Edinburgh Marathon runners can get a beer from 10am after licensing board approves early opening

Waiting until 11am to open would mean a queue of 800 people, says man in charge of the beer tent
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Runners taking part in this year’s Edinburgh Marathon will be able to enjoy a pint from 10am on the day, after a beer tent was given the go ahead to open early.

Steve Stewart from Stewart Brewing, who have run the drinks venue at the marathon for 12 years, asked East Lothian licensing board for the early start after saying up to 20 per cent of pints served on the day would be drunk before the normal on-sales starting time of 11am. He said the fastest racers in a half marathon event, which starts before the main run, start arriving at the finish line at 9.50am.

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And he told the board that if they were unable to open until 11am there would be “a queue of up to 800 people waiting for a beer” at the tent. The beer tent is part of a charity “village” created at the finishing line for the Edinburgh Marathon at Pinkie St Peter’s Primary School playing fields in Musselburgh.

Thirsty runners at next month's Edinburgh Marathon will be able to get a drink at 10am after the beer tent won permission to open early.Thirsty runners at next month's Edinburgh Marathon will be able to get a drink at 10am after the beer tent won permission to open early.
Thirsty runners at next month's Edinburgh Marathon will be able to get a drink at 10am after the beer tent won permission to open early.

Mr Stewart applied for a licence to serve alcohol on the day of the event on Sunday May 28 between 10am and 7pm. He said the charity village was where runners met up with their families and charities they were supporting and most would only have one or two pints before moving on. He said in previous years when the marathon was held, the beer tent served around 5,000 people, with an estimated 20,000 people taking part in the event itself.

Mr Stewart said: “The audience and our customer base is very transient, it is very much a (case where) you have trained for three or six months during that time you have not had anything to drink. You run this marathon in one of the most beautiful cities in the world and at the end of it, it is about meeting your family and charity and having a well rewarded drink. It is very much people having one or two beers and then going and that is how we’ve been operating since 2011.”

The licensing board approved the early opening for the beer tent with Councillor John McMillan describing the marathon as a “welcome event for well-being and for tourism”. He said the arrangements in place to oversee public safety by the brewery and event organisers reassured him however he told the board the name of the event was a talking point in the community. “Many people have said it is a shame it is not recognised as the East Lothian marathon as well as the Edinburgh marathon.”