After total rest* yesterday, I was itching to break out my running kit again, and what better place to do that than Edinburgh parkrun? It is a pancake flat***, wholly tarmac lollipop course, and boasts Scotland’s largest attendance figures and fastest ever time.
Situated on the outskirts of Edinburgh, about 30 mins by bus from the city centre, it’s not the easiest parkrun to get to if you’re without your own transport, but if you do catch the bus then you’ll walk past the loos on your way to the start, which is never a bad thing.
Its first-timers’ briefing is one of the fiercest I’ve ever listened to: unregistered runners are told to go away and come back at some point when they’ve signed up and got themselves a barcode; everyone at the briefing is asked to show their barcode as proof that they’ve signed up; “no barcode, no time, no exceptions” is made abundantly clear; and runners are told in no uncertain terms that carrying a water bottle on a 5k run is a complete waste of effort. If the briefing weren’t delivered with a fair dollop of humour and a corresponding emphasis on the social side of parkrun, it could all become a bit intimidating, but as it was, most of the runners came away smiling and distinctly less nervous than they’d been before.
Today’s run had just over 400 runners, a number the wide paths can cope with quite easily. We ran out into a headwind, looped round the lollipop and then enjoyed a wind-assisted return leg, after which there were sweets****, and the option of visiting the nearby cafe for a hot drink and a scone*****.
At which point, I headed back to my hostel, showered, donned my pyjamas and waterproofs, stuffed the rest of my clothing into a bag and took myself on a tour of Edinbirgh in search of a laundrette.
I am, I think you’ll agree, the epitome of chic.
* Walking around the Falkirk parkrun course, catching a train to Edinburgh, walking from the city centre to the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, working my way around an exhibition of Escher’s prints, walking from the gallery to Holyrood Park, walking up Arthur’s Seat in massively inappropriate shoes**, clambering down Arthur’s Seat swearing at massively inappropriate shoes and then walking back along the Royal Mile to my hostel.
** Picture the thinnest soles you can with the least amount of grip. Now make them even thinner and less grippy.
*** two whole metres of elevation
**** one parkrunner achieved a personal milestone this morning by making it round before all the sweets had gone
***** Thank you Davie et al for making a tourist feel so welcome