Thousands take part in the 14th Edinburgh Marathon Festival
Sunny conditions made for perfect running conditions for the elite fields on one of the world’s fastest marathon courses, where Kenyan dominance of the event continued in both the male and female races. Boaz Kiprono took a decisive victory in the men’s race, breaking clear in the last mile to blow away the opposition in a winning time of 2 hours, 19 minutes and 55 seconds.
Moroccan runner Abdelhadi El Mouaziz took a crowd-pleasing second place in 2 hours, 20 minutes and 14 seconds, followed closely by crowd favourite and star of ‘Running with the Kenyans, Japhet Koech with a time of 2 hours 22 minutes and 15 seconds.
Afterwards, Kiprono said: “I was well prepared today so I was hoping to run and win. The weather today was a bit cold for me, but the course was flat and good. I hope to come back to defend my title next year.”
The women’s race was dominated by Kenyan Eddah Jepkosgei. she led from the gun to a four minute victory in 2 hours, 39 minutes and 53 seconds.
The podium was completed by Hailey Haining, Kilbarchan AAC in 2 hours, 43 minutes and 3 seconds, and Katie White, Garscube Harriers in 2 hours, 47 minutes and 40 seconds.
Afterwards, Jepkosgei said: “The weather was good today, I enjoyed it. I’d love to come back next year and defend my title and better my time.”
As if running 26.2 miles wasn’t tough enough, Gavin Thomson of Darvel completed the grand slam of marathon, half marathon, 10k and 5k over the weekend. Gavin Thomson was running for MND Scotland in memory of his aunt who passed away from Motor Neurone Disease in December 2013.
He began his EMF weekend yesterday by completing both the 5K and 10K races around Holyrood Park. Today, he was up and running again as he tackled the half and full marathon races.
We caught up with Gavin after the marathon, which was the last of his four races. He said: “That’s probably the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do in my life, my body is absolute agony! Half way through the full marathon was the hardest part of today, at that point I thought to myself “I can’t do this”, then I thought of my auntie and it got me through.”
It was a particularly heart-thumping day for Daniel Jones from Hertford who proposed to his girlfriend Rebecca Harrison at the marathon finish line. Thankfully she said ‘yes’. His new fiance was running the marathon alongside Daniel and was taken by surprise as Daniel bent on one knee at the finish line.
Afterwards, he said: “We are over the moon that the run went so well. Plus I’m rather glad that Rebecca said “yes” to the proposal, I was glad that I managed to convince her to get on stage!”
There was a thrilling race at the front of Sunday morning’s half marathon as Darrell Hastie of Gala Harriers stormed to victory in the last mile with a winning time of 1 hour, 10 mins and 38 seconds. Sunderland Harrier’s Andrew Powell took second place with a time of 1 hour, 10 mins and 48 second, and Spain’s Francisco Urbano Sales finished in third with a time of 1 hour, 10 mins and 54 seconds.
It was a cat and mouse race with Sunderland-based Powell pushing the pace in the latter half, but local runner Hastie had the critical finishing kick.
33 year old Hastie said: “It was really good, it’s a beautiful course, the weather was fantastic – perfect conditions for running in with next to no wind.
“I was sitting in 5th place when a group broke away early on. I thought one or two of them might drop off. At about 10 miles the front two had gotten away and fourth and fifth started to drop off. I managed to work hard and catch them.”
“When I got them I thought I might have a chance of sneaking third place, I was feeling quite good. Then I thought if I really start to work hard, I might have a squeak! With two miles to go at the turn, I thought I’ve got nothing to lose and I’ll have a crack at it and see if I can get them, and I managed to reel them in! Really pleased.”
Northumberland’s Tracy Millmore was the winner in the women’s race which she led from start to finish. The Birtley AC runner was pleased to have topped the podium in her first ever outing at the Edinburgh Marathon Festival.
The 33 year old said: “It was really good, the weather was great, conditions were perfect and it was a great run, I enjoyed it.”
“I lead all the way from the start. I just wanted to see how I felt and go as hard as I could. I’m thinking about running the marathon next year so will hopefully be back!”
Saturday saw Holyrood Park bathed in glorious sunshine as 6,000 runners took part in 10k, 5k and junior races, supported by thousands more friends and family savouring the big event atmosphere.
Max McNeill, 22, from Lothian Running Club claimed the top spot in the EMF 10K race with a winning time of 32 minutes and 7 seconds. Bryan Mackie from Edinburgh AC clinched second place in 32 minutes and 51 seconds and Kevin Stephant, on holiday from France, finished in third place with a time of 34 minutes and 16 seconds.
Afterwards, McNeill said: “I’ve spent the last month in Boulder in America, altitude training with Steve Jones. This was my first race since coming back. I really enjoyed today, good conditions and crowds everywhere!”
The women’s winner was 32 year old Sheena Logan of Fife AC. She said: “The course was good, I loved the scenery. I enjoyed it. I’m on a hen weekend this weekend and literally sneaked out to do this race so I need to get back before breakfast is served!”
Cumbrian Paul Coon, 24, stormed home first in the sunshine to clinch the 5K title with a winning time of 16 mins 47 seconds. He said: “It’s my second year at the Edinburgh Marathon Festival, I did the relay last year, it’s such a nice place, I enjoy it. I’m also running in the half marathon tomorrow!”
Youth stole the show in the women’s field as 13 year old Alisha Sivell was the first female home with a winning time of 19 minutes 43 seconds. Alisha, who runs for Kilbarchan AAC, said “I ran the 2K last year but was too old for it this year so decided to run the 5k instead. It was a really good experience.”
Around 850 youngsters took part in Saturday’s junior races, consisting of the 1.5k for 6-8 year olds and the 2k for 9-12 year olds.
Neil Kilgour, Edinburgh Marathon Festival Director, said: “2016 has been another incredible year for Edinburgh Marathon Festival with record-breaking performances, tens of thousands of participants and millions raised for good causes.
“We are proud to host a truly world class running event in Scotland’s capital for people of all ages and abilities from across the globe. Congratulations to everyone who took part. Thanks for making the 2016 Edinburgh Marathon Festival one of the UK’s greatest mass participation events. Come and see us again next year!”
More than 1,500 runners from the Edinburgh Marathon Festival Official Charity, Macmillan Cancer Support, took part and together with hundreds of other charities, are hoping to raise more than £4.5 million.
Entries for the 2017 Edinburgh Marathon Festival which takes place on Bank Holiday Weekend on Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th May 2017 are open with an early bird discount for everyone who registers before 12th June at www.edinburghmarathon.com