A well organised course and good weather made this an enjoyable event for the 7 ERN runners that took part while Mike, Nicola, Chris, Rona, Lily and Les also came along to support. To cap off a good day out, The ERN Ladies won a team prize!
A lovely hot day saw Neil, Jim, Val, Eirwen, Gillian, Adrienne and Murdo turn up for this lovely rural half marathon. A field of approximately 200 athletes registered and set out from Nielson Park following quiet country ‘B’ class roads to the south of Haddington before returning to the start area. The organisers say that is “a very scenic, undulating route with a sharp hill at 0.25 miles, a long hill at 3.5 miles, a sharp hill at 7 and 9.5 miles and that there are also long flat sections. Although the course is described as undulating it boasts one of the fastest times in the country with a course record of 63 min 31 sec.”
Well, it certainly was scenic and well organised. Unusually, the race is on a Saturday and starts at 1400 so allows a leisurely breakfast and ample time to travel, register and pick up your number (or enter on the day). A medal but no goody bag as such but for the fee and the excellent organisation, this is well worth doing – recommended. Many thanks to Haddington and East Lothian Pacemakers (H.E.L.P) for the event and to Les, Chris, Mike, Nicola and Rona (and the lovely Lily) for also coming along to support.
Gillian said: “Really good day yesterday at the Haddington half marathon, Adrienne and I registered on the day, and sat around in the sunshine watching the gala that was going on around us prior to heading down to the start line. About 200 runners I guess. It’s a lovely rural course, one of the most scenic I’ve ever done but it was tough to appreciate the views at times as we trailed up yet another hill. Undulating is an understatement! And when the sun came out was a scorcher. But brilliant last mile downhill back into town heading for finishing line. Many thanks to ERN supporters cheering over the wall. It gave us a huge lift. Then just as we were finishing off some quality free grub we got awarded a ladies team prize. We were well chuffed and my bottle of wine has pride of place in the kitchen.”
Murdo said: “Couldn’t agree more – a braw day out! Did this last year and while it’s undoubtedly humply, it’s also well marshalled, organised and friendly. It’s also one of the most scenic routes in the calendar and the weather on the day certainly showed it off to its best. I ran with Eirwen who was hoping to get in under the two hours (her PB was 2.01) but didn’t have a watch so I kept an eye on the time. In return she put up with my inane ramblings with good grace! Once we had left the town, we were immediately on quiet country roads with glorious farmland all around. All turns were well marshalled with mile markers prominently displayed. Water stops were each 2-3 miles and given the weather on the day were perfectly spaced.
We kept a steady 8.45 pace all the way round and as we approached the last few miles started reeling in other runners who had either gone off too fast or were feeling the effects of the cumulative hills and/or the heat. In the end we both finished comfortably in 1.55 which meant Eirwen smashed her PB – brilliant and well deserved. As we came into the last section, we were loudly cheered by the ERN groupies (Nicola, Rona, Lily, Chris, Les and Mike) which was really much appreciated. There was a good spread of tea and sandwiches available once you’d collected your medal. We stayed on for the prize giving and were delighted when the ERN ladies were awarded the Ladies Team prize based on the times of the first three ladies from each team. The ladies (Gillian, Val and Eirwen) got a bottle of wine each. However, it subsequently turned out that one of Portobello ladies hadn’t been counted and they were retrospectively awarded first team place. No matter, if we’d been told we’d get 2nd place in the ladies Team prize beforehand, we’d have been very happy and so they were. Big congratulations to the ERN ladies! Many thanks to everyone from ERN who helped make it a great day and to all at H.E.L.P for yet another running of this excellent event – highly recommended.”
Some Photos: (Thanks to Nicola and Mike – Link to Mike’s Flickr site here where there are many more)