Portobello Parkrun under threat as athletes urinate in street

The parkrun is held in Figgate park but some runners who are caught short have been peeing in a nearby alleyway
The parkrun is held in Figgate park but some runners who are caught short have been peeing in a nearby alleyway
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RAGING residents are getting peed off with park runners – for relieving themselves in a lane by their homes.

Up to ten participants in the Portobello parkrun have been seen darting down the alleyway off Figgate Park on any given Saturday morning.

The problem has got so bad, event organisers are now threatening to pull the plug on the 200-strong weekly event unless the behaviour of a small minority improves.

“It’s every Saturday morning and it’s been going on for about a year,” said Hamilton Terrace resident William Cowan, 52.

“From my kitchen window I can see heads down the lane. I’ll go out and peer over the wall and there’s people peeing – it’s predominantly women but sometimes men.

“They’re middle-aged, middle-class women who are the worst offenders. They’re not young girls, they’re women,” added the married father-of-two.

“I tell them it’s disgusting but they just say they’ve been caught short and there’s nowhere else to go.

“Children get access to the park that way and have to see that. It attracts wild animals like foxes and rats so it’s a health hazard as well.”

Mr Cowan, a civil servant, has complained to run organisers who have been “very helpful” but the problem persists.

Neighbour Matthew Dillingham blamed “laziness” with a public toilet in nearby Bath Street – and says run organisers have even called in 
marshals in a bid to clamp down. The 47-year-old has offered to let desperate runners use his lavatory – and vowed neighbours would do the same.

“I was thinking about going out with my camera but... well, I shouldn’t have to,” said Mr Dillingham.

Repeated complaints prompted an exasperated final warning from organisers.

“Yet again I have had a complaint from a local resident about women peeing in the alleyway at Hamilton Terrace,” they posted on Facebook. “I’m not sure which bit of ‘it’s not acceptable to pee in the park’ that you don’t understand, but you know who you are and I can assure you you are not welcome at Portobello parkrun.

“We should not have to deploy marshals to deter people from urinating in public, which, as I have advised before, is an offence.”

The message goes on: “Parkrun is organised by volunteers and they have better things to do (like make sure your run is safe and you get a result) than telling people to use a toilet to pee in.”

Organisers said the event’s future is now in jeopardy and anyone caught will be struck from the results table with further sanctions threatened.

He urged anyone “thinking of peeing in the park” to consider the impact on events organisers, participants and residents.

“It’s not us putting the event at risk – it’s you. Think of others before yourself for once,” adds the post.

andy.shipley@edinburghnews.com