Edinburgh Marathon Festival – Statement

Edinburgh Marathon Festival Statement

The Edinburgh Marathon Festival is now in its 15th year and the event is an incredible vehicle for life-changing achievements and experiences, for thousands of people. From younger runners in the junior races taking part in their first event, all the way to our international elite field in the marathon; runners, spectators and charities alike all contribute and are all a part of the incredibly positive impact that this event has on so many people. This year alone, over four million pounds will be raised for the much needed work of charitable organisations. The positive impact spreads far further than the 30,000 entrants. It is and will continue to be a wonderful event in the most incredible city for all those involved.  

The horrible events in Manchester and the raised UK wide threat level have resulted in further multi agency meetings involving all the Emergency Services, Edinburgh City Council and the Edinburgh Marathon Festival Team. Resulting from this, there will be an increased police presence and security resource over the weekend, both at the event and across the city as a whole. This is reflective of the increased UK wide threat level.

There is no information or knowledge linked to any threat to Edinburgh or the Edinburgh Marathon Festival, this increased presence is in place to further ensure safety for all and reassure that the experience remains positive for all those involved.

Runners and spectators are asked to assist in this process by allowing extra time for travel over the weekend and affording extra patience and vigilance in these changing circumstances, including random bag searches and additional road closures. Parking at both the start and finish areas is heavily restricted, so please plan travel in advance using public buses, trains or event shuttle buses.  Please do not take your car.

Safety for everyone remains, and always will be, our number one priority.

All runners, race crew and the people of Edinburgh and Scotland stand strong with our friends in Manchester and we will all continue to be part of positive change.

Neil Kilgour – Race Director

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‘The Don’ to start the 15th Edinburgh Marathon

Donald Macgregor to start 15th Edinburgh Marathon

Donald MacGregor, who competed for Scotland in the Commonwealth Games back in 1970, will be the official starter for 2017 Edinburgh Marathon Festival. Donald ran much of the current Edinburgh Marathon route when he represented Scotland at the Commonwealth Games, and we’re delighted to invite him back to Edinburgh to celebrate the 15th Anniversary of the iconic Edinburgh Marathon.

The Don, as he was known had a fantastic record in the marathon where one of his finest runs was that pictured above – although Hill eventually passed him to finish sixth to The Don’s seventh, it was one of the best ever races by a Scottish endurance runner. He had a super career as a runner on all surfaces and over all distances – 25 sub 2:20 marathons for a start! He continued this excellent running as a veteran and in the 45 – 49 age group he appeared four times in the world rankings with times of 2:19.1 for eleventh in the world all time list as well as 2:19:36 (16th), 2:23:00 (54th) and 2:27:27.

1970 was the year when the Commonwealth Games were held in Edinburgh and the trial for the marathon was hotly contested. Donald Macgregor ran almost 4700 miles in training that year, the most he ever did. He was only narrowly outsprinted by Jim Alder (the 1966 C.G. gold medallist) and was delighted to make the Scottish team. In the Games event, Ron Hill of England rocketed away to a British record of 2.9.28 (still, more than 40 years later, a Scottish All-Comers best performance). Donald has written that Hill ‘ran like a god…no praise could be too high for his performance.’ Jim Alder was the bravest of silver medallists and Macgregor was satisfied to finish 8th in a personal best of 2.16.53.

It was in the Olympic year of 1972 that Donald Macgregor, aged 33, reached his peak. In preparation for the Maxol Marathon British trial, as well as averaging ninety miles per week, he tried two consecutive 120 mile weeks, a month before the race. In addition this was his second attempt at the carbohydrate depletion/loading pre-marathon diet. In the Maxol it worked perfectly – he passed thirteen rivals during the second half, and finished in 2.15.06 to secure a surprise place in the British Team. Having recovered quickly, he managed ten 100 mile weeks, mainly at 5.30 per mile, and spent three weeks at altitude in St Moritz, coming down to sea level ten days before the Olympic marathon. In Munich on Sunday September 10th, he paced himself very well and came through fast, moving from 30th at 5k to 8th at 40k. Ron Hill wrote in ‘The Long Hard Road’ “I glance round and get the shock of my life: there, head on one side (the left), black-rimmed spectacles, grimacing face, it’s Macgregor ….He’s ungainly but Christ he’s travelling, he’s like a man possessed.” They passed Jack Foster of New Zealand; then Hill’s desperate sprint on the Olympic track left Donald to cross the line 7th in 2.16.34 – a very fine achievement, and one of which the modest Macgregor is rightly proud.

Edinburgh Marathon is delighted to have Donald start the 15th Edinburgh Marathon this Sunday.

*Sources & image http://www.scottishdistancerunninghistory.scot
Scottish Marathon Club magazine of April 1984
Colin Youngson

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Elites set for quick times at 15th Edinburgh Marathon

Elites set for quick times at 15th Edinburgh Marathon

Some of the world’s fastest marathon runners will take to the streets of Edinburgh and East Lothian for the 2017 Edinburgh Marathon on Sunday 28th May.

Exciting elite fields have emerged for both the men and the women as Edinburgh continues to establish itself as one of the world’s leading marathons. Athletes from across the globe will descend upon the Scottish capital looking to drop some quick times on this notoriously fast course.

In the men’s field, Ihor Russ of Ukraine will start as favourite after his victory at the Kharkov International Marathon and finishing in the Top 50 at the Olympic Games in Rio – he will be looking to improve on his 2:12 personal best . Kenyan Stanley Bett will follow closely on his heels with a best of 2:14; Bett has had previous success on British soil having stormed to victory at the Bournemouth Marathon last year. This year’s event also sees the return of Japhet Koech: Japhet is a regular at the Edinburgh Marathon finishing 3rd in 2016, 18th in 2015, 2nd in 2014 and 5th in 2013.  Japhet featured in the cult running novel Running with the Kenyans by Adharanand Finn.

The fastest entrant the women’s elite field is Belarusian Olena Duboskaya with a PB of 2:28 but she will face stiff competition from Kenyans Pennina Ndungu and Eddah Jepkosgei who was first female in the Edinburgh Marathon last year. Ukranian Valentina Zhudina could also feature as she aims to go under 2:40 in her first ever marathon debut. Valentina started to compete in the 3000m Steeple Chase as a youth representing her country internationally at U23 Championships.  She became a double Olympian in the 3000m steeple chase then now her priority has changed to road racing full time and her goal for the Edinburgh Marathon is to have a strong marathon debut.

The British contingent at this year’s Edinburgh Marathon Festival is also very strong. Peter Le Grice has set the quickest time this year with a 41st place finish at the London Marathon in a time of 2:23:16, closely followed by Tom Charles of Trafford AC who finished second in the Asics Greater Manchester Marathon and tenth in last year’s Edinburgh Marathon.

Favourite in the British female field is Hayley Haining of Kilbarchan Athletics Club. Hayley competed for Scotland in the Commonwealth Games in 2014 and 2006. She finished 25th in the Marathon at the World Championships in 2005 and has competed in the Edinburgh Marathon in 2012, 2014 and 2016, finishing on the podium each time. Georgie Bruinvels of Aldershot Farnham is in sensational form after winning the Asics Greater Manchester Marathon this April with a time of 2:37:03. Local favourite Dianne Lauder of Gala Harriers has also had a great couple of years. Dianne finished 6th in the Edinburgh Marathon in 2016 and 2nd in the Edinburgh Half Marathon in 2015.

Freya Ross, Edinburgh Marathon Festival Elite Coordinator, looked ahead to what should be an exciting battle at the front of the race: “We’re excited to see who will come out on top with some really strong runners in both the men’s and women’s fields. The course is quick and we’re hopeful for some good running conditions which should lend itself to some fast times.”

Neil Kilgour, Edinburgh Marathon Festival Race Director, added: “Scotland is preparing to welcome the world to the this amazing city and we look forward to delivering another outstanding Edinburgh Marathon Festival that the nation will be proud of.  We as a team are already proud of the effort put in by all of our runners as they work hard to prepare for the big day. In our eyes, every EMF runner is elite and we value every runner’s contribution to the festival in equal measure. It’s great to have another stellar elite field this year, cementing Edinburgh’s status as a premier global marathon with genuine world class runners spearheading the race.”

Starter of the 15th Edinburgh Marathon will be arguably Scoland’s greatest long-distance runner; Donald Forbes Macgregor. Donald competed in the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, representing Great Britain in the men’s marathon event, in which he finished in seventh position. He also competed for Scotland at the Commonwealth Games in 1970 in Edinburgh, on a course which incorporates the current Edinburgh Marathon route, so it’s very fitting that he starts this year’s event.

The Edinburgh Marathon Festival is Scotland’s largest mass participation running event. There are nine races on offer, guaranteeing there is something for everyone from the seasoned runner to the charity fundraiser and beginners. The fun kicks off on Saturday 27th May at Holyrood Park with a 10K, 5K and four junior races. On Sunday 28th May, the Edinburgh marathon, half marathon and team relay starts from the heart of Edinburgh and continues through East Lothian offering stunning views and an unforgettable running experience.

Eddah Jepkosgei
Eddah Jepkosgei
Stanley Bett
Stanley Bett
Olga Dubovskaya
Olga Dubovskaya
Japhet Koech
Japhet Koech
Hayley Haining
Hayley Haining
Peter Le Grice
Peter Le Grice
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Bouncing back for Project Seagrass

Bouncing Back Project Seagrass

My name is Sarah Jane Pope and I am training for three marathons this year to raise money for the marine conservation charity Project Seagrass.

In LESS THAN ONE WEEK I kick off my challenge with the London Marathon on Sunday 23 rd April. The training is going well, I’ve done my final big 22-mile run and I’m on the taper into the final week. I’ve come a long way since October and I’m thrilled with the progress I have made.

However, my personal nemesis is my home marathon, and the one that I am most looking forward to doing! I trained for Edinburgh in 2012 and was on the final big 22-mile run when I tripped over a root of a tree and injured my IT band.


Last year we welcomed some friends to Edinburgh for the marathon and it was at this event that I got the marathon bug again! During the 2016 event I was working in MacMillan Massage Tent at the finish and the buzz amongst the athletes was just fantastic! This experience, coupled with the fun had at the Charity Village after the event, gave me the inspiration to bounce back and start my training again!

This year I have done most of my training around the Meadows and the perimeter route (Queens Drive) of Arthurs Seat. So, if you have seen me running around and around in circles then don’t worry, I am OK, I’ve just been marathon training!

I laugh a little inside when I see the same people sitting on a meadows bench for the eighth or ninth time in a morning! It must be funny being them and watching me deteriorate a little with every lap!

The Edinburgh Marathon (28 th May) is still a little over 12 weeks away and so there is a nice gap between the first two marathons. However, I think the real challenge will be backing up for the Stockholm Marathon (June 3rd) just a week later!

Luckily for all of us who are training for marathons, the mornings and evenings are much lighter than in the depths of winter (sunrise was at 06:01 this morning and the sun isn’t setting until 20:25) and so I am no longer starting my runs in the dark before I start work, or motivating myself to go out in the dark after a long day in the office!

But why I am I doing this challenge? To raise money for Project Seagrass of course! I’m not a scientist, but I wanted to help the team in a way that I can and support them on their mission to raise awareness of seagrass meadows. In particular, to help them promote their new smartphone app Seagrass Spotter! A citizen science app with a big role to play in the mapping and future protection of our seagrass meadows.

Personally, I have learnt so much about these amazing ecosystems and I admire the dedication these guys have shown in growing Project Seagrass into the successful organisation it is today. I mean what an amazing achievement to build a charity from scratch whilst working full time! Surely their efforts alone are worth some sponsorship? http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/SJPopester


See you in Edinburgh!

SJ x

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Paul Brown
Local hero running 500 miles in 5 weeks for SANDS Lothians

Local hero running 500 miles in 5 weeks for SANDS Lothians

Paul Brown, a local community hero from West Lothian, has set his biggest and most gruelling fundraising challenge yet – running 500 miles in 5 weeks for local charity, SANDS Lothians.

Paul will be running every day of the week, morning and night for 5 weeks. His challenge will culminate in completing the 5k, 10k, half and full marathon at the Edinburgh Marathon Festival. All money raised will support the vital work of SANDS Lothians, a charity that looks after families whose baby has died in Edinburgh and the Lothians.

Paul is well known for his amazing fundraising efforts, having raised £5,500 for various charities and local groups by taking part in over 10 marathons, including the Seven in Seven Days challenge in 2016, three ultra-marathons, swims and an Ironman event. For all his fundraising last year, he has recently been voted the “West Lothian Courier and The Centre Local Hero”. When he is not running, Paul works as Commercial Insurance Broker and in his spare time, is a personal trainer to help people who are looking to get in shape.

The ‘500 miles for SANDS’ challenge will start in the last week of April and end at the marathon finish line at the Edinburgh Marathon Festival on Sunday 28th May. If you would like to support him, you can do this on his JustGiving page.

In 2016, Paul was first motivated to support SANDS Lothians, alongside other local charities and groups, when he completed the Seven in Seven Days marathon challenge. Although not having direct experience of baby loss, throughout the year he had continued to be moved by the stories of the families the charity support. He was especially touched by Nicky Reynolds’ story of her beautiful baby boy, Ramsay. Ramsay was tragically born sleeping on the 12th February 2015, because of complications with blood vessels in the umbilical cord, a condition called ’Vasa Praevia’. SANDS Lothians supported Nicky and she kindly shared her story and pictures of her precious Ramsay, which inspired Paul to create this new challenge for 2017.

Paul said, “I want the families supported by SANDS Lothians to know that although I am not someone that has been through what they have – I have been touched by the things that I have read and the photos I have seen. So, I thought why not challenge myself and raise money for a good cause – even if it means getting a few blisters, it’s worth it.” Nicky Reynolds, Ramsay’s mother explained, “The physically demanding challenges Paul has completed in the past, and the one he is now undertaking on behalf of Sands Lothians, are all amazing feats by anyone’s standards. What makes it even more special, is the fact that Paul has been so touched by the stories of our precious babies – in particular my beloved baby boy Ramsay. It brings some small comfort, that through death, my little boy can make a difference to other bereaved families, and help raise awareness of the wonderful work Sands Lothians does Work that is utterly priceless, but also vital in providing initial and ongoing support to families facing their worst nightmare.”

Nicola Welsh, SANDS Lothians’ Chief Executive stated, “We are thrilled that Paul has decided to support us again this year with such an awe-inspiring challenge. We have been touched by his passion and determination to raise money and awareness for the families that we support. Paul will always be our hero and we look forward to celebrating his 500th mile at the finish line of the Edinburgh Marathon Festival!”

The Edinburgh Marathon Festival is the biggest sports event of the year for SANDS Lothians and they still need a few more runners to get involved. Email [email protected] for more information. For further information: Angie Alexander, Fundraising Manager 0131 622 6263 / [email protected]

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Guinness World Record attempt at the Edinburgh Marathon

Guinness World Record attempt at the Edinburgh Marathon

FOUR MEN are set to run the Edinburgh Marathon on Sunday May 28th in a Viking Ship to raise funds for charity and attempt to set a new Guinness World Record.

Nigel Burton, Martin Ward, Steve Tait and Chris Gale will be battling the 26.2 mile course in a four-man outfit, aiming to beat the current record of 5 hours 25 mins.  The team have chosen to raise funds for Lincolnshire Lives and Epilepsy Society as two of the team have been directly affected by epilepsy.

“One of us recently had a family member saved by Lives emergency response so we are hoping to raise enough money to make a difference so that others can benefit from their ongoing support and excellence service.”

The team have various events planned before the marathon in order to raise funds.

“We have lots of supporting events planned – we are training around our local town, we have garden parties, appearances at our local retail park and we are on the radio in the coming weeks.

“Additionally we have lots of training – at a combined age of 197, none of us are exactly spring chickens!”

To sponsor the team, please visit https://www.justgiving.com//teams/VikingWRMarathon

The marathon is one of nine events taking place across the May bank holiday weekend on May 27th and 28th as part of the Edinburgh Marathon Festival.

Charity places are still available for the full marathon and standard entries for the half marathon, the 10k, 5k and junior races close on Wednesday 12th April at 5pm. Find out more on the website at www.edinburghmarathon.com and like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/EdinburghMarathonFestival or follow us on Twitter at @MrHairyHaggis.

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Eagan Duncan
Three year-old Eagan set to take on the Kids’ Kilometre in Edinburgh for Team Macmillan
ONE OF the youngest ever Edinburgh Marathon Festival runners, Eagan Duncan, is set to take on the challenge of the Kids’ Kilometre this May to raise funds for Team Macmillan.

Three year old Eagan from Edinburgh loves being active and his mum, Cheryl, saw the Kids’ Kilometre event on Saturday 27th May as the perfect opportunity for him to combine having lots of fun with raising money for a worthy cause.

Cheryl said “We chose to support Team Macmillan as Eagan’s Grandad had a close call with bowel cancer a few years ago, but thanks to early screening he was treated quickly and continues to have yearly check ups. Macmillan was a valuable source of information and advice during this time.”

The Kids’ Kilometre is a brand new event which was added to the Edinburgh Marathon Festival this year due to the popularity of the junior races.

Marketing Director, Annette Drummond, said: “We’re pleasantly surprised at the popularity of our ever-growing junior races and decided to add two new events to the festival this year in order to make it more inclusive to our younger runners. Eagan is a fantastic example of how EMF can help little ones do something active, whilst raising money at the same time.”

If you’d like to support Eagan in his fundraising efforts, you can donate to his JustGiving page here – https://www.justgiving.com/eagan-duncan

The Edinburgh Marathon Festival junior races are filling up fast and are expected to reach capacity in the next few weeks. For more information and to enter, visit www.edinburghmarathon.com.

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Winter running tips
Edinburgh Marathon Festival Winter running tips

Top 5 Tips for Winter Running

There’s no denying there’s been a definite shift in temperature recently, autumn is here and winter is definitely on it’s way. Here are our top 5 tips for training during this nippy time of year:

1. Make a Plan
Make plans to meet someone for a run, then there’s no backing out if you’re not quite in the mood for it. Making plans will help you to get motivated and stay on track throughout the winter.

2. Dress for the conditions
The general rule of thumb is to dress as if it’s 20 degrees warmer. You want to be warm but not overheating when you run. 10 to 20 degrees: 2 tops, 2 bottoms. 0 to 10 degrees: 3 tops, 2 bottoms. Two tops (fleece for the cold-prone) and a jacket. Minus 10 to 0 degrees: 3 tops, 2 bottoms, extra pair of gloves, 1 scarf wrapped around mouth or a balaclava.

3. Gone with the wind
Wind is brutal when running, especially in Scotland! Start your run into the wind and finish with it at your back, so the breeze doesn’t blast you after you’ve broken a sweat. To avoid a long, biting slog, you can break this into segments, running into the wind for about 10 minutes, turning around to run with the wind at your back for five minutes, and repeating.

4. Old habits die hard
Traditionally a morning runner? Why not try a lunchtime run instead when the temperatures are a bit warmer? Alternatively, try running twice a day, in the morning and in the evening – it’s better than doing one long run where you might get very cold toward the end.

5. Winter sun
If all else fails, book a flight and head somewhere warm for your Vitamin D fix!

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Pembroke runners Team Price raise more than £2,000 for Parkinson’s UK charity

Pembroke runners Team Price raise more than £2,000 for Parkinson’s UK charity

A PEMBROKE family have raised more than £2,000 for the Parkinson’s UK charity by taking part in in the recent Edinburgh Marathon Festival.

The South Terrace family of four – Gary Price, 50, wife Sara, 45, and sons Pembroke School pupil Harvey, 12, and Golden Grove pupil Max, six, took part in the festival during the recent bank holiday weekend.

The family have raised funds through the Justgiving charity website at www.justgiving.com/Team-Pricey

Gary said: “We were inspired to raise money for Parkinson’s UK after losing my father John at the end of 2014 as he’d been suffering with the disease for several years and then Sara’s father, Graham, also being diagnosed with the condition. Parkinson’s UK give invaluable support and information to sufferers and their families and are working toward finding a cure. They provide an amazing service at the Hope centre in Neyland where they meet weekly, it’s something that really helps Graham and the family to manage his condition.

At the end of last year the Price family had absolute no running experience and were a typical family where dog walking, or a spot of trampolining, were their main physical activities.

“We decided change that and enter the Edinburgh Marathon Festival where they cater for all ages and abilities and is the perfect event for families,” said Gary. “Max entered the 1.5 kilometers, Harvey both the 5K and 2K, Sara in the 5K and me in the marathon. We started our training last November, completing school fun-runs and Park Runs at Colby Gardens together along the way.

“We travelled up to Edinburgh and completed our events last weekend, all doing really well in our races. More importantly we’ve been able to over £2,000 so far for Parkinson’s UK in the process and were hoping that by publicising our challenge we could increase the total even further and possibly inspire other families to do something similar, because if we can do this anybody can.”

The latest total is more than that, at £2,175 and rising, and donations are still being collected up until July 1.

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