Race Date: Sunday 28th May 2023
Race Report by Zaheer Mahmood
I originally entered the full marathon back in December, but very soon after illness then injury put a stop to any plans of consistent marathon training.
After some deliberation I transferred (sold) the place and entered the HM instead.
It was an 8am start for the HM (10am for marathon-ers). The early start meant that the breeze was fairly cool although I’d still recommend suncream especially if you’re doing the full marathon later on.
The first 2 miles or so is almost totally downhill with a brilliant view of Arthur’s Seat as you head out towards the coast.
This suited me fine as it gave me time to get into rhythm. I was very conscious of not starting off too fast so as to conserve my energy towards the later stages.
Even at 8am the local support is excellent with plenty of encouragement and random name checks.
The Half Marathon route follows the coastline out and then three miles back where it finishes in Musselburgh.
The course is flat with a total elevation gain of 184ft (according to Strava). Despite this I struggled for the final 5k or so, largely because my training and fitness had gone haywire (illness and injury).
The finish is around 8 miles away from the start line but in true London Marathon style the baggage trucks are here waiting for you in the event village.
So far, great race organisation. This is where the problems began. The coaches which take you back to the start line are a good 25-30 mins walk away at the park and ride – just don’t confuse them with the local buses stopped just outside the race village like I did and wasted a good 10 mins by queuing up for those.
The walk to the buses was not well marshalled or signposted and a 30 min walk is the last thing you need straight after finishing a race. The bus costs an additional £8 on top of the already hefty race entry fee of £41, although no one was checking tickets on boarding.
It took around 45 mins just for the bus to get out of Mussleburgh due to the traffic congestion and it was so hot in the bus I fainted and was very uncomfortable throughout. A total of around 1 hour for an 8 or so mile journey back to the start line.
This was my first race in Striders colours and despite recent setbacks I was still pleased to finish with a chip time of 2:15:36. Not my fastest HM but it’s just the push I need to get my running back on track.
There was at least one other Strider who did the HM – thanks for the ‘STRIIIIDER’ shout out just after the turnaround point.
As long as you’re ok with the lack of pacers, this is a well recommended flat route for both HM and Marathon with PB potential and plenty of local support. Just arrange your own transport back from the finish line, and book your accommodation first before entering the race as hotels in Edinburgh tend to be oversubscribed and very expensive throughout the year.
The men’s half marathon was won by Kieran Walker of North East Project in a time of 01:05:24. Emma Houchell of Basildon AC won the women’s half in a time of 01:14:50.
A limited results search is available on the Edinburgh Marathon website.