More than 25,000 runners took to the capital streets today for the Edinburgh marathon.
In glorious sunshine and temperatures reaching a pleasant 15C, runners from more than 100 countries will set off from the city centre to take on the world’s fastest marathon course.
I have decided to wear the Earth Runners Alpha sandal today, as they proved very comfortable on the road during the Florida Keys 50 mile Ultra last weekend.
Once back onto Links Road, a water station followed by some dates as energy fuel. The runners on the other side of the road are coming by in large groups now, a sea of colourful charity tops and fancy dress. I thumbs up at Chris when we pass each other, calling out 'Bosher'. I can see the 20 mile marker up ahead. I look out for Sunday but no sign of him yet. I will need to quicken my pace if I want to achieve another personal best time...
6:49 6:51 6:45 6:53 7:11 6:45 7:33
Back through the small village of Port Selton. I smile and shout 'Bosh' when I see Gillian again. The road seems to go on forever, small local shops, cafe and potteries dotted along the high street. The cheering and spectator support is in full swing on this leg back and is really helping to spur me on. Although the other runners I pass have a long way left, it is great to see everyone in high spirits and exchange well done to each other.
The 24 mile marker and just 2.2 miles left. I sip what is left of my electrolyte water which has some added caffeine, in the hope it may lift my pace. Clapping, cheering and 'come on Luke, almost there' being called out. Helping me push on for the finish.
Finally reaching the 26 mile marker, but the finish is nowhere in sight. The railings holding everyone back are packed solid with spectators for the final leg. I see a marshal, then sharp left turn onto bumpy rubber mats covering the playing field below. I can see the clock and the finish line in view, just metres left to go...
'Sub three finisher's coming in, Luke Ashton' I can hear called out. I sprint the best I can on my tired legs. I glance at the clock from above and see 02:56:32.
Note: The 1.5 mile walk to the bus then another long walk from the station to the hotel was not ideal. So I think next year we will consider catching a train.