In short: Akin to 'The Lord Of The Rings', sometimes cheery and exhilarating, then suddenly desolate! In full: This was my first Edinburgh Marathon. As Popeye. Grueling. Storm-force winds and almost no support (apart from fellow runners) for the last 11 miles. Followed by an excessively long walk to the reunion area. I finished near the back so I can vouch for there being no problems with water / Lucozade as runners have commented in the past. However the organisation was lacking again - they ran out of t-shirts! A lady from GSI told me they'd collect my details so they could post one out - they did not! As a seasoned fancy dress charity fundraising runner I do not run for times - I run to have fun with runners and spectators alike and to enjoy the whole experience whilst raising sponsorship and awareness for The British Heart Foundation - sadly this event is lacking in this area. After 27 miles, and with no t-shirt in hand, and no after-support my lasting memory of this event is that of demoralisation. Date of review: May 27, 2011
In short: Quick, crazily windy and fun In full: My second marathon - and a good one. The course was lovely in places (seaside views, greenery etc) and bleak in others (power station). Fantastic to be able to run my own pace - no overcrowding and space to run freely. For anyone who was frustrated by London this is a good antidote. Nice flat course overall with slight incline toward the end. The big test was the head-on wind from 18-26 miles - very tough. Mile markers a bit small and support occasionally thin. Great water/lucozade stations. Great t-shirt, OK medal. enjoyed a pint afterwards... got round in 03:23. Date of review: May 27, 2011
In short: I LOVED IT, TRIBAL AND EXOTIC, MY FIRST MARATHON AND I WILL RUN MANY MORE In full: David and Eugenia’s marathon Is a marathon a 26.2 mile run or is it a journey, perhaps even an exodus of greater proportions and meaning? That is what I have been questioning in the lead up to running a first marathon 13 months short of arriving at 50. The Edinburgh marathon of 2011 is the event, training in real terms for me (if we set aside the exotic suggestions that it began nearly 20 years ago when I first started to run, or indeed in 2004 when I was so wonderstruck that Eugenia had run the London marathon, or summer 2009 when the Achilles specialist told me categorically to let my running ambitions go) actually commenced with stopping smoking and a week later with almost no training running the Brighton half marathon in 2 hours and 3 minutes. I was awestruck at how much in love with the whole process of running I actually am after a real crisis of faith in the previous months. In time since and indeed on Sunday I have been working hard to peel away and understand this all more clearly. As the following narrative unfolds in detail about mine and Eugenia’s 26.2 perhaps some of that may become clearer...................... Edinburgh is beautiful, almost a city lost in time compared to so many south of the border. Whilst chain shops abound a 115 year old department store Jenners holds centre stage on Princes Street with a perfect coffee shop offering the castle and an ancient tapestry of grey monolith buildings as a skyline to ponder. In the days leading up to the race we are both surprised at how quiet the city is, no traffic compared to any similarly sized southern equivalent, and less pedestrians than one might expect to see. Life must be hard at times so far north and the evidence appears there in the higher proportion of both drinkers and smokers that we see and yet people seem to have so much more time and patience than we are used to at almost every encounter. The day after our arrival we are exploring the marathon hub where we come upon Arthur’s seat and decide (quite reasonably I think!) that this climb may be for another visit, the tapered rest leading up to the big day still ends up consuming us both in a 7 hour walkabout of the city discovering old town, the Holyrood Park, and of course an interaction or two with those damned chain shops. What is surprising though to us both is that there is NO evidence that in a little over a day 48 hours of running involving 30000 people will take place in Edinburgh. We see no posters, no flags, no signs or bunting. As a novice I have little frame of reference but for me at least it certainly helps in retaining a relaxed mind about what is to come. The next day we once again head over the bridge into the older quarter finding vegetarian haggis and chips and good coffee bars all round to sustain us both through another five hours of exploring Edinburgh on foot. We head back to our beautiful B and B right in the heart of the city (Thank you Ann and Denise for this fabulous added bonus to our trip) we have stayed home during the evening preferring our own food to the vagaries of eateries, no dodgy tummies to propagate fear of failure. At five o’clock after a brief rest we decide to take a gentle jog for a mile up to the start line, and once again with only 17 hours to go we are surprised at the absence of anything suggesting a marathon. No start line, lorries, barriers, posters or cautions. A couple of 6 by 6 yellow signs suggesting a road closure and a bank of porta loos seemingly discarded, and strangest of all for these two members of runners forever, not one other runner can be spotted anywhere. So we awaken to marathon day itself, in the lead up much discourse about the wind seems a bit of a waste of worry as the day dawns bright and breezy, but certainly not overtly windy (well not yet anyway). We share a smashing breakfast of fruit and much coffee (too much in my case which later leads to repeated visits to the new style ‘street urinals’) and are in the midst of a very different London Road start line nearly 80 minutes before the run begins. The organisation is phenomenal Lorries up a side street where we safely deposit bags with post race clothes and money which will be later transported to the finish line outside Mussel borough race course. Radio station whipping folks up with catchy if banal tunes and the inevitable toilet queues; but most of all runners runners everywhere. We are wrapped up warmly with our cheap sweatshirts bought to discard, and a brief rain shower causes us little trouble as we cuddle under a tree wrapped in a second layer of equally disposable cagoules. There is a real buzz in the air and for the first time I am a little nervous. I can feel Eugenia buzzing with anticipation, she is a real athlete (although at times she does not realise this I suspect) and so I suggest a couple of jogs from our start pen up to the start line and then back again. For me I can feel that a number of complaints around my feet are nagging but nagging is where I intend to leave them. This is our time. COUNTDOWN. The race actually begins at 09.51 some would love the irreverence of this non specific time; it is not lost on me for sure. We ease across the line about two minutes later and are off to the sounds of cheering crowds, radio DJ’s, and the steady pad pad of many thousands of feet. The atmosphere astonishes, tribal and exotic, and right then, for those first 7 or 8 miles when the time whizzes by, the body feels indestructible, and you are one with every other runner there is no sensation quite like it. I am irritated by the beginnings of pain around mile 9 but still the journey itself holds the mastery. I remind myself that I am with my soul mate, and at the end of 350 or so miles of running, nothing can get in the way now and so I challenge myself to let go and just enjoy the experience. The coastline is our tapestry after mile 4 and it is majestic. Raw and drawn in blocks of seaweed green and brown, with lazily discarded boulders strewn across wide banks of sand, the sea topped with an endless flock of white tops on every wave. Crowds have thinned to almost none by now, it is cold and the promise of a tail wind is by no means clear as it swirls around us with increasing vehemence. I am struggling somewhat by 13 miles though pleased with the 1.58 on my watch. I know that I am slowing Eugenia and I know that she will stop and walk with me if that is what it takes to get me over the finish line. Eugenia begins to pull ahead, just 50 or 100 meters as in incitement to draw me on. And for three miles this works, I do not like being apart from her, and in this awesome place, and at this time especially, and so I set the pain in my left foot aside and push on to catch her up and keep the journey going. At 16 miles we are 2 hours and 26 minutes into this longest of journeys and the pain in my left foot has manifestly hampered me as now my right knee goes into meltdown in the space of about 500 hundred meters. I do not know if I am going to be able to keep going, I am limping now on both legs. I have asked Eugenia to run on a couple of times now, she is wonderful and I know that she promised to run every step with me. It is hard also for me to keep pressing her but with doubt in my mind and slightly in awe of her wonderful capacity to run I beseech her to run on and finish it for both of us. At this point we would still be on target for very close to 4 hours and with I think heavy heart my beautiful baby runs ahead of me. For me at least the remaining ten miles are a tale of grim determination and massive amounts of pain. I feel that I may be doing a bit of more serious damage to my right knee but nothing that will ever stop me from running. I think of Eugenia every step of that ten miles, how much she inspires me, I picture her crossing the line, coping with the 50 mph winds, the hail and the rain that clatter us for the last 9 miles as we turn and run back toward Edinburgh. FINISH LINEI let go of all of those dreams of times, of glory for my ego, of coming back from serious injury to crash over the line in impressive manner. In the end with the clock approaching five hours and almost unable to put any weight onto either leg I see Eugenia on the other side of the finish line. I am in tears and I stumble across into tight embrace. She is formidable and having crossed the line in a fantastic 4 hours and 4 minutes herself waits for me and refuses to be moved on by the marshals until I am safely in her arms. The feeling is the most wonderful I have ever encountered. People around us are exhausted, I am in agony, but through it all am elated as is Eugenia. 52.4 miles between us, 9 hours of running, over 800 other miles of walking and trains to make the weekend happen, three months of training, and all for that singular moment. It is exotic beyond belief and I beseech anyone and everyone to find it in their soul to give this a try at least once in a lifetime. I might write myriad more about the beauty of train travel, the rugged coastline of Scotland, the wonderful post run atmosphere of so many winners in one place (and be clear on this, every single person that runs it is a winner......no exceptions), and who is to say I will not write more on another day, but before I lose your attention one and all, thank you to everyone that got us here, thank you to our legs for carrying us so far, thank you to the universe in all its wonderment for giving us something this simple and this perfect........................when asked the question how did you do? In relation to the marathon I confidently reply 26.2 miles, that is how I did May 2011
In short: Great run .... shame about the finish ....... In full: I didn't attend the expo so I can't comment; dropping bags off at the start was fine, so to the two starts which made for little congestion for a quick getaway ..... the finish ... probably the less said about that the better! Didn't seem to be a plan once you crossed the line, not a great medal [especially compared with last years], generic t-shirt and masses of people trying to squeeze through a gate to meet friends / family. Date of review: May 27, 2011
In short: First Marathon - Loved the Scenery - but not so much the hills In full: The scenery on the first half of the course was magnificent truly breathtaking and achieved a PB split at halfway. However for first time marathoners as myself, beware the second half hills and offshore wind - not to be underestimated. Organization could do with some improvement - big screen failed to work and spectators are not allowed near the finish line. The walk at the end to the spectators and buses is around 30 to 45 minutes - so beware. Date of review: May 27, 2011
In short: Chaotic from Expo to Finish! In full: Possibly the worst Expo ever, as a club with several first time marathon runners the expo experience should be a memorable event, however a single tent with 8 below average stalls (4 of which were unmmanned!) was a joke!
The race is scenic and potentially a fast course but the distance from the city made the finish more of a shambles than ever!
The organisation was horrendous! T-shirts were randomly given out,the congestion caused huge ques (not what you need after 26.2miles)AND members of the public were being given medals!!! which by the way was half the size of last year with no dates, cheap and uninspiring! The buses were heaving and having approx 2 an hour running caused obvious problems!! GSI are a joke! Never again! Such a shame as 28 from our club made the long journey.... Date of review: May 27, 2011
In short: Good race, behind the scenes needs more work In full: I ran the first leg, making it my longest run & the run itself was good. An enjoyable atmosphere along the route & the 1st leg was v quick & had some nice downhill stretches to ease people into the full marathon.
On handover though there were no signs to the reunion area. Nor was there any shelter for teammates at the handover points. Or facilities except for a couple of portaloos.
We also had to fight our way back into the finish area to collect our t shirts as our finishing team member wasn't given enough.
Finish area also chaotic & a poor way to treat people who have just run 26 miles! Why have a reunion area if you don't marshall people away from the finish? And please, more than 2 toilets at the finish commented my team mate!
Reunion area could have been a good idea, big screen for everyone to watch, if you liked watching T in the Park that is.
On the whole the run was good, but the organisation was a disappointment. Why not finish at Musselburgh with the nice grandstand & have reunion in the middle & around the racecourse, would have made the event a bit more special. Date of review: May 27, 2011
In short: Edinburgh is an amazing city - Marathon had good points but also some bad In full: Starts off like a big city marathon but then becomes a rural one.
On the positive side - the way the marathon was started from 2 starts at different times meant there was practically no congestion - so this is what makes it very possible to get a PB and gives this race a fast feel.
On the negative - the finish didn't have enough room for the number of runners. Would cause problems if people started collapsing in the finish - like on a hot day.
I don't know the politics of moving the finish from last year off the race course - but would suggest they look again at where the race finishes/goes - maybe route it back to Edinburgh somehow (like to Holyrood Park?)
The marshals were good - I witnessed them having to deal with frustrated car drivers - maybe need more road closures on safety grounds.
Most races get their atmosphere from the spectators - But I think it was the spectators who got the worse deal here - as they struggled to give support along route and at finish.
In short: Other reviewers have said it all In full: I cannot add anything new to the comments that other reviewers have made, but I must say that the marshalls and those manning the water/energy stations did a fantastic and uplifting job. Also the support from spectators throughout the race was very welcome for my first marathon - it ensured I was still smiling at the end, although the last six miles into the wind was a killer! Date of review: May 27, 2011