Edinburgh marathon and half marathon are on the second day of Edinburgh’s annual running festival (Sunday 26 May): it’s a well organised and inclusive series of events, well worth the trip north.
The marathon starts in the heart of the old city, in the university quarter. The different start ‘pens’ are in fact just colour coded stretches of narrow road. Race facilities are in a range of university buildings, including the loos – lots of them and very civilised.
The forecast for Sunday 26 May was dire: stiff breeze and heavy rain, easing off only in the latter part of the race. So we all turned up in odd combinations of old fleeces, plastic bags and silver blankets. But although the start of the race was marked by a sharp shower, the rain soon stopped. The route wiggled its way downhill from the city centre to Holyrood Park, passing close to the Scottish Parliament and Arthur’s Seat, before heading towards the coast. There were great views of the sea. There was also lots of spectator support, even in the closing stages.
After Musselburgh and Prestons Pans, we ran through a coastal park to the 30 k turn and after. That was when it got really hard as the stiff breeze was a challenge. We had already seen the front runners battling against it as we ran east. Running back towards Musselburgh, my normal marathon pattern of 5 minutes running and 1 minute walking slipped quite a bit. I had cramp in both calves and a sharp pain on top of one foot. But you know how it goes – that far into a marathon and more or less nothing will actually stop you.
Hugh was there to cheer me along the last kilometre, and there was suddenly energy for that final 200 metre – well I won’t say ‘sprint’, but it was definitely running. My time of 5.9.55 was 10 minutes longer than I had hoped for – but I did stop twice, so there you are.
We are already planning to return in 2020, so Hugh can do the 5 or 10 k. I will do the half marathon. Having proved that I can do it, I have no wish to do the full marathon again.
Very well done, Val Kirby! And if you want to find out more go to https://www.edinburghmarathon.com/ Val is running a challenge a month up to her 70th birthday – you can find out more about that and show her your support at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/val-kirby1