The forecast wasn’t too bad, the training had gone OK over the past couple of
months and I was quietly confident about a PB on Sunday. My other half very
kindly (well actually was firmly persuaded) gave me a lift to Market Street
and it was just a 15 minute gentle walk down to Royal Terrace and the baggage
trucks. It was great to see the East End chock a block with other runners and
the expectant atmosphere was building. I looked around for other Harriers but
didn’t meet anyone (even after the race – except for Vicki helping out at the
finish). I strapped on my trusty camelback, donned my custom-tailored bin-
liner, said goodbye to my rucsac and joined a loo queue on London Road.
Crickey, the queues were slow – I had barely any time left for a warm-up
before I headed into the red pen. Hmm, the red pen, just behind the blue
stripe elite pen! Well one has to aim high.
It got more and more crowded and the buzz increased. Come on, lets go! At
last with a big cheer we were off! Even in the red group the pace seemed too
slow and I overtook runners steadily. Up to Holyrood Park and then left and
down towards Seafield. I didn’t see any mile markers until mile 3 and was
relieved to see that the pace was spot on at just under 7 minute miles. I
felt OK and concentrated on a steady relaxed pace, along the sea-front,
Portobello and on towards Musselburgh. The sun was out and with a following
breeze, I began to overheat. Water bottles were welcome for a cool down as
well as a drink and somebody had thoughtfully put up a sprinkler. As my
stomach was complaining a bit at this stage I didn’t drink much of the
carbo-drink in my camelback and didn’t grab any gels.
At the Half Marathon point I was still running strongly but it seemed quite
a lot harder and the pace had dropped off – over 7 minute miles now. Past
the hubbub of the Musselburgh relay changeover and onwards towards Longniddry.
The legs were now complaining and I was pretty sure that 3 hours was now in
cloud cuckoo land and I would be hard pushed to beat my PB. Gosford House
grounds are very pretty and all that but I was definitely starting to toil
and was definitely not enjoying myself. Back on the road we were at least
heading back towards Musselburgh and there were plenty of runners coming
the other way to grimace at. Crickey, so many runners! And suddenly a brief
glimpse of Chris!
20 miles and really very sore now – the legs didn’t seem to do what the
brain was egging them on to do. My stomach had settled enough now but no
gel stations in sight so I slowed to a walk and got one out of the
camelback. The legs had seized up pretty severely by now and things had
degenerated to a walk-jog-walk-jog survival. At one point something very
strange happened to my breathing and I was forced to walk for a good 4 or
At last, one mile to go! I gritted my teeth and managed to jog the whole
mile, spurred on by multitudes of yelling spectators. I tried to grin
cheerfully but as the photos later clearly portayed, the result was a
pain-filled baring of teeth and peculiar squinting. Probably my least
favourite marathon finish but at least I was still alive.
I collected my whapping medal and T-shirt (it took me a while to work out
what S, M and L stood for!) and hobbled around aimlessly for a while looking
for someone to tell how awful that run was. At least the fish supper later
on that evening tasted superb.
Put it down to experience. The other Harriers seemed to have paced
themselves better than me, especially Mark who did an amazing 3:03 (despite
walking most of the last 6 miles). Times were
and the Half Marathon
The results were a bit rubbish on the EMF website (search engine didn’t
recognise running clubs) hence no seconds for Mark. (I actually don’t think
that Mark tried hard enough as he also ran the 6-mile handicap on Tuesday
only two days later!)
PS. Apologies for not finding Helen and Jan first time round!