In short: Potentially a great Marathon In full: Not sure what was harder; running the marathon or writing this review whilst being honest and subjective.
I have to say that overall I enjoyed my day. It was a hot and tough race and although it was largely downhill / flat, the heat put pay to an ultra fast race. The route was largely outside of Edinburgh, which was a shame, but was nonetheless, a lovely course. A good mix of scenery from city, to parkland, to village, to coastal road, to promenade, to stately home – this had it all it seemed. The printed material prior to the race was excellent, although it was a real shame that proper baggage labels weren’t given (London is a good example of what to do – plastic bag and race number sticker). Chip timing is a must for big races and this one had that. The start was centrally located and very easy to find. There were plenty of baggage lorries (including a late arrival lorry), marshals handing out Vaseline and sun block, free Lucozade drinks and clearly marked out starting pens. The race was looking good…
Unfortunately, now for the negatives. The toilets at the start were totally inadequate for the number of runners (although they were quiet at 7:50 am). A lot of men, myself included, went in the hedges as the toilet queues looked to be about 45+ minutes long! There were no marshals controlling who went in each pen – I was in yellow and there was allsorts of colours in there! I don’t really remember seeing mileage markers at every mile, but the ones that were there all appeared to be slightly out and I measured the course at 26.49 miles (Garmin does have a margin for error though, but even so, this did seem long). All minor criticisms so far, which you’d be prepared to put up with I think.
My first major criticism was with the water; why couldn’t larger bottle have been used? London gave out 500ml Vittel bottles in 2008 and this seemed to work well. This would have removed the need to take two bottles, as you can run and sip from the 500ml bottles – I felt thirsty after drinking only 250ml, it simply wasn’t enough for hot the conditions. And then the whole hoo-hah about running out of water and people having to go without is, from a H&S point of view, worrying to say the least! Regardless of the so called ‘water theft’, the number of 250ml bottles ordered V total numbers of runners V the forecasted hot weather, just didn’t stack up. There appeared never to be enough. Larger bottles would have helped mitigate this I think. Having said that I was lucky to not go without, although at drink station 7, I was told “it’s one bottle per runner as we’re running out!” I felt very dehydrated at this point and needed more than 250ml to keep on running, so I resorted to looking for water bottles on the road – not good! I’ve never seen so many good runners walking before, and so many runners collapsed at the side of the road. The carbo gels didn’t work for me – not enough fluids in my system so they made me feel sick. But there was only one given out anyway, as the second station had run out! I think from memory there was enough Lucozade to go round though.
I wonder why there were no wet sponges or run-trough showers planned for this race? I would have thought that a fire hydrant and hose system could have been utilised at short notice to provide a refreshing shower on such a hot day.
The finish area was one of the most confusing and poorly organised that I have come across so far. The run in was weird as you ran along some plastic ‘lego-like’ mats, that had been ‘clicked’ together. In several places, these had become ‘un-clicked’, so represented a significant trip hazard. The run in also was quite narrow and had a left hand chicane in it, which provided a false finish on the horizon, when the real finish was much further on. I don’t remember seeing any 800m, 400m, 200m countdown signs either. Brilliant roar from the crowd though! Once across the line, it was very, very hard to navigate the finish area – it took me ages to find the exit and I never found the meeting point. Fortunately my supporters saw me! The traffic away from the race course was a total nightmare – so glad we drove and I didn’t have to sit on a bus in that heat!
So to sum up, I enjoyed the race, which like most, have some organisational issues. The trouble with this race is that the bits of organisation that they got wrong, were so bad it was untrue and in the case of the lack of water, potentially life threatening. Would I do it again? Well that’s a definite maybe. I loved the medal (which had a place for your name and time to be engraved on the back), the t-shirt, free beer and goody bag. So there are some positives to report at least! Date of review: June 5, 2009
In short: one water station did not affect me but understand it could and did cauuse promblems In full: after reading statment about theft on the web site last night i do feel sorry for the powers that be and hope steps are taken to avoivd it next year. the heat was a killer but we were all in the same boat and the finish this year was even better than last year bring on Edinburgh 2010. if a Kirsty from the Leeds area reads this please let me know how you did i left you just after 23 miles we meet just after Gosford House. once again you Edinburgh for what in the end was a good weekend. Date of review: June 4, 2009
In short: Water was the issue - besides that, wonderful. In full: As this was my first marathon, I had no real expectations prior to the race. I was amazed at the organization and logistical finesse of those putting it on. I didn't experience the lack of water/gel, though I can imagine how discouraging that would be. My one critique concerns the placement of water tables. Miles 15-19 happened to be the hottest, most exposed, most monotonous miles of the race, and to have such a stretch without any hydration stations was perhaps a bit of a blunder. Besides this issue of 'spacing', I enjoyed it! I would do it again in a heartbeat!! Date of review: June 4, 2009
In short: Really enjoyed the race despite the heat. Disappointed to hear about the lack /no water! In full: I found the course to have lovely scenery as the course went through various villages and along the coast and it definitely has PB potential as the start of the course is mainly downhill and the rest is mainly flat.
I was unaffected by the lack of/no water situation as I was nearer the front however I did notice that stocks were running low but was under the impression that these would be restocked at some point. Therefore I was disappointed to hear that the water simply ran out! This is truly unacceptable whether it was hot or not. There should be enough water available for ALL runners throughout a race. If it was the case that water along with gels were stolen something should have been put in place to help ease the situation but from the other comments I've seen it seems nothing was done to the point where some runners were told they were not allow to complete the course! Terrible!
Having said all that let me finish on a good note and say that I enjoyed the course and thought the support from the spectators was brilliant! Thank you to the volunteers for all their hard work on such a hot day. I think I will be back next year. Date of review: June 4, 2009
In short: Apart from the hot weather, juice problems and dehydration, I would certainly do this race again In full: My first marathon and what an experience!! The course itself was very good although I tend to look at the ground or the runner in front rather than the scenery. I wasn't happy about several water stations having no water, didn't help being in the last pen at the start. I think that this was why so may runners were 'dropping like flies'. Fortunately the crowds were very good and some offered bottles to us. The 'plastic' flooring towards the finish was a little daunting for me, bit slippery in parts and the last few hundred metres wasn't wide enough to overtake runners. I was unable to find the place that I had to return my tracker to and the people that I asked didnt know either. The queue for the bus back to town was long but not a problem. I didn't make use of any of the toilets en route but a very good idea to have, although there were still queues for some of them and others opted for the trees. I enjoyed slowly running past the chicken farm to avoid tripping over the couple of chickens that had escaped the netting around the field (I was very observant in that area). It was good to be able to register any medical information on the race database (and not just put a cross on the front of the number as in most races) although I received no confirmation that mine had been added. The medal, tshirt and goody bag at the end were good. It did not and still does not feel like I have run a marathon and I certainly would do this race again. There may have been no water but the company was fantastic. Date of review: June 4, 2009
In short: Brillant day out! In full: I started in the pink pen and finished in 3:28 so I did not encounmter any of the problems with water stations running out. That said, we all knew the weather forecast and must bear some responsibility for our own health and wellbeing. Very few runners that I noticed were wearing sunglasses, a peaked cap or even carrying a water bottle. Where people were turned away from Gosford house this is unforgivable. The organisers need to realise that for these so called slower runners who have being training for months in the cold and wet with this one goal in mind, the effort to finish on marathon day is more than the experienced elite runners who are used to covering this large distance display. Conglats to everyone for trying. Date of review: June 4, 2009
In short: My first marathon all the gels were stolen as was loads of water In full: The finish was not organised which spoiled an otherwise great day.The police have been informed that someone actually stole vital water and gels.I had to wait an hour for the bus to get back into Edinburgh Date of review: June 4, 2009