After 31 marathons it is time for a little bit of self-indulgence. Having started with this task 6 month ago, I finally completed it: creating a list of All My Marathons! It is a permanent site on my blog and can be found next to the Home link under the header picture. And yes, now it is there, I definitely will keep it up to date… Only problem: There is no next marathon in the pipeline 🙁 Must be a first – ironic.
Edinburgh is a great place and its distinctive blue/white EMF branding suggests, this is not just an other marathon, but something quite special. The organisers do say it is the fastest marathon in UK and the second biggest after London. So I did run Edinburgh with some expectations and not all of them were met. Here the details:
Is it special? Well, in some ways it is, but if you expect to run through the fantastic and iconic streets of the centre of Edinburgh (as I certainly thought I would), disappointment lurks around the corner. Only the first few miles are actually in Edinburgh and none of them is actually going through the beautiful centre. What remains is running a few miles along the seafront and many miles through mainly uninspired suburbs and roads where you know, the sea is somewhere out there, but too often not in sight.
Is it well organised? All the basics are covered very well: start line, baggage transport and finish area with charity village and food choices. However, the finish is not in Edinburgh but, from the view of an ignorant external, in the middle of nowhere. Yes, we were encouraged to and we did order shuttle bus tickets for the journey back, but walking an other 2 miles after a marathon to catch the shuttle bus and then having an other 30 minutes journey in a cramped bus before you can make your journey back to your hotel from the Edinburgh’s centre, was not ideal. There must be another way of doing this.
Is it fast? The Edinburgh Marathon claims to be the fasted in UK. I am not quite sure where this claim comes from, definitely not from the course record. The course is not as hilly as you would expect for this area and it gives you kind of a head start with a downhill stretch to begin with. But the claim “fastest marathon” set wrong expectation with me and I was surprised by the constant slight inclines and declines along the route. Normally it would not had been a problem, but I just did not expect it because of the claim being the fastest.
Is it fun? Fun can be relative and its a bit in the head of each runner. But it does help that people are fun and friendly. But for my taste I was missing a bit of variety.
And what about the medal? Well, the medal is uber cool. First, the shape of a long rectangle is quite unique and second, there is a section cut out in shape of the hilly Edinburgh skyline, which you can find in your goody bag as part of a key ring that can be placed like a jigsaw piece back into the medal. I am calling greek alert over my excitement of this, but hey… Here is the picture 🙂
Conclusion: Edinburgh is a great city to visit and from this perspective you can’t go wrong coming here for the marathon. However, the event itself did not turn out as great to me as the organiser’s claims of fastest, biggest, greatest might suggest.