Date: Saturday 6th May 2023
Report submitted by Alexandra Battersby
Having had a rest following my marathon exploits I decided I needed an incentive to run another longer run and the Edinburgh to North Berwick 20 miler (E2NB) seemed the ideal event. Having seen it advertised in the TBH emails I duly entered. I actually emailed the organiser before to ask about a baggage bus to check there was one and got a really quick and very friendly reply which made me feel positive about the race before I even set off. Entry was £26 which feels like a bargain especially when you saw the buffet at the end (more about that later)
I got the 6.22am train from Newcastle to Edinburgh which allowed me plenty of time to get to the start. The picture below shows how foggy it was on my arrival suggesting I wasn’t quite going to get the views I had hoped for. The bus to Portobello takes 25 minutes from Edinburgh Waverly and its then a 5 min walk to registration. I met a couple of people on the bus heading the same way.
Registration was seamless. The numbers laid out in plastic folders with safety pins and a black bin bag with your number on to put your bag in to be transported to the start (as long as you remember to put it in the van outside). There were two Heaton Harriers there who had driven up and probably left about the same time I had so good to know that is an option.
The race starts on the promenade at Portobello and the instructions warn you that this is a little way from registration (it is! And you need to leave in plenty of time). The race instructions tell you that it starts at 9.45 prompt (and it did!). You then head south along the coast line following the coats through Musselburgh and some of the marathon route will seem familiar. You essentially stay straight although there are 3 points where you have to engage brain to ensure you remain on the course but this is well marshalled. The roads are not closed but there was little traffic on the day. The marshals are enthusiastic and there are water stations every 5 miles. The first 15 miles are pretty flat and I sat off at a pace I knew I would never sustain but I enjoyed trying to. The views should be spectacular but the fog and fret stopped this on this occasion.
Having been 4th lady from the start at 15 miles the course becomes less forgiving and there is a slow, long incline. I was pleased to have been warned about this but my legs decided that it was to be taken slowly so I attempted to enjoy the view. It then comes into a downhill finish where the view of the beach is spectacular (even if the weather on this occasion was less so)
The realisation that I was running 20 miles and not a marathon is a delight that anyone who has run the marathon distance will totally understand! I finished in a 20 mile race PB and as 6th lady which I was delighted about. (Full results can be found here.)
The end of the race is in North Berwick as expected and is fairly relaxed with an announcer calling your name as you cross the finish line. The most exciting part is the buffet at the end where the helpful volunteer explains ‘3 pieces for each runner’. I only managed 2 owing to the fact that a slice of pizza (counting as one piece) was the size of an ipad (or non apple tablet) and the flapjack was generously cut as well. There were plenty of options including vegan! Race numbers and safety pins are collected at the end to be re-used.
After a bit of a chat and realising there were prizes for the first 4 placings I headed off to get the train back to Edinburgh (£7.50 single and takes about 35 minutes) with my coaster as a memento. There is also a bus back to the start included in the race fee. This is an excellent and well organised event. Despite running mainly on your own there is intermittent support which is always enthusiastic. Its well timed for the Edinburgh marathon or to make the most of your spring marathon fitness and I would thoroughly recommend it.