The post-Limmer era at Portobello Running Club started with a trip down the A1, away to Haddigton. Not quite Stoke away on a cold Tuesday night in December, but given a strong westerly headwind, everyone on the start line knew that one side of this square 5km run was going to be tough.

Being a maths teacher at the start of the 6-week holiday I had one job for this race, do not turn up late!! After failing to read clear instructions, something I constantly get irritated at in my line of work, I turned up at the golf clubhouse to find a distinct lack of runners. I eventually reread the instructions and met the rest of the Porty crew at the entrance to the golf club. Mark’s suggestion of going for a quick warmup soon became an order and then at 7pm the stage was set. The one thought going through my head on the start line was ‘what happens if a car comes out the golf club when the starter’s gun goes off!’. Luckily I needn’t have worried and the race was off.

The 1st kilometer was working with a tailwind but up a slight hill section negating any benefit. Davy B was a welcome sight directing us off the road through a kissing gate and into a trial section. This twisty turny section was fun to run but all I could hear was Lizzie’s Glastonbury fuel shoes at my heels spurring me on! When we did rejoing the road, I was well placed to see how the front end of the race was developing, it looked a great contest. The final timings proved this to be true with 18 seconds separating 2nd to 8th, but I am getting ahead of myself. The 4th kilometer was run on the old course of the A1. For those of you that don’t know my family live in Sheffield (We’re all Wednesday aren’t we) and I spend lots of time driving up and down the A1. I’m pretty sad and this Christmas I received a book about the A1: Now and Then, with old photos and stories about the history of this great road. As you run/drive these ancient routes it is amazing to think what else has happened over the years here, what armies have trodden these paths, what news has been delivered by horse from London. Today, the only thing being delivered was a strong headwind for a straight gravely kilometer.

Being a member of Porty for around 18 months now there are 3 things I can depend on, Lorenzo running on Italian time, any new male member of the club is likely to be called Alan, Mark or David and David W pacing it to perfection and going passed me around 2 miles in. Happily for me, this never happened, maybe there is logic in setting out too fast  Turning the corner out of the headwind was a relief as was the booming Welsh tones of Mark indicating around 300m left. Coming across the ‘line’ to pick up my 2nd 12th place finish of the series so far. At the front of the race, Graeme, Ali and Chris finished inside the top 7 just 9 seconds separating the three of them, a matter of meters at that pace, chapeau gents. With the conditions and course leading to the majority of the field being slower than the Porty race, a shout out to Chris who ran a similar 5km time to his Porty effort. Other notable performances include Lizzie and Heather making it a female 1-2 for the 2nd race running, Ailsa coming first in her category and Patrick for being tailrunner. A silly group photo and a bit of tablet. Let’s do it all again in Archerfield next week!

By Stephen Harpham