The sun shone on Edinburgh Marathon Festival today ( May 27)making conditions tough for marathon participants, especially those recording slower times as temperatures climbed after midday. But for thousands of spectators who lined the route and congregated at the finish in Musselburgh it was perfect.
A predicted challenge to Zachary Kihara's course record was off the mark but the men's race provided a great contest that culminated in a sprint to the line. Kenya's John Mutai (pictured) won that duel to record a time of 2:19:52.
Local hero Ross Houston (Central AC) performed credibly in this august company - a close-up 5th. The Scot seems set to use this PB performance to build towards the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014.
Ukranian Natalia Lehonkova, 29 was the first woman home, completing the course in 2:39:48 with Scot Hayley Haining third (2:45:17). Post-race Lehonkova said: "I can't wait to phone my mum and dad in the Ukraine to tell them. It's my second marathon win. I won a marathon in Poland in 2010 but this is my first marathon in Edinburgh."
Spectators over the final mile came into their own as the 3 hour and later the 4 hour runners made their way to the home stretch and the line, giving the brave finishers a rousing reception. 20,000 plus participants took part in both the half marathon and the classic 26.2 miles event (some in the relay race). With temperatures reaching 19C, organisers provided 131,085 bottles of Strathmore water along the 26.2 mile route and another 29,000 at the finish.
Charity runners dominated the field with big contingents from Macmillan Cancer Support, Alzheimer Scotland and British Heart Foundation in evidence and are expected to raise a record £4.5m in the 10th year of the event.
Glasgow University student Michael Deason won the half marathon in 1:08:20. And Gabriela Trana, the first woman home in 01:15:01 is now off to the Olympics to represent Costa Rica in the marathon. A team of four IT experts from a Newcastle firm, Scott Logic Newcastle won the marathon relay race, in 2:52:12.
Once again there was huge interest in 101 year old Fauja Singh who took part in the relay event as part of the Sikhs in the City team.