22 May

Great Expectations Met In Edinburgh

Great Edinburgh Run

Footworks boss Colin McPhail provides us with the highlights of the 10 Mile Bupa Great Edinburgh Run route and praises the course, the distance and the chance to see the very best of Edinburgh on a nice 90 minute (give or take) effort.

Some runners will remember the day when the 10-mile road race was the favoured distance to pitch yourself against if you were training for a marathon. Back then, the half marathon hadn’t really taken off and club runners such as myself used the 10-mile race as a measure of how training was going.  You can imagine my delight when I found out that Edinburgh was to host a city centre 10-miler, and Nova International were to be the organisers.

First-time visitors to Edinburgh will be spoiled completely by the views at the race. Runners head off from Holyrood Park, going east to Meadowbank Stadium. The course then heads back into town on London Road and through Abbeyhill, taking a turn which leads you round the back of Holyrood Palace, the Queen’s official residence in Scotland, before running towards the Scottish Parliament. Once you hit the Canongate, you travel up the Royal Mile, a true Scottish mile, to Jeffrey Street where you’re met with spectacular views of the Calton Hill monuments over Waverley Station.

The course then takes a right on to Waverley Bridge at the official Edinburgh Dungeons. The sudden view of the Scott Monument is stunning. Turning left into Princes Street Gardens, you are faced with Edinburgh Castle, Scotland’s most visited tourist attraction. Complemented by the Scottish National Art Gallery, it’s like a scene from a movie set in Rome. The course then travels up the Mound and the Bank of Scotland building, which oozes architectural splendour. When you cross over the Royal Mile at the top, a quick glance left gives you another fine sight - St Giles Cathedral.

The route follows George IV bridge and passes directly past “oor wee dug” Greyfriar’s Bobby, one of Edinburgh’s most famous characters. The Skye terrier was famed for sitting over his master’s grave for 14 years. Next, Bristo Square and onto Causewayside, turning right into George Square and into the Meadows, a vast green area in the city centre. Then you have a lovely flat section in the Meadows to the west end of Quartermile, the old Royal Infirmary. The course then goes up past St Thomas of Aquin’s High School and down into the Grassmaket, a place where hangings regularly took place in times gone by. Travelling down the Cowgate to the Pleasance, a cheeky little brae takes you up onto St Leonards. The next major landmark is the Commonwealth Pool where the course turns left back into Holyrood Park and down the Innocent Railway footpath to Peffermill. From there you head back towards Duddingston Village, Duddingston Loch and into the Royal Park for the final time. The climb here is a vertical 200 ft over 1 mile, though you are rewarded for your efforts with a downhill blast of 1 mile to the finish line just beside the Palace.

For an event for all the family, this is a winner. For the hardcore club runner it's a winner. For a first attempt at a distance run, it’s a definite winner. And for anyone who simply enjoys running, it’s probably the world’s best city centre race. Overall verdict? It’s a winner!