Edinburgh marathon runners pound the streets

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THOUSANDS of runners pounded the streets of the Capital for the Edinburgh marathon yesterday.

Nearly 20,000 people braved torrential rain to set off round long-distance circuits between London and Regent Roads, and Musselburgh in East Lothian.

Thousands of marathon runners set off from Regent Road. Picture: Ian Georgeson

Thousands of marathon runners set off from Regent Road. Picture: Ian Georgeson

Kenya’s David Toniok, 30, raced to the finish line first to win the marathon in 2 hours, 15 minutes and 33 seconds, only 7 seconds off the course record.

Over the festival weekend, around 30,000 participants brought the city to a standstill for events including junior races, the team relay and a half marathon.

Runners and spectators were quick to heap praise on the festival and its setting.

Adam Lee, 31, travelled to Edinburgh from Bracknell in Berkshire to support his wife, Lorna, 29, who ran for children’s charity Sebastian’s Action Trust.

He said: “She was a little bit nervous but she did plenty of training, so she’s quietly confident.

“She was told it’s quite a flat marathon and we wanted to come to Edinburgh as well, so it all fits in quite nicely. The atmosphere is brilliant, and it’s a great turnout considering the weather.”

Now in its 12th year, the Edinburgh Marathon is rated among the world’s top 75 road races and, thanks to the generally flat route, has been voted the fastest event of its kind in the UK. This year’s entrants are also thought to have raised more than £3m for a wide range of charities. Aircraft refueller Alan Cunningham, 45, was in the Capital and saw his wife, Abby, 37, run to raise money for a renal cancer charity.

He said: “There was plenty of nervous energy. It’s great to come here. It’s the Capital, isn’t it? The big one – and I know she was looking forward to it not being too hilly.”

Welder Nicki Pelc, 25, from Fauldhouse in West Lothian, ran in the 5K, 10K, half and full marathon events with his older brother, Scott Douglas, 39, who had flown to Edinburgh from his base in Los Angeles. “It means the world to me that Scott is here,” he said. “Scott was loving it – he really enjoyed it. It’s a really good occasion. It’s everyone coming together.”

Neil Kilgour, festival director, added: “People use the weekend to change their lives for the better - fact. Everyone is a hero.”