Edinburgh Marathon has come along way from humble beginings

Marathon Race - Edinburgh to North Berwick - Start of race in Regent Road.

Marathon Race - Edinburgh to North Berwick - Start of race in Regent Road.

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THE Streets of the Capital will be bustling with eager athletes tomorrow as the annual Edinburgh Marathon takes over the city.

This year’s event, which has been widened to a “Marathon Weekend” with dozens of events, will see a record number of runners taking part, with around 27,000 people set to lace up their trainers.

The Edinburgh Universities Athletics meeting at Meadowbank in May 1970

The Edinburgh Universities Athletics meeting at Meadowbank in May 1970

It’s now the second largest marathon in the UK, after London – and recently had the accolade of being voted the fastest course in the UK – but the Capital has long been host to its own version of the world’s most famous endurance race.

In the 1960s the event was a much smaller affair, with just a handful of runners turning out to take on a course that took them from the slopes of Regent Road all the way out to North Berwick.

Then in the 1970s and 80s it was run around the streets of the Capital, with competitors starting and finishing in the imposing arena of Meadowbank in an event organised by the Edinburgh University Athletics club.

By 1985 it had become a much larger affair, with runners taking on a course that included the Royal Mile. And the following year the city hosted a Commonwealth Games marathon, part of the Around Scotland relay race, which saw athletes such as Margaret Brotherton, Colin Hume and Keith Lyann hitting the streets.

Like all marathons Edinburgh has seen its fair share of costumed runners as well, such as flying dustman Dave Hurst, who ran with an enormous dustbin strapped to his back.

The current Edinburgh marathon was started in 2003, and while its early years saw just a few thousand people take part, the impressive scenery and challenging courses of the city have seen it grow steadily into the huge event it is today.