The weather was just right for the start of the Edinburgh Marathon, overcast, cool and no wind. There are 2 roads used for the start, each having several pens, I was in the 2nd to last pen on the slowest road, so we started off a good 10+ minutes after the Elite runners. The route is a net downhill course, beginning not far from the end of Princes Street and running down to the coast. The first 7 miles being through the suburbs and out to the seaside at Portobello. Then it follows the Firth of Forth for 10 miles passing through Musselborough and several villages before doubling back and finishing in Mussleborough.
I set off at a reasonably comfortable pace and reached half way in 2hrs 5 mins. I managed to maintain that pace up to about 18 miles (just after the turn). At this point the route passes through the grounds of Gosford House and the road changes from good surfaces to badly maintained road and gravel track for about a mile. The clouds had also disappeared by this stage and it was beginning to get really warm. There was very little breeze and I was beginning to overheat. There had been plenty of water on route and I had taken full advantage of these to dilute the Shot Bloks I had taken for energy. I also had a couple of bottles of diluted electrolyte sports drink that I was really grateful for.
By the time we had returned to a good surface I was not feeling as comfortable and at mile 20 I was beginning to struggle. Not so much with my legs, more with my ability to breath easily. My average had dropped a bit, but by 21 miles I was beginning to find it really difficult.
From 22 miles onwards I had to adopt a walk run strategy, 400 metres running and 100 metres walking just to get my breathing under control.
The crowds through Prestonpans and Musseburgh were fantastic and really helped get me through. About a quarter of a mile from the end one poor lady had collapsed at the side of the road, but she was being tended to by St Johns paramedics, just hope she was OK.
The last couple of hundred yards to the finish were on an aluminium runway. I tried my hardest to smile as I crossed the line, but definitely held my hands high! My best hope for a finish time was 4 hrs 30 minutes, so in spite of the last 4 miles of suffering I was really happy.