Blow by blow

Edinburgh Marathon 2014

Edinburgh Marathon 2014 race report. 

This could be a long one, a lot to cover and as the title suggests, I'm going to go through this blow by blow so that I can maybe analyse what happened. 

After being rudely awoken this morning by the local Fire brigade smashing down upstairs door due to a fire at 6:30am I didn't really manage to get back to sleep. I got up and had my breakfast, a cup of coffee and orange juice and then I was ready to head out to London road where I would start. 

The forecast wasn't looking brilliant but nothing you can do about that. I was feeling really positive about today's race. The training has gone well and the Edinburgh to North Berwick race gave me confidence that sub 3 was mine to be had. The plan was, as discussed in yesterday's blog, to go out at 6:50 for the first 20 miles and then see if I can up the pace for the final 6.2 miles. 

Managed to have a quick chat with Robert Turner (Edinburgh AC) prior to dropping off my bag and then once in the pen I met up with Andy (@UmegaAndy) who was going to be my wingman for the day. Also had a quick couple of words with Dale Roy (Edinburgh AC - @Dale_Roy) and gave Will (Tiree Fitness) a wave as he took his place in the Elite pen. 

The rain had stopped in time for us to start and after a slight delay we were off. 

Andy who had said he would run with me up until 20 miles at 6:50 pace as just a puff of smoke, zooming along the road into the distance. I have to admit having a wee chuckle to myself but I was sticking to my plan and taking it easy. 


Mile 2

I had a slight panic. You used to run down past the Scottish Parliament building and then take a left but we were being directed right. Right takes you up and around Arthurs Seat, I hadn't seen that on the route planner. No way can I do 6:50 up and around Arthurs seat as part of a marathon, but thankfully we were just heading up and around another roundabout and then we were back on the route I know. Phew! Panic over.


The wind wasn't too bad at this point and everything was still going to plan.Splits were all sitting just under the 6:50 which was fine. 


Mile 6

A bit of a wobble, the wind was strong along Portobello Prom but the crowds were fantastic, as always. I started to doubt whether 6:50 was possible. I kept on trying to find groups who were running the same pace but every time I joined a group they seemed to slow down. After we got off the Prom I was in a better place and there seemed to be more shelter from the wind, until about 9 miles that is.

Mile 13

I finally caught up with Andy! 
Heading out past Cockenzie power station and I really wanted to shelter behind someone, by now I had expected to find a group of like minded runners, going for 6:50s to get sub 3 but ever group I ran behind slowed up to 6:55 - 7:00, so I would pass them and then hook on to the next group and again, find that they were running slower than I had hoped. Coming around to mile 14 was where the second hand over point was for the relay teams and Barry Davie (@runningBaza) was sitting waiting for Davie Black (Edinburgh parkrun). Barry's advice was "Get in behind someone and shelter from the wind", to which I simply replied "I'm trying!!". This was probably the first mile that I started to feel the effect of the wind, 6:50 was tough to hit. 

Mile 17

This in my mind was the last mile of running in to the wind and how I was looking forward to it, running past the exit to Gosford house I had a wee look up the track and luckily managed to spot Will heading down, gave him a wave and then continued up around the cone and in to the grounds of Gosford House. 

Running past Gosford house is always a tough section of this race, you go from running on the road to a rough track and today was no different. It is however the first time I've actually spotted the house and it's pretty amazing. Really nice grounds around it, I was in a happier place at this point as I had a) had a chance to go to the loo and b) the wind was now behind us. Even chased a chicken along the road for a bit! 

Mile 22

Watch was still saying I was on target, pace was looking fine but the mile markers were quick a bit off from where I had expected to see them. This started to play on my mind a bit. What's wrong, is it my watch or the signs. If it's my watch then I'm running too slow, if it's the signs then is the marathon going to be longer than 26.2 miles! Maybe not surprisingly mile 23 was off target with a 7:02 min/mi. This is when the wheels started to fall off the waggon. 

The small undulations through Prestonpans felt like mountains, the crowds cheers didn't help and I was feeling rubbish. So much so that I thought I was about to pass out. Got stars in my vision and thought, enough is enough, time to ease the pace. I found some kids with some sweets and I quickly ate them. I think they were Haribo Sours and they were amazing! This gave me a bit of a boost but I still only managed to get a 7:51 for mile 24. 

2 miles to go!

I gave myself a kick at this point, only 2 miles to go! Come on Owain, you can pick up the pace. A runner ran past me, I hooked on to him and was determined to stick with him but alas, again it wasn't to be. More light headedness and I walked through the water station, picked up an energy gel which I destroyed, washed it down with water and was off again, but again, it was too late, another off target mile 7:58 even the final mile I couldn't get the legs moving any faster and clocked it at 7:49. 

The final stretch was better, got the legs back up to speed but it was too little too late. 


Final thoughts

I finished in 3:02.50, a PB for that race.

My splits were:

10k split: 00:42:38
Half marathon: 01:29:48
30k split: 02:07:24
Overall finish position: 212 of 8620
Category: Male Under 35
Category finish position: 85 of 2217

Would I do anything differently, I think I need to get fitter and faster, not run so close to the sub 3 target because it just gives you no room for error. I think the wind may have played more on my legs than I had realised and when the 20 mile marker came, I had nothing to give to go faster.

Am I annoyed to miss the sub 3?

Not really. I gave it my all and wouldn't change anything. 

Should I maybe look at taking gels in a race?

Hmmm, maybe or an alternative just to help me with the tired legs.

Should I have trained harder?

Again, maybe. Maybe more long runs than I had done. 

Did I enjoy the race overall?

Yip, I did, the course has improved since the last time I ran it. They have got rid of some of the annoying sections, but it's still a Lothian Marathon rather than 'Edinburgh'. The finish line was a bit of a nightmare as there was temporary flooring put down which I almost tripped on but the crowds in the final half mile were epic! 

Will I run Edinburgh again?

Aye, probably but all my focus is now on Amsterdam Marathon, I've got a new fire in my belly and I'm taking it with me to Amsterdam. 2:45 Marathon anyone? 



I'd like to thank Mandy for her support over the past couple of months. Putting up with my training. Getting up early every Sunday morning to go for my long run. She has been fantastic!

I'd like to thank everyone who shouted words of encouragement while out on the course. Too many to name individually but you were all brilliant. 

The final lesson I learned today was, even if the weather says it's going to be raining, wear suncream! I've got a great vest tan going on!!! 

Owain Williams

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