Latest Event Updates
In just over one month I will be ‘running’ around Arthur’s Seat and Holyrood Park for 24 hours as part of a team of four taking part in the Edinburgh 24. I put the word running in quotation marks as I am not sure how much running I will be doing at 3am….Am I nervous? Yes, definitely! I have run ultras, but I have never got to the 24 hour mark and although I am doing this as part of a team, I still need to be awake and active for that time. Am I excited? Hell yes! I can’t wait! I LOVE Arthur’s Seat and Holyrood Park.
Like so many others, this amazing oasis of calm within the city, shaped by a volcano over 30 million years ago, is my place to escape the city for a few hours. It is where I come to relax, walk off the day’s stress and meet with friends for a run. I never get tired of the views as I walk up to the summit or around Salisbury Craggs and Dunsapie Loch. I regularly take my Edinburgh Run Tours up Arthur’s Seat and around the park for runs and sunrise picnics, and each time I am just as excited about the ever-changing views as are the visitors to the city that I take up there, (I am not always so excited about the ever – changing weather though!).
I signed up for this race on a whim in the new-year, when I was looking for different and exciting challenges. I then managed to find 3 other people as crazy as me, willing to form part of a team. I would like to say that we are all hard in training, but our first team meeting revolved around dinner and deciding what should be on our playlist (80s!). However, as I run most days, have a few races already under my belt this year and go up Arthur’s Seat at least twice a week, I am confident I can do my part, although running through the night does make me slightly apprehensive as it is an unknown for me. What I do know though, is that experiencing 24 hour’s in the life of Arthur’s Seat is going to be incredible!
Arthur’s Seat and Royal Holyrood Park are the stuff of legends; of warrior kings, knights, ghosts and hidden cities and who doesn’t want to be part of that?
The race is not just for those crazy enough to run for 24 hours, there are also much more accessible 6 hour and 12 hour options; all of which can be done as an individual, in a pair or part of a team of 4. There will be an around the clock event village providing refreshments and medals for all those who take part and supporters are extremely welcome, especially if you come laden with jelly babies and lots of positive vibes!
You can sign-up and find out full event details here: http://www.breakingstrain.co.uk/edinburgh-24/
This is a question I get asked almost every day when I tell people that I have a running tour company. I get the same blank look from non-runners and runners alike and the question, “what is a running tour?”.
A running tour, in its most simple form is pretty much a guided tour, usually of a city like Edinburgh, where you run the sights rather than walk them. You may wonder who on earth wants to do this when they go on holiday, or you might be one of those people who don’t go anywhere without packing their running kit!
You might be a weekly Park Runner, a Couch to 5k’er, a 10km whizz, a trail runner aficionado, a before work training runner… we all share the same love of running and take the attitude of ‘why walk when we can run?’
Joining on a running tour means no faffing around trying to find routes before you leave. It is a way of seeing a new place without the worry that you will end up getting lost and being very late back to the rest of your waiting family or to your business meeting. Having someone else taking responsibility for the run, means you don’t need to stick to laps around the park next to the hotel to get your running fix. Running with a guide means discovering the best of the city and all those parts that you may otherwise miss because they are not in the guide books.
I love when people join a tour and at the end they tell you how they have seen so much more than they would have done if they had tried to do it alone.
You might be apprehensive about getting a running guide. You might think you are not fast enough and that you will hold the group back; or that you cannot run far enough. With most city running tours this is definitely not the case. It is about going at a leisurely pace in order to fully appreciate the sights, learn about them and of course take plenty of selfies along the way!
At Edinburgh Run Tours, our two passions are running and showing you around our amazing city. We want you to have the best experience possible so that you go away telling everyone how much you enjoyed it. For that reason, our tours are personalised and we keep the groups very small or just for you. This means that we run at a speed you are comfortable with and we discuss the pace and the length of the route with you before you start. Having your own guide, means a tour tailored to you; whether that is seeing the sights, going for a longer training run, or getting on the trails and trying something a bit different!
If you are that person who packs their running kit with them wherever they go, then we would love to see you on one of our running tours very soon and please do spread the Running Tours word as you will find running guides in almost every city you go to! If you are in Edinburgh then make sure you look us up and if you are in another city, a great place to look for a guide is or : http://www.runningtours.net or http://www.gorunningtours.com.
I obviously enjoy running, otherwise I would not have a running company and I would not be constantly posting photos of me out running all over social media. However there are many reasons why I run, which I suspect is the same for many of us.
I don’t know what your reasons for running are, but I will share some of mine with you. (I have left out the obvious running for fitness as we all know how awesome it is for that 😃).
- I really enjoy doing it. I genuinely get a kick out of putting on my running stuff and getting outside. At school I was not great at team sports, but I was always in the running team, mostly because I was the only one who volunteered to run anything longer than 100 metres. Of course, I don’t enjoy every run, especially the rainy, windy, cold ones; but even after those ones are done I feel that post-run buzz. And this leads on to the next reason, which is that….
- I really enjoying sharing my passion for it with other people; hence why having Edinburgh Run Tours is my dream job!
- It is my mental escape / release. Outside of the tours, I often run by myself and even running with other people there is still plenty of quiet time. Running gives me a release from any daily frustrations or stresses I have and a sense of freedom that I never got working in an office. That’s why I love people taking people out running as I can see their anxieties and stress ebb away as we run.
- It gives me a sense of purpose and achievement. I think to a degree we all want to achieve something with our lives and it has been well documented that having purpose in your life makes you happier overall. Running, enjoying the freedom it gives me and having the opportunity to meet so many people from all over the world and share my passion with them, is my purpose. Of course training for a race and then completing it gives me that instant achievement boost and you have to love a collection of race medals :D!
- Running is an awesome way to see new places quickly! Yes, I am aware that a car or a bus would be a lot quicker, but automated transport aside, running around a new area is a fab way of exploring a discovering a new place! Going on a guided running tour, means you don’t need to swot up on all the routes and there is no getting lost. You just turn up and let guides like me take you around and you really get to know the city from the inside.
So there you have it, some of the reasons why I run. Maybe some of them resonate with you, even if you are not a runner…
So why do you run?
We love snow here at Edinburgh Run Tours! It is not exactly the best weather for running tours, but it does make everything look picture postcard perfect and so every once in a while we don’t mind!
Plus, as avid runners, it just means that we take things down a notch, put on our hiking boots and our Yaktraxs (awesome piece of kit for the ice and snow!) and get out there!
Yesterday we took a hike up Arthur’s Seat to enjoy the views over the snowy city. As you can see it was beautiful up there, even if rather windy! We did not make it right to the top as it was too dangerous and we want to make sure we are around to take you all on your tours! We did have a sneaky jog back down though and hopes no one noticed when one of us ended up sliding most of the way down on their bum!
Today, it is the same out there, but with more wind. So instead of running, we will be staying indoors and doing some strengthening and stretching exercises ready for our weekend tours!
We would love to see you in Edinburgh on one of our tours. We can’t promise snow, but we can always promise spectacular views!
See more. Experience more.
There’s more to Edinburgh than Castles, bagpipes, whisky and haggis! Next time your visiting Edinburgh why not join me for a running tour to take in some of our local trails. Here are 3 of my favourite local trail runs that can fit nicely into a weekend break in Edinburgh without too much travel, 2 of which were featured in the Oct/Nov 2016 issue of Trail Running Magazine.
In the kilt of Arthur’s Seat (7 miles,300m ascent)
Although Arthur’s Seat is phenomenal to run up and experience the views, there is more to Holyrood Park than just the summit, and to get a tough workout in whilst in the city I’ve designed a surprisingly tough 7 mile loop. My route takes you from Royal Terrace through the park to enjoy the sight of the Palace of Holyroodhouse and Abbey from the rear before the long incline through Hunters Bog under the base of Arthur’s Seat before twisting back around for a few wee climbs with stunning views of the city and dropping down to Margaret’s Loch via the 16th century old chapel perched on the hill.
A rollercoaster of wee hills takes you around the back of Arthur’s Seat where you begin the rather steep ascent from Dunsapie Loch, you may find yourself slowing to a hike up this seriously steep hill to the Nether Hill before the final ascent up Arthur’s Seat.
It’s an enjoyable descent back down the steps but watch your footing here as this needs your full concentration to keep you upright. From here you can enjoy an easy descent down the grassy slope back towards Dynamic Earth and the Palace or if you want another blast for those glutes take the high road back via the steep incline back up Radical Road that runs underneath the Salisbury Crags and descends back down directly at the Palace car park.
Pentland Hills (7 miles, 508m ascent)
Only 6miles out of the city centre you will find the Pentland Hills, which cover an area of 90sq km so there are plenty of hills to explore if you have the time and the inclination.
This route is a wee taster of these hills and can be done alongside a full day of city sightseeing so you get the best of both worlds.
From Edinburgh you take the A702 Biggar road out towards Biggar, or take the number 101 bus from Edinburgh and park or alight the bus at Flotterstone Inn, your starting point.
Stretch those legs and lungs on a very steep ascent from the very start, heading up Turnhouse Hill (506m), following the sign leading you left towards Scald Law through fields of sheep and cows. The views back from here are superb so make sure you stop to catch your breath and take a look.
A grand traverse stretches out now along the ridge to take you to the summit of Carnethy Hill (573m). The ridge isn’t very long but the climb is steep so you’ll be guaranteed to work up a sweat. The 360 degree views from here are unquestionably stunning, so don’t forget to bring along your camera.
Now you’ve done the hard work, enjoy the long descent off Carnethy, dropping down to the right to Loganlea Reservoir where you join a gravel path turning into bitumen. Follow the route of the reservoir and then the Glencorse Reservoir all the way back to the starting point, running in a valley between all the hills.
Rehydrate and refuel at the Flotterstone Inn before making your way back to the city.
Aberlady Loop (12 miles, 138m ascent)
Head out East from Edinburgh about 16miles along the A198 following the coast you reach Aberlady Nature Reserve car park or alternatively jump on the 124/X24/X25 bus from Edinburgh to reach the start point.
Starting out on a wooden footbridge, you’ll cross heathland then reach the dunes. Heading up your first dune you’ll enjoy stunning views of the coastline before you drop down onto the beach, at low tide keep your eye out to the left for the 2 submarine wrecks just a couple of hundred yards off course to go and explore.
Head right to the east, through grassy trails or directly on the beach, keeping the water on your left. There’s plenty of fun to be had along the way with dunes to climb and rocks to clamber over.
As you reach Yellowcraigs beach you will see the lighthouse on Fidra Island. From here the path leads inland to Yellowcraigs play park and into the village of Direlton. Take on the last five to six miles along the John Muir Way heading back to the west back to the start. As you come through Gullane village, you’ll see Falko Konditorei & Kaffehaus on the left hand side of the road before you turnoff into the Gullane Golf Club to the right, willow the stone wall on the edge of the golf course. The path emerges onto the busy A198 – cross carefully and follow the footpath back to the start point.
When someone says ‘Scotland’ what’s the first thing you think of? It might be whisky, haggis, castles, kilts, bagpipes or even deep-fried Mars bars, but does running cross your mind at all? Possibly not, but it should.
Famous for stunning landscapes and dramatic scenery full of endless scenic trails and paths that can take you around; up, through or across the entire country there is possibly no better country for running than Scotland. Fair enough the weather is normally dreich, but as the saying goes……
I’m a Dutch-born, Australian raised runner living in Edinburgh and I love my city and all the beautiful areas that surround it. If you have any questions or a particular area of the UK you want to know more about then connect with me on twitter & instagram @runningdutchie and @edinruntours and I’ll be sure to get some real on the ground information to you.
I’ve fallen in love with Edinburgh so much that I now offer running tours throughout Edinburgh and beyond to the visitors that come and explore through Edinburgh Run Tours. I find when I visit a new city the best way to really come to grips with a city is to go running with a local.
Edinburgh itself is such a beautiful and compact city that a 4 mile running tour can take you through some of the main sights of the city and uncover some hidden gems. There’s not much chance of a flat run as the city, just like Rome, is built on 7 hills. Three of these, Castle Rock, Calton Hill and Arthur’s Seat are right in the heart of the city all within a few hundred metres of each other and the four other hills, Corstorphine Hill, Wester Craiglockhard, Blackford Hill and Braid Hill are all within running distance hence the annual 7 hills of Edinburgh race; not for the faint hearted but if you fancy a challenge at the end of June then this one is for you or join me on a more leisurely pace tour version.
Though if you prefer the flat terrain Edinburgh does that too, with the North Sea making for quaint seaside villages stretching all the way along the picturesque John Muir Trail to North Berwick, part of this route is also used for the Edinburgh Marathon (and half) which is held every year at the end of May and known for its high PB potential as the route starts in the city and heads downhill to the beach before flattening out, just watch out for the wind that can sometimes catch you out and slow you down. This is one of my favourite winter training runs, it’s 26 miles from my front door to the train station in North Berwick so I can run along the path and normally heading east I get a tail wind and as soon as I reach my destination I jump on the train and back in Edinburgh in 35 minutes. You can choose to stay on the footpath or take the beach route and enjoy running up and down the dunes, over saltwater rock pools and past the light house to make it even more challenging.
I spend most of my week running in and around Edinburgh so on the weekends I like to get out and explore. I am privileged to have the beautiful Pentland Hills Regional Park which is only 6 miles south west from the city centre and is made up of a range of hills around 20 miles in length with 100km of way marked routes criss-crossing their way through the hills. Easy access by either bus or car (or you can run out there if you are keen) and you are away. One of my favourite little routes is to head up Scald Law and Carnethy Hill for a relatively short but challenging route with stunning views on a clear day which passes back past a reservoir, perhaps made all the more enjoyable by the fact that you park outside the Flotterstone Inn, so post run refreshment isn’t far away.
Check out my cool video on YouTube filmed in the Pentlands in January 2016 after some recent snowfall.
Going a little bit further afield to the west of Edinburgh and within an hours’ drive you are at the start of the iconic West Highland Way, which many visitors come to walk the 96 miles over a period of a few days to a week staying in huts & hostels along the way, but this route is also fabulous for running. Whether you are going to run the entire distance in the annual West Highland Way Race or just go for a leisurely run along parts of it you will be spoilt in every which way. Abundant in wildlife such as grouse, hairy cows and deer to name just a few with castles and whisky distilleries along the way and stunning vistas as you climb over undulating terrain taking in high points at Conic Hill (361m) and Devils Staircase (550m); you are exposed to a taste of the real Scotland.
Watch the YouTube video below to get a small taste of Conic Hill, filmed in January 2016.
With so many great running routes in Edinburgh and in Scotland, why not give me a shout next time you are visiting and organise your ideal running tour with me.
With the days getting shorter and the nights closing in now is the perfect time to get out and run in the dark! Edinburgh changes personality as night time descends throughout the city from the vibrant and exciting city night lights to the eerie haunted cemeteries and tunnels what better time to be exploring the city. A fun route darting around the city and finishing off with views of the Castle lit up at night, let me take you safely through the darkened streets for a night time running tour.
I love running in the dark. There is something mythical and special about being engulfed in a cloak of darkness and powering on through. It is definitely more isolated as it’s just you and your little circle of light created by your head torch but I find this can be a fantastic feeling of freedom and anonymity; you don’t see anyone and they don’t see you. All people can see is your head torch and you are not recognised so you are free to be who you want to be. I know some people that feel more comfortable running in the dark because they lack the confidence to head out in the daytime for fear of being ridiculed by indiscriminate others.
Then there are others that don’t enjoy running in the dark for a variety of reasons; safety being the main issue so here are some tips to keep you safe this winter in the dark:
- Plan your route – stick to routes you know and tell someone where you are going or better yet take a running buddy along
- Be visible – I see too many runners (and cyclists) getting around in completely black clothing, great to be anonymous but you don’t want to be hit by a car or a bike so ensure your clothing is light coloured or at least has reflective strips, wear a flashing armband or ankle band so people can see there is something ahead
- Be able to see – wear a head torch so you can see where you are going, your circle of vision will be less so you will need to take this into consideration with your speed but a good head torch is worth every penny. I find the Black Diamond head torch great for close to the city and just off the main roads, but for proper kick ass light up the road style head torch when out in the trails the Ay-Up lighting system is second to none. If you don’t have a head torch you can use a hand held but I find the bouncing of the light from carrying it in your hands makes you feel queasy
- Join a club – there are loads of running clubs around where you will have safety in numbers by running in a group
- Run Naked – not literally! But ditch the headphones and pay close attention to your surroundings so you don’t scare yourself half to death when someone comes near you or objects appear that you weren’t expecting, awareness of your surroundings is key
- Carry a phone – if you do get lost or need help then you have access to it
Check out my blog on some great night running events throughout the UK. Have you tried any of these out or which ones have you tried out overseas?