marathon runners city centre

The success of the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics inspired a raft of new long-distance runners. The games were postponed for 12 months until June 2021 and came close to being cancelled due to the continuing coronavirus emergency in Tokyo but once started it proved to be well worth the wait.

Followers saw some of the world’s best long-distance runners in action, including a star of the future. Team GB’s Mo Farah has, for a long time, been the biggest name in distance running and he has claimed a raft of medals in recent years. He bagged gold at London 2012 and Rio 2016 in both the 10,000 and 5000m but failed to defend his title in Tokyo having failed to qualify.

Selemon Barego took full advantage of the champion’s absence to etch his name into the history books. The gutsy Ethiopian had been written off by the leading online sportsbooks before the final, starting down the betting list but that mattered not. The talented 21-year-old defied the bookies to win the gold medal, his first medal over the extended distance after securing silver at 5000m at the 2019 World Championships in Doha.

Farah to pick Antrim for his return

With Farah slowly returning to the kind of form expected of him, distance running has a fascinating future ahead. New fans are beginning to show an interest in the top races shown live on TV while the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and the extended periods at home during lockdown have ushered through a new generation of runners.

Farah recently confirmed his attendance at the popular Antrim Coast half marathon and that announcement was welcomed by organisers who can look forward to increased media coverage and entrants into the run. The injured runner will undertake an ambassador role for the Northern Irish event that will be shown live across the globe with runners coming from far and wide, including amateurs, professionals and charity runners to participate in the same race as one of the best that ever lived.

With interest in distance running at an all time high, we have picked our favourite half marathon that makes for great viewing on television but is even better to run in, regardless of your experience. The featured half marathon is contested by the sport’s top names but also attracts a healthy attendance of novice runners and those doing it for a challenge or their chosen charity.

Edinburgh, Scotland

Run in the UK springtime, the Edinburgh half marathon takes place the day after the full marathon. It’s known in the industry as being one of the fastests distance runs due to the flatness of the course. That allows the professionals to really push themselves and have a go at breaking the record but it also appeals to newer distance runners looking for a manageable half marathon to test their legs.

As you’d expect from Scotland, the scenery is beautiful, with some of the capital’s most famous landmarks featured. Run through the city before moving downhill to breeze along the seafront, including a popular beach. Expect to see the locals out in force, offering refreshments from stalls, cars, bikes, their gardens and more. A great way to see the sights of Edinburgh, enjoy the famous Scottish hospitality and compete in a mostly flat half marathon. Perfect for beginners, you can take it at your own pace, or if you are a seasoned runner, the course is a great opportunity to record a personal best. It has a real international feel and a mix of runners out to achieve their own individual goals.

2022 will be the biggest yet

The next Edinburgh Marathon Festival is scheduled for the 28th and 29th of May, but you must move fast if you are looking to get involved. The Edinburgh Marathon and Half Marathon have been sold out every year since 2012, and the next event promises to be even more popular. 2022 will be the race’s first running since 2019 after the 2020 and 2021 versions were virtual runs.

This year thousands of distance runners enthusiasts will descend on the Scottish capital once more, and entrants are open. You can book your place by visiting the Edinburgh Marathon website then choosing the distance you wish to enter.


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