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Edinburgh Marathon 2014 Race Report

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

Edinburgh Marathon 2014, my fourth (and first back-to-back) marathon, was a strange one.

I crossed the line in 2:57:10, 10 seconds more than the 2:57 pace band I was wearing. Job done. Unfortunately my two clubmates, who I was meant to be pacing to their first sub-3s, didn’t get the times they wanted, having only narrowly missed out on their goal at the Manchester Marathon seven weeks previously.

What does this mean? Well, a huge amount of disappointment and an opportunity that may not come round again. Not for us a repeat of inaugural London Marathon winners Dick Beardsley and Inge Simonsen’s famous hands aloft pose as they ran through the finishing tape (yes it is them, below, recreating that moment at a 2005 press call).

What went wrong? Nothing really, for whatever reason it just didn’t work out on the day. In a way, it’s probably naive to expect three runners of similar abilities to run exactly the same race on any given day. No, scratch that, it’s definitely naive.

What it’s hammered home to me is how difficult a distance the marathon is. It’s that bit from 20 onwards that you can train and train for, do what you like but there’s no telling what can happen in that “second half of the race”. The only consolation (and it’s a scant one after all the time and effort) for my clubmates is that when that sub-3 does come, the victory will be all the sweeter. And what better stage to do it than Berlin (or in Neal’s case Yorkshire).

And a little codicil here. While the Corinthian nature of Beardsley and Simonsen’s famous era-defining pic is to be celebrated, it perhaps doesn’t give a true reflection of high-level club marathoning. When you toe the line in the marathon you’re on your own. It’s just you, your body, your latent injuries and your head for 26.2 miles.

Anyway, the title said race report, so here goes. I found the Edinburgh Marathon a lot tougher than London, even though my finishing time was seven minutes slower. Who knows why but it could be:

  • Edinburgh is not the world’s biggest and best marathon.
  • There are 8000 rather than 40,000 runners.
  • You’re not running through a film set for part of the time.
  • For London I followed a good 12-week training programme; for the Edinburgh Marathon I only had six weeks to prepare and a good third of that I lost to injury.
  • I wasn’t just doing Edinburgh for myself, I was pacing my mates, so it was more important to hit the target. More pressure.

In terms of my race, I ran a pretty dull first half with splits of 42:30 for 10k and 1:29:10 for the half, going through 30k at around 2:06. Luckily I had stuff left in the tank when it mattered and ran 1:28:00 for the second half. Contrast this with last year’s Edinburgh Marathon where I ran 1:25 for the first half and 1:37 for the second. Highlights were:

  • Chatting with Neal at 5.
  • Seeing Jason at the turn before entering the grounds of Gosford House at 17 (at that time still in with a good chance of going sub-3).
  • For the second year in a row, toing and froing places with Andy Osborne and grabbing quick chats. Good lad.
  • The Bella cheer squad giving me a “full cheer” at 9 and 25. Nice to see lots of smiley faces.
  • Seeing Rach, Zak, Jude, Mum and Dad with 800 yards to go. Teary.
  • And last but certainly not least, Caroline Gibson handing me what must have looked like a kid’s science experiment gone wrong at miles 12 and 20 (Lucozade Sport, two gels, electrolyte capsule and three Minstrels wrapped in tin foil and Sellotaped to the bottle).

I’m three days in to a complete two-week break from all things jogging and pure carboyhdrate-based.

Edinburgh Marathon 2014 pre-race carbs.


Then it’s four weeks having a bit of fun with my running before a 12-week P+D-ish programme combined with conditioning work and textbook nutrition. The goal: 2:45 in Berlin. Can’t wait:O).