Portobello parkrun…the tour continues!

It was my wife’s birthday a couple of weeks ago and she was delighted when I told her that I had organised a romantic evening through in Edinburgh. I informed her of the plan to go for a nice meal, enjoy a couple of fancy cocktails and then see the band who wrote our ‘first dance’ song as they were over from Nashville on tour! I was pretty chuffed with myself on this one and Vicki was over the moon with the plan – she was a little less impressed however when I also added that our hotel was conveniently close to a parkrun and that we would be trying it out the following morning! And so we found ourselves last night in Edinburgh, a couple of drinks deep and listening to ‘Striking Matches’ bringing a little taste of Tennessee to Scotland.

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Saturday morning and the familiar sound of the alarm echoed around the hotel room. I was pleased to note that the head felt pretty clear and I didn’t feel the final old-fashioned of Friday night had done too much damage. I unfurled my parkrun ’50’t-shirt and the trusty Adidas racers before necking a coffee and making the short drive across to Portobello parkrun.

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Upon arrival we were relieved to be able to park nice and quickly with no hassle whatsoever and the steady flow of lycra led us easily to the start line. The park itself is nice and flat with only a couple of small undulations. We were informed that the route is a simple three lap affair and that it would be “near-impossible to get lost”. I am happy to report that this is the case as if anyone can get lost on a new route (or even an old one!), it is me and yet I managed to navigate this park with no issues!  After a brief warm-up I said goodbye to Vicki and made my way to the front of the field.

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The atmosphere was nice and this parkrun had a less ‘formal’ feel to it. There was no jostling for position on the start line – in fact the majority of the runners seemed reluctant to line up alongside the two or three fellas who were toeing the line. After a quick thank you to the volunteers, we were off and enjoyed an immediate steady downhill section. The loop itself follows the outside of a pond and for the duration of its second half, runners can see those chasing after them. It became clear at the half way point that I would not be catching the leader and that, unless I managed to mess something up, I would probably not be caught by the man in third. This left me slightly in limbo as I found myself running along on my own. Knowing that I am not currently in ‘PB-Shape’ left me lacking in motivation and I feel I probably sat a little too comfortable for the majority of the run.

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I did enjoy the run and the route was a nice one. There were a couple of bottle necks which did cause a little difficulty on later laps however as I was trying to negotiate my way past other runners – the short section under the bridge was particularly awkward as the path is really only wide enough for two people side by side and, were you to try and pass, you would end up in the river! Nevertheless this was only a very short section and will have had a minimal impact on my actual finish time.

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Vicki meanwhile was enjoying the route and said that it managed to change her opinion of ‘multi-lap runs’. Prior to this parkrun she was adamant that she hated the idea of running the same loop several times however, upon completing this event, she told me that she had changed her mind. I think this may have been partly because she had a fantastic run and managed to secure a huge PB!

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We both really enjoyed the run and the marshalls were, as always, very friendly and helpful. We both said that we would like to return to try the event again and would recommend it to anyone looking for a change of scenery! All in all it was a fantastic start to the weekend and I spent my Saturday afternoon wandering aimlessly around Princes Street Gardens enjoying the bright blue skies and feel good factor that only a morning run can provide!

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Jack

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