The bank Holiday weekend saw seven members of Grantham Running Club pack their PE Kits and head north and over the border to take part in the Edinburgh Marathon Festival.
The festival has different running events on over the Saturday and Sunday including 1K, 2K and 5K for juniors, and an adults 5K and 10K on the Saturday. The Hairy Haggis Team Relay, Half Marathon and full Marathon all take place on the Sunday.
The course for both the half and the full marathon starts in the city centre on Potterow with the picturesque backdrop of the University of Edinburgh’s McEwan Hall. From there runners take in many of the city’s iconic sights including Greyfriars Kirkyard, The Royal Mile, St. Giles Cathedral and, of course, Edinburgh Castle.
After running through Princes Street Gardens and past the Scott Monument, the course heads out towards Arthurs Seat and Holyrood Park and as runners leave the Royal Park from there they head out towards the coast at Portobello.
Musselburgh is the next destination on the route, home to the world’s oldest golf course. The half marathon route goes through the historic village of Prestonpans before turning back towards the beautiful finish line within the vast playing fields of Pinkie School. The full marathon route continues on past Prestonpans along the coastal road past Longniddry Golf Course and up to Gosford before turning back to retrace your steps and pick up the same finish as the half marathon.
The mixture of the crowds in the city centre, the peace and quiet of the Royal Park and the bustle of the seaside promenade makes the first half of the run a good mix. The out and back section isn’t as well supported by the crowds which gives time for contemplation – mainly wondering why you signed up in the first place!
First to the starting blocks with an early 8am start was Kevin Kettle taking on the half marathon. Kevin had been suffering with an injury lately so knew a PB wasn’t within reach, but he finished in a very creditable 1:44:40. Kevin said he particularly enjoyed the coastal scenery and was really pleased with the support.
Robin Atter, Jo Grace, Julie Gilbert, Rachel Pattison, Ros Sadler and Nicola Cottam had all signed up for the marathon distance.
First back for GRC was Robin Atter. Robin said after running Edinburgh as his first marathon in 2022 he wanted to return with the aim of a sub 3:30 and to not walk/run the end. He was pleased to have come in at 3:27:50 and to have run it all. He said he will return next year for the half marathon.
Jo was next home for the club. The months leading up to the marathon had seen Jo struggle to run with an injury so her only goal was to enjoy it and finish – and not on the sweeper bus. During the race her legs were ready to finish but her head didn’t want it to end and she crossed the line in 4:47:23. One to return to in the future for sure.
Julie, Rachel and Ros had completed the London Marathon five weeks previously and claiming to “not have a whole fit person between them” just wanted to enjoy the event and do the best they could on the day. Julie was first of the trio to finish. Having found a nice steady pace up until around 21 miles, a niggling hip injury made itself known and it all unravelled a bit from there with the last 5 miles being a run/walk. Squeezing in just under 5 hours with a time of 4:58:23 was more than she could have hoped for. Rachel was next back. Running for The Brain Tumour Charity, Rachel’s aim was to fully embrace and enjoy the event whilst raising awareness for a charity close to her heart. Running with Julie for the first half, she then tailed off slightly but still clocked up a very admirable time of 5:03:27 which is only just outside her PB.
Ros was next home and, as seemed to be the order of the day, had been nursing an injury for quite some time so was really pleased to finish with a very respectable time of 5:17:19. Nicola Cottam rounded off the intrepid runners and was pleased just to have finished after feeling extremely sick for most of the run and her time of 5:40:48 is testament to her grit and determination.
All runners reported that it was far too hot to be running such a long way, but the lovely course and great support made up for it – almost.
Kudos must also go to Rachel’s husband Simon who hired a bike for the day and cycled up and down the route providing snacks, water and much needed encouragement to us all. A one-man cheer squad who the club should think about hiring for all events.
Report by Julie Gilbert