Over 30,000 runners took part in the Edinburgh Marathon Festival in the nation’s capital on 30-31 May. Runners from right across the globe gathered for Scotland’s biggest running festival, taking part part in the Marathon, Half Marathon, 10k, 5k and junior races across a packed weekend.
Windy conditions hampered the elite fields on one of the world’s fastest marathon courses, but couldn’t prevent a Kenyan double in the male and female races. Peter Wanjiru took a decisive victory in the men’s race, breaking clear at 18 miles to blow away the opposition, clocking 2:19:36.
Local knowledge came to the fore as hometown runner Neil Renault took a crowd-pleasing second place in 2:24:35 with more heralded runners struggled with the blustery conditions. 2014 champion and long-time leader David Toniok faded to third in 2:26:00.
Afterwards, Wanjuri said: "The race was good to halfway, but after that, there was a lot of wind. After 30k I decided to move. The last mile was very difficult, the wind was blocking me. I even had to stop.
“If not for the wind, maybe I could have broke the course record. This is my first race of this season, so I am happy to win. I had prepared well for this race. I thank God because I win."
Runner-up Renault said: "The Run Fast guys seem to slow down and I didn’t really expect that. I passed the Russian at 18 miles and he dropped out. You always convince yourself that you are slowing down more than anyone else. But it turns out I was running faster.
“I thought I was third, I lost track. I am moving house next week, so this is very welcome. It was a good field and the guys really struggled in the wind.
“I’m from here. I knew exactly what the course was like. I am training out here all the time. You have to respect the conditions. I factored that into my plan, I sacrificed a bit of speed at the start knowing I needed to be a bit stronger in the second half into the wind. I’ll look back and this will be one of the ones I remember.”
The women’s race was dominated by Joan Kigen, going one place better than she managed at last year’s Bournemouth Marathon. She led from the gun to a nine minute victory in 2:39:43.
The podium was completed by Charlotte Firth (Windsor, Slough, Eton and Hounslow) and Samantha Amend (Belgrave Harriers) who clocked 2:48:51 and 2:49:58 respectively.
Afterwards, Kigen said: “It was hard because it was so windy. Around 16 miles, it was tough. But I am very happy to win the race today.”
As if running 26.2 miles wasn’t tough enough, Alan Mackay of Falkirk completed the grand slam of marathon, half marathon, 10k and 5k over the weekend.
After covering 48 miles in total, five miles more than running from Edinburgh to Glasgow, the 41 year old, who was raising funds for charity partner Macmillan Cancer Support said: “My legs are pretty tired. but it went better than I expected.
“I was last to cross the line at the start of the marathon, so I was constantly picking people off, which made it much easier for me.
“In order to get back to the start, I needed to do the half in 1hr 30, I think I did that. I found the marathon tough on miles 8,9,10. I think in my mind at that point I was close to having run a marathon that day. I think started playing on my mind. So I just broke it down into segments and think about each 5k instead.
“It is a never-again moment though. It’s such a great event. But I did find the 5k and 10k pretty tough yesterday and I began to wonder what I had let myself in for!
It was a particularly heart-thumping day for Daniel Lenz from Preston, Lancashire who proposed to his girlfriend Helen Wilson at the marathon finish line. Thankfully she said ‘yes’. His new fiance had completed the half marathon earlier on Sunday was taken by surprise as Daniel bent on one knee as he completed the marathon.
Afterwards, he said: “We had big ovation from the crowd. I’ve had this idea since I said I was going to do the marathon. I was meant to do it last year, but I broke my ankle and I couldn’t run it. Helen ended up running it for me!
“So this is two years in the making. We are going to celebrate with a curry. It’s my first marathon. It’s really good event. The support is brilliant, its amazing how many people come out and support you with fruit and have music playing. It really brings out the community."
There was a thrilling duel at the front of Sunday morning’s half marathon which came down to a sprint finish with the three leading men. American Thomas Porter just edged clear in the finish straight, taking the tape in 1:08:58. Behind him Andy Burn took second in 1:09:06 and Patryk Gierjatowicz third just two seconds adrift.
It was a cat and mouse race with local runner Gierjaotowicz pushing the pace in the latter half, but Dorset-based teacher Porter had the critical finishing kick.
The Virginia-born 24 year old runner said: "It was a very well-fought race. At about mile 10, the gentleman who finished third out in some very tough moves and I was trying to keep pace.
“I was able to hang off the pack until the last half a mile and that’s when I made my move. It’s great to win a race in Britain. I haven’t won a race until now. There’s a great club scene. It was really fun to run at the front."
There was a home winner in the women’s race which was led from start to finish by Scotland international Gemma Rankin. The Kilbarchan AAC runner was pleased to have topped the podium having narrowly missed out in previous years.
The 30 year old said: "The 2010 Edinburgh Marathon was my very first marathon. In 2011 and 2012 I finished third and second (in the half marathon), so it was nice to finish first today.
“It was quite steady throughout. I didn’t get an extremely fast start, I was just getting into my pace and then keeping it going. It’s a well organised event and there’s always good support all the way round."
Saturday saw Holyrood Park bathed in glorious sunshine as 5,000 runners took part in 10k, 5k and junior races, supported by thousands more friends and family savouring the big event atmosphere.
It was a family affair at the sharp end of the EMF 10k with superfit brothers Ryan and Steven Beattie both claiming podium positions. Ryan, 26, led from start to finish, clocking 32:55 to add another EMF victory to the half marathon title he won in 2013. Younger brother Steven, an international boxer packed a punch as he finished third in 34:54.
The meat in the Beattie sandwich was runner-up David Limmer from Edinburgh club Portobello Running Club in 34:29.
Afterwards, Ryan said: “I won the half marathon here two years ago. But I was injured last year. It was harder than a normal 10k. But I am happy with it. I went in front from the start – I was just coasting!”
Brother Steven, a light-welterweight, said: “I am boxing in a few weeks time in London, so I was doing this for a bit of training. I do two days on the track a week and two distance runs per week. I get good tips from my brother too. We’ve both been brought up with good drive and determination.”
The women’s winner was 43 year old Karen Kennedy of Dunfermline club Carnegie Harriers. She said: "It was tough, but really good. It’s the first time I have done this course. I have won a couple of 10ks before, but not for a while. I am delighted.
“I did the marathon here last year in about 3:30 which was good. At 43, I am a veteran, so it’s good to beat all the young ones."
Aberdeen’s Jordan Chapman won the 5k in a new EMF record time of 16:32 to regain the title he won in 2013. He said: “I did this three years ago and came third and came back a year later and managed to win it. I didn’t do it last year because I had a competition.”
He enjoyed a ding dong battle with Jarrow athlete Brendan McMillan before emerging victorious down the long descent to the finish.
“I managed to get past Brendan with 3k to go, but then with 1k to go he managed to get past me. But on the downhill I managed to pick up momentum."
There was an international winner of the women’s race with Canadian Katie Macaskill taking the spoils. The 16 year old from Ottawa was competing alongside elder brother Jonathan (18) and Olivia (13) one day ahead of watching parents Kim and Ken take on Sunday’s big 26.2 mile race.
Paced by her big brother, she established an early lead and was never headed. Afterwards, she said: "I’ve come with my parents who are doing their 15th marathon tomorrow. So rather than sitting in the hotel room we come and do this. It’s beautiful here with the castle and the old buildings.
“I’m not in a club. But I do run in events like this at home. Because I am not from here, I haven’t seen the views before from Arthur’s Seat, it’s really nice.”
Around 800 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: "2015 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 2015 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, the organiser of the 12th Marathon are hoping to raise more than £4.5 million.
Entries for the 2016 Edinburgh Marathon Festival which takes place on Bank Holiday Weekend on Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th May 2016 opens on Monday 1st June with an early bird discount for everyone who registers before 15th June at www.edinburgh-marathon.com
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2015 EMF Marathon RESULTS
Top 3 men 1. Peter Wanjiru (Run Fast/Kenya) 2:19:36 2. Neil Renault (City of Edinburgh) 2:24:36 3. David Toniok (Run Fast/Kenya) 2:26:00
Top 3 women 1. Joan Kigen (Run Fast/Kenya) 2:39:43 2. Charlotte Firth (Windsor, Slough, Eton & Hounslow) 2:48:51 3. Samantha Amend (Belgrave Harriers) 2:49:58
2015 EMF Relay
Top 3 Team Relay 1. Clapham Chasers 2:24:53 2. Derwent AC 2:28:10 3. Let’s Beat Breast Cancer 2:40:22
2015 EMF Half Marathon Top 3 Men 1. Thomas Porter (Wimborne) 1:08:58 2. Andy Burn (Jarrow) 1:09:03 3. Patryk Gierjatowicz (Hunters Bog Trotters) 1:09:06
Top 3 Women 1. Gemma Rankin (Kilbarchan AAC) 1:17:21 2. Dianne Lauder (Gala Harriers) 1:19:09 3. Michelle Nolan (Gateshead Harriers) 1:20:13
2015 EMF 10k Top 3 Men 1. Ryan Beattie (Falkirk Harriers) 32:55 2. David Limmer (Portobello RC) 34:29 3. Steven Beattie (Falkirk Harriers) 34:54
Top 3 Women 1. Karen Kennedy (Carnegie Harriers) 40:58 2. Amanda Valentine 42:20 3. Sarah Queen (Dumfries Harriers) 43:21
2015 EMF 5k Top 3 Men 1. Jordan Chapman (Aberdeen AAC) 16:32 2. Brendan McMillan (Jarrow) 16:49 3. David Marshall (Linlithgow AAC) 18:18
Top 3 Women 1. Katie Macaskill 20:37 2. Emily Cossar (Aberdeen AAC) 21:25 3. Eilidh Brown (Lasswade AAC) 22:17
2015 EMF Junior 2k Top 3 Boys Lewis Dow (Pitreavie AAC) 6:58 Gregor Collins (Gala Harriers) 7:14 Blayne Wright (Victoria Park City of Glasgow AC) 7:14
Top 3 Girls Alisha Sivell (Kilbarchan AACV) 7:09 Emma Johnson (Edinburgh AC) 7:32 Valencia Wright (Victoria Park City of Glasgow) 7:33
2015 EMF Junior 1.5k Top 3 Boys Ben Stronach 5:49 Aron Jack 5:58 Charlie Jones (Chirnside Chasers) 6:03
Top 3 Girls Freya Murdoch (Stockport Harriers) 6:09 Olivia Clarke 6:29 Amy Leccia 6:32