Seven Hills of Edinburgh

Sunday morning (21.6.09) alarm shattering Hyndland before 6 a.m. Can you believe it, no , neither can I.

Well we said we would go, so………Taxi booked-far too early for trains to Queen Street. This was Calder and Semple venturing East for an amble round those certain seven hills, with a lot of ducking &diving , bobbing & weaving, thro’ streets, lanes, alleyways, cobbled lanes, wall-climbing . Oh yes, it’s all here in Edinburgh.

In light of the above, even locals are out reccing the course, as it gets overgrown in places, and perhaps shavimg off seconds by the latest route down an alleyway.So, quite rightly you are already saying what chance has an honest Western runner got with these Dell Boys ducking & diving.Well, we’re up for it. Determined to enjoy the day,whatever it may bring. In fact it brought the most glorious day: bright, clear day. Of course as runners,we’d say too damn hot,and it was. As we looked at the last half mile at 9 o’clock it was aleady hot.

So,where are we going – what hills? Starts and finishes at Calton Hill, Castle Rock, Corstorphine Hill, Craiglockhart Hill, Braid Hills, Blackford Hill, Arthur’s Seat, back to Calton Hill.You have to clip your number at each summit, but then you are free to choose your own route to the next peak. Hence the fun begins. Finding streets, avoiding cars, tourists, etc. are just part of the urban furniture.

Dave claims to have entered this race in 1984 and 1987 , so long ago that we are not going to dispute it. Anyway, a mere 12 years ago, that’s a distinct advantage for route finding. Turns out we were both pouring over our maps for hours to familiarise ourselves with the streets of the Capital. This seemed to pay off for both of us, as neither of us made an absolute horlicks of our chosen routes. Well, almost that is, when Semple knowing that cramping was on it’s way on the approach to Arthur’s Seat , tried to shave vital minutes off the time with a cunning little dive into the side streets , only to end up in a building site, then a wall with barbed wire, followed by the wall-climbing exercise, and the jump off it that had reverberations thro’ parts of the body that had just better not mention.

Yes, it was the heat, and any other excuse will do for any shortcomings. There have been a few races, where "totally wabbit" is the only succinct expression for state of being after a hard slog of a race, (Moffat being one-almost comatose-if memory is accurate). So it was that a sprint was "not entirely in evidence" in "coming to the last" on this occasion. Thanks again to Jane, who was out supporting at several points in the race and seeing runners battling to drag themselves up Arthur’s Seat.

This is a very well organised race, hospitality at the finish, water stations thro’out the course – and we certainly needed every one of them. Very friendly crowd, being urged on, and families at the finish enjoying the sunshine. One for your diary next year.

We were invited by the HBT contingent for some light refreshments nearby. Naturally we accepted the kind offer and joined them for a drink, and another, and another,and……………………………..

Quite frankly, can’t remember anything about that part of the day, or as they say, that’ll be another report- I’ll let Dave fill you in.

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