In short: Picturesque, well-organised and fast In full: I've seen a number of criticisms levied at this year's Edinburgh half marathon, some of which I think are justified but many of which are not and, as we have to look at the overall package, I think the organisers did a pretty good job on the whole.
First, the distance: according to my Garmin the race was smack on. I was consciously running tangents, which many were not, since in the early stages of the race this involves accelerating aggressively to overtake other runners in often congested sections of the route. Merely going with the flow will easily add another 0.1 miles to your run (i.e.161 metres).
Second, refreshments: this is always a matter of personal preference and you will never satisfy everyone. I cannot personally understand the need for gels or sports drinks for a half marathon, but gels were available at the last two stations (only one which was officially going to carry gels according to the briefing). The water bottles would have benefitted from sports tops, but this wasn't a big deal for me.
Transport: My own situation was probably unusual in that a training injury (torn soleus) recurred at 19k and, being bloody minded, I hobbled the last 2k on one working leg. You can probably imagine what I thought when I found out that my transit bus back was more than a mile away from the finish line!
Facilities: toilets at the start were inadequate for the size of field. I queued for over 30 minutes and just made the start (which was 1 minute early - not helpful). Many behind me had queued for almost as long with a choice between starting late or crossing their legs.
The positives: Edinburgh has a great combination of "big event feel" without being too big. The course is scenic, fast and flat and the organisation is generally very good. The local support is excellent, the marshals were great and it's definitely in my calendar for next year.
In short: Great Flat Marathon In full: A good race route which is flat and so has very good pb potential. Well supported race. If I had to make one criticsm it would be the Start/Finish area could have been a little better organised in terms of signage. But that didnt take away from the main thing which is the run, which was great. Date of review: May 28, 2013
In short: Loved it - possibly my favourite ever half In full: Great event and I've already signed up for next year. Loved the route, especially the stretch along Portobello. I thought the organisation was excellent, including the buses back into the centre of Edinburgh - I didn't mind the walk at all (might have felt differently if I'd done the full though I guess). Not sure why RW don't separate out the reviews for the half and the full. Would definitely recommend. Date of review: May 28, 2013
In short: Really fast scenic race In full: I really loved this race and knocked 8+ minutes off my PB! However, where the race let itself down is the mile walk to get a bus (not what you need after racing) and the poor publishing of the results. To date (3 days after the race), I still cannot get the full results - ie where I came out of the females, V40s etc - which is inexcusable. This needs sorting out for future years! However, that aside I would recommend to anyone wanting to bag a PB or run the distance for the first time! Date of review: May 28, 2013
In full: This was my first marathon race, which I enjoyed very much!! The only negative point to mention was the transport back to Ed, could not see any signs anywhere,I ended up walking up the other direction and took a public transport back for £1.50! silly ass. Date of review: May 28, 2013
In short: A fast course though could be a bit boring for regular marathoners In full: A PB potential race with a net downhill for the first 5 then pretty much flat the rest of the way. 6 miles and you're out of Edinburgh though.
Crowd support is good but sparse in places.
Goody bag at the end very lacking, 2 shampoo's, a cooling gel and a cereal bar. Nicely designed technical T-shirt.
Start area well organised with 2 staggered starts so less chance of bottlenecks.
Finish area well outside Edinburgh so logistics getting back from the race are difficult and can be time consuming depending on your option.
2nd time doing EMF and I'll do it again next year chasing another PB but I'm a resident which makes it easier. Date of review: May 28, 2013
In short: a quick race with no benifits In full: Just a few facts; no energy drinks on course with water every 5k. no foil blankets at a cold finish line. a 2 mile walk at the end to the official shuttle bus back to Edinburgh. A 'goody bag' not worth bothering for. (2 shampoo samples and a muesli bar..) Date of review: May 28, 2013
In short: Good PB potential. In full: This was my first time doing Edinburgh marathon and I generally really enjoyed it. The start was organised with a good atmosphere and the 2 different starts meant it wasn't too congested at the beginning.
The support was very good in places, but also lots of areas where it was very quiet, so had to put my ipod on to keep me motivated.
The scenery was beautiful.
The things which I feel need improving on are: 1) the water bottles didnt have sports caps, which meant they were hard to drink from and sloshed everywhere. You had to chuck the bottle away after a few sips, whereas if it had a sports cap I would have held on to it and sipped as I went along. 2) The mile markers were inaccurate; sometimes up to half a mile compared to my garmin, which was quite demoralising.
I would recommend this marathon, but think I shall stick to big city marathons with more of an atmosphere. I had underestimated how encouraging crowd support can be!! Date of review: May 28, 2013