14 Jun

Dutch Courage For Seven Hills

Dutch runners

An unusual connection has developed between Dutch runners and a running event in Edinburgh. The Seven Hills of Edinburgh Race & Challenge, which takes place on Sunday (16 June), noticed an increasing amount of runners from the Netherlands were coming over for the event a few years ago. And in 2010, the connection became stronger with two organised groups - Zevenheuvelenloop Club from Nijmegen and Erasmus Universiteit from Rotterdam - taking part in the race.

The Seven Hill organisers were unsure as to why the event was so popular with Dutch runners, saying: "The reasons for this are not entirely clear, but the absence of significant hills in Holland may be part of the explanation.

"On the evening before the event in 2010, an informal reception was held in Edinburgh at the home of some of the event's helpers, and a sculpture from the Zevenheuvelenloop club was presented to the Seven Hills Race."

Billed as one of the most unusual running events in the country, there is two options for participants - the race and the challenge. The race is reserved for the 'seriously fit' participants, while the challenge is for those of 'more modest ability' (above 1 hour 40 for a half marathon). The event is a combination of road running, cross-country, hill running and ubran orienteering and is 14 miles long with 2200 feet of ascent/descent.

Starting and finishing at Calton Hill, competitors have to find their own route, as the course is not marked, but they must pass through six checkpoints in the following order: Edinburgh Castle (esplanade), Corstrophine Hill, Craiglockhart Hill (East), Braid Hill , Blackford Hill and Arthur's Seat

Organisers describe the race as: "An event of great character, and with a tremendous friendly atmosphere on the day, it's THE event that everyone - Edinburgh-based or otherwise - should do at least once!"

For more information, visit the Seven Hills of Edinburgh website.