In my relatively short running career, I already have learnt that simplicity and lowering risk are the guiding principles of managing stress and pre-race anxiety. Big city races present a unique set of challenges, transport difficulties in particular, and complicating this further with creative methods of non-conformity is ultimately doomed to failure. Thus, although not thrilled by the prospect of the coach transport on offer in support of the Edinburgh race, it was simply the least risk way of getting to and from the start/finish and therefore, one less thing to worry about. I tend to set expectations early regarding accommodations made for friends and family – runners need their ruthless and selfish streak in full effect on race day. After all – there is only one reason why everyone is there at all. I kept my journey to an absolute minimum distance on the morning of the race, a short drive from my sister’s home where I had slept well the night before. I knew beforehand exactly which car park I would use; with a backup location locked into my sat-nav should my first option be full to capacity. I used the well supplied toilets copiously on London Road (all race organisers please note; urinals for blokes) – a point of pride that I have yet to suffer an enforced toilet stop during a race of any length, a winning streak I plan to maintain as long as possible. Time for a short good luck photo moment with fellow Roundhay Runner Mark; a brief nervy chat with work colleague Ben whom I had sponsored a few weeks before; a final farewell to my eldest son, bagman and trainee covering journalist Joe; and I headed off to my pen. The weight of the challenge about to be undertaken was tangible across the mass of hopefuls, an eerie silence slowly descended as the minutes ticked by. Having in the past completed a few shorter races to raise funds for charity, I have a huge amount of respect for people who manage their emotions at this moment, with the list of promises and all those past conversations weighing heavily. After I had shuffled forward to a spot that I liked, I was surprised to spot Roslyn Eadie from Hyde Park Harriers a few feet in front of me. Two weeks earlier, I had spent the entire 13.1 miles of the Leeds Half race 200 metres in her wheel tracks as she grabbed a podium spot for third female finisher. Little time now for pleasantries or reflecting on co-incidence, the countdown was on and the mass throng of participants began to step forward.