Edinburgh Marathon returns and it really is worth getting up for – Vladimir McTavish

Want to see Edinburgh at its most picture postcard beautiful? Then get up very early on a Sunday morning.

By Vladimir McTavish
Saturday, 28th May 2022, 4:55 am
Edinburgh Marathon can attract some unusual spectators from revellers who spent the night on the street to ghosts on their way to work (Picture: Jane Barlow/PA)
Edinburgh Marathon can attract some unusual spectators from revellers who spent the night on the street to ghosts on their way to work (Picture: Jane Barlow/PA)

And tomorrow, many thousands of intrepid folk will be doing just that, as they pound the Capital’s streets in the first Edinburgh Marathon since 2019. Our city is simply stunning at that time of day, and beautifully deserted too.

I did a 10k run from the Royal Mile to Murrayfield back in the autumn, and I do remember wondering what had possessed me to get my sorry bones to the Lawnmarket before half-past nine on the Sabbath. I found my answer. Not only do you have the city pretty much to yourself at that time of day, but there is a somewhat surreal look to Auld Reekie as it wakes up.

There are still the odd stragglers from hen and stag nights hobbling hungover through the streets, many devoid of footwear. As we ran through the Cowgate, one guy who had obviously spent the previous night sleeping on the pavement, woke up and he toasted us with what remained of last night’s lager.

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The actors at the Edinburgh Dungeon had turned up for work and were already in costume ahead of the venue opening. They were all standing on Market Street, cheering us on, dressed as ghosts. It was a bizarre, but strangely uplifting, scene.

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I will not be running tomorrow. Instead I have opted to take part in the 5k, which takes place at 11am today, which is a much more civilised time given that I will have got home from my Friday night gig around midnight. Plus the fact that I’m a guy in his 60s who drinks too much, has an ingrowing toenail, and will be running in a pair of shoes held together with gaffer tape.

Good luck to all the runners who are doing the big race tomorrow. Some of them will have been training for over two years for this one day. When that alarm goes off at stupid o’clock for a Sunday, and they ask themselves why they agreed to do this madness, I would say this: “It’s worth it for the view alone.”