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In The Beginning…


A long time ago my friend thought we should do a triathlon. Well, I could swim breaststroke and I was quite good at back crawl (and luckily I knew nothing about triathlons!) and I knew I could cycle my mountain bike around the pot holes of Edinburgh – how hard could it be 3 x round Arthur!

The running was a problem. I couldn’t run for the proverbial bus! However we set up a training plan which involved cycling in the most rubbish weather and “learning” how to run once round Arthur Seat.

I did pretty well in the training, my swimming got faster (!), my cycling was ok and my running went well but on the day 010101 I found the run hard, because I’d trashed my legs on the swim (poor technique) and on the cycle (hard course x 3). I found I couldn’t even run downhill.

I did finish and enjoyed the experience. I did a 10km later on and inadvertently neglected to train and finished that but couldn’t walk right for about 3 weeks! And the next year, they invented Jog Scotland. Perfect. Now someone could teach me how to run. That someone was Gordon Faulkner. The sessions went from Meadowbank and to this day, approaching the hunters bog on the paved path makes my knees tremble. Then we moved to Leith, where Gordon complemented my athletic prowess on one particularly rubbish night (you used to be quite good at Meadowbank!). I often got a shortcut when I couldn’t keep up but got it together eventually. I wasn’t always able to talk though. In Jogscotland there are 4 speeds – 1) gossip or blether; 2) puff; 3) pant; 4) gasp.

I first met Tracy one night which in a sliding doors moment could have changed everything. I was running late and Tracy was new (Gordon had told her to come along from the gym). She recalls dying that night. I recall a very gaspy conversation when we were running and finding that we both worked in Healthcare but were not Doctors or Nurses. I also recall thinking – I’m sure I heard her say she was Canadian. (This later checked out when we were conversing with full sentences).

Tracy came back to running and a cunning plan ensued to enter races and running together for training we considered what running clubs were all about. That they all seemed a bit serious and flappy shorts. Think we chatted with Gordon too and somehow thought we could set our own club up. Gordon did a lot of the ground work and as Edinburgh Leisure was still running “Jogging Network” classes we called ourselves Edinburgh Running Network. Luckily the ERN bulletproof orange vests weren’t produced until after our first half marathon – in Stornoway. They were eyecatching in an “orange” way! There were also one size fits all and you could smuggle small people out the armholes.

Early planning meetings were often at my house after running and AGM’s were held in pubs – the club had a website courtesy of Giuliano (who is off doing Dublin marathon this weekend) which Tracy looked after and then Murdo took it on. Murdo was impressive (on my trip to Nashville for a half marathon – he had results and pictures up almost before we have finished a long drawn out brunch). So who would have thought a first go at a triathlon would lead to all this?

So who has experienced Gordon’s directional instructions?

What about the early Sunday runs? And the Australians who finally made Sunday runs happen. I got Murdo and Phil to come along just for company and then thought – both these guys are quiet, will I have to do all the chat and also the 10 miles at Aussie speed! However they came into their own that day and whilst the Aussies didn’t come back too often, the Sunday runs did and we have had huge success with people who have joined in with marathon training. So thanks to Hal Higdon and the Route Masters.

Thanks to Gordon, Tracy (away in Canada), Krista and all the early people – thanks for the first 10 years and here’s to the next 10 years.

Fiona Mackenzie

25 October 2004

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