Sunday, 6 May 2012


Edinburgh to North Berwick yesterday and, similar to the mara a few weeks ago, the weather was kind to us. Clear blue skys, a bit cool but most importantly, for this race, very little wind.

I have two "techniques" for running - "a" try to pace it and "b" go eyeballs out and try to hang on.
Now. Over the years I've never really got the hang of "a" so while I only ever used to use "b" for 10ks and perhaps the odd 10 miler I've started to use it for longer distances - but never really for a 20 mile race.....Until yesterday.

We got down to the registration at Portobello bowling club after a bus journey in from Innerwick and a wee walk down from Milton Road. Strangely while we were on the bus I saw a white van that had signs in the back windows overtake us - "Caution: Runners" "Edinburgh to North Berwick Road Race Sweeper Bus". I saw this as a sort of cruel reminder that the E2NB is the only race (yet) that I've ever abandoned. Possibly the lowest point ever in my running "career".

Anyway. I had no intention of ever repeating that. Once we got our numbers, had a natter with some of the others from the club etc we headed down to the start line.
Usual banter from Barry the starter ... and we were off. Off at an alarmingly fast pace - so it looked as though it was to be technique "b"!
I ended up in the first ten miles or so in the company of Rab Watson from Musselburgh, Bernard Devoy from Portobello and a guy from London Heathside. At one point we did three consecutive miles all under 6:00 pace.
It was one of those situations where I don't think anyone wanted to be the one to crack, but if somehow we had all brought it down a bit I think we would all have been happy enough.
Going along by Longniddry bents I was aware that I was creeping ahead a little, but didn't dare to turn around to see by how much.

Just outside Aberlady I saw Stuart Symington who kindly handed me an energy gel which seemed to give me a little "lift".
The climb into Gullane wasn't too bad - but the climb out of Gullane towards Dirleton was murder. I just gritted my filling-riddled, chipped, teeth, and tried to dig in. A couple of people had already informed me that I was third on the road.
It was at this point though that Pete Buchanan chose to cycle past and inform me that I was "a god of running"?! If I hadn't been hurting that much I think I would have started laughing my head off! If I'm a "god of running" then there must be a hell of a lot of atheist runners out there!

The "Oh-my-god" of ruinning.
Sadly at this juncture, just as we turned into Dirleton my new found devine status took a bit of a nock as Iain MacDonald of Edinburgh AC passed me. At first, when I caught sight of the white vest, I was convinced it was Mr Devoy. Down to fourth but still first vet. I was determined just to hang in. I passed Neil J from the club and his daughter who had set up a water station for the runners just outside their house. I was that focused I can't even remember of I acknowledged them (sorry).
The last two miles were just a painful slog. I ended up running on the road as I was convinced I was going to trip over some of the massive tree roots sticking up out of the pavement.
Came into the finish in 2:05:15. If my face looks painful in this photo I can only say - it was like this from mile one!

A new PB though - so a good day out. In years gone by I would have "celebrated" with a nice bottle of something and a few cans. Instead I can see an eight album box set of Ahmad Jamal records that I've been hankering after ...."nice".

I had plans to do a bit of LSD today. The reality, this morning, was a four mile slow and painful recovery run.


Ray said...

Well done Stuart... a very good run.

Davie said...

Great run and report.