Great Edinburgh 10K – a Great day out

Expecting a biting cold & dull day, it was with some trepidation that I opened the curtains on Sunday. However, it was gorgeously sunny, fairly still & much milder than anticipated, which was a good omen for the day to come.

So, with a mounting sense of excitement I strapped my rucksack on my back & stuck out to trot to Holyrood Park to take part in my first 10k of the year in the company of 10,000 others.

Holyrood Park was looking glorious as I arrived & remained that way all morning, showing off Edinburgh in a very flattering light in all the TV coverage & making me for one extremely glad to be outside & making the most of it.

On this occasion, as well as racing for the glory of the club, I had the priviledge of being part of the Scotland East team for the Interdistricts match which meant lining up on the start line with the elite ladies, who this time also included EAC’s very own Freya Murray. Unfortunately, this didn’t give us access to the VIP facilities, but as the organisation & facilities were very good anyway this really didn’t matter.

Having been for a jog round to double check out the course on Wednesday, I was well aware that it was certainly NOT flat or easy, so super fast times were never going to be on the cards. But… I was there for the competition & am extremely happy running up & down hills, so felt that this played very favourably into my hands!

And so it proved. Ignoring the TV cameras, I tracked the elite group down the inital slightly downhill section and round the corner to begin to tackle ‘the’ hill at what felt like a comfortable pace. Although Queens Drive is a long hill, it’s not actually steep, so really wasn’t a problem when still fresh at the beginning of a comparitively short race. Just over half way up the elites got going & gradually started to pull away from those of us in the Districts race. Undetered by this I kept the effort steady, made use of gravity to pull away from Melissa Whyte on the first short downhill & never looked back, running the remainder of the race entirely by myself!

Solo running with just the target of Deratu Tulu (who was having a rather poor day) to aim at is very different from the experience of running in a big race with several thousand of your closest friends! You have to stay totally focussed & believe in your pace, abilities & instincts. This is something I’ve been working on extensively recently to great effect (thanks SO much Rachel, it’s been & still is amazing!) and it really paid off during this race.

As well as the hills, you also have plenty of twists & turns to contend with on the Edinburgh course, so never get a chance to get ‘bored’ or into a fully settled rythum as you do need to concentrate. This was a lesson I learnt at the bottom of the Mound, where I was so focussed on getting to Princes St Gardens that I ran the wrong side of the barriers & had to double back when shouted at by the crowd, losing 5-10 seconds in the process & feeling more than a little daft! Fortunately, I had a big lead on my nearest competitor, so this just spurred me on to put in an even bigger effort for the last 2k. Zooming down the High Street towards Holyrood gave just a brilliant sensation of speed. Turning the corner to go through the Palace grounds was the final kick I needed to crank it up to 11 & go all out to the line, where I was elated to finish in 35:40, 9th overall & a clear winner in the Interdistricts race. I was made happier still by watching Dianne Lauder & Fiona Thompson (separated by the astounding Melissa Whyte) cross the line to secure a clear win for Scotland East. The others weren’t far behind & I believe we were just a few seconds shy of being first & second team!

Support on the course & in the Park was just fantastic – there were just so many friends, family, clubmates & others from the athletics community to speak to both before & afterwards that it was quite sometime before I could get some extra kit back on & go for an extended, hilly cooldown in the sunshine. So thank you to everyone for your support, I really, really appreciated it and hope that you enjoyed your day out as much as I did.

There were too many EAC runners taking part to list in full, but you can see them in the link below. We had runners from across the age ranges & it was particularly encouraging to see some of our juniors venturing away from the track to get some road experience.

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