The 2014 Edinburgh Marathon Festival welcomed thousands of runners from over 100 countries to Scotland’s capital over the weekend of May 24 and 25. Elite favourite, David Toniok, from Kenya was the winner in 2 hours 15 minutes and 33 seconds, only seconds off the race record set by fellow Kenyan Zachary Kihara in 2005. Over 30,000 participants entered to take part in the 7 races in the festival of running including thousands of charity runners fundraising for worthwhile causes. Early estimates indicate that the 12th Edinburgh Marathon Festival is likely to raise over £4.5 million for charitable causes.
To date, the Edinburgh Marathon Festival has had an economic impact of more than £25 million for Scotland’s capital and helped raise more than £30 million for hundreds of charities. Together with the Edinburgh Marathon Festival’s Official Charity, Macmillan Cancer Support as well as Premier Affiliate Charities Alzheimer Scotland, Breast Cancer Care, British Heart Foundation, Maggie’s Cancer Caring Centres, Prostate Cancer UK and over 200 Affiliate Charities, organisers are hoping to break all previous records and raise even more in 2015.
Craig Fordham, Head of Challenge & Regional Events said: “Macmillan Cancer Support are thrilled to be the Official Charity of the Edinburgh Marathon Festival. Since our partnership began in 2012, over 4,500 runners have raised £1.8 million, funding vital cancer services in Scotland and throughout the UK. We’re calling on runners to join Team Macmillan for the 2015 Edinburgh Marathon Festival and help us smash through the £2.5million barrier.”
Runners took part for a variety of reasons – as a goal for fitness, fundraising or as part of a fun weekend with the family. They crossed the finish line with a jump for joy, cheering, with their countries colours flying, silent with exhaustion, with a grimace and laughing out loud. “You have to do this once in your life. I’m happy I ran it!” said superfit Steven Bonthrone.
Steven Bonthone, 43, from Perth won an ambitious race against time to complete all FOUR adult races, running a total of 48 miles during the two-day running festival to raise funds for Macmillan Cancer Support. Steve said: “I ran the 5k and 10k, Half and Full Marathon to honour my dad’s memory who lost his battle with oeophageal cancer in July 2013. He inspired me to take up running and took me along to my first run when I was young.”
The 43 year old who lives in Perth, ran the Half Marathon (Sunday, May 25) in 1 hour, 33 minutes and 58 seconds then jumped on a motorbike back into the city centre to join the crowds in the nick of time and run the Full Marathon. Steve, who also completed the EMF 10K in 41 minutes and 33 seconds and the 5K in 20 minutes and 39 seconds (Saturday, May 24), was exhausted but elated when he finally crossed the finish of the Full Marathon after 4 hours and 26 minutes and 15 seconds.
Richard Burge, 49, from Stroud took part in the marathon raising money for the Bobby Moore Fund to help fight bowel cancer. The former Gloucestershire Police Chief Inspector has had the all clear and a positive outlook were a major factor in his recovery. He said “I absolutely loved it – my first and last Marathon! I wanted to run a Marathon and the Edinburgh Marathon has such a great reputation.”
Former Edinburgh resident, Maureen Jones, travelled from Norway to take part in this year’s event to raise money for Breast Cancer Care, a charity very important to her during her treatment of breast cancer. She said: “I was really excited to come back to my home city to run. Many of my family and friends kindly came along to support me”.
“I have never been a runner or a jogger before and I’ve certainly never taken part in any races so this is a whole new experience for me at the tender age of 55. However, a bone density scan in September 2012 showed evidence of Osteoporosis which is exacerbated by some of the medication which I will be taking for at least the next 5 years. Weight bearing exercise such as jogging is apparently an excellent way to help prevent things deteriorating.”
Claire Walkingshaw, 25, animal presenter at Edinburgh Zoo, who lives in Edinburgh and ran the Edinburgh Half Marathon this year said: “My dad passed away last October due to his fourth heart attack. The British Heart Foundation is one of the charities you can run for, so it all felt very fitting. I decided to enter and raise money in his memory because I felt like I never really got to say goodbye to my dad.”
Neil Kilgour, Edinburgh Marathon Festival director, said: "We are proud that the Edinburgh Marathon Festival is the most inclusive festival of running in the UK.”
“From the world’s best elites through to the first time marathon runner, to youngsters standing in the start pen for the first time in their lives, we welcome them all. They are all heroes. Each of these people are changing their lives and many are changing the lives of others too through raising vital funds for charity.”
Entries are now open for the Edinburgh Marathon Festival 2015 at www.edinburgh-marathon.com