Way back in September, my housemate persuaded me to sign up for the Edinburgh Half Marathon. In my defence, I was young(er), naïve and convinced this was going to be my healthiest year at uni to date. Whilst this definitely hasn’t been the case, I have discovered some running route gems that have just about managed to keep my training going… Click on the titles to see the route maps!
1. Lade Braes
Length: variable depending on where you begin and what turn offs you take, between 2.3 and 3km end to end.
With lot of twists, turns and paths through the woods, if you’re unsure of the way a slow jog is enough to get acquainted with it and unwind. Taking you via along the old St Andrews boundary walls, past stunning views across the valley and down alongside a gurgling stream lined with trees and a well paved path, this is a much better alternative to pedestrian dodging along North Street.
If you emerge from Lade Braes onto Hepburn Gardens, turn left and follow the road. After the big roundabout take the second road on your right (NOT the private access one…) which takes you up through “Bishop’s Wood” along Strathkinness Main Street. At the crossroads with High Road turn right, and follow it back into town via DRA. This route gives enough variety and that all important “I’ve escaped the bubble” feeling.
3. The Ostrich route / Mount Melville
Length: 8km, plus Lade Braes.
Rural, incredible views, hardly any cars and an ostrich. What more could you want? When you eventually emerge onto Grange Road, either turn right to extend your run further or turn left to jog (downhill, yay!) back into St Andrews. I promise, just you turn onto Grange Road, there is an Ostrich (or possibly Emu or Rhea, if you can identify it please let us know) which is also accompanied faithfully by a goose. St Andrews never ceases to amaze.
4. Guardbridge / Leuchars
Length: you decide, up to a half marathon in total there and back.
If you can (I can’t, yet). Alongside the road to Guardbridge is a footpath designed for runners (and walkers too). It’s not the most interesting route, but for distance work it’s perfect. My friend also uses it to pick up train tickets, each to their own, I guess.
5. West Sands
Length: 2.5km each way.
A standard route easily tacked onto any of the above. The tarmac path between the golf course and the beach is impossible to get lost on, generally people and car free, and lots of sun, sea and sand. Or wind, rain and waves, if you’re unlucky.