Kilts, Bagpipes, and Sheep Galore

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I’m convinced that the fastest and surest way to fall in love with a place is to run there.

On my first run in Edinburgh, Scotland last week, it didn’t take long to tell the guys I was staying with that it was the prettiest one I’ve ever been on. I said the same thing the next day, and the day after that, and I still can’t believe that such runs are possible from a person’s doorstep.

We ran past highland cows, horses, pigs, and sheep…

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by mossy walls built by farmers hundreds of years ago…

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and along rivers that snaked through jagged hills.

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We also took a 3-hour hike, walked the Royal Mile from the palace to the castle, watched the Olympics in a few pubs, and went to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the largest arts festival in the world. I couldn’t get enough of the kilts, bagpipes, and street performers, and was especially thrilled when a unicyclist asked my friend to help him out during a show.

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While I loved the Scottish scenery and culture, however, what really made the trip cool were the friendships that running made possible. When I arrived in Edinburgh, I mainly knew Chris and Brian as Conference-USA rivals- they both run for Tulsa- and had seen them at only a handful of meets. By the time I left, however, I had logged about 30 miles with them and been welcomed into the O’Hare family with open arms. Between the 4 kids, family feasts, brotherly bantering, and lovely parents, I felt right at home. It’ll be hard to top my runs in Scotland, and even harder to rival my hosts.

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