RUNNERS turned out in force to take part in the Edinburgh Marathon as armed police stepped up security around the event.
Organisers decided the marathon weekend would go ahead as usual despite the devastating terror attack at Manchester Arena last week.
Security was increased at the start and finish lines of the main race as the public were told to expect extra checks.
Race director Neil Kilgour reiterated the message of increased security as a precaution. “There is no information or knowledge linked to any threat to Edinburgh or the Edinburgh Marathon Festival.”
But the extra measures did little to dampen the spirits of over 30,000 runners, which included former Lord Provost, Councillor Donald Wilson, who was running to raise funds for St John in the City Defibrillator Project.
The sunny weather made for hot running conditions for the elite competitors on one of the world’s fastest marathon courses, where Kenyan dominance of the event continued in both the male and female races.
Julius Kiplagat Korir took a decisive victory in the men’s race, breaking clear in the last few miles to blow away the opposition in a winning time of 2 hours, 17 minutes and 13 seconds.
Fellow Kenyan, Stanley Kiprotich Bett took second place in 2 hours, 19 minutes and 9 seconds, followed closely by crowd favourite and star of ‘Running with the Kenyans’, Japhet Koech with a time of 2 hours 20 minutes and 35 seconds.
Mr Korir said: “I really enjoyed the race today.
“I was in the leading pack for the first 20 miles, then decided that I wanted to make a break for it to win, and was happy that I did.”
The women’s race was dominated by Kenyan Eddah Jepkosgei.
She led from the gun to a six minute victory in 2 hours, 37 minutes and 46 seconds.
The podium was completed by Belarusian Olga Dubovskaya in 2 hours, 43 minutes and 40 seconds, and Dianne Lauder, Gala Harriers in 2 hours, 54 minutes and 48 seconds.
Ms Jepkosgei said: “Today was tougher than last year, the first half was good but I struggled with the wind in the second half.
“I’m happy as I’ve cut two minutes off my time from last year, I’d like to come back in 2018 and run 2 hours 34 minutes!”
Runners started the course at London Road and finished up near Musselburgh Racecourse.
And as if running the 26.2 mile route wasn’t tough enough, Scott Hutchison from Tranent completed the grand slam of marathon, half marathon, 10k and 5k over the course of the weekend.
Scott was running for Arthritis Research UK and Pulmonary Fibrosis Trust as both his dad and mother-in-law have been severely impacted by this in recent years.
“That’s probably the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do in my life,” he said. “My body is absolute agony.
“Half way through the marathon was the hardest part of today, but I’m so chuffed that I finished and can’t wait to put my feet up and enjoy a barbecue!”
It was a particularly heart-thumping day for Peter Irvine from West Lothian who proposed to his partner Stephen with a personalised medal saying “fancy running a marathon to the altar with me?” at the finish line.
Thankfully he said ‘yes’.
Afterwards, Mr Irvine said: “We are completely over the moon.
“I’m so pleased that Stephen said “yes” to the proposal – I was glad that I managed to convince him to get on stage!”
Race director Mr Kilgour, who had released a statement stating the increase in police presence at the race, was pleased the 15th marathon festival was a success.
He said: “2017 has been another incredible year for Edinburgh Marathon Festival with record-breaking performances, tens of thousands of participants and millions raised for good causes.
“We are proud to host a truly world class running event in Scotland’s capital for people of all ages and abilities from across the globe.
“Congratulations to everyone who took part. Thanks for making the 2017 Edinburgh Marathon Festival one of the UK’s greatest mass participation events.”