20 May

Record Runners For Edinburgh Marathon Festival

Winner of ladies marathon 2009

This weekend's Edinburgh Marathon Festival (May 23) has attracted yet anoter record entry with around 23,500 runners planning to hit the streets of the capital. As Scotland's biggest running event - second only to the London Marathon in the UK - the festival will play host to the Scottish Half Marathon and the increasingly popular Hairy Haggis Relay Marathon, as well as the Edinburgh Marathon itself.

A total of 14,331 runners from all over the world, including Mexico, Brazil, Japan and New Zealand, have entered the main event, with 5.367 in the Half Marathon and 3,848 for the Relay.

Running a marathon for the first time on Sunday, 22 year old Graeme Towsey from Aberdeenshire is looking forward to the challenge with 3 of his friends.

"I decided to do the marathon while on a night out in Edinburgh in October last year and managed to get three of my friends to sign up with me. We have been training together as much as possible since the end of January, doing about three runs a week. It has been really important for me to have a training partner, to keep each other motivated.

"The four of us are raising money for different charities. My fellow runner, Craig Renwick, and I are hoping to raise £1500 for Marie Curie Cancer Care. My mum spent a year working with the charity and Craig lost his grandfather to cancer, so we wanted to give something back for the great work that Marie Curie Cancer Care does."

Runners in 2009 Edinburgh Marathon

This year's event promises to be particularly special with elite British runners past and present taking ceremonial roles. Having had her bid to take part thwarted by injury, Liz Yelling, two time Olympian and 2006 Commonwealth Games marathon bronze medallist, will be the official starter for the Edinburgh Marathon Festival.

Yelling said, "Despite not being to toe the line as I'd hoped in this year's Edinburgh Marathon I'm really excited and honoured to be starting the race and supporting every runner along the way."

The main attention, however, will be on the finish by the time Ron Hill, the legendary British long distance runner marks the 40th anniversary of his greatest triumph in style in the city where he won his Commonwealth Games Marathon gold medal. Hill will defy the years by running anchor leg for the Kilgour Killers in the Hairy Haggis Team Relay.

The atmosphere at the Edinburgh Marathon is always electric, first-time runner Graeme told scottishrunningguide.com about his expectations for the day, "I have never competed in a running event before, although have done many bikathons in the past. I am looking forward to the Edinburgh Marathon, it will be exciting to run on the same course as the legendary Ron Hill and I'm sure the crowd and supporters will see me through when the distance begins to take its toll. I am hoping to complete the race in four and a half hours, I just can't wait for the satisfaction of crossing that finish line."

Scottishrunningguide.com would like to wish all racers in the Edinburgh Marathon festival the best of luck this weekend, we have put together some last minute tips for runners and spectators. Remember to keep watching scottishrunningguide.com for a race report and results!