Runners from all across the globe travel to Edinburgh every May for the annual Edinburgh Marathon Festival. For EMF 2014, we’re treating runners to a special Edinburgh Marathon package of post-race goodies and, to help you ‘run like a local’ during your stay, local blogger Margaret is here to share her EMF tips:
My sister and I running in the 2013 Edinburgh Half Marathon
I’ve run the Edinburgh Half Marathon three times, and I’ve thought the same thing every time I crossed the finish line: thank goodness I am not running the full marathon! But this year I did something crazy. On a whim, I signed up for the entire 26.2 miles. Yikes – guess it’s time to start training!
Luckily, having participated in EMF events before, I do have a decent idea of what to expect from the course and how to prepare before the big day. Here are my answers to the more commonly asked questions:
Flat. Gloriously flat. That’s the best part of the Edinburgh Marathon route, and it’s why so many runners choose Edinburgh to break their PBs. There are a few hills here and there, but for the most part, the course is fantastically flat.
Starting in the east side of the city, you’ll run out to the sea, through the seaside towns of Portobello and Musselburgh, and into East Lothian, through Prestonpans and Longniddry. At mile 18, you’ll loop back to finish in Musselburgh.
If you’re running the half marathon, you’ll follow the same route, except you’ll turn back sooner (at mile 11, just on the outskirts of Musselburgh).
May is one of the more unpredictable months for weather in Edinburgh. Average highs are around 14°C, with lows around 6°C in the evenings. Rain is always a possibility, but surprisingly warm sun breaks are as well. Of course, as this is Edinburgh, wind is always a factor – particularly along this seaside route.
Based on my three-year sample size, I’d suggest erring on the side of warm weather – particularly if you’re doing the full marathon, which has you running during the hottest hours of the day. Even if the morning begins with rain, the showers typically burn off closer to midday and the sun’s warmth is magnified as your body continually generates energy.
A slightly more overcast 2010 Edinburgh Half Marathon
If you’re running in the half marathon, you start on Regent Road in the east side of the city centre. If you’re running the full marathon, you might also start on Regent Road, or you might be instructed to start on London Road. Your race instructions – contained in your race packet – will tell you which start line to go to.
Getting to Regent Road: Travel east along Princes Street, past the Scot Monument and the Balmoral Hotel, and head straight onto Waterloo Place. This quickly becomes Regent Road, and the start line is clearly marked.
Getting to London Road: Travel east along Princes Street. Go past the Scot Monument and, just after the Balmoral Hotel, take a left onto onto Leith Street. Continue down the hill, passing the Edinburgh Playhouse on your right. Take a right at the first roundabout onto London Road. The start line will be clearly marked.
The finish line for both the half and the full marathon is located in the Pinkie St Peter’s School play fields, just off Pinkie Road in Musselburgh. However, it tends to be very crowded near the finish and, unless they find a lucky spot, your friends and family will likely stand further back along the route to cheer you on. Also, once you cross the finish line, you must walk through a fenced-off, runners-only area to collect your medal, t-shirt and bag of freebies (it’s a bit of a labyrinth).
So, rather than just saying ‘see you at the finish line‘, it’s best to pick a meeting point in the play fields before the race. I always go for the Forth One Radio stall because it’s loud and easy to get to. However, it’s also worth checking the EMF website closer to race day to see their meeting spot suggestions.
If you’re wondering where to go for last-minute running supplies (energy gels, compression socks, anti-chafe cream, etc.), where to fill up on carbs before the big day and how to get to the start line from your apartment, check out this map of key places to keep in mind:
Full Marathon: 9:50am, Sunday 25th May
Half Marathon: 8:00am, Sunday 25th May
Harry Haggis Relay: 10:00am, Sunday 25th May
10k: 9:00am, Saturday 24th May
5k: 11:00am, Saturday 24th May
Junior Races: 3k – 12:30pm Saturday 24th May | 1.5k – 1:30pm Saturday 24th May
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*Valid through 31/1/14