My impressions of the Edinburgh Marathon

Firstly an apology about the lack of photos. When I woke at 8am on Sunday the rain was p***ing down – yes really pouring. I left the camera in favour of the umbrella and headed off sparing a thought for the thousands running the half marathon at that very moment when conditions were so horrible.
As I approached Portobello where I planned to watch the marathon runners at the 7 mile point the rain stopped and before long the elite athletes, mainly Africans at the front, coasted past us as though they were doing a stroll in the park. I couldn’t believe how effortless it looked or indeed the pace at which they were running.
They were followed by club runners and gradually the mass group – large numbers of whom seemed to be running for charity. It was fascinating how the running styles, level of fatigue and general attitude changed as wave after wave of runner passed.
I was at a busy corner with a left turn. I noticed that some runners were taking an even sharper left turn for the public conveniences! And when I took the chance to visit the Gents there were a number of women using the facilities – clearly there was an overflow situation in the Ladies!
As we watched entertainment was provided by a generous spectator dispensing jelly babies. As folk ran past they would reach out to get one but coordination was clearly difficult and some folk either missed the treat or dropped it. They would then turn round to retrieve the situation and run bang into the next runner behind them. At one point I had visions of a pile-up developing but fortunately the supply of jelly babies ran out.
Towards the rear of the field some people were clearly enjoying the experience. Others were really struggling even at that relatively early stage of the run. I realised sadly that some of them just weren’t going to finish.
With my hands sore from clapping the runners I headed four miles further on foot to the finish area arriving about ten minutes before the lead runners finished. I was about 100 metres from the finish line and again it was a study seeing the agony and the ecstasy on the faces of the finishers. There was a decent crowd by now and the roars of encouragement did seem to positively inspire some of the finishers who had clearly used up their whole reserves of endurance and strength.
My overall impression is that there is something very special about running a marathon. If you’re a runner and you’ve never run one then do it! If you’re not a runner start small – aim for a 5k to start with. And who knows what it might lead to?


4 thoughts on “My impressions of the Edinburgh Marathon

  1. A wonderful description, David, despite the lack of pics! I am glad the rain stopped for them. I can only admire the fitness and stamina of those athletes who make long-distance running seem so effortless. The jelly baby situation could have turned into a massive pile-up! There should be signs up saying “Don’t feed the runners!”

    • Thanks Jo. The weather was better than forecast although there were a couple of really heavy showers. Where I was spectating the course narrowed which made dispensing jelly babies the right idea in the wrong place.

  2. I agree with Jo, very nicely described, I could picture it all as I read your post. I wonder if having the jelly babies laid out on a tray would have been more successful? Jelly babies seem to be the sweetie of choice for runners, or at least that’s the impression I get from reading your blog.

  3. Thanks Lorna. As the course progresses lots of people give out sweeties and fruit. It is very kind of them and much appreciated. Jelly babies seem to give the required energy boost with least chewing. Personally I would have a really sugary cake!

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