Edinburgh Marathon chiefs expecting most competitive race yet

Almost 12,000 runners will line up in the Edinburgh Marathon
Almost 12,000 runners will line up in the Edinburgh Marathon
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Edinburgh Marathon organisers claim tomorrow’s 2018 edition of the race could be the most competitive on record despite opting against bringing in international athletes to create a high-calibre elite field.

Almost 12,000 runners will line up at the start of the race’s new city centre route which begins at Potterrow and winds its way through Princes Street and the Royal Mile before heading out towards its traditional finish in Musselburgh.

Kenyan pair Joel Kipkemboi Kiptoo and Caroline Jepchirchir have been brought over as part of the Marathon Festival’s Project Africa charity but British hopes, including Carl Hardman and local favourite Shona McIntosh, could contend for the men’s titles with the event set to forego its IAAF Bronze Label race status.

“It was a decision we took to move away from IAAF Label status and instead be accredited via European Athletics ratings which are less about your elite field and more about the quality of the event delivery – and they have put us as five stars,” race director Neil Kilgour said. “The IAAF system is going to be reformed so it’s possible we go back into that in the future.

“But the reality is the race will be even better because for the first time, we’ll have 10-15 people who could potentially win it rather than the one or two we’ve had each year in the past. It’s likely the winner won’t have as quick a time but I’m not sure how much that matters. There will be more runners competing out there and I think that’s better for the athletes and the race.”

Over 35,000 runners are expected to take part in the two-day Festival over various distances in the Capital during today and tomorrow with Avril Mason defending the women’s half-marathon crown and Patryk Gierjatowicz bidding to go one better from his second place 12 months ago.