Sunday was the big day. I had been so excited about running this race as had read some great reports about it. Sadly I was sorely disappointed. It had been billed as amazing support, well organised. Sadly I didn’t find either of these things. I’ll start from the beginning.
We arrived at the baggage trucks about 9:10 and begun to get ourselves sorted out, dumping out waterproof coats in our bags and popping on our bin bags to keep us dry as it was drizzling slightly. The trucks were not massively clearly signposted. It could have been better. Eventually though I found the one small one for purple and deposited my bag before heading back to the rest of the girls. We then made our way up to the start and located some toilets, they were down the side of some spectacular old building (no idea what it was though) and I have to admit they were well organised with plenty of toilets so we didn’t queue long. Once we had been we headed down to the pen we wanted to be in. The rest of the team were black and I was purple but we decided I would duck in if possible and I was able to which reassured me alot. I didn’t really fancy starting totally alone! Before long we were ready to go with a good old countdown over the loudspeakers. And then it was time to go!
Before we had even got to the start people started running but along with a couple of the girls I was with we decided we were only running when we reached the actual start line. And then we were off. Downhill, heaven! The run is marketed as the fastest flattest course in the UK. Personally I did not consider it flat. There were plenty of slopes. They weren’t hills as such but slopes that when you had run 20, 23,25 miles etc felt like a mountain! We weaved around the city for the first few miles and I got a pat on the back and hi from one of my instagram followers which was lovely. A bit further on another instagram follower found me and ran with us for a little while which was lovely. At mile 4 my Dad was waiting to take some pics as we flew past and round onto the coast road. That was when the wind begun. The sort of wind where you feel like your not moving anymore. A bunch of toilets appeared and we debated over needing them or not and then decided we didn’t want to queue, a bit futher on some seaside toilets were open and we spotted runners ducking in there so we made a dash for it. 2 minutes later we were out and running again. I stuck with one of the girls I had started with until around mile 8/9 and it was awesome to have some company and someone to talk to to distract me from the miles as they slowly ticked on by. At around mile 9 I started to slow and I couldn’t pick it back up so I gave up trying to keep up with my friend. After that I started to struggle for a while. For no apparent reason. I was starting to get really bad stomach cramps. I stopped for a wee at the huge power station in the most disgusting portaloo I’ve ever been in in my life. I’ve never been one to do the hover over the loo seat trick, this required it. There were no marshalls around to deal with the loos which is probably how they got so bad. A few of the girls were ducking behind the bushes, I didn’t blame them.
I was soon nearing the halfway point which had been my big ‘get to that point and you know you can do it’ point. I was starting to feel really bad with my stomach at that stage and incredibly sick so my pace had really slowed. Shortly after 13 and once I was out of the way of some of the few cheerers who were out on the course I ended up throwing up at the side of the road. Although I’d used a few energy bars too to try and soak up the gels they all came back to haunt me. A St Johns volunteer had been just down the road and saw me and came over to help. He checked me over and we agreed that now I’d been sick I would probably be ok if I avoided anymore gels. So I did. For the final half I was using only water. Water doesn’t provide a great deal of energy which made things really tough. From 14 through to 17.5 you are running down as the faster runners are coming back on the other side of the road. As I knew so many runners on the course this was a fantastic distraction as I focused on spotting familiar faces and keeping one headphone out so I could hear anyone shout for me. I spotted a few fellow runners and its such a lift to see a familiar face even if your literally running past each other!
Eventually it was time for the turn, a literal 180, my legs weren’t happy. I took it as wide as I could but still my knee niggled. When you’ve been running straight for so long my body couldn’t deal with this change. We then headed into an estate through a wooded area which was nice and shady. The weather was starting to be quite warm so I appreciated this part of coolness. And then through a MacMillian cheering point. It didn’t matter who you were running for they gave an amazing cheer and really made me smile! It was what I needed as the support on the course was so minuscule it was hard going. Then we entered an offroad point. I attempt to run over it but my legs hurt with the uneven surface and I decided rather than risk injury I’d walk as many were at that stage, it was only half a mile so I got myself over it and then set off running again. We were now heading back the way we had seen all the other runners going, on the way out that had been awesome because they were a distraction. Now alone it was hard knowing just how far you still had to go. 20 miles ticked over and I knew the final 10km was going to take a while my pace was dramatically slower. I was desperately trying to drink some energy drink but my stomach was still cramping so stuck to water at every water station and aimed to drink half a 330ml bottle each time.
My dad had been waiting for me at 25 and I was sending him regular updates so he knew when to expect me. I was getting highly emotional from 20 onwards, although I’d been emotional all the way. But now it was getting ridiculous. Every time someone shouted my name I shed tears. There were a wonderful group of little girls doing cheerleading for those of us few and far between at the back it made me so emotional seeing them. Those final few miles were hell and I kept setting myself targets to overtake someone and stay ahead. And then I’d say right now this person. It was the only way I felt like I was progressing anywhere. 10km has never felt so long in my entire life. The final 2 miles felt like a marathon. Eventually I got to 25 and spotted my dad down the hill. I ran down towards him and knew my running was so slow he could jog with me and so told him to talk at me as if I tried to speak I blubbed like a baby. Every time he told me he was proud I sobbed. Eventually we reached mile 26 and I knew the end wasn’t THAT far off even if it felt it as I couldn’t see it. By now there was a good amount of people shouting my name. I wanted to acknowledge them all but it got the point I could only give a thumbs up because if I spoke I cried. I rounded the corner and could see the finish line in the distance. I ran with everything I had left to give. It was not my fastest sprint but it was a good bloody try. The guy on the tannoy spotted my name and was shouting for me to keep running, like I was going to stop at that moment! And then there were the chip mats. I crossed and bent down and sobbed, body wrenching sobs. I’d done it. I had run a marathon. Even despite throwing up halfway.
I finished and was searching for the medals, you had to walk through a channel of tents to reach some football pitches where the medals were. I was handed a medal which I immediately put around my neck, you then had to walk through to collect your tshirt and goody bag. I was greeted by a woman who told me they only had XS left. I am in no way an XS a small would have been a tight squeeze. Now this has really bugged me. When you sign up your asked what size you need. So the organiser knew how many tshirts they need in each size. So how the hell do you end up with only one size left? There are many disgruntled runners on the FB page and so far the organisers have still not responded. I am absolutely fuming quite frankly. I paid for a race where I got a medal and a tshirt. So I feel I’ve been short changed. I wanted that tshirt to wear with pride to show what I’ve done. I wont be settling until I get one. Its not acceptable for organiser to ignore the issue like this. Once I’d left the lack of tshirts I walked over to have my photo taken with my medal and then to the exit. This was where you were able to then greet your families and there were stalls and food stands as well as a charity village. The signposting however was absolutely shocking and you couldn’t tell where the official reunion area was or the baggage trucks. I had to ask a steward where to go as I was starting to get cold and needed my warmer clothes. I headed towards the baggage trucks and found my friend who I had started with. She was the first person I saw and the moment she asked me if I was ok I started crying on her shoulder! Once we’d had a chat and a couple of pics I headed over to the baggage trucks. Obviously there werent many bags left and they had been removed off the trucks and were on damp grass in the open air, wet. My trackies were soaked so there was no way I was putting those on. My hoodie was relatively dry thankfully so I popped that on. Leaving bags out in the air is not helpful. Runners need warm clothes when they finish. Not wet ones. Another negative point for the organisation!
Then we faced the walk to the busses. I had been told it was a little while. I paid to have the official race bus to the city centre. God knows how long we walked but it was a good mile + if not 2. Whoever made that decision has clearly never run a marathon!
Would I do it again? No. Long walks to busses. Wet clothes. No tshirts. Very little course support. It all tends to leave a sour taste. I was sorely dissapointed. I had read so many good reviews of edinburgh and maybe its great for those who come in under 5 hours but we can’t all do that. For those of us slower we still need the support and to get what we paid for including a race tshirt. Overall I wasn’t impressed and would not recommend this race to anyone.