, it’s just that the course measured slightly longer*).

So, quite a pleasing start to the day considering I was just going out for a gentle jog. If only any of our local ParkRun courses were that easy!

(*ParkRun courses are diligently measured with a wheel. The thing is that if there are lots of twists and turns, or corrugations on dirt/grass sections, then if you take the racing line and don’t take micro-steps, then you’ll flatten and straighten it out and end up running less than the officially measured 5km. Our local run at home is very twisty and is all on dirt or grass and I’ve consistently measured it at around 4.75-4.8km (it’s also hilly, so even though it’s short, it’s not a PB course). Today’s course was entirely on a hard surface and had no twists or turns, hence there were no shortcuts to be made and it came in at the full 5km.)


I am in this photo, but looking a bit blurred. Fortunately, you can’t see how muddy my trousers are, having not had the time to get them washed and dried since yesterday’s bogfest on East Cairn Hill.

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