Over 30,000 runners took part in the Edinburgh Marathon Festival in the nation’s capital on 28-29 May. Runners from across the globe gathered for Scotland’s biggest running festival, taking part in the marathon, half marathon, team relay, 10k, 5k and junior races across an action-packed weekend.
Sunny conditions made for perfect running conditions for the elite fields on one of the world’s fastest marathon courses, where Kenyan dominance of the event continued in both the male and female races. Boaz Kiprono took a decisive victory in the men’s race, breaking clear in the last mile to blow away the opposition in a winning time of 2:19:55.
Moroccan runner Abdelhadi El Mouaziz took second place in 2:20:14, followed closely by crowd favourite and star of ‘Running with the Kenyans, Japhet Koech (2:22:15).
Afterwards, Kiprono said: "I was well prepared today so I was hoping to run and win. The weather today was a bit cold for me, but the course was flat and good. I hope to come back to defend my title next year.”
The women’s race was dominated by Kenyan Eddah Jepkosgei. she led from the gun to a four minute victory in 2:39:53. The podium was completed by Hailey Haining, Kilbarchan AAC in 2:43:03, and Katie White, Garscube Harriers in 2:47:40. Post race, Jepkosgei said: "The weather was good today, I enjoyed it. I’d love to come back next year and defend my title and better my time.”
As if running 26.2 miles wasn’t tough enough, Gavin Thomson of Darvel completed the grand slam of marathon, half marathon, 10k and 5k over the weekend. Gavin was running for MND Scotland in memory of his aunt who passed away from Motor Neurone Disease in December 2013.
He began his EMF weekend on Saturday by completing both the 5k and 10k races around Holyrood Park. On Sunday, he was up and running again as he tackled the half and full marathon races. After finishing the marathon Gavin said: “That’s probably the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do, my body is absolute agony! Half way through the full marathon was the hardest part of today, at that point I thought to myself 'I can’t do this', then I thought of my auntie and it got me through.”
There was a thrilling race at the front of Sunday morning’s half marathon as Darrell Hastie of Gala Harriers stormed to victory in the last mile with a winning time of 1:10:38, 10 seconds ahead of Sunderland Harrier’s Andrew Powell with Spain’s Francisco Urbano Sales six seconds behind in third. Northumberland’s Tracy Millmore was the winner in the women’s race which she led from start to finish. The Birtley AC runner was pleased to have topped the podium in her first ever outing at the Edinburgh Marathon Festival.
Saturday saw Holyrood Park bathed in glorious sunshine as 6,000 runners took part in 10k, 5k and junior races, supported by thousands more friends and family savouring the big event atmosphere. Max McNeill, 22, from Lothian Running Club claimed the top spot in the EMF 10K race with a winning time of 32:07, ahead of Bryan Mackie and Kevin Stephant.
Afterwards, McNeill said: “I’ve spent the last month in Boulder in America, altitude training with Steve Jones. This was my first race since coming back. I really enjoyed today, good conditions and crowds everywhere!”
The women’s winner was 32-year-old Sheena Logan of Fife AC.
Cumbrian Paul Coon, 24, stormed home first in the sunshine to clinch the 5k title while youth stole the show in the women’s field as 13-year-old Alisha Sivell was the first female home with a winning time of 19:43 and 'a really good experience'.
Around 850 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: "2016 has been another incredible year for Edinburgh Marathon Festival with record-breaking performances, tens of thousands of participants and millions raised for good causes.
More than 1,500 runners from Edinburgh Marathon Festival Official Charity, Macmillan Cancer Support, took part and together with hundreds of other charities, are hoping to raise more than £4.5 million.
Entries for the 2017 Edinburgh Marathon Festival (Bank Holiday Weekend on Saturday 27 and Sunday 28 May 2017) are open - early bird discount for registration before 12 June at EMF website.