Portobello parkrun : Braving the snowpocalypse.

As the arctic blast hit the UK, virtually everyone in the UK parkrun community spent a good 24 hours constantly refreshing the cancellation page to see where they could go to get their weekly 5K fix. The GinRunners ended up at Edinburgh’s Portobello parkrun after all the “local” options neither of us had done were cancelled.

We arrived at the city’s Figgate Park to find it was cold and there was a bit of snow around but things didn’t look THAT bad. The Swans didn’t look too perturbed that their pond was mostly frozen over, and I bet standing on the ice was a bit warmer than floating around in the water.


With so many cancellations (half of Scotland’s events were called off) it was a relief to get to the park and see the usual gaggle of runners assembling. OK, it may have been a “bit” chilly but the sun was shining and the skies were blue…

A great morning for a run !!

The pre-run briefing, as usual, name checked the folk reaching their parkrun milestones and reminded us that, in these conditions more than ever, it was a run not a race.

OK, it’s a race for the folk doing it in 17 and a bit minutes, but for us it’s definitely a run. Or sometimes a walk.


Loops and reels.

Porty Party parkrun is three loops of a mostly flat course beside the burn. There is a bit of a hill of the up variety towards the end of the lap, followed by a short downhill that probably wouldn’t be noticed on any other day but was treated with a great deal of respect today. It seemed to get slippier with each lap as the snow and ice got compacted by the feet of almost 300 parkrunners. I’d not been to the Figgate Park for, probably, 35 years and it was nice to see the old place looking so picture-postcard perfect.

I just hoped that the Swans wouldn’t hold it against me that my granddad probably clipped their great, great, great grandparent’s wings.

As always the park was shared between us parkrunners and the usual selection of folk walking their dogs or just enjoying a stroll in the winter sunshine. Not long after we set off some poor bloke out with his pooch did find himself  being overtaken on both sides by 300 runners.. and he didn’t even look up from his phone!!

Some of the sections of the route are fairly narrow so a nice groove was found as we headed round on the first lap. Being an out-and-back type of course it does mean that you’re just heading for the turning point on one side of the burn when you see the speedy types heading back on the other.

They’re definitely not racing though !!

This was the first time I’d really tried running quickly (well, relatively) on an icy surface and it wasn’t long before my knees started to complain. After 4K the complaints were getting more insistent so I throttled back as I headed towards the turn on the last lap before the final push towards the finish.

The approach to the finish funnel was “interesting”. You run up the slope towards the end of the lap then turn off downhill to the end. This meant that the desire for a big finish was offset by the realisation that it was quite a steep little bit to the funnel.. and it was quite slippy.


I had visions of skating over the line and wiping out a timekeeper.

F**k you snow !!!

Top marks have to go to the volunteers for getting this event on where so many had taken the safer path and cancelling. It was chilly enough running it, I bet they had about 5 layers on to keep warm !!! The RD had taken the sensible option and gone for ski trousers 🙂

I appreciate that health and safety is important, but huge GinRunner thanks to Porty Parkrun for trusting us all not to do anything stupid. The ice and snow certainly made the route a bit more interesting but as far as I know there weren’t any fallers. We often say “this is one we’ll have to go back to” but that’s a definite for Portobello parkrun.

Be nice to run it without worrying about going skating 😉

A wee blog on Portobello parkrun.

No toilets at all.. and lottos houses around so don’t even think about it!!