Lucja Leonard (aka the Running Dutchie) loves running and loves Edinburgh.
She has recently combined these two passions to create Edinburgh Run Tours. Running is a great way to see a new city, get your bearings, hear some stories and pick up some tips from locals. Lucja can completely customise the tours to the time of day, distance and sights you want to see and can design tours from 3 to 30 miles! All levels of runners are welcome, you set the pace, and you can take time along the way for some photos too. Even local runners can benefit from her running expertise and knowledge of planning a running route with a view. Tours can be arranged for individuals or groups; you can contact Lucja for more information via the Edinburgh Run Tours website.
London runner, Marina Ranger was one of the first to try the tour and has kindly allowed us to share her blog, Edinburgh Run Tour with @Runningdutchie:
This weekend I travelled up to Edinburgh to do a combination of three things I love doing – seeing friends, running and visiting a new city.
Lucja @runningdutchie (see Lucja’s blog here), who I met in the Kalahari, has started up her own Edinburgh Run Tours. After showing interest in the run tour it seemed the perfect opportunity for myself to get to know Edinburgh, enjoy visiting some Kalahari friends and for Lucja to test out the tour routes on me before they become a sell out! J
On Saturday morning we ran from North Berwick to Edinburgh, 27 sunny miles of beautiful views (a pleasant change from my usual polluted and congested London routes). The route followed the coastline, so much of the route was through undulating coastal paths and on sand. Apart from the heavy legs, I thoroughly enjoyed having the opportunity to run in such a beautiful part of the country and it was also great training for the KAEM, being on quite a lot of sand.
Lucja let me test out one of her ultra bags from Ultimate Direction– It was lightweight, fit well, had the perfect amount of space for an ultra run. I also love the colour of it, which is always a bonus. My only issue with it was that I drink lots of water on long runs, so my bottles were empty before I had even done 10 miles! Even so, I think its now on my long list of ‘running kit to buy.’ I also managed to test out two varieties of gels while running. I have never used gels before because I’ve tried to rely on food to get my energy, however the gels seemed to work and Lucja also gave me an interesting lesson on how gels work, so she has me convinced! The main understanding behind it that I believe to make sense is that our bodies rely on carbs as our primary energy source. Once this is depleted, the next resource is fat, which is broken down into an energy source slowly and not as fast as carbs, therefore a shot of gel can be a quick replacement. I actually enjoyed the gels and after a bit of research will look into buying some for my long runs. The two I tried were the TORQ’s Raspberry Ripple and High Five’s Citrus flavor. Both enjoyable but thanks to my super sweet tooth I prefer the creamier Raspberry Ripple.
Sunday morning was the official run tour of Edinburgh. Having never been to Edinburgh before it was great to be able to see so much of the city in a short space of time. We set off early to avoid the Sunday crowds and headed to various famous Edinburgh landmarks and popular spots including Edinburgh Castle, Princes Street Gardens, The Heart of Midlothian, The Palace of Holyroodhouse, Pinnies (amazing shortbread shop) and the best place to get a deep fried mars bar (which I of course had to go back for later!). I even got some very interesting history lessons on Edinburgh whilst running. We also extended the tour to slowly make our way up Arthur’s Seat, a killer hill, perfect for hill reps. The best view of Edinburgh was up Arthurs Seat, although there seemed to be very few other spots where there wasn’t amazing views to enjoy.
I’ve never thought of looking for a running tour when visiting a new city, but after this weekend will definitely start doing! Another great thing about the tour is that you gain some inside knowledge about a city that most other tourists wouldn’t – for example the best shops to get local delicacies and the less touristy areas in town! The tour had a bit of everything and I would fully recommend it to anyone, whether you’ve been before, if you’re passing through Edinburgh for the first time or even if you already live there. A great excuse to get out, do some exercise, learn something new and have a great time!
The whole weekend was great for both of us to share ideas and give each other tips on different things we have heard, read and learnt on running.
Things I have taken away from this weekend:
• Tested out a great ultra bag from Ultimate Direction, which I think I might have to buy!
• Tested two different brands of gels which I will now try on my long runs.
• I am going to join my local run club, Ealing Eagles, as advised by Lucja for hill and speed sessions.
• I am going to book a few races before the KAEM in October, including the Berghaus Trail Chase, The Chiltern Challnge Ultra and possibly a few London based events.