Last Sunday was one hell of a hot day. I never knew Scotland could reach such temperatures in the height of summer, never mind in May!
So huge congrats to everyone that ran the EMF2017, it was tough conditions.
Now the Edinburgh marathon has been top of my list since I got into racing but for one reason and another I’ve never been fit to run it. So this year my husband did it instead. So cow bells packed with a box full of jelly babies and beans, we were ready to go.
Well almost. It wasn’t till 10pm the night before the race I realised I hadn’t actually planned how to get around the route. Unlike York, Chester and Liverpool the roads seemed to be closed everywhere and there’s no parking in the city. Oops.
So in a sub Saharan Premier Inn in Livingston (air con not standard) I frantically googled what to do.
Park and ride and walk and walk and walk
Whatever you do, don’t get the official marathon bus, if you can get public transport. A tram or bus costs about £3.20 return and they’re more regular.
The official Edinburgh marathon website suggests a £15 ticket for a park and ride from various places. I bought it to get me to the start line then to the finish line, which is also the half way point. Then back to the car. Perfect.
Well almost. It was a good 20/25 minute walk from the bus to the start line. Fine if you don’t have to carry a tired 3 year old.
I asked at the help desk where to get the bus to take me to the finish. Balls, it was another long walk. They said I could get the no26 bus but if I’d paid for a ticket I should use that instead.
At this point I walked past a man meditating before the race. I should’ve joined him.
So 3/4 of a mile later we’re on the bus excited. Off we went at 10.15, then 5 minutes later we stopped. The driver just walked off the bus. People panicked. Time was tight. It’s a 1 hour journey so some of the half marathoners would be finishing soon. One woman was almost crying.
I left my daughter eating her 100th jelly baby and got off the bus to ask the driver what was going on. He said he was from Glasgow and completely lost. So I asked him what the plan was. He said to speak to control for help.
We looked at sat nav but it was useless as it didn’t say which roads were closed. My best advice was to drive through the road closed sign and see what was at the bottom. We did, but then he pulled over again and got off. Unwilling to go further. Said the bridge was two small ahead. It clearly wasn’t. The poor guy felt like a knob. He just talked on his mobile, to nobody probably, just to escape the fretting passengers. I found it quite funny at first, then I started to get pissed off at his lack of initiative. I mean just drive back to where you started it’s only 5 minutes away. FFS. By this time I’d missed seeing my husband at the half way point. I wasn’t prepared to miss the rest.
God bless uber
So we sacked off the bus and ran up the streets trying to find a taxi. I got with a couple and a woman to share and we decided on an uber. God bless uber. By now it was 11am and hot. I’d ran up a hill 3 times trying to find a taxi (don’t ask) with a 3 year old wrapped around my neck. Suddenly I wanted to eat all the jelly babies too.
The uber arrived and we got over to Musselburgh at a cost of £71 – a surge was on, obvs. The hilarious thing was, none of us knew where we were going or understood each other….a scouser, two southerners and a scot. So it took a while to work out where the hell we needed to be. By this time we had to get to mile 20 or we’d miss our people. That’s when we hit a road closure. I was done with walking so I suggested we ignored the road closure and go as far as we could. Standard advice. So he did bless him. He took us straight to mile 22.
So if you do spectate it seems you can drive round Musselburgh and park on side roads (if you ignore the signs).
A broken man
When I saw my husband at mile 22 he was broken, the heat had got to him and he’d not had any electrolyte drinks. I ran with him for a bit but he never got the 3:15 I know he has in him. He did get an amazing 3:30 though, but he was gutted.
So after supporting more runners (including the meditator who was running with his hands in prayer position looking at the sky) we had to get to the finish line. We walked down the road to a marshal who told us to go back up the road for about a mile for the shuttle bus. Luckily there was a co-op and other shops on the way to get much needed water. The bus never came.
So we had to walk about another quarter of a mile to get another taxi. No lie when were waiting for the taxi two shuttle buses went past. The taxi took me as far as he could to the start line. But then I messed up. I ended up walking the long 1.5 miles to the finish with most of the runners. By this time I was digging deep with my daughter on my shoulders.
I love pizza
We finally got to the finish and all was good. There were even showers available and my God the best ever pizza. We sat and shared our experiences in the sun surrounded by the buzz of elated runners. There was even a Viking boat full of vikings that had ran the marathon. Unbelievable.
Sadly it was time to get that shuttle bus back to Edinburgh. Yes you guessed it, another 30 minute walk UP HILL. I felt so sorry for the runners. Especially when the infamous no26 buses kept going past.
So I don’t think I’ll be doing the Edinburgh marathon as beautiful and flat as it is, I couldn’t risk putting my family through it. Perhaps I was just unlucky, I mean I did see a single magpie on the way there, maybe if I’d seen two it’d all been different.