With its relatively flat route and beautiful seaside scenery, it’s easy to see why the Edinburgh Marathon attracts runners from across the globe. The annual Edinburgh Marathon Festival is comprised of several different running events over the course of a weekend. This year, the Marathon, Half Marathon and Team Relay Race take place Sunday, 26 May, while the 5K, 10K and Junior Races take place the day before.
Runners and spectators visiting from outside Edinburgh face the task of squeezing both a major race and a holiday into one trip. Organising the logistics of the race, while also finding time to explore Edinburgh’s many attractions, can be daunting – but fear not, we’ve put together a guide to help you fit it all in:
Before the Race
Last-Minute Running Gear:
Despite months of training and preparation, there are always those last-minute tasks to complete before the race. Whether you want a new pair of running socks for the big day or need to stock up on energy gels, Run 4 It on Lothian Road will have what you’re looking for.
Best Restaurants for Carbo-Loading:
Running five times the normal amount means you need to eat five times the normal amount, right? That may be an exaggeration, but any serious runner knows the importance of carbo-loading before a big race.
For plenty of hearty pasta options, try Jamie’s Italian on Rose Street. Part of celebrity chef Jamie Oliver’s esteemed chain, the restaurant has recently arrived in Edinburgh and fills up quickly. So, get your booking in as soon as possible!
You may also appreciate the athlete-appropriate portions at Illegal Jacks on Lothian Road. A favourite of locals, the restaurant serves up giant burritos, stuffed with plenty of rice (carbs!), beans and meat (protein!) to fill you up before the big race.
With the usual number of pre-race butterflies flittering around in your stomach the morning of the race, the last thing you need is to get lost on the way to the start line. Fortunately, getting there is relatively straightforward. Simply walk, take a cab or ride the bus to the east end of Princes Street. Continue walking east, following the crowd to the start line (either on Regent Road or London Road, depending on your race instructions).
For those running the full marathon, there are two start lines: one is located on Regent Road, just east of Princes Street. The other is located on London Road, just southeast of Princes Street. Your specific race instructions will inform you which start line to go to. For those starting on Regent Road, the race begins at 9:50am. Marathon runners starting on London Road begin at 10:00am. All half marathon runners start on Regent Road at 8:00am.
For more information on the other running events (5K, 10K, Junior Races & Team Relay) visit the EMF website.
To watch your friends and family cross the finish line, you can catch the #26 bus from Princes Street in Edinburgh’s city centre to the seaside town of Musselburgh. Exit the bus on Pinkie Road and follow the crowds to the spectator viewing area in the Pinkie School playing fields (click here to see a map).
After the Race
You’ve done it! Whether you want to go straight to the pub, or wait a day for your legs to recover, celebrations are certainly in order.
For a boisterous night of dancing and drinking, start with a pub crawl in the Grassmarket, stopping in The White Hart for some live music, then heading to Biddy Mulligan’s to bust a move. Finish your night in hidden gem, Dropkick Murphys, before treating yourself to a deliciously caloric snack of choice at one of the many chippies along your route home (after 26.2 miles, you deserve it!).
If your legs can handle it, climb up the 287 steps of Edinburgh’s Scott Monument. The gothic tower, built in 1844 in honour of Scottish author Sir Walter Scott, is located just off Princes Street and offers stunning views of the bustling city centre.
For a less strenuous activity, enjoy a picnic in the Queen’s back garden – Holyrood Park. One of the city’s many beautiful green spaces, the park is located just off the bottom of the Royal Mile. It sits next to the historic Holyrood Palace, the city’s Parliament building and the stunning hills and ridges of Arthur’s Seat.
With the unpredictable Edinburgh weather, it’s always wise to have a plan-B in place for when it rains. You can take shelter in the National Museum of Scotland on Chambers Street and enjoy a range of exhibits on world cultures and Scottish history.
Here at VieAmhor, we welcome all runners and spectators visiting Edinburgh for the Marathon Festival. As always, we aim to provide more than just accommodation, offering a full Edinburgh experience that shows off the true spirit of this wonderful city. If you have any questions about your upcoming visit, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!