To join Blind Dave at a Great Run event, visit

In 2011, after another Great North Run was done and dusted, me and the lads were sitting in the hotel later when discussions turned to the thought of maybe one year running the whole Great Run series. The years passed by and we kept mentioning it then, with me turning 60 in 2017, we decided that was going to be the year! 

Time ticked on and as 2016 became 2017, our excitement grew as suddenly the challenge of being the first blind runner to complete 25 Great Run events in one year became a reality.

That reality kicked in on Friday 6th January when Tony picked me up in the mobile home. A quick trip up the M6 to collect Garry, then we motored North on route to Edinburgh. We made a quick stop at the service’s and grabbed a bite, hoping a chip shop would still open when we got to our destination. We arrived in the city around 11pm, to no chippy and no parking! After riding around for a good half an hour we decided parking alongside the railway station was our best bet and after a quick cuppa, it was time for heads down. Only to find at 3.00am what felt like all the revellers in Edinburgh pass this way home, with our mobile home becoming a centre of curiosity! Finally interest in us waned and folk moved on their way, leaving us to sleep.

We rose laughing, discussing the night’s events. With kit on and breakfast consumed we headed off to Holyrood Park and event number one - the Simplyhealth Great Edinburgh Winter Run.

Starting the Simplyhealth Great Edinburgh Winter Run

Being blind the lads always give me a great running commentary (no pun intended!) of my surroundings. Describing that we were opposite the castle, we passed Jacobs Ladder and on getting to the park I heard about the scenery, how great the weather was, the spectators and other runners converging on the park and how the atmosphere was slowly building. We met up with a few of the Great run crew, got introduced to Romana, the CEO of new title sponsors Simplyhealth, and after posing for a few photos it was time to run.

Having been given a one minute head start, we were soon caught up by the other runners when the hooter sounded at 10am. The course was very comfortable under foot while I once again listened to the commentary on the surroundings. No one mentioned the first 2k was uphill, but with a piper signalling each kilometre reached I was looking forward to the fifth one! The first 2k resulted in a lot of panting and heavy breathing all around, but I’m told the scenery was breath-taking.

The explanation (and geography lesson!) I had was: “The course starts and finishes in Holyrood Park, next to Holyrood Palace and travels up Queen's Drive around Arthur's Seat. St Margaret's Loch is adjacent the start and set next to St Anthony's Chapel. We pass by Dunsapie Loch at 2 kilometres and then return back towards the finish. Arthur's Seat is the main mountain in Edinburgh and forms most of Holyrood Park and it stands at 251 metres high above sea level.” 

With a reasonable finish time of 25 minutes, event number one, the Simplyhealth Great Edinburgh Winter Run, was ticked off the list.

Next stop, Dublin…

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To join Blind Dave at a Great Run event, visit