More than 25,000 runners took to the capital streets today for the Edinburgh marathon.

In glorious sunshine and temperatures reaching a pleasant 15C, 
runners from more than 100 countries will set off from the city centre to take on the world’s fastest marathon course.

This is my first trip to Edinburgh and will be my first Scottish race. Sunday and Bosh-Run friends Chris, Simon and Joyce are also running today. 

After wishing Sunday good luck, he makes his way to the green starting area. I head on down to the red start on London road. After dropping my bag I make my way through the crowds of runners down to the start pen. 

I have decided to wear the Earth Runners Alpha sandal today, as they proved very comfortable on the road during the Florida Keys 50 mile Ultra last weekend.

The Red Start

Already runners wait patiently behind the elite starting area. This area will start 10 minutes earlier than the mass runners on the next street behind us. As I watch everyone squeeze into the pen, I notice someone, who I think is Joyce a few feet in front of me. I give her a gentle tap, then wave when she turns around. 'LUKE! Oh my god!' She screams as we hug. I can tell she is very excited and also very nervous. Joyce grew up with my partner Sunday in Canterbury so already feels like family to me. 

One for Bosh!

After introducing the super elites we slowly shuffle forward for the count down to begin. I wish a grinning Joyce the best of luck and to enjoy the race. Thousands of excited runners sprint down the road to almighty cheers.

Miles 1-10 (pace/mile)
6:46 6:45 6:30 6:36 6:34 6:33 6:29 6:35 6:29
The route weaves around and out of the city onto Abbeyhill, going past Dynamic Earth. Heading to Queens Road where I catch up with a fast Joyce looking smooth and relaxed in her stride. I run along side her for a moment to see how she is doing, before our own pace separates us apart. 

This is a nice long stretch of greenery before passing St Margaret's Loch. Eventually heading north under the railway line and passing Lochend Park. The route then reaches Leith Link, Seafield Road and onto the promenade of Portobello facing the North Sea.

So far my legs are feeling strong and the Alpha sandals are comfortable on my feet for the long road ahead. The view out to sea is so beautiful and calm. The clouds are dispersing nicely and the sun is shining upon us. With a gentle breeze, it is starting to heat up rather quickly. The water stations are just frequent enough at every three miles.

The crowd support on the front is just brilliant and the relay race has brought in many more spectators today.

Looking out to the North Sea from Cockenzie

Miles 11-20
6:40 6:43 6:34 6:31 6:35 6:40 6:56 7:23 7:02 6:52
After 11 miles I sip some Zero electrolyte mixture (sample from the race pack) I am carrying in my race belt and then have a Nakd bar. The route carries on along the coast then into Musselburgh. I spot a big blue Bosh Run balloon and T-shirt up ahead and can see it is Gillian from our running group. I thumbs up to her and her daughter with a big smile. 

The road carries on through local neighbourhoods and high streets before it reaches Links Road. This is one of the longest roads to the route, although very scenic to look out to sea, it is rather daunting to not see the end of the road. Warming up, the sun is higher and I feel my pace dropping slightly as my legs start to fatigue. This half way point will be crucial to the time I can finish. 

Surprising out of town route

Already the super fast elites are heading back towards us at this stage. Finally after a four mile winding road the turn around point close to Craigielaw is upon us. I speed up the best I can to move away from the annoying heavy breather right on my back. He sounds like a loud panting dog with a sore throat. 

Switching back on ourselves the way we came, then into the private estate grounds of Gosford House, through a scenic wood of tall trees, then a farm with just a herd of cows on one side and horses on the other as our spectators. Looking in fascination as we race down the stoned pathway. My feet feel slightly sore on the ground beneath and already my pace has slowed.

Flat downhill

Once back onto Links Road, a water station followed by some dates as energy fuel. The runners on the other side of the road are coming by in large groups now, a sea of colourful charity tops and fancy dress. I thumbs up at Chris when we pass each other, calling out 'Bosher'. I can see the 20 mile marker up ahead. I look out for Sunday but no sign of him yet. I will need to quicken my pace if I want to achieve another personal best time...

Miles 21-27
6:49 6:51 6:45 6:53 7:11 6:45 7:33
Back through the small village of Port Selton. I smile and shout 'Bosh' when I see Gillian again. The road seems to go on forever, small local shops, cafe and potteries dotted along the high street. The cheering and spectator support is in full swing on this leg back and is really helping to spur me on. Although the other runners I pass have a long way left, it is great to see everyone in high spirits and exchange well done to each other.

The 24 mile marker and just 2.2 miles left. I sip what is left of my electrolyte water which has some added caffeine, in the hope it may lift my pace. Clapping, cheering and 'come on Luke, almost there' being called out. Helping me push on for the finish.

Finally reaching the 26 mile marker, but the finish is nowhere in sight. The railings holding everyone back are packed solid with spectators for the final leg. I see a marshal, then sharp left turn onto bumpy rubber mats covering the playing field below. I can see the clock and the finish line in view, just metres left to go...

'Sub three finisher's coming in, Luke Ashton' I can hear called out. I sprint the best I can on my tired legs. I glance at the clock from above and see 02:56:32.

68th Place 2:56:26

Another personal best with over a minute off my Virgin London time. Not bad considering I ran a 50 mile last weekend. I just wonder how much faster I could do had I been recovered fully? 

Well there is always next year...

I collect my bag and locate Joyce. She too has a personal best of 3:08. So seven minutes off her time from last year. 

Sunday has some discomfort with ITB in his leg so has slowed to a walk/jog to finish safely. Not the time he was after but he has finished another marathon and gained a medal. Training has not been so easy for him with my heavy race schedule, so hopefully in the autumn he can get back on track for 2014. 

Proud finishers Sunday, Chris, Simon and myself

We find Chris and Simon before heading off to the shuttle bus back into the city. 

Note: The 1.5 mile walk to the bus then another long walk from the station to the hotel was not ideal. So I think next year we will consider catching a train.

Joyce makes another PB

Nice big bookmark medal


Click Here


  1. I loved this, Luke. Brilliantly written, as usual and even more special to me as I shared the experience with you!

    Forever in awe ...Joyce

  2. I'm glad you enjoyed it Joyce and a wonderful day! So glad to finally meet you! Thanks and you are doing just as superbly yourself x


Please add your comments here. I would like to encourage discussion on running, training and nutrition. Luke