In short: 'Probably the most beautiful trail Marathon in the world' In full: This run was my first attempt at running off road and goodness me what a fantastic experience. Rocks, hills, grass, gravel, mud, marshland, bogs and a river all on the most gloriously sunny day in the lake district. I seriously doubt I will find a landscape as beautiful from hilltop to valley to run 26 miles anywhere else in the UK. Unfortunately I've now set my standards too high, I looked for the most scenic place to run for my birthday weekend and was not disappointed it was absolutely stunning. I brought my camera with me thinking I would take the odd shot here and there and by the end of the race I think I must have added a further 15 minutes to my time of 4:16 just from taking pictures. I agree that more could have been done to highlight all the wonderful challenges that lay ahead throughout the route because I did spot quite a few runners who seemed woefully unprepared for what we encountered. In defence of the organisers the website did very clearly state that there would only be 4 fuel stations and that every runner should take there own source of fuel and hydration. I followed these instructions to the letter and didn't need to stop at any stations provided, as such even though is was my first trail run and a marathon at that I had one of the the most trilling running experiences of my life, totally and utterly uplifting.
In terms of value for money I got much more from the race than I had bargained for plus a great t-shirt so no issues here.
Regarding the organisation throughout the course the marshals where excellent and very professional however next year more will need to be recruited for the last 5-10k through the woodland by the side of the lake. I lost my bearings slightly and while looking out for directional flags this slip in foot landing concentration sent me crashing to the floor after tripping over a tree root . Although I am still a little bruised today from the fall it taught me two important lessons in trail running which are to always stay focused and never forget to pick your feet up!!!
Armed with this new found knowledge the fall seemed to galvanize my remaining strength and spirit which then spurred me on to finish in style rather than a whimper.
I have to say that the support at the finish was also phenomenal, clapping, cheering, smiling faces the works it was brilliant, it took away all my pain and geared me up for a sprint finish.
I will definitely be back next year because I believe there is something very, very special about this run which will attract huge numbers in years to come.
At least I can say I was there first, hopefully without the scars to prove it.
Well done to the organisers, community and volunteers, you have created a fantastic running experience for all to enjoy, long may it rein!!!
In full: I managed to achieve a personal best and finish in 3.25 minutes as such I encountered a minimal amount of problems after crossing the line due to amount of other runners finishing fast than me. I do agree however that the finish area leaves much to be desired in terms of the location of the meeting point, showers and buses but due to reading previous reviews I knew exactly what to expect so I prepared myself for the worst and decided to skip the bus traffic and get a train back to Edinburgh instead.
There are obviously a lot of unhappy runners posting negative feedback on this race but I have to say it get the most out of travelling to new places for a race you have to do your research to know exactly what your letting yourselves in for as such you should at least know precisely where the route of the marathon is going before you enter.
The most important part of the race for me was the absolutely stunning coastline which was nothing short of stunning and glorious especially when the the sun came out to play. I was so in awe at some points I almost felt like stopping and taking a few pictures.
In summary I also agree that the organisers should change the name to reflect the fact that it is not a City race but a 'Coastal Marathon' however I will definitely do this run again because Edinburgh alone is such a wonderful place to visit and who knows I might be in with a shot at an even better PB!!