Sunday Race Memories: Great Winter Run 2016

My second ever race, four months after my first, was also a 5k – but a much tougher route than Newcastle and Gateshead Quayside! The Great Winter Run in Edinburgh (now defunct sadly as it was a side event to the Great Edinburgh Cross Country for elite runners, which was moved to Stirling in 2019 and then scrapped altogether – incidentally the other Stirling event instigated by Great Run at the same time, the Stirling Marathon, has been taken over by another company and is still going strong! Anyway I digress…) was a steep climb to the top of Arthur’s Seat, followed by an enjoyable coast downhill back to the start. It’s the same route as that of the EMF 5k and 10k, so given that I’ve done two Great Winter Runs and three EMF 10ks, I’ve run up that hill five times in total… which is more than enough!

Great Winter 5k 2016
Relief on the approach to the finish line! (Photo © John Cooke 2016)

That first time I ran up it, however, was notable for being SO COLD. The organisers, to their credit, gritted the route six times so that nobody would slip, as the ice that morning was killer. You can see in the photo that I’ve got a hoodie round my waist – I had to start off wearing it because it was too cold to stand on the start line without it! (Being a hoarder I am not the sort of person who is able to throw away a hoodie at the start of a race, no matter how old and cheap it is. If it’s a proper item of clothing, it’s coming with me the whole way and then going back home with me. Start line warmth is what foil blankets from previous races are for!)

I was a lot slower in this race than my previous 5k attempt – I finished in 43:40 – but given that the first 2k are steeply uphill, I was okay with it!

After that I went back to Mum and Dad’s and watched the Great Cross Country on TV while enjoying my goodie bag. The best part!

This wasn’t my last ever 5k race, but it wasn’t long after this that I plucked up the courage to try parkrun… and when you’ve got parkrun, you don’t really need 5k races anymore.

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