Edinburgh Marathon

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Edinburgh Marathon
Date May
Location Edinburgh, Scotland
Event type Road
Distance Marathon, Half marathon, 10K, 5K
Established 2003
Official site www.edinburghmarathon.com

The Edinburgh Marathon is an annual marathon event, run in Edinburgh, Scotland over the traditional distance of 42.195 kilometres (26.219 mi). The first marathon event in Edinburgh was in 1982 and since 2003 the Edinburgh Marathon Festival has been held each year, usually in May. The current route begins in the centre, finishing at Musselburgh. The Edinburgh Marathon has IAAF Bronze Label status and is governed by Scottish Athletics.

A runner crosses the finish line at the Edinburgh Marathon.


On 5 September 1982, the Edinburgh Festival Marathon was the first mass marathon event to be held in the city.[1] Starting in Holyrood Park and running through the Grassmarket and down Lothian Road, along Princes Street and down into Leith, along to Cramond and along the coast back through Silverknowes to Leith, up Easter Road and finishing in Meadowbank Stadium. In 1986 it was called the Commonwealth Games People’s Marathon and held in June, a month ahead of the Commonwealth Games.[2]

The Edinburgh Marathon Festival was founded by Geoff Sims and the first year’s event on 15 June 2003, attracted just 3,000 participants. The course started at Meadowbank Stadium, taking in Princes Street, Holyrood Palace and the Royal Yacht Britannia.[3] Frank McGowan from Glasgow won the men’s race in 2.35 with the slowest man Lloyd Stott taking more than six days to complete the race wearing a deep sea diving suit weighing more than 100 pounds.

In 2007 organisers designed a new route that headed in to East Lothian through Longniddry and Port Seton, finishing in Musselburgh race course. With an elevation drop of 40 metres, the average finish time was almost 12 minutes faster than previous year's and Edinburgh earned its title of UK’s fastest marathon. It was the first year that the event made a profit.[4]

In 2010, the half marathon was introduced for the first time with entry levels jumping to more than 24,000.

2011 was the first time the Edinburgh Marathon Festival was hosted over two days. As well as the full marathon, the festival also included a 5K, 10K, two junior races and a half marathon and a team relay race, affectionately named the "Hairy Haggis."

Men's winners[edit]

Year Athlete Nationality Time
1982 Ellis, DaveDave Ellis  United Kingdom 2:21:09 [1]
1983 Robertson, LindsayLindsay Robertson  United Kingdom 2:21:36 [5]
2003 Reilly, GrahamGraham Reilly  United Kingdom 2:16:21
2004 Kihara, ZacharyZachary Kihara  Kenya 2:21:45
2005 Kihara, ZacharyZachary Kihara  Kenya 2:15:26 Course record
2006 Mbithi, JosephJoseph Mbithi  Kenya 2:15:46P
2007 Grime, IanIan Grime  United Kingdom 2:31:57
2008 MacNamara, PaulPaul MacNamara  Ireland 2:25:05
2009 Williams, MartinMartin Williams  United Kingdom 2:18:24
2010 Littler, SteveSteve Littler  United Kingdom 2:26:31
2011 Nicholls, PhilPhil Nicholls  United Kingdom 2:19:21
2012 Mutai, JohnJohn Mutai  Kenya 2:19:52
2013 Lema, TolaTola Lema  Ethiopia 2:15:32 [6]
2014 Toniok, DavidDavid Toniok  Kenya 2:15:33
2015 Wanjiru, PeterPeter Wanjiru  Kenya 2:19:36
2016 Kiprono, BoazBoaz Kiprono  Kenya 2:19:55 [7]

Women's winners[edit]

Year Athlete Nationality Time
1982 Watson, LeslieLeslie Watson  United Kingdom 2:49:34 [1]
1983 Marshall, PatriciaPatricia Marshall  United Kingdom [5]
2003 McCallum, MichaelaMichaela McCallum  United Kingdom 2:48:06
2004 Poltawska, WalentynaWalentyna Poltawska  Ukraine 2:47:24
2005 Semenova, ZinaidaZinaida Semenova  Russia 2:33:36 Course record
2006 Howe, AngelaAngela Howe  United Kingdom 2:51:41
2007 Matheson, FionaFiona Matheson  United Kingdom 2:54:43
2008 Powell, PaulinePauline Powell  United Kingdom 2:47:56
2009 Rush, HollyHolly Rush  United Kingdom 2:41:38
2010 Gee, SarahSarah Gee  United Kingdom 2:38:16
2011 Harris, SarahSarah Harris  United Kingdom 2:42:59
2012 Samunnati Lehonkova  Ukraine 2:39:48
2013 Kimaiyo, RisperRisper Kimaiyo  Kenya 2:35:58
2014 Stetsenko, KaterynaKateryna Stetsenko  Ukraine 2:36:07
2015 Kigen, JoanJoan Kigen  Kenya 2:39:42
2016 Jepkosgei, EddahEddah Jepkosgei  Kenya 2:39:53 [7]

Finisher statistics[edit]

Total of runners finishing the original marathon distance

Year Men Women Total
2003 2028 754 2782
2004 2114 738 2853
2005 3227 1192 4419
2006 2926 1170 4096
2007 2538 1031 3587
2008 4520 2092 6612
2009 5570 2684 8254
2010 6647 2812 9459
2011 6797 2940 9737
2012 5425 2638 8063
2013 5414 2728 8142
2014 5806 2809 8615
2015 4796 2389 7185
2016 4274 2322 6596


The Edinburgh Marathon is often criticised for the complex logistics involved for both runners and spectators, as the course's layout necessitates travel between Edinburgh city centre and East Lothian. Due to road closures and infrequent train services, there are often bottlenecks of traffic and long delays. Although shuttle buses are provided, many runners struggle with the long walk to the pick-up point after their race.

Additionally, whilst the race starts in Edinburgh, less than eight miles of the course lie within the city boundaries, with the remainder being run in East Lothian. The course encompasses less than three miles of the city centre.

For the 2014 race, the organisers initially refused to publish full results, only giving times for the top three in each category. This sparked criticism from runners, with many threatening to boycott future events. It may have breached rules from the International Association of Athletics Federations.[8] Following feedback, the organisers later decided to publish full results.[9]


  1. ^ a b c "Marathon protest by pro runners". The Glasgow Herald. 6 September 1982. p. 18. Retrieved 31 May 2016. 
  2. ^ Douglas, Derek (31 January 1986). "Marathon gets a new start". The Glasgow Herald. p. 5. Retrieved 31 May 2016. 
  3. ^ "The race that just seems to run and run". The Scotsman. 13 June 2003. Retrieved 31 May 2016. 
  4. ^ "Edinburgh Marathon boss tells of his journey to the big day". The Scotsman. 29 May 2009. Retrieved 31 May 2016. 
  5. ^ a b Cusick, James (5 September 1983). "Police gear up for Glasgow marathon". p. 3. Retrieved 31 May 2016. 
  6. ^ Minshull, Phil (2013-05-26). Lema and Kimaiyo take the honours at the Edinburgh Marathon. IAAF. Retrieved on 2013-05-31.
  7. ^ a b Woods, Mark (30 May 2016). "Kenyan dominance of Edinburgh marathon continues". The Herald. Glasgow. Retrieved 31 May 2016. 
  8. ^ Pendreigh, Brian; Munro, Alistair (27 May 2014). "Edinburgh Marathon slammed for withholding results". The Scotsman. Retrieved 6 January 2015. 
  9. ^ Christie, Kevan (3 June 2014). "Edinburgh Marathon bosses run out of excuses". The Scotsman. Retrieved 6 January 2015. 

External links[edit]