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“Rat Race” Ultra Tour of Edinburgh (22nd October 2017) – Report by Paul Reynolds

http://ratrace.com/ute/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kw5fzn0eiUY

34 miles & 3,000ft ascent

 

This was my final big event for the year, the aim being “4 for 40” to mark turning 40 this year, and also to spread this years events throughout the year to try to hit and maintain a good level of fitness.

I was fairly confident in terms of the distance. I’d already run 34 miles of the 4th and final day of my Cotswolds 100 miler in June. I’d also run 28 miles of trail running/obstacles in July for another Rat Race event, Man vs Lakes. I had tried to keep the fitness level in August up by mountain biking the South Downs Way.

Leaving my AirBnB at 6am in the dark, I was debating whether to get the tram the 2 stops to Princes Street. I decided that with 34 miles to run today, an extra 20 mins of walking would doable, and to use this as the warm up! As usual, I hadn’t checked the route intimately, as I prefer to keep things interesting for the day.

At 7:30 it was a “Braveheart charge” as over 300 Rat racers stormed down the Royal Mile from St Giles cathedral, running down past Holyrood (sense of déjà vu from 2 Edinburgh marathons), and soon started out first climb back up around the crags of Arthurs Seat.

 

The route was a mixture of road/path/tracks as expected, and we then headed out over the Pentlands, going above the Mid Lothinan dry ski slope up into the hills around Edinburgh. The hill cloud started to roll in at this point, but there were some breaks and views of some lovely remote valleys and reservoirs. To the other direction you could look back and see Edinburgh castle and the crags, but it looked an awfully long way knowing you had to run all the way back past these to the coast, and then back to the city center.

 

Having descended the Pentlands hills, it was very tempting to hop onto the tram, since we passed some stops! We also passed very near to Murrayfield stadium, which was the finish line. But knowing the worst of the climbing was done, I carried on. I relied on my technique which worked for me for my iron distance last year, of “run for 4 minutes, walk for 1” to see me to the end.

As usual, my sense of “packing extra, just in case” meant that I ended up carrying a lot of my food around with me just as extra weight, utilising more the 3 pit stops which were welcome sights. My pack weight then got heavier 2kg heavier again at the pit stops, when I filled back up with fluids.

We wound our way back north to the coast and the harbour, following the coastline for a while before heading south again following the Water of Leith path back to Murrayfield. (Passing an exceedingly good bakehouse I’d visited only the day before!)

The final few miles seemed an endless run to Murrayfield, and quite a few sneaky climbs were thrown in around the streets of Edinburgh.

Finally Murrayfield came into sight, and we turned into the stadium grounds for the finish line. Sadly no masses of crowds to greet us, the stadium was sparse, and I pretty much only had the event organisers there to greet me for my grand entrance by the 9th hour of the event!

We did at least get to use the stadium facilities for welcome a hot shower and food before heading off, another T-shirt and medal in hand.

The aim was to ease off the running after completing these “4 for 40” events, but I have now squeezed Portsmouth coastal marathon in for December, but compared to some of the other events I have completed this year, I am hoping this should be fairly straight forward!

 

Results:

Finish time: 9 hours 35 seconds

299th from 314 finishers (+ 19 DNFs)

68 from 72 in category (+ 4 DNFs)