In short: I did it as a relay as i did last year and was not dissapointed. RWeather ea bit of a bummer and toilets attricious and disgusting but di enjoy myself and my 5.5 miles! Date of review: June 15, 2005
In short: A young race, still trying to find its feet. Sorting out a few details would make things easier for everyone. In full: Given that it is only three years old, the Edinburgh Marathon is growing to be very big very quickly - and it shows. The organisers quite rightly want to make it a world-class race, as befits a capital city, but while scenic, Edinburgh is very hilly. Having moved up here from 'down South' in the past few years I've tried enough long-distance training runs to confirm that unless the race moves away from the city centre entirely (and who would want that?) there will always be an uphill finish - it's just the topography - and moving the bulk of the distance out to the flat coastal roads is much the most sensible way to proceed to make the course faster.
I would also agree with many of the other comments that Holyrood Park is not the most accessible place to get to from the city centre at 8am on a Sunday. While it looks spectacular the available space for the start/finish facilities and the expo is much less than one would imagine, due to the fact that the whole area is a scheduled ancient monument.
Many other events in Edinburgh, including the Fringe Festival and the Great Caledonian Run, use the Meadows - which is not only more central, but has more useable space. Organisers should consider this for future years.
A couple of big name sponsors to reduce the entry fee would give a much better sense of value for money, but there are a number of things that could be changed for little or no cost:
1) Registration/Expo. Many people travelling from outside Edinburgh will come expecting to stock up on last minute items such as gels, bars, sunglasses, etc. - but these were not available at the venue. Edinburgh's largest running shop was not represented, but did have a stand at the Dunfermline Half only two weeks before. A bit more planning would help here.
2) The start. The layout needs work, more toilets for sure, but also segregation of spectators and larger start pens with controlled entry by bib number/colour (as in London) would remove some of the panic for nil cost. Kit bags need to be large enough to hold enough clothes, including a jacket and a towel for inclement weather and changing areas need to be better controlled. There were certainly female partners in the male changing space, and a couple of friends reported husbands/boyfriends in the female area too. Lots of people will feel uncomfortable about this.
3) The race. No serious concerns about the route, but mats on the Old Town/Leith cobbles would have helped and some paths must be quite narrow when the 3.45-4.30 crowd pass through. As with any city a race of this length has to pass through some of the less attractive quarters (e.g. the development zone in Granton) but should not have to run over unmetalled paths or in one case, cut across the grass while spectators stand on very nice smooth tarmac (Ocean Terminal).
Providing water and energy drinks at separate stations would make it easier for runners to plan and ease congestion also. Several people around me couldn't get to the energy drinks the first time they were offered.
Mile markers were also too small and easily missed, like everyone else, I didn't see Mile 22...
4) The finish. Thinking about what runners need, and in what order, would help a great deal. My suggestion would be water first, then medals, then chip removal, photos, bananas and bag collection. Handing out the medals in tiny bags that people have to open with trembling hands before they can be photographed slowed the queues down enormously. Foil blankets seemed to be only offered on request also, and the heavens opened a few minutes after I came in, so they were definitely required.
All in all a good race, but a lot to learn. And yes, the marshall on the bike HAS to go... Date of review: June 15, 2005
In short: Edinburgh is a great city. I had a fantastic time doing my first marathon/ race. In full: I specifically chose Edinburgh as i love the place. I have always wanted to do a marathon so thought i would combine a trip away with this. Neither the Marathon or Edinburgh let me down. My Wife enjoyed spectating as well and may join me in running this next year. Pre race the toilets were indeed very busy. Date of review: June 15, 2005
In short: A memorable race with contrasting scenery, challenging hills and a supportive crowd. In full: I know there were problems with shortage of toilets at the start, and meyhem at the baggage tent, but overall this is a very high quality race. Edinburgh showed itself up well despite the weather early on. The historic sights distracted from the pain, the cobbled streets weren't too troublesome (once you got used to them), and it was good to see areas that you wouldn't normally visit (the coast, Oceanside, and some pleasant countryside on the approach to Water of Leith). I particularly appreciated the fantastic support from the marshalls, spectators and the wonderful pipers (esp when the wheels fell off from 20miles to finish!). Can't wait until next year when I will treat the hills with a bit more respect! Date of review: June 15, 2005
In short: My first marathon - had a brilliant day but... In full: My one hope is that the organisers take notice of the comments made here. Good things: the route in the main (I liked the coastal section and the hills weren't too bad. The estate near the end had loads of support for us.), the people, the marshalls were very encouraging, the water with sports caps and energy drink pouches, my time! Bad: lack of loos, the expo, goody bag, £3 for a programme (didn't bother), the end, the gun going off with no warning or countdown. The lack of a results service is unforgiveable.
I think there should be a big marquee for drinks and food after for runners.
I can't see how the race could cope with double the runners. I like the idea of a loop around Haymarket so that the field may be a bit thinner by the time it reaches the cycle path. But it needs the support of the local council. Close more roads and show off the city.
In short: Ediburgh Marathon In full: An enjoyable event. However I agree with the comments about the lack of toilets. I had a bad bout of the runs and tried to hold on while in the queues. Eventually I had to head for a bush and just about avoided doing a "Paula" in my pants. Phew!!! Date of review: June 15, 2005
In short: My most enjoyable Edinburgh Marathon. In full: My 18th marathon and a new PB. with this in mind its easy for me to be cockahoop. I managed to knock a minute a mile off my London 2005 time, so I'm bound to say that I thought that the route was better, less congested and the weather conditions helped. However, I sympathise with anyone still running after 12.45 when the heavens opened, I don't think that I would my comments would have been as positive if I'd been caught out in that. I agree with the previous comments about the start, toilets, finish, results service, cobbles, doubling back, mile markers etc., The comments about the organisation are also very noticeable. Has anyone else made the connection with the number of leaflets that we received in the closing weeks appealing for volunteers? I believe that they clearly underestimated that part of the proceedings. I thought that the atmosphere at Ocean Terminal (one of the relay changeovers) was excellent, it was a great lift. I have to say that, if you do your homework, then the centre of Edinburgh is on a hill, if you are running on the coast for half of the race, then you have to get from sea level to a hill somewhere towards the end. Logic says that at some point in the last few miles you have to go uphill. Unless you cut the Firth of Forth out of the route its unavoidable! As for the boring bits... I remember running through the Isle of Dogs in the early '80s, before the Docklands redevelopment, how boring was that! The event needs time to develop, but it can't afford to stand still otherwise, like previous Edinburgh Marathons, (I ran similar - now defunt - events in 1985 and 1999) it will disappear from the racing calendar.
One plus point is that, I changed, met up with my wife and walked to Waverley station after the race. I was there 35 minutes after crossing the finishing line, something that would be impossible at London or many other events. Also on the plus side, what a joy it was not to have to run up Arthur's seat this year. Whilst the views were spectacular, its not what you want to do in the first couple of miles of a marathon. And to think that the event organisers were delighted that the course record was smashed by eight minutes... common sense should explain why that happened!! I'll be back next year and hopefully the organisers will take heed of some of the comments.