Kenyan Dan Tanui is the star name at this weekend’s seventeenth edition of the Edinburgh Marathon Festival. With a PB of 2.15.08, the Project Africa athlete, who is in fine form after winning the Walled City Marathon last June, is set to get the biggest cheers in Sunday’s marathon.
He’ll be closely followed by fellow countryman Gideon Cheruiyot Kurgat, who recently completed the Belfast Marathon in 2:26:57.
Other contenders in the men’s race include Alan Darby from Soham who will be taking part in his third Edinburgh Marathon.
“Having run this event several years ago, I’m excited to return with high hopes of setting a new marathon PB. I come into this race having set a new half marathon PB of 69 minutes earlier this year.”
The North East of England is also providing a couple of contenders in Conrad Franks and Matthew Alderson. Matthew completed the London Marathon in 2.28 whilst Conrad ran a 70 minute half marathon in Sunderland last weekend. Both are feeling confident in the lead up to Edinburgh.
Local favourite is Tom Roche from Inverurie. Tom ran a PB of 2:27 at London just last month to finish 44th overall and having recovered well, is hoping for a similar time at Edinburgh.
In the women’s race, Rotheram’s Lyndsey Eastman ran London in 2.51.40 and is hoping to improve on this with the fast & flat course in Edinburgh.
Lyndsey said; “My training has been going well and I’m looking forward to participating in Edinburgh marathon and see the beautiful city.”
Melanie Wilkins from Henley-on-Thames is also looking to push for the top spot in her first ever outing at the marathon distance in years.
Mel said: “I’ve chosen to come to Edinburgh to debut at my first competitive marathon. I love Edinburgh as a city so I’m super excited to take on the marathon there.”
For the half marathon distance, Birmingham’s Molly Browne is one to watch out for after running 78.26 in Reading this March.
Molly said; “Training has been tough but good fun; I’m looking forward to getting on the start line and giving it a good go!”
Hot on her heels will be Auchtermuchty’s Sheena Logan who’s stepped down to the half marathon distance after competing in the marathon last year. After running 82.57 at the Inverness Half Marathon she’s looking to improve on this in Edinburgh.
“I’m looking forward to the race as I’ve taken some time off over the winter after a good season last year and I like the course in Edinburgh. The festival is a great event.” said Sheena.
In the men’s race, Birmingham are providing another hopeful in Daniel Robinson who ran the Big Half in 71.53. Greenock’s John Bell and Corstorphine’s Dougie Selman are also hoping to push at the front.
A special mention has to also go out to Edinburgh’s Neil Renault. Neil finished second in the Edinburgh Marathon back in 2015, but after being diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis this time last year, the last year has been a struggle for him, trying to balance training whilst understanding how the medication affects him.
Neil said: “I now feel confident that I’m on route back to getting back to PB shape on the marathon (2:18) and half marathon (64:48). Although not in the latter shape just yet, I am still looking for a decent time over the half marathon this year and very much looking forward to racing again on the route of the EMF which was kind to me in 2015.”
As well as the elite athletes, there are many more incredible runners taking part in EMF 2019 for a variety of worthy causes.
Edinburgh Marathon veteran Claire Dalrymple will cross the finish line for the 17th time on Sunday 26th May. This year will be particularly poignant for Claire as she is running in memory of her husband Stephen for Macmillan Cancer.
Stephen sadly passed away in February after losing his battle against Oesophageal cancer. Throughout his illness, Stephen and Claire received incredible support from the charity to ensure the precious time they had left together was spent making happy memories.
“Throughout Stephen’s illness I kept running to keep me strong and focused, it really was my therapy.” explained Claire.
“I’m raising money to say thank you to Macmillan for all their help and support.” As part of her fundraising challenge Claire also completed the London Marathon and is looking ahead to the Harris Marathon later this year.
Fourteen runners from El Salvador are traveling to Edinburgh to take part in the marathon, half marathon & 10K events. They are running on behalf of one of their group, Maria Olimpia Escobar de Melhado.
Maria was stabbed on an early morning training run whilst preparing for the event, and tragically passed away on Saturday 18th May.
Maria’s brother-in-law said: “These are the risks that our runners take, in our country plagued with crime, to keep our passion for running. We are not giving up, Maria Olimpia taught us that love and passion transform ugly realities.”
“Our beloved Maria Olimpia started running 10 years ago and was very enthusiastic. She created at least two runners’ groups mainly of ladies. She encouraged many of her friends to register to the Edinburgh Half and Full Marathon and organized the trip. We will always remember her joyful and cheerful personality.”
Entries are still available for the Edinburgh Marathon Festival up until Friday 24th May at noon.