Edinburgh Marathon to get new finish line

Edinburgh Marathon organisers have overhauled arrangements for next year’s finish to allow supporters to cheer runners over the line.

This year’s event was widely criticised after spectators were funnelled into a family reunion area at the end of the race, hundreds of metres away from the finish line at Linkfield Road. They were supposed to be able to watch the finish line on a huge screen, but it broke down.

Some complained that they had travelled miles to cheer a family member home, and had been disappointed not to even be able to see them complete the race.

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In previous years, the marathon ended at Musselburgh Racecourse, with supporters able to watch the finish from the stands.

Next year – the event’s tenth anniversary – will see a new finishing area created in the grounds of Pinkie St Peter’s primary school to ensure runners can be cheered in.

Athletes will run along Linkfield Road and turn left into the school playing fields to the finish line, where there will be space for thousands of supporters. The area will also feature stalls with food and running kit for sale.

Marketing manager for event organisers GSi, Damien O’Looney, said: “Finishing in such a great location now means we can give all runners the finish they deserve as we are not limited by space as we have been in the last few years. After running a marathon or half marathon, finishing in front of thousands of cheering supporters, friends and family can make it all worthwhile. After all, they’re the ones who have stood by runners patiently during all those months of hard work and training.”

Among those who travelled to Edinburgh for this year’s race was retailer Sean Casey, 44, who came from Cumbernauld to compete. He said of the finish area: “It was disastrous. Edinburgh was my first marathon and I’ve probably done 13, 14 half marathons, so I’ve experienced varying degrees of organisational skills but Edinburgh was probably one of the worst I’ve come across at the finish line.

“I did the Chris Hoy half marathon the year before which finished at the racecourse and you could finish in front of the stands with everyone looking on, and I thought that was how we were finishing until we got to the end and you got squashed up an alleyway once you’d finished.

“I’ve heard that they were making changes to the finish which will be perfect. If they can get that right it will make for a better event.”

The new finish line will preserve the race’s flat elevation. With a drop over the whole route of around 40m, Edinburgh is touted as the fastest marathon in the UK.

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Organisers say they hope this year’s event will raise £4.5 million for charity and attract more entrants than ever. This year’s race drew 26,000 runners.

Alistair Currie, a manager at running network jogscotland, said: “We were aware that there were a few problems with the finish area at the 2011 event and jogscotland supports the event organisers in their efforts to improve the overall running experience for runners at the 2012 event.”