In the dark, cold mornings of December, just getting out of bed and facing the world can be a daunting prospect.
But not for Edinburgh’s Ed Blake, who specifically chose the shortest day of the year to set off on a gruelling 50-mile run from the Capital to Coldstream in the Borders.
And the Marchmont graduate’s epic achievement is even more impressive given that he had only ever run 15 miles at one time.
The challenge saw the 26-year-old running for 12 and a half hours and having to duck out of the way of traffic on several occasions.
He set off on the run as part of efforts to raise enough money to head to South Korea, where he hopes to teach English.
He has now collected sponsorship from family and friends totalling £900 – £100 more than his target.
“My legs were really knackered after the run, but on the whole, it went pretty well and luckily I had some mild weather.
“Before I set off, my biggest worry had been it being icy and cold. Quite a few of my family and friends were quite concerned about me because I was running along the roads in the dark – my mum had been convinced that I would get hit by a car.
“At one point it got really, really tough and my legs just refused to do anything, but I just tried to motivate myself in any way that I could.
“I feel good about having done it but there’s no way I would do it again!” Ed, who recently graduated from Aberdeen University with a degree in philosophy and film, ran alongside A roads wearing high visibility clothing so he could been seen by drivers.
His route took him from Edinburgh through Dalkeith, Pathhead, Edghead, Lauder and Greenlaw, finally arriving at Coldstream – where his family live – after 8pm on December 21. He even wore a GPS tracking device so friends could track his progress on Facebook.
“On the final stretch after Soutra it became really hard – even within Edinburgh my knee was playing up.
“I didn’t do nearly enough training, but I figured if I just push myself it will be OK.”
“Luckily, I had a friend with a car alongside me so if I needed a break the opportunity was there, but to be honest I only really stopped in Lauder.
“It got to 3.30pm and from then on, it was running in the dark, and that was not particularly fun – I had to jump into bushes a couple of times to escape a couple of cars.
“I’m just trying to recover now – my knees are bruised and my feet have completely swollen up.”
He added: “I’d just like to thank everyone for all their support.”