It’s Tuesday and 2 days have passed since race day.
I am writing to you from my bed, with my legs still hurting while I look for next year’s Marathons! (Because, of course, I said this was going to be the last!)
I want to talk about my experience because maybe out there someone wants to do this crazy experience but it’s afraid, or worried, or doesn’t know where to start.
I don’t have any runner friends so I had to do this all by myself. It worked out great and gave me a lot of time to think about me, how my life is going and how I want it to be. So, if you are not willing to be highly connected to your inner self for a few days, then it’s not the trip for you.
It all started when my boss told me to decide when I wanted to go on vacation. I already knew I wanted to run somewhere so I checked all the races available and found the Edinburgh marathon festival on the last weekend of May. It was perfect.
I baught the bib. This is the information for this year.
|2018 EMF Half – Standard Entry
|2018 EMF medal insert
|My Details entry system fee
So, more or less 50 euros.
Then I booked the flight with E-dreams. The flight was with Ryanair and it cost 120 euros to go and come back.
Next step was finding a place to stay. This was actually the shocking part for me.
-Hotels: are super expensive ( 150€ for two nighs, per person).
-Airbnb: wasn’t having any better offers near the start area.
-Couchsurfing: I tough about it too late. The only guy that answered me sadly left in that same week so couldn’t host me.
*I suggest you try this options first, maybe you will be lucky.
-My final solution was a hostel. I am a really lonely person and crowded rooms or houses are not for me, but since I was already doing this crazy trip, why not keep facing all my fears!
I used the “booking” app. I have the (genius) feature so I technically have better prices for the rooms. I changed my mind about 3 times. I booked one first hostel because it was cheap but too far from the city center.
The second one was near but I didn’t like the idea of sleeping in a mixed room.
The third one was just perfect: “the baxster hostel” . Situated near Princess street, one minute from Waverly train station. A 10minutes walk from the race starting point. The room I slept in was for 9 people, girls only. The hostel has a high demand so I suggest you book as soon as you can. The staff is very kind, they serve breakfast from 8 to 10. They will cook you scrambled eggs and toast, give you cereals, jam, milk and orange juice. (For further questions you can always leave a comment and I will answer if possible.) *I paid € 85 (£74) for 2 nights.
(delays are VERY common when flying with Ryanair) of from/to Treviso, because they have time slots and you might be waiting inside the aircraft for a while till they give the permission to go. I arrived at the airport of Edinburgh at midnight. I made the decision of staying in the airport. It was a hard, long and cold night. Hours were not passing by. I would probably try to be more prepared for this kind of situations next time. At least a blanket could have saved me. At around 7 am I got on the bus that takes you to the city center. (£4,50 one way, 7,50 both ways)- you better get them both ways right away 😉
It took us like 40 minutes to get to the city. The view was quite nice. Many houses looking all the same. It was like being in a movie.
Once I arrived in the city center (right in front of Waverly’s station) I decided to go get my race number. *overseas runners NEED to get their race bib on the help desk on Friday or Saturday. I got them on Saturday morning, and the marathon festival already started, so the city was quite full. I had to walk for 15 minutes to get to the “Dynamic earth” meeting point. Inside the Holyrood Park.
I got my number, had a look around and cheered the little ones doing the 5k.
At 12pm I ate something and went to the hostel. Check-in can be done only after 2pm but they will kindly let you stay in the kitchen/living room if you get there earlier. I waited there for 2 hours, had some tea (free coffee and tea are available all day long)
My first day basically ended there because I was too tired to walk around and you need to be aware that almost everything closes at 5pm (museums, the castle, shops, ect)
My race day experience would need a whole new blog to be written so will just say that:
-it was freezing, foggy and slightly raining. Not the best forecast to expect.
-The route had more ups and downs then what they want to make you believe!
-If you are an Italian runner used to having crackers and banana at the refreshment points, be prepared. Only water and one energy gel.
-The race is fast, you won’t even realize that you got to the end. It’s a beautiful path and running through the coast is amazing.
At the end, you get your medal and t-shirt ❤
What an amazing feeling!!!
Of course, you meet with friends and family; get yourself a massage; drink some beer and get some greasy burger. Have all the photos that you want!!!
But then try to go home. If you bought a ticket to return to the city center by bus, expect a 20-minute walk. That was hard! :p but not impossible.
Another 40-minute ride to get back to the center and find a city full of marathoners wearing your same t-shirt!!! That was really cute. It went on until monday when I decided it was finally time to visit the city and many other runners were wearing the finisher t-shirt. We were quite recognizable.
My tips for visiting Edinburgh at it’s best is: A free tour! I booked with City explorers and the meeting point was on the royal mile, next to the coffee house. Tours have different time slots and last 2 hours. They are SUPER WORTH IT! Just do it. You won’t regret it.
We visited the royal mile, went through different roads, like the one that inspired Diagon Alley, the castle, saw and understood many statues. (for the harry potter fans, you will see the place were Rawling wrote the first word of the book, where she got inspired when thinking about Hogwarts and also where she got some of the names for the characters- Tom riddle, McGonagall, moody…)
It was an intense, yet lovely experience. A big applause to my tour guide Euan, a young boy that showed a lot of passion for what he does. You will laugh a lot with him.
I didn’t actually enter anywhere, but I think the most do’s are:
-National Museum of Scotland
-The Greyfriars kirkyard
-Arthur’s seat (don’t suggest it the day before or after the race. It depends on how you feel, of course.)
And many other. (the whiskey experience, the zoo, camera oscura,)
This is just a quick sum up of what happened in 4 days of holidays. There is a lot more to tell, and as I said, for any questions don’t be afraid to ask!
I will leave some links below, where you can contact me or find more information about the race, the city, ect!
Thanks for reading and I hope to see you at the next half 😉
italian blog about finding harry potter spots!
where to sleep