Having office locations North and South of the border, it’s becoming a tradition now for our runners to come together in the Scottish Capital to chase ‘The Hairy Haggis Relay’ which forms part of the Edinburgh Marathon weekend.
The pressure was well and truly on this year as 2011 saw a team from Newcastle come 2nd Corporate Team and 5th overall and in the event which sees 4 people run a marathon in legs alongside the 25,000 marathon runners. Missing their skipper from 2011 and 2010 it was down to newcomers to the Scott Logic Teams to pick up from where the last year’s had left, so how did it go?
Now in our third year of attempting the challenge you’d think we’d be old hands now at this event but the logistics of the day still seemed to cause as much sweat and stress as the actual running, but we’re in IT, so nothing these days can beat us! First challenge – find each other amongst the road closures and chaos that is the start/finish area …
“Where are you?” ,
“We’re in the car park of a sports centre near the finish”
“Oh ok, we’ve just passed one we’ll come find you”
“Where are you?”
“We’re in the car park of a sports centre near the finish”
“Well so are we and you’re not here – must be a different one – what’s yours called!?”
Smart phones at the ready, GPS maps steady, the race was on to find each other before we could even start!
We finally managed to meet and drop off our leg 2 runners – on Newcastle Team A we had @ColinEberhardt, a now 3rd time veteran of the race who can regularly be seen throwing himself down Newcastle’s Quayside of a lunchtime with our other runners. And on our Newcastle Team B, Rosie a recreational runner who loves to get out on her own in the countryside, but who’d never even ran in a race before, let alone a crazy marathon relay – it seemed like a good thing to do and the teams in previous years had enjoyed it though, so why not?
Onwards now then to the start, and as if by magic the clouds were burnt off and the temperature was soaring to over 20⁰C. There we left @Stu_Grey – complete with sunburn from the previous day and Michael who was to meet another Michael to get themselves to the start line.
#RoyalLeg1 Sees the runners start in the centre of Edinburgh and take in a huge descent (lovely for running) down to Arthur’s Seat, round Holyrood Park and past Meadow Bank Stadium before heading out towards the coast, another 3 miles along the coast to complete the c.7.5mi leg.
The pay-off for the nice downhill section and the sights – the relay teams start behind the main runners so it’s quite literally down to your men on Leg 1 to not only get a great time, but to cut cunningly through the crowds in doing so – quite a challenge!
Meanwhile two of our A Team runners Adrian and @RogersIsRunning were making their way to their 3rd/4th leg point after ditching a car ‘somewhere’ near the finish it was to be another 3.5mile walk aided by that handy GPS again, to find the changeover – the sun was picking up and the walk seemed never ending but with the excitement building and the prospect of seeing the first marathon runners coming through it was a quick march to get in place…
Some top running from our first men saw @Stu_Grey not only put in a great performance but a 10k PB – which of course we were getting commentary of as the leg 2 runners were heading off.
Colin took over in 2nd for Team A in 7th position overall made his way up the coast. The #Cock&PanLeg2 sees runners skim along the Scottish coast – past Musselbrugh Racecourse and Golf Course and soak in the sea air before Starting a long drag up Edinburgh Road to Prestonpans coming back onto the coastline and finishing their c.6mi leg on the Links.
Our 2nd leg runners were well into their stride as our other runners were congregating at 3rd/4th changeover where the crowds were building. There were 660 teams out today so 1,300 runners nervously awaiting their changeover and trying their best to spot people they knew in the crowds of marathoners as they waited for their turn.
Polite introductions were exchanged at the changeover where we finally got to meet people in the flesh who’d been on our email group trying to get set for the day ahead, but back down to business, the first relay man came through like a rocket and we knew our A Team runner wouldn’t be far behind if our estimated times were anything to go by – miss your spot or warm up too soon at your peril!!
Up on leg 3 we had @RogersIsRunning for the A Team – she wasn’t the freshest after a week of hard racing but after hearing of the great performances from the boys in legs 1 & 2 would the adrenaline kick in?
Handover 3 completed Colin had managed to get us up to 3rd place and Stacey was off on the chase but the other teams had created quite a considerable lead (or what felt like it watching and waiting for our runner to come in). Kicking off just short of midday this was going to be a hot one for sure.
#GosfordLeg3 the longest leg of the day at c.8.2mi sees runners take in the toughest section of the marathon course in an out and back loop. After a short coastal section they wind through mostly undulating country roads with only a spattering of spectators to cheer them on – they then take a detour off road and through the woods to pass Gosford House before coming back out onto the road to take in the long 3mile drag back to their start point. For the main marathon this is the 18-19 mi mark so runners are really starting to tire and now with battered legs from the rough ground its tough out there.
Using marathoners as targets Stacey made her way through the field catching the 2nd placed relay runner after around 3 mile and then as she took in the last 3mi the lead man was in sight and the target set. He was passed after another mile or so and now time to secure the lead ready for Team A’s man on the last leg…
Our other runners were still out there, where the temperature was now relentless and finding it tough in the heat was Alan for our mixed team saying afterwards that it wasn’t so much about the running today, but he’d got somewhat caught by the sun and was suffering with sunburnt knees!
The fourth leg is all about securing places, but to add complication this is also where the marathoners are starting to fade. #GloryLeg4 is a fairly dull but downhill 4 mile section to the finishing straight. After taking in helping falling marathoners in his stride, Adrian skipped towards the finishing line maintaining our lead to take the win, but the organisers missed him, so alas no victory tape to run through!
“Sorry, you were too quick – we weren’t expecting you!”
While we waited, now splattered all over the course, news was coming through to the 4th changeover point that we’d won the overall event!! Colin who was part of Team A was running another leg for our mixed offices team and Stacey just had enough in her legs to give him the news as he was setting off for another 4.5 miles!
The improvement didn’t end there – our Edinburgh-only team finished in 22nd place (up from 58) and 13 minutes quicker than 2011 and with some superb individual efforts – needless to say the pride was brimming from all!
Running done, it was now a case of getting to the pub and quickly, but not when our main driver Adrian was busy doing press interviews, being presented with trophies and revealing in the glory in the VIP tent!
Finally, finally, finally we managed to scrape our way to the pub, get a few rounds of photos in and hit the road back to our respective bases. What a day!! Guess this means we’ll have to go back next year now to defend the title – but they better have the tape ready, no excuses next year!
1 SCOTTLOGIC NEWCASTLE A 02:52:03
22 SCOTTLOGIC EDINBURGH A 03:14:20
82 SCOTTLOGIC MIXED 03:36:05