In short: Lovely course, good atmosphere, below average organisation In full: The Edinburgh Marathon bills itself as a big city race but doesn't deliver. That isnt too say I didnt enjoy myself but there were many aspects where a local town race would trump this event and with an entry fee of £39 the value for money rating is low low low.
Basic things like having a baggage tent drop off that can only accommodate 4 or 5 people at a time, placing portaloos along the start line showed a bizarre lack of forethought, a route map on the details and website that needed a magnifying glass. Mile markers that looked like they had been borrowed from a village fete 5k and worse still was only 7 drinks stations in total for the whole race a couple of which had run out of lucozade.
These moans belie the friendly atmosphere, good crowd support, lovely course, very igood medal, encouraging marshals. This does not rate as the worst race i have done, just somewhat disappointing for the money and hype.
Would I do it again - maybe. The impetus would be going back to Edinburgh, not doing the marathon.
The city and course potential deserve better event organisation and attention to detail. Date of review: June 16, 2005
In short: Expro average, toilets and baggage a shambles, good friendly marshalls ok route but the sections of cobbles were a bit much, organisers PR was a disgrace In full: Potential to be a very good city marathon but a course that is diverted up kerbs and across grass verges to avoid car park entrances is unacceptable. Also the same old story regarding the toilets but how many is enough ? Date of review: June 16, 2005
In short: Was thankful for the rain pouring on me with 2 miles to go! In full: Was a fab event - just missed my target time having not banked for the hill in the last mile, but loved the route overall. Agree with all suggestions regarding toilets, arrangements at the start - their longest time zone was 4 hours and over as far as I can see. And where was mile 22 marker??! Also felt it was very expensive compared to all other races I've taken part in. Hope they continue to learn and improve the event in years to come. Date of review: June 15, 2005
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