The Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh and the Society for Acute Medicine preceded their recent Past, Present and Future Conference at the EICC with a 5k fun run. Starting sharp at 7:30am from the Conference Centre, the run took in a whistle stop tour of central sights, including the Grassmarket, Royal Mile, Parliament Building, the Old Calton Burial Grounds and Princes Street Gardens.
The Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh has worked to improve public health for nearly 350 years. They have a Health and Wellbeing Group, which pursues a programme aimed at encouraging healthy lifestyles by promoting healthy choices at every opportunity. So a fun run was the perfect way to kickstart their conference.
“The run was aimed at energising delegates ahead of a busy day of sessions,” explains Lisa Rooke from the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh. “We planned a 5k route for delegates to sign up to and start the day as they mean to go on. It enabled them to incorporate physical activity into their day even when they’re away from their normal routine.”
Scotland’s largest recreational running network, jogscotland, helped to organise the fun run for the conference. Launched in 2002 and hosted by Scottish Athletics, jogscotland has established itself as a premier network, boasting over 40,000 members. “We have trained over 1,000 jog leaders over the last three years all over Scotland,” says jogscotland’s Billy Mitchell. “These leaders would run at one of our 500 local groups spread around the country, from very easy walking programmes through to marathon training. It’s a full spectrum of activity.”
jogscotland has found particular success in Edinburgh: the city is an excellent place for running with a wealth of accessible green space. The network’s events provide opportunities not just for general health and wellbeing but networking, team motivation and discovering new facets of the city.
“There’s quite a hidden network of paths in Edinburgh, including the Union Canal which connects the city of Edinburgh all the way to Falkirk,” says Billy. “I’ve got an office at South Gyle and from there you can run traffic free for literally miles.”
In addition to lesser-known routes, Edinburgh’s beautiful and varied parks prove a popular congregation spot. “Holyrood Park is outstanding with the network of paths around the hill and the views from the top – there’s really something for everybody round there,” says Billy. “Also the seafront runs along Silverknowes and Portobello are gorgeous.”
“There are no real financial barriers to participation – if you’ve got a pair of trainers you can do it”
For conference organisers who would like to introduce a run into their event, they can contact jogscotland who will then put them in touch with independent jog leaders who can offer assistance. Alternatively, there are other private enterprises run by jog leaders based in Edinburgh; it just depends what options you would like for your delegates.
Once the routes have been chosen and risk assessment takes place, third party insurance can be organised and then the run can continue. There’s a lot of flexibility, and inclusivity is a key aspect of the success of such events. Billy stresses that the “vast majority” of members are over 40 and participants are encouraged to set their own pace. He adds: “There are no real financial barriers to participation – if you’ve got a pair of trainers you can do it.”
Please visit jogscotland for more information on running in Edinburgh.
Five more fitness options for delegates
If you’re looking for an alternative activity to running, here are five more options within walking distance of the EICC.
Edinburgh lends itself to being explored by bike with 75km of off-street paths, many of which were once railway lines. Popular cycle routes from the city centre include the Meadows to Levenhall Links in Musselburgh, with an easy detour around Holyrood Park.
Alternatively, you can follow the Innertube Map route from Haymarket to Cramond, where you will be rewarded with views of the three Forth bridges. Biketrax, near the EICC, offers a wide selection of hire bikes to fit any requirement.
Aiming to make people feel on top of the world through the power of exercise, Project Awesome is a free fitness session that takes place every Wednesday morning at 6.30am on Calton Hill. There are no sign up fees; people are encouraged just to turn up with “tons of energy”.
City Centre Yoga offers a range of drop-in yoga classes throughout the year to suit all abilities from beginners to more advanced practitioners. Different types of yoga are taught, including Ashtanga which focuses on linking breath and movement. Classes take place at Tollcross Community Centre, a few minutes walk from the EICC.
In the vicinity of the EICC is the Royal Commonwealth Pool, offering classes and flexible hours. The only 50-metre pool in the city, it has recently undergone a £37 million refurbishment, funded by the City of Edinburgh Council, and provides a wide range of options for swimmers.
One Spa is located less than 100 metres from the EICC and offers a flexible range of drop-in options, though reservation is recommended. In addition to the spectacular thermal suite that gives One Spa its title is its well-equipped gym with kinesis and fitness studios.