You'll be pleased to read that this blog will be short on words and rather longer on photos. The words first though. I run off road almost exclusively and ran my first 2 marathons last year. One was a proper hill job and the other was a trail run. I'd never run a road marathon, and to be honest, had no desire to. But you know how it is when something gnaws away at you, it was a box that had to be ticked. So with that in mind and probably wine on board, I decided that Edinburgh was the place for me.
I only live an hour away so I'd have no expensive hotels to pay, or nightmare bus journeys after (thinking of you Martin).
I was too late to enter and so went down the charity route. I am a bit uncomfortable how the bigger events have been "hijacked" by charity. It is either very hard and/or expensive to get into these events as an individual. Indeed, I heard a fellow runner almost apologising to another that he was running for himself, not charity.
What charity then? In the past I've run, cycled and abseiled off the Forth Rail Bridge for Chest, Heart, Stroke Scotland (www.justgiving.com/dunsrunner ......had to get that link in !! ) and so they were my first port of call, and they were delighted to have me. Especially when I told them I'd run dressed as a clown !
I "persuaded" my friend Martin that it would be a good idea if he ran as a clown too. He's easily led and persuasion was easy: all I had to do was ask! Martin and his lovely wife Sue stopped by for a bite to eat on Saturday evening on their way north from somewhere Yorkshire way (don't understand a word the boy says but he doesnt seem to mind !).
To the marathon then. We met up and headed to the start attracting a few odd glances. Cant think why? Maybe we looked scary? What is it with clowns and scary:-) We both wanted to run this to raise funds, but also to try to run it to do ourselves justice as runners. With this in mind, this was our plan. Run 9 minutes/walk 1 minute to average 9 minute miles. All went according to plan until we passed halfway. Both Martin and I started suffering then. My problem was food, as it always is. Ive never got this right yet. Martin was suffering from the heat in his costume and starting having back problems. We had to put some more walk breaks in and agreed then that sub 4 hours was off the cards. Indeed I started having doubts about finishing, however a few midget gems and more water got me going again for a wee while. Basically from mile 13 to 18 were very tough. About 18 I left Martin. Not intentionally to start with: I thought he was behind me, but when I took a scheduled walk break I couldnt see him. To be honest, at this point I wanted the race to be over and so I took the decision to keep going alone (we had discussed this, but it did make me feel a bit shitty).
I found some sort of form and ticked the miles off, sticking to my run 9/walk1 strategy. Martin told me after he was cramping up and adopted a 3 lamppost/1 lamppost run/walk strategy! Ingenuity in the face of pain :-)
The crowds in the last miles were truly awesome. Being dressed as a clown certainly helped with the support I got. I heard a lot today, but two comments stick in my mind. A small girl in a leopard print onesie said directly to me "I'm scared of clowns". I felt a bit guilty! And a man shouting, "Now are you taking this seriously" in a very nice way. I managed to reply "very", that was all !
Having felt totally knackered, its amazing what a crowd can do (and I thank you Edinburgh) and I managed to really kick the last 0.2. I'd say I was sprinting, spectators may not agree!
4:08. I'd hoped for better, but the 13-18 section saw to that. In a bit of a daze, I heard "Dad" being yelled rather than "clown" and saw my son and elder daughter. I went over, and with much lack of cool, burst into tears on my 12 year old girl's shoulder. She's probably scared of clowns now too:-)
OK, so I lied. This is long on words and sort on pictures, but Ive learned today that clowns are scary :-)
Thanks for reading and looking and hopefully smiling too.