The 80’s brought with it the sounds of The Human League, Duran Duran and perhaps even Bon Jovi resonating through Sony Walkmans, there was Live Aid in full technicolour, and then athletics debates surrounded the likes of Seb Coe, Steve Ovett, or Daley Thompson; indeed, these were the fertile grounds for the genesis of Portobello Running Club.
80’s fitness had welcomed a bright pink headband wearing Jane Fonda masterpiece and Portobello promenade became strewn with the latest roller-skating crew. But at the pinnacle of this crazy era, emerged a passion for local folks to join together, get healthy and have fun by simply running. Hence Portobello Running Club was born and ready to get out of the blocks.
Of course, we have to doff our running visors to the two original founders: Angela Murray and local councillor David Begg. In their many runs, they discussed how good it would be to have a local running group set up for the community. Eventually, they took the initial plunge and dropped an advert in the local newspaper The Reporter to gauge interest. The first organised night reeled in an incredible amount of keen runners, so Angela decided to take on the task of shaping a running group – making Tower Bank School the group’s base. As numbers increased, they moved to Cavalry Park at Holy Rood School. Here, the group came to the attention of Ian Brody, a local sports coach at Jewel & Esk College. This is when the fun started. Training became harder and more structured, and we started feeling like a proper club. Angela then sought to create a club logo and had running vests made for club members.
Finally, we had arrived.
Sunday runs, extra training days and even a free swim session thanks to the college became the standard routine – and other clubs were starting to take note. We then moved to the Bowling Club on the promenade, and for a long time we made this our home. At this point, the club was becoming a key part of the community, and Angela then dreamt up the wonderful idea of a circular road race around the prom that could raise money for local initiatives. It was a great success and laid the foundations for our current annual Beach Race.
We owe so much to those who have brought us to where we are now: a vibrant, welcoming club with over 150 members, featuring those who simply want to work on their fitness to elites winning national races across all terrains and all age groups.
A club that still holds onto the same original community ethos and a place where there’s space for everyone.
PORTOBELLO RUNNING CLUB