My mum took to me Scotland to visit one of her friends when I was about nine years old. We visited a few places but what I remember most were the jumping salmon in Perth and a brown and white stripy woollen jumper from, um, somewhere. The next morning, before anyone else awoke, I quietly got out of bed just so I could wear my new jumper. When my mum got up, she said, ‘You only got up early so you could wear your new jumper, didn’t you?’ Busted, dammit! Was this when my love of stripy clothes began? Or maybe it was just the novelty of having new clothes that weren’t hand-me-downs from two brothers who were both about ten years older than me.
Another place we went to was Edinburgh to watch the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo. I remember another girl accompanied us, the daughter of a family friend, I assume, and blankets were handed to us on the way in because they didn’t want us southern softies to freeze to death in their cold castle. That blanket came in handy; it certainly was cold in the environs of Edinburgh Castle that night and our appreciative clapping was drummed out by our feet instead as no way José were we going to take our freezing fingers out of those blankets, no matter how many acrobats were skipping and somersaulting and strutting their stuff below us. I’m slightly ashamed to admit that the somersaults are the only thing I can remember; I was obviously still in my ‘When I grow up, I want to be Olga Korbut’ phase (which came a few years before my ‘When I grow up, I want to be Toyah’ phase; a phase I haven’t really quite grown out of yet).
Still, this is a running blog, not a ‘What I did in the holidays thirty-five years ago’ blog and as you all probably know, Edinburgh is also famous for its marathon.
The Edinburgh Marathon is part of the Edinburgh Marathon Festival, which takes place this year on Saturday 24 May and Sunday 25 May. The Saturday is for the lightweights taking part in either the Junior Race, the 5k or the 10k, while the Sunday is for the hardcore taking part in the marathon, half-marathon or the intriguingly titled Hairy Haggis Team Relay where you can run in a team of 4 (as far as I can tell, dressing as a haggis is optional).
All the races have reached their capacity but if you are going up there for the weekend (and it’s the Bank Holiday Weekend, so why not stay on an extra day?) and haven’t booked your hotel yet, there are a couple of Holiday Inns in Edinburgh you might want to consider. I’ve only stayed in a Holiday Inn in Portsmouth, which is a *few* miles south of Edinburgh but, as it was for the Great South Run, they’re obviously used to hordes of runners. To find out if there’s availability to check in, check out the Holiday Inn Edinburgh and the Holiday Inn Edinburgh – City West. Alternatively, you’ll find information about accommodation on the Edinburgh Marathon Festival website.