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Edinburgh Marathon Festival

Sat 23rd May 2020
22 Potterrow, Edinburgh EH8 9BL, UK

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Tickets £10–£50, Charity places available

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Not just a race, but an entire running festival. From the 5k to the marathon, the super-flat course is perfect for runners of all stripes. Come for a course that is ripe for smashing those personal bests and bask in the weekend's festival atmosphere.
  • Road
  • Flat
  • Finisher’s medal
  • Finisher’s t-shirt
  • Closed roads
  • 30000 participants

From the organizer

Organizer's website

Full marathon, half marathon, 10K or 5K race? The Edinburgh Marathon Festival has them all. The course starts in the city of Edinburgh and takes you along the coast to the finish line at Musselburgh Racecourse.

Distances in this event

  1. EMF Marathon

    Run 26.2mi
    10:00am Sat 23rd May 2020
    £40–£45
    Tickets & Charity places available
  2. EMF Half Marathon

    Run 13.1mi
    9:00am Sat 23rd May 2020
    £30
    Tickets available
  3. EMF 10k

    Run 10km
    9:00am Sat 23rd May 2020
    £20
    Tickets available
  4. EMF 5k

    Run 5km
    11:00am Sat 23rd May 2020
    £10
    Tickets available
  5. EMF 4 Person Marathon Relay

    Run 42.2km
    10:00am Sat 23rd May 2020
    £50
    Tickets & Charity places available

Where could you finish?

We’ll work out your time based on past results, elevation and terrain.

Route info

Course Maps
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What’s Included

ENTRY BENEFITS

  • Wicking finisher’s t-shirt
  • Accurate chip timing
  • Tailored training plan
  • Great finisher’s medal
  • Race recovery pack
  • Fantastic running experience
Course Details

Start line: Our Dynamic Earth, Holyrood Road, Edinburgh EH8 8AS

Marathon:

Starting on Potterrow in the grounds of one of the oldest Universities in the world, this incredible city centre start takes you through the very heart of Edinburgh. As you pass Greyfriars Bobby on your left, you also take in the National Museum of Scotland on your right, before heading over the High Street and down The Mound. Don’t be surprised if you see a few shoppers stop and cheer as you then run past the Scottish National Gallery and into Princes Street Gardens, with the iconic Edinburgh Castle as your backdrop.

The route then takes in the ‘Gothic Rocket’, otherwise known as the Scott Monument, as it meanders down the historic Royal Mile, heading towards and past the somewhat controversial Scottish Parliament building. Here you can look up and take in the spectacular Arthurs Seat & Salisbury Crags, as well as the Palace of Holyrood, before departing the Royal Park and heading east towards the coast. As you reach Musselburgh, you’ll run past the oldest golf course in the world, where it’s documented that golf has been played as early as 1672, before heading further East on the flat to Gosford House, an imposing neo-classical mansion which was one of the last great architectural commissions of the celebrated Scots architect, Robert Adam.

As you turn and head back along the coast, you’ll see the beautiful finish line ahead, one of the greatest sights for any marathon runner! With a descent of almost 90 metres to near sea level, we believe that this is the fastest marathon route in the world.

Half Marathon
Starting on Potterrow in the grounds of one of the oldest Universities in the world, this incredible city centre start takes you through the very heart of Edinburgh. As you pass Greyfriars Bobby on your left, you also take in the National Museum of Scotland on your right, before heading over the High Street and down The Mound. Don’t be surprised if you see a few shoppers stop and cheer as you then run past the Scottish National Gallery and into Princes Street Gardens, with the iconic Edinburgh Castle as your backdrop.

The route then takes in the ‘Gothic Rocket’, otherwise known as the Scott Monument, as it meanders down the historic Royal Mile, heading towards and past the somewhat controversial Scottish Parliament building. Here you can look up and take in the spectacular Arthurs Seat & Salisbury Crags, as well as the Palace of Holyrood, before departing the Royal Park and heading east towards the coast.

As you reach Musselburgh, you’ll run past the oldest golf course in the world, where it’s documented that golf has been played as early as 1672, before heading further East on the flat towards the historic village of Preston Pans before turning and heading back towards the beautiful finish line within the vast playing fields of Pinkie School.

With a descent of almost 90 metres to near sea level, we believe this is the fastest half marathon route in the world.

Marathon Relay:

The EMF Hairy Haggis Team Relay is an opportunity for a team of 4 runners to take part in the Edinburgh Marathon Festival. The 26.2 miles is split into 4 legs, each runner will run one leg. The approximate distance of each leg is shown below:

Leg 1: The Royal Leg – 8.3 miles: Starting on Potterrow in the grounds of one of the oldest Universities in the world, this incredible city centre start takes you through the very heart of Edinburgh. As you pass Greyfriars Bobby on your left, you also take in the National Museum of Scotland on your right, before heading over the High Street and down The Mound. Don’t be surprised if you see a few shoppers stop and cheer as you then run past the Scottish National Gallery and into Princes Street Gardens, with the iconic Edinburgh Castle as your backdrop.

The route then takes in the ‘Gothic Rocket’, otherwise known as the Scott Monument, as it meanders down the historic Royal Mile, heading towards and past the somewhat controversial Scottish Parliament building. Here you can look up and take in the spectacular Arthurs Seat & Salisbury Crags, as well as the Palace of Holyrood, before departing the Royal Park and heading east towards the coast where runners reach the first relay changeover at Fisherrow Links, Musselburgh.

Leg 2: The Cock & Pan Leg – 5.5 miles: The route then crosses the River Esk and past Musselburgh Racecourse and then continues beyond Prestongrange Mining Museum, Prestonpans, the site of the 1745 Battle of Prestonpans, Cockenzie and Port Seton where reaching the second relay changeover at Port Seton Links.

Leg 3: The Gosford Leg – 8 miles: It then races on to picturesque East Lothian, along Scotland’s golf coast which boasts 22 courses including some of the world’s oldest and most admired like North Berwick, Gullane and Muirfield. The route passes the village of Longniddry then enters the grounds of Gosford House before looping around and heading back to Port Seton and the final relay changeover.

Leg 4: The Glory Leg – 4.4 miles: Now in the home straight the route passes through Port Seton, Cockenzie and Prestonpans back past Musselburgh Links, the famous golf course officially recognised by the Guinness Book of Records as the oldest golf course in the world. The marathon finishes in playing fields at Pinkie St Peter’s Primary School. Well done hairies!

10K:

Starting and finishing near the EMF Hub at Dynamic Earth, this beautiful, scenic route takes place in Holyrood Park in the heart of Edinburgh. The route offers stunning views of Edinburgh Castle and panoramic views of the city.

Runners start on Queens Drive with a 200m downhill section before heading past the steep sides of Arthurs Seat on your right and Dynamic Earth, The Scottish Parliament and Holyrood Palace on your left. Continuing on towards the 1km mark you will pass St. Margaret’s Loch before starting the ascent around the east side of Arthurs Seat. As you continue the clockwise route around this famous old volcano, you will pass Dunsapie Loch at around 2.5km. Now on the far side of Arthur’s seat at 3km runners can enjoy spectacular views of Duddingston Loch below and across the southside of Edinburgh and beyond towards the Pentland Hills. Approaching the 4km marker you will enjoy a panoramic view of the City. The route then doubles back on itself along Duddingston Low Road at 5km and through Duddingston Village at 6km. The route joins the Innocent Railway Road through 7km and 8km and then heads back up onto Queens Drive. Passing the 9km it’s now downhill all the way, back through the Start Line again and the final 250m dash to the cheering crowds and the finish line on Holyrood Gait.

5K:

Starting and finishing near EMF Hub at Dynamic Earth, this beautiful scenic route takes you around Holyrood Park in the heart of Edinburgh. The route offers stunning views of Edinburgh Castle and panoramic views of the city. Runners start on Queens Drive and after 0.5km the route passes St. Margaret’s Loch before starting the ascent around the east side of Arthur’s Seat before you pass Dunsapie Loch at around 2k. On the far side of Arthur’s seat and approaching the halfway point, runners can enjoy spectacular views of Duddingston Loch below and across the southside of Edinburgh and beyond towards the Pentland Hills with the knowledge that the rest of the route is flat and downhill! As the route continues down the West Side of this famous old volcano you can enjoy the views of the steep slopes on your right and in the distance the cheering masses at the final turn. The last 250m section runs back through the Start Line and then turns left onto Holyrood Gait and the Finish Line.

Raceday Logistics

9:00 am - 10K START, Half Marathon START

10:00 am - Marathon & Marathon Relay START

11:00 am - 5K START

Travel

Can you give me some information about travel options on race day?
There are details of public transport and event transport options available in the Transport section of your Event Information Pack and also in the Transport section of the website. Please visit the event page relating to your entry. Unfortunately due to the volume of runners involved, we cannot assist individuals with personal travel plans to the event.

Can you give me some information about travel options on race day?
Your bus tickets are available to download from your My Details account (under "My Events" tab) 10 days prior to the event Bus tickets WILL NOT be posted out or emailed to you.

Where do the event shuttle buses operate from?
You can find out where the event buses operate from via the online shop, where you can also purchase tickets for the event bus.

This is where you can find times, locations and ticket information.

Kit List

How and when do I receive my race number and timing chip?
All entrants registered with an address outside the UK, those who have not received a race number in the post or those who require a replacement number for any other reason will need to visit the EMF Event Hub at Dynamic Earth (112-116 Holyrood Gait, Edinburgh EH8 8AS) to collect their race number. The Event Hub is open on the event weekend on Friday from 12noon until 8pm and on Saturday from 8am until 4pm. On Saturday evening, the Help Desk will move to the Teviot Building, EH8 9AJ and will be open from 6pm - 9pm.

Can I take part wearing headphones?
Yes. UKA rules state ’The wearing of headphones, or similar devices, (other than those medically prescribed), is not permitted in races on any single carriageway road that is not wholly closed to traffic. This restriction does not apply to races held on dual carriageways provided that there are clear, structured separations between the separate carriageways. Competition Providers of races held entirely on roads closed to traffic may apply this condition where appropriate to local circumstances.

Can I take part in fancy dress?
Yes of course! As long as your outfit doesn't include any thing which could impede other participants.

If you plan to take part in a group fancy dress outfit joining runners together please contact us using the form below to check that your costume meets health and safety regulations

Spectators

There will be a spectator's pack that will become available from the beginning of May on the EMF hub. You are welcome to share this with your friends and family who want to support you on the day - it holds all the information they will need to enjoy watching you run.

Volunteers

Our Event Team are vital to the success of every single one of our events. Whether you are doing it to gain experience, build up your CV, raise money for charity, raise funds for your club or just to have a really great day, we really appreciate you being there and supporting the event and the runners in this way.

Event Team roles are numerous and varied, no particular experience is required to join the team, we are just looking for groups of people who can help to deliver a truly memorable event for all involved and ensure that all runners have a fantastic event experience.

From cheering on our marathon runners to running one of our local groups, there are so many ways for you to volunteer. Join us today!

FAQs

In the EMF Hub (at Our Dynamic Earth) you will find:

  • EMF Help Desk Friday – 12noon – 8.00pm Saturday – 8.00am – 4pm. On Saturday evening, the help desk will moved to the Teviot and the opening hours will be from 6pm – 9pm.
  • Merchandise – Get Kitted Out! If you want to buy EMF merchandise you can visit the merchandise tent managed by Run 4 It, who’ll have experts on hand to give you advice on all things shoes and clothing! Please note, the merchandise tent will only be available at
  • Dynamic Earth and will not be moving to the Teviot on Saturday evening.
  • Charity Stands – inside Dynamic Earth Saturday – 8am – 2pm
  • Charities A-Z Meeting Point – outside Dynamic Earth

Over the weekend of the event please visit the EMF Hub in person if you require information. It is not possible to contact the EMF Hub via telephone. Please do not call Dynamic Earth as their staff will not be able to assist you and your call cannot be forwarded to the EMF Hub.

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Reviews (13)

4.3 out of 5 stars

  • Course
  • Organisation
  • Atmosphere
  • Did the EMF Half Marathon in 2019

    Never been to Scotland before & chose the Half Marathon as a great excuse to visit, we all had a great time away, such a historic place. The run was really nice the rain did not detract from the fun of the at all. We booked a fabulous apartment in the city & camt wait to return next year.
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  • Did the EMF Half Marathon in 2019

    Very well organised with all the information sent to me good time in a readable format. On the day the volunteers and staff were great and i knew where I needed to be for when. The route itself was ok, didn’t really see many landmarks but the atmosphere was brilliant and the reception at the finish spot on
  • Did the EMF Marathon in 2019

    Despite the heavy showers in the morning, the weather cleared up nicely just in time for the start of the marathon. The first 5 miles through the city are gradually downhill, followed by an out-and-back section along the East Lothian coast. Lots of supporters lining the route in and around the towns, but out towards the turnaround point the atmosphere was a bit flat. Good organisation, the only minor complaint being that the shuttle buses picked up about 30 mins walk from the finish 😫
  • Did the EMF Marathon in 2019

    The course starts in the heart of Edinburgh city centre and starts downhill through the streets before heading towards Arthur's seat, around this part is very congested and very tight as there are runners coming towards you on the other side of the road, once through you make your way out of Edinburgh, through Portobello towards Musselburgh and given the weather this year I was very surprised to see so many people out on the course cheering you on.
    Once in Musselburgh you run alongside the track that you will be finishing in about 16 miles, the support around here is as expected amazing as this is also where the half marathon comes through earlier in the day to finish. Heading out you go through Prestonpans, Cockenzie and Port Seton before heading out on a very long loop with very little support aside from your legs, it's this loop that can get to a lot of people, especially as you make the return and know how far it is to get back to the finish line that you passed at what seems like an eternity ago. As you get to the Haven holiday village you know that the support will be coming back to you but if you've made the mistake of walking because the support wasn't there earlier (like I did in 2018) it's very difficult to get back into a rhythm. You head back for the final 7 miles with a potential of strong headwinds, this year (2019) we had standard winds of 14mph with gusts of up 35mph to face us on the final leg of the journey. The last 3 miles are brilliant though as you remember that you only have one more water station to get you through, after that the support hits you as a thunderous applause greets you on the final part of the track, don't get carried away though, you still have a whole mile left as you run alongside the Musselburgh racecourse. Crowds line both sides of the street and you know you are getting close, you have one corner left and there it is, that large blue entrance to the runners village.

    The weather this year was a little bit of an odd one as the rain came down hard whilst we waited for the gun, the rain soon stopped and then it was very warm and as mentioned earlier the winds were very difficult to negotiate. The overall organisation of the event was top draw, bag dropped in seconds and collected in seconds.

    I have ran this marathon 3 years in a row and would highly recommend it to anyone, even if support is your thing this is definitely a bucket list marathon

  • Did the EMF Marathon in 2019

    I'm not usually a fan of courses that have U-Turns but I really enjoyed this course. You see the best of the city centre before heading out along the coastline....some great scenery and quaint little towns. You felt like you had some space running too, rather than packed so tightly you had to watch your footing! Given it heads out of the city, it's not like London Marathon with crowds cheering you the entire way, but this said, spectators at the various little villages were a great boost. Could improve organisation on some fronts - didn't get race pack in post so had to collect the day before (no stress though). It's not the best course for spectators as the finish is pretty far from the city centre. They don't have a tracking app in place for runners which was a shame too. But all in all, a really great event with some beautiful scenery along the way!
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  • Did the EMF Marathon in 2019

    Despite what people had previously told me, I thought this course was so great. You start in town and then head down to the sea and run along the coast for the majority of the run. It does mean there aren’t many spectators along the route, but when we did pass through towns the atmosphere was amazing. Only downside to the organisation is that there’s no live athlete tracker!!
    Would 100% recommend though.
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  • Did the EMF Half Marathon in 2019

    Well organised as usual at start and finish but new route was too narrow in many places for number of runners. I’m sure will this have affected times. First mile especially slow because of snarl up at Princes Street Gardens. Thanks to the householders at Joppa and Musselburgh for music that raised spirits. Thanks also to all volunteers who smiled throughout. The EMF buses mostly empty. This needs to be addressed. Too dear? Not going near enough to finish (stop at normal bus stops instead of Wallyford Park and Ride)? Overall a great event.
  • Did the EMF Marathon in 2019

    This was my second marathon of the year after London in April. The level of organisation was second to none. Event helpers were everywhere at the start, so finding toilets, baggage drop off and the start line was a doddle. The finish was equally well put together. It is clear a lot of thought has gone into how runners meet family at the end and the park at the end in Musselburgh is big enough to accommodate loads of finishers and their family. The atmosphere was great, obviously there are quiet patches but the views and coastal route was superb with the extra treat of a Gosford Park loop before heading back. My only gripe is the difficulty of parking at the end for family. I understand it’s busy, but it was a real challenge for family to get to me. Buses are put on for Edinburgh transfers but the fact it finishes well outside means some challenge in getting about for family. Other than that it was brilliant and the route is one to savour.
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  • Did the EMF Marathon in 2018

    What a cracking day out! Great course, fab city. Stayed up there for the weekend and would certainly do it again.
  • Did the EMF Marathon in 2018

    Some people may say “Edinburgh, whyyyyy?!” Well, here’s why... A really well organised marathon. You start by the castle and running down is pretty special and very well supported (feat bagpipes of course). You do then run for quite a long time along the coast, which is quite sparsely supported at times. It’s renowned as being a quick marathon so if you’re doing it for a time rather than overall atmosphere, this is less of an issue. Also worth being aware that you finish a fair way outside Edinburgh itself but a great set up at the end with music, food etc. Overall, very well organised, good time of year, crucially NOT hilly, great excuse to visit Edinburgh.

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