Couch to 5K?? Nah, where’s the fun in that. Couch to 13.1K in a month sounds like a much “better” idea, and by better I mean really, really stupid. Can’t even claim this one was Gin fuelled. So… somehow I found myself all signed up for the Kilomathon as my first ever “proper” event.
The perfect race distance.
The event looked great, no roads, a start down by the sea-side and a big finish in Edinburgh’s Murrayfield station. I’d been told that it was a very popular run, but when I asked people if they’d enjoyed it.. Well there was much shuffling and murmurs of “ohh, see what you think”.
Anyway, after an intensive training plan that involved doing 10k without having run before followed by two weeks of hobbling, limping and swearing the great day arrived and a technical-fabric clad horde descended on the Ocean Terminal shopping centre. The day started with most of the soon-to-be competitors warming up by standing in the huge queue for the toilets.
The big day dawns
As the start time approached I headed down to my allotted start pen, I’d put 1:30:00 as my expected time, seemed as good as any, and as a result I had a cracking view of the backs of thousands of people’s heads and, off somewhere in the distance, the start line. As this was my first time in the situation the excitement was starting to get to me as the countdown to the start rang out… 10.. 9.. 8.. (you can guess the rest) 3.. 2.. 1.. AND….
OK, off in the distance I could see some movement but back in the slow pen nothing until, with a mighty rush, the slow walking started.
And we’re off
After eventually getting over the start line (only took about 5 minutes) I thought I may try a wee run, but unfortunately walking seemed to very much be the order of the day and round past the Royal Yacht Britannia we went, picking up speed until a slow trot was achieved. The first excitement of the day was some chap in a nice Audi who had decided that the traffic restrictions didn’t apply to him and it was OK to try to drive through thousands of athletes. We ran past waving him a cheery middle finger before descending onto the cycle path that was to take us all the way to Murrayfield.
Yeah, I do like Edinburgh’s Cycle Path network, its flattish, smooth and, erm, a bit narrow. Overtaking isn’t really on the cards you basically get swept along at the pace everyone else is going at which by this point was a bit faster than my legs were willing to agree on but on we trotted. The “to make up the distance” parts were pretty obvious, an exciting run round Victoria Park broke the monotony of looking at railway embankments before we hit the cycle path again for the drag North.
Counting down the Kilometers
By this point my legs had stopped complaining and my lungs had stopped threatening to leave via my nose and as gaps started to open up on the crowd a spot of overtaking was possible as I picked up the pace with the numbers 1:20 now floating round my brain.
OK, sometimes it meant taking the low road through the puddles but what’s a bit of splashing between friends ??
One the cycle path spits you out at Roseburn and you can see Murrayfield you get a real lift, not far to go now surely!!!. Never mind the watch says there’s still 3k to go, the stadium is right there, the watch must be wrong..
Like waving a dog treat in front of an over-excited Labradoodle they taunt you with the stadium. Then you get close and they make you run round in circles outside for a bit before you get the big finish along the side of the hallowed turf. It IS nice when you get into the stadium itself with an uplifting crowd watching from the main stand.
I may have been ahead of my pre-race target and who cares if I wasn’t in the same time-zone as the proper runners, I’d done it. This is where I found out a new fact about running. It doesn’t matter if you’re battling for 2000th and 2001st, there’s always some bugger who will try to overtake you right at the end. My brain was happy to let him go but my legs said “f**k that, we’re not getting overtaken now”
And we weren’t.
Although not sure proper athletes say “meep meep” as they re-overtake the overtaker.
The big finish.. and collapse
Crossing the line in just over an hour and 16 minutes I collected my first real running medal. OK, it looked suspiciously like last years. There was also a goody bag that taught me to lower my expectations of what the word “goody” means.
I’d done it. 13.1K in an hour and 16, with no stopping or walking. From a personal point of view I was well chuffed although the sheer volume of people and the narrow paths meant I can’t say I’d enjoyed it that much. But hey, I’d done it and the new medal hanger had it’s first piece of proper earned bling.
Right, when’s the first Half ??!!??