Having had to have pull out of the Edinburgh marathon in 2013 due to injury, at an early stage I decided I would take part the following year.
Having completed london marathon in April this year and missing out on a sub 3 I was determined to make this one under 3 hours! The couple of weeks building up to Edinburgh I had some great races such as the Stratford half marathon, the mid week series at Hagley and masters relays. My long runs with the Sunday morning crew which topped 23 miles were effortless.
I spend the build up to Edinburgh marathon drying out alcohol wise, I had a couple of steady runs and spent the evenings loading up our camper van in preparation for the trip. The alarm was set for 4am Friday morning and we set off to Edinburgh, by half past ten we had arrived.
My fiancé Karen was taking part in the 10km race on the Saturday morning which had a 9am start so we were up early again to get the bus from Musselburgh to Edinburgh. It reminded me how rewarding it was to spectate and cheer as oppose to participating for a change!
Race day I had booked a taxi to the start line with some fellow competitors from the camp site for a 9.50am start. The weather was pretty much torrential so it wasn’t looking good. I was determined to run in just vest and shorts so donned a Macmillan poncho as some respite from the elements. I had my iPod, gps watch, 3 gels and a 2010 London marathon hoodie which would be left at the start. No luggage was the plan so when the gun went so did I!
In my opinion the Edinburgh marathon is mis sold in several ways. They badge it as 40000 competitors but they actually refering to is the whole festival which includes the kids races, a 5km, 10km, half marathon, relay marathon and a marathon! Also there’s the Edinburgh part, we love edinburgh it is a beautiful city but as far as the marathon goes well that’s where it starts!
By the time of the start the rain was appearing to hold off and I started running with a lad called Steve from stryders one of whom I had shared the taxi with. I started around a 6:30 mile pace and settled into a 6:45 pace at around 6 mile. By this point Edinburgh was long gone and apart from the coast line that most of the course follows it winds through an industrial estate which appears to be a oil refinery plants.
The course profile is overall down hill but that doesn’t account for the wind which can stop you in your tracks in places. From miles 13-15 I had a Spanish guy who was insistent on slip streaming to avoid the wind! After nearly tripping me twice I managed to drop him off on someone else. At this point I was feeling good, still maintaining a 6:45 pace and the rain had totally gone leaving a blinding sun wishing I had packed my sun cream!
At 18 mile we turn round and apart from a couple of mile through a chicken farm we run back the way we came. Now the wind is behind us and approaching the 20 mile mark I couldn’t have been more grateful. I went through 20 mile at 2:15 which I knew was to fast but this did include some damage limitation for the last 6 mile..
The spectators were fairly regular so some of the cheers were a great help, at the 22 mile mark my pace was slowing and I didn’t need a garmin to know I had dropped to a 7:30 pace not even the thought of a hot sausage roll from the greggs I passed could muster up my pace.
Now at this point I need to dig deep. I don’t know what other people do to get motivated or stop themselves from stopping at this point? For me at this point my iPod has gone blank, eminem, D12, dr Dre, not even some old skool hip hop is going to help. When I ran the Stratford half marathon my last mile was just over 6 minute mile as a D12 track came on. No one came past me or was ever going to. At this point I am now past help from my music..
My thoughts are now sporadic, I’m thinking perhaps I drink to much or maybe that chocolate brownie yesterday is now not actually helping? What modification can i have done on our camper next?More often I reflect on my achievements in life the people who have moulded me. My daughters, my fiancé, hell even my dogs! If it gets me through it then that’s my motivation.
At 25 mile my garmin is 0.15 mile over the course marker and it’s really not helping. There’s no stopping now and I need to increase my pace if anything. A sub 3 although not gone at this point wasn’t happening today but I could still better my London time. Having now past my support crew I am totally on my own or am I?
In 2012 Karens mom lost her fight against cancer and we’ve pretty much since then been raising money for one cancer charity or another and Karen’s mom told us she would always be there and if we looked in the sky she would be a cloud looking down on us. Fortunately being in Scotland there stands a high chance of it being cloudy and sure enough when I needed it Ann was there.
I finished the marathon in 3 hrs 2 minutes and 58 seconds. A way off my PB but hey I am getting older. My post recovery includes Stella Artois, curry, chocolate brownies and a days shopping around Edinburgh????
I can whole heartedly recommend the Edinburgh marathon to anyone. It’s a relatively easy course and accommodation can be cheap with four nights costing the same as one in London as a comparative marathon! If you do though don’t forget your wellies and umbrella!