One look outside the window at 6.30am told me this was going to be a good day. Bright sunshine, clear blue sky, Edinburgh was doing its best impersonation of Bermuda. When the sun’s up, this city is a great place to be.

The start point for the Edinburgh Marathon Festival 10K is just inside Holyrood Park. A gentle 1 mile walk from home. I got there in plenty of time. The organisation was excellent – no queues for bag drop, small queues for toilets. Making my way up to the start point I could feel the atmosphere and I thought – life is good. I really do enjoy a pre-big race buzz.

emf13 10k startmike start emf13 10kI had been assigned the yellow start zone which, to my big surprise, was the first zone off. Surely some mistake here I thought, making my way as unobtrusively as possible to the back of the zone. That is, as unobtrusively as I could while wearing my new mockjogger running shirt (thanks Laura :))

Four minutes to go, I switched the Garmin on and pressed go on the new Shuffle, initiating a random play of my newly updated race playlist. In kicked The Prodigy – The Omen, and so I spent the remaining 3 minutes in an improvised pseudo-dancing warm up routine.

And then we were off. The usual jostling took place as the field sorted itself out. I was passed more than I overtook in the opening flat section but I was comfortable with that because I knew what was around the next corner. The climb up around Arthur’s Seat. Welcome to Edinburgh, runners of the world.

At this point I should apologise to anyone I offended by shouting “Arthur’s Seat, I’m going to make you my bitch”. I have Danielle at I Eat Therefore I run to thank for that πŸ™‚ A special apology to the Lady who smiled back at me, as I got more of a shock than she obviously did, and I put the accelerator down.

Up the hill I was generally passing more than being passed, and at the top, a glance at my Garmin told me I was averaging 9:10 pace. That’s not too bad for the hill I thought. For better or worse, I had published a target of 55 minutes for this race, and after some help from Twitter I knew I had to run 8:51 average to achieve that. At this point I thought I had a good chance of recovering that average now that the big hill was over and done with. In fact, I’m beginning to realise it’s not so much how hard I labour up the hill, but how quickly I recover afterwards that counts.

Mile 1 Split: 8:49
Mile 2 Split: 9:06

Round Arthur’s Seat and the descent down to Duddingston Loch. This was my opportunity to make up time and I pushed hard.

Mile 3 Split: 7:49 (yes, no mistake, it starts with 7, but it was downhill)
Mile 4 Split: 8:03

After hitting the bottom, the course moved along a narrow path back towards the park. Some innocent cyclists were out for a jaunt, trying to move in the opposite direction – I hope they found a way through the field. At this point I realised that I had been keeping pace with a guy wearing a The Wedding Present T-shirt, and a girl wearing a green Macmillan charity T-shirt, for quite some time. Hi, whoever you are.

The course wound back uphill again and hit a steep section where quite a few runners stopped to walk. Not Wedding Present, Macmillan or me though.

Mile 5 Split: 8:20

Then, before I knew it, we were back in the park and looking down at the long run in to the finish. A glance at the Garmin told me I was under 8:30 average pace. I digested that. I took a second glance. It still said under 8:30.

I’d lost Wedding Present but Macmillan was moving away from me in the downhill run in. So I pushed harder, caught and passed her. I was giving all I had, but in the last 20 meters she re-took me. Anyway, Ms Macmillan, thanks for jousting me, it took 10s off my time πŸ™‚

Over the line, I pressed stop on the Garmin to see 52:13. A few minus later, a text message told me my unofficial time was 52:14. Really, I couldn’t believe it. That time is much better than anything I have ever achieved in training. I knew I was going to record a PB (as it was, ahem, my first 10K) but the result exceeded all my expectations.

Mile 6 Split: 8:21
Extra bit (0.26 miles): 6:41 (yes, really)

The medal and T-shirt collection was well managed, with goodie bags sorted by L, M, S. The medal is really cool and now my collection is doubled.
emf 2013 10k medal

No queue for bag collection, then a gentle walk home in the sunshine with a big smile on my face. Half way there I came across a group of youths. “When is the marathon?” asked one. “Tomorrow” I said. “Are they running the full 26 miles?” another asked. “Err, I think so, its like, a marathon” I said. Only in Edinburgh. And then home, shower, kettle on and off to make my best tweet ever:

Official result

Time 52:14
Position: 419
(no more data available, like the total number of runners for example)
Newsflash: Position in Category: 1st!! (category being “Mike Wilson’s”, the other one was 1014th)

mockjogger t shirt frontt shirt back

  1. Awesome race! Your time is incredible, I’m jealous!
    Sounds like the course may have been the reverse of what I ran?

    I can’t believe you told Arthur’s Seat you were going to make it your bitch out loud, hilarious! Thanks for the mention πŸ™‚

  2. mockjogger says:

    You mean, I wasn’t supposed to shout it out loud? Ahhhhh…

    Maybe they did switch it around – its a long uphill followed by a long downhill – a real roller coaster. I’m hoping the next one is flatter.