I’d like to thank the citizens of Edinburgh who turned out to support those of us running the Edinburgh Marathon on June 11th. At least a dozen people emerged blinking and disoriented from their tenement buildings to brave the warm sun and blue sky of a Sunday morning. My particular thanks to the organisers who — faced with budgetary restrictions by the city council — did the sensible thing and provided just seven water stations rather than the recognised standard minimum of ten. It certainly meant less time was wasted with the futile task of trying to remain hydrated on the hottest day of the year so far — a mere three Celsius warmer than conditions which saw the deaths of four runners in last year’s Great North Run. The commemorative T-shirt was also innovative — I had no idea that it was possible to manufacture them for single-use only. The goody-bag was an education: the least pointless item being a plastic toy soldier with a parachute. The most pointless was a low-calorie sugar substitute for use in baking cakes.
In all seriousness, my sincere thanks to those homeowners in the last 3-4 miles who turned their garden hoses on and sprayed us with cold water. As I told every one of you at the time: there’s a special place in heaven for you. It’s a shame that the warmth of the welcome by the city’s elders left us with hypothermia. Still, as they say up there “You’ll have had your tea!” — or was that what the low-cal sugar substitute was for?