Another Sunday, another race! An early start this time as the race began at 8:30am in Edinburgh, but that was the detail I chose to ignore when I signed up for this a few weeks back, so I was up slightly earlier than on a weekday to have some toast and Nutella, pin my race number on and set off for Edinburgh (picking dad up before leaving Perth).
The Kilomathon is a rather unique event. In Scotland, only the half Kilomathon distance is available so my race today was 13.1K (approx 8.1 miles) from Ocean Terminal to Murrayfield via a network of cycle paths. Like The Big Fun Run last week, the race was organised by GSI events and everything seemed to run like clockwork. My race pack arrived a couple of weeks ago, there were detailed instructions available to download on the website and everything on the day was clearly marked. There was a baggage truck to take belongings to the finish and buses to return runners to their cars at Ocean Terminal after the race. I had been prepared to use both of these, however Steve decided not to run as he is only just over the chest infection he’s been suffering from. Instead he dutifully drove dad and I to Ocean Terminal, took our bags and drove to Murrayfield to meet us at the finish. It was good to have that available as it definitely saved us some time after the finish.
We arrived at Ocean Terminal in plenty of time, having driven through lashing rain to reach Edinburgh. Although the rain had gone off, it was blowing a gale so I was immediately expecting a tough time. Fortunately, we were able to take refuge in the shopping centre where the help desk for the day had been set up. This also gave us access to decent toilets and a warm/dry place to wait until it was time to go to the start pen. Unsurprisingly, we met some people we knew so there was a small group of us to chat and pass the time.
By the about 8:15 when we were being called to the start pen, the sun had come out so I decided to put my sunglasses on. I didn’t think it was likely to last, but at least the sunglasses would stop dust blowing into my eyes and give them a bit of shelter from the rain!
The race itself started on time at 8:30. It was chip timed so there was no need to jostle at the start. It wasn’t too overcrowded either so there was plenty of room to get into a rhythm without having to zigzag too much. The first part of the route wound around past the Royal Yacht Britannia then followed road for approximately the first 2K before we entered a park. From this point on we were on the cycle paths. This meant that there was no traffic to contend with, but being unfamiliar with the paths I really had no idea where I was for most of the race until I could see Murrayfield so I was reliant on my Garmin and the kilometre markers to give me an idea of distance.
Before the start, dad and I had been discussing the fact that there must be a hill climb somewhere on the route, but neither of us had seen an elevation profile. As it turned out, that hill was most of the route! There was an almost constant, but reasonably gradual, climb almost from the start with only brief levelled off or slightly downhill sections for any relief. This actually suits me quite well as I’m used to training on hills so felt strong all the way around and was comfortably passing other runners. Of course, the rain was back on by the time I was about half way round, and by the time I emerged from the cycle path at Murrayfield, I knew I had that drowned rat look (and was no longer wearing my sunglasses!)
The last mile and a half was a bit flatter, but it was also the most exposed section of the route as we were no longer on the cycle path (where the trees afforded some shelter) but on the Murrayfield grounds. The route circled part of the stadium then there was a final out and back section behind one of the stands before entering the stadium itself for a grandstand finish. This section felt tough as I constantly seemed to be running into a headwind and was sure my pace must have slowed dramatically. I had been keeping an eye on my time as I had predicted a finish time of 1:15 on my entry but really wanted to be closer to 1:12 and knew I needed an average of a 9 minute mile to achieve this. As it turns out, my last 2 miles, where I had thought I was slower, were my fastest, with the rest really steady. Clearly all my tough training has paid off as I finished in 1:12:07! I measured the route as 8.14 miles so I’m thrilled with that, particularly given the conditions.
After crossing the finish line I was immediately handed my medal (and a pretty decent, weighty medal it is too) and directed further along to collect water and a goody bag. The goody bag was also pretty good, with contents including a cereal bar, some High 5 tablets and these rather intriguing sweets:
For some reason Steve is dreading me eating them!
There was also a Kilomathon branded ion sports watch which I’ll take a proper look at later. Not too bad a haul and the race entry was reasonably priced.
Despite the drenching, I enjoyed this race and it’s another one I would recommend. The route is good and not too crowded (although be prepared for hills!), organisation is slick and there were plenty of marshalls (who I made sure to thank since they were standing around in the rain). I think I could be back again next year. Fingers crossed for dry weather so I don’t end up looking like this again!