Steve Portwine juggles his way round Edinburgh half marathon
June 28, 2011
A Woodley man has become one of the most recognisable faces on the running circuit after completing a half marathon while juggling circus balls.
Steve Portwine raced his way around the Edinburgh Half Marathon in May, finishing in an impressive time of two hours and four minutes while continually juggling the three balls.
And with only six drops around the entire 13.1-mile course, the running juggler helped raise nearly £800 for Oxfam.
He said: “The first drop was actually just as I crossed the start line, but it was almost a relief to get it out of the way.
“I think it was just because I had cold hands, but there were a couple that were caused by not seeing an obstruction in the road.
“One time I tripped over a speed hump in the road and it’s tricky because you’re running in quite a lot of traffic so you have to pick the ball up quickly in case someone steps on it.”
The 36-year-old was inspired to take on the challenge after his wife Alex began training for the full Edinburgh marathon last year.
Steve completed the Woodley 10K on Sunday, May 15, in preparation and then ran another half marathon without juggling to get ready for the big day.
He said: “It was the last three or four miles of Edinburgh which were hard, but there was a lot of support around the course and the other runners were very encouraging.”
On the race day, the computer programmer ran through wind, rain and sunshine to reach the finish line, but the elements were not enough to stop the juggler in his tracks.
He said: “I had done a lot of training and if it was raining I’d make sure I went out on a training run around Woodley to get used to it.
“I was really pleased with the time in the end.
“Anything below two-and-a-half hours and I would have been fairly pleased.”
Mr Portwine’s wife Alex also put her running shoes on for the race, finishing the full Edinburgh Marathon in four hours and 10 minutes.
But the keen runner has not been inspired to become a running juggler as well, instead leaving it to her husband who is hoping to run the Reading half marathon in 2013 on behalf of a Woodley charity.
He said: “I haven’t decided exactly yet, but I’d like to raise money for a local charity in the next run so it would be a local man doing a local race for a local charity.
“But I think I’m going to have a bit of break for a while first.”