It was hard to believe how cold it was as a field of 220 runners lined up along Portobello Seafront for the Edinburgh to North Berwick Road Race. The gloves and hat were on along with 2 layers and we set off at a reserved but steady pace. You could taste the salt in the air from the Forth as we got up close and personal with the stiff headwind which accompanied us all the way to the end.
After a couple of miles the field sorted itself a little and I found myself in around 20th place with 3 Portobello runners including the in-form Willie Jarvie who seemed to be cruising and looked like he was out for a stroll.
At five miles the cold weather gear was discarded on the go as things warmed up. We got some abuse by a couple of locals at Prestonpans who shouted 'hello, grandad' (not sure who it was aimed at but quite complimentary really and it made me smile!). Things were going well at the 10 mile mark which we passed at 65 minutes. We had begun to catch a few who had set off at too optimistic a pace including a Bog Trotter, a Portobello and a Carnegie. Every few miles a few cyclists would come past shouting support and taking photos. We took turns at the front and at around 14 miles I missed the water stop opting to take my second Capri Juice shortly afterwards. However, to my dismay when I groped around the bumbag I found I'd only put 1 in which I had drank earlier at 7 miles. This little event knocked me back and it coincided with the group surging a little at the most exposed part along the golf course before Gullane. I lost about 10 metres at this point and never recovered. Dumped out of the group and slowing badly, the next 2 miles were tough before I passed Fidra stores where the kind folk had provided jelly babies and water and I stopped for a drink. I was passed by 2 runners between 15 and 17 miles, but by 18 miles I was back on track and pulled one back to finish the 20.2 mile course in 2:13 (14th).
Having never raced for so long a distance, I was surprised at how you notice the subtle changes of pace from surrounding runners and the see-saw of others having good and bad patches. A well organised race and with great support on a beautiful course this was a really enjoyable day out with a presentation late in the afternoon and enough sausage rolls, sandwiches and bucketloads of hot tea. Roll on the marathon. (Results at Scottish Athletics Site: Photos on the Portobello site and related blog)