Edinburgh Marathon 2022

New fewer than 12 Holmfirth Harriers headed up to Edinburgh for the marathon on 29th May 2022. What follows is a summary of our reasons for entering and training notes followed by a round up of results. Blisters, pain and speedy achievements very much included…

Part 1: Our Pre Race Stories

Why did we enter, how did we make it to the start line?


Jon Burdon

This is my 5th marathon… My training went ok, but just about ok, culminating in a rather painful 20 mile run. I was very glad when that was over. After long covid it turns out my energy levels weren’t 100% in the run up to this one, so it’s felt like a bit of a battle. Speaking of battles, I’ve decided to raise money for War Child. I feel grateful I can run at all, and that I live in a country which is safe from conflict and war. Here is my link if you’d like to sponsor me.

What’s my plan? My plan is to stick my pace and not get carried away in the early part of the race. I’ll feel satisfied if I complete the race without grinding to a halt somewhere between mile 20 and 26.2!! Wish me luck.

Kevin Dessoy

My first marathon was Yorkshire in Oct 2019 which I trained really hard for.  Training runs with Jon led me to enter the Boston (Lincs) in May 2021 and a covid-delayed Langdale in October the same year.   As I knew Jon and Becky had signed up for Edinburgh I decided to join the party.   Training has gone reasonably to plan although without as much care and attention as last year’s.   I am aiming for a particular time/pace so we’ll see how that goes and I’ll tell you whether I managed it sometime after lunch time on 29th!  I’ve run some previous races on aid of Alzheimers Society as my Mum has severe dementia but this year decided to give my loyal band of friends and sponsors’ wallets a rest and am just doing this one for fun.   See you at the finish line.


Kevin Terry

I started the slow switch from cycling to running about 4 years ago. After several charity runs, I decided that I wanted to improve my overall fitness & times. So at the age of 58 I took the plunge & joined the Harriers after a taster session with the O’Brien’s running group. My Edinburgh prep has been quite mixed; at times it’s felt very hard & briefly interrupted by Covid. Although I would love to achieve my dream of a sub-4-hour time my realistic goal is to finish & not to suffer too much on the way! This will be my second run with the Harriers so I’m looking forward to spotting a few amber vests at the start & waving to them as they pass me on the way to the finish.

Chris Hobson

In answer to @Jon Burdon ‘s question about 10 pages ago.   I am doing  Edinburgh for several reasons 1) my place was held over from 2020, 2) I always use it as an excuse to have a girlie weekend away with Liz and 3) I need to keep my marathon mileage up as I am still being told that Antarctica marathon (my final continent) is actually going to happen next winter 🤞. 


According to all my research, but I can’t find anything official, this will make me the first woman in the UK to have completed 100 marathons and all the continents (all done since I turned 60). 


I think this is my 116th marathon, but it may be 115th. Who knows, what is one marathon more or less, between friends.


Time target? To just finish, if I get under 6hrs I’ll be ecstatic.  I think I did Manchester in 5:47. 


I have pretty much done no training other than club runs apart from one dreadful 21 miler last week and Manchester marathon 8 weeks ago.


I’m sure I’ll say I enjoyed after I have had a shower and unravelled my feet on a tennis ball. (Remind me of that)


Debbie Beck

After reading Chris’s message . What an inspiration, this is my 4th marathon, my training plan has gone ok . 

I’ve done London to 2016 club place , 2017 club place , no one was made enough to take this and Alice talked me into running it again and luckily 2020 another club place . Due to lockdown I ran it in 2021 ,This was my 50th birthday along with Naomi for her 30th .


Naomi has kept us to the plan . I have found this harder but with support from my Linda’s we’ve got through it . My plan on race day is to enjoy it and run like the wind . I’m not putting myself under any pressure just to take part and finish this marathon. An added bonus is we will be celebrating watching huddersfield town in the play offs at Wembley aswell as finishing our marathon fingers crossed 🤞. X


Claire Coates

So as an non-runner and non-harrier the welcome to the Edinburgh team has been one of friendship and support.

Reaching out and encouragement is such a massive part of the running journey and despite my lack of amber vest I have very much felt included.

No matter what your ability, your challenge to progress and to better yourself is at the forefront of each run.

Even on the days where motivation is low the support is strong.

I am purposefully not sharing my ambition of marathon finish time.  For it is important to me and whether I achieve this milestone on this occasion or the next I know that the team is right behind my every step.

So, if you are considering joining the club, I would definitely say go for it.  Whether marathon training or as part of a regular routine, you are sure to receive a finishers welcome.

Claire (aged 44.5 yrs)


Heidi King

This is my 2nd marathon, my first being London 2018.  I wasn’t really planning on running another one until Alice suggested it to us all and then without much thought I’d paid my fee for Edinburgh and here we are!


My training hasn’t gone as well as I’d hoped – a holiday, covid and an ongoing niggle have all impacted. Plus a few blisters from unknowingly buying trainers in a too wide fit.  I am now having to resort to an old pair for race day. 


The majority of my runs have felt so hard even shorter ones but I am hopping that all will come good on the day 🤞it’s been good though to train with others and share the pain!


Time wise like others I’m not putting myself under any great pressure. I’d like to complete under 4hrs 30 and if I can sneak under 4:26 it will be a PB!  


Good luck everyone 🍀


Naomi Shields

This will be my 3rd marathon so seasoned pro perhaps 😂. The last one being London in October where my aim was to do it under 3:45 so I could qualify for “good for age” which I succeeded at 3:44. 


I was persuaded to sign up with the Linda’s to do in May 2021 but Covid and lockdowns postponed that. I have stuck to the same plan as London after a slow start with having Covid at the beginning of the year and back/nerve problems. Not sure if I’m feeling fitter or not and if I’m going for a PB will decide on the day but I’ve very much enjoyed being in a supportive group and the feeling that we are all in it together. 


I will be taking my carb loading very seriously this week 🐷.


If all else fails I’ve got London again in Oct so may take that one a little more seriously 😂


Nicky Ottoway


I started my running ‘journey’ in October 2019 when I joined the Harriers. The support was great and gave me the courage to do my first half in March 2020 just before lockdown (during which my running took a downward spiral). Anyway this is my first marathon of don’t know how many.  Will have to wait and see……I signed up on a whim as a new challenge for 2022 after throwing myself into the Road Championships last year.  The support and encouragement has been fantastic and I’m nervously excited for the 29th.  Training has had its ups and downs.  Covid took me out for over 3 weeks in March, but thankfully no after effects having got a PB half at Manchester in early April running the relay option with Naomi. Since then I was taken out for a couple of weeks with an IT band injury but seem to be fully recovered now (fingers crossed). Time wise would be thrilled with anything under 4 hours but the joy of having completed the distance I’m sure will be enough if I miss that target. Have no idea if it’s at all realistic with the last 4 miles being unknown territory.  I might just collapse in a heap at 22 miles.   Anyway will know soon enough.


Alice Smith

This is my fourth marathon distance event. 2016 club place in London turned into 2017 due to injury. 2018 in Manchester, 2019 canalthon. Unfortunately at the end of 2019 I had to have a couple of operations which put me out of action for a while. As we all know 2020 was a write off, I tried to regain my fitness but at the end of 2020 I had to have further surgery. In 2021 I decided to try and motivate myself I would enter a marathon and as I have never been to Edinburgh that seemed like a good enough reason. Obviously that didn’t go ahead. I have found the training difficult this time – a combination of the after effects of the surgeries, covid, holidays, catching up with friends and family, work, menopause and my cavalier approach to sticking to the training plan. I don’t think I will finish much before 4 hours 30 minutes, weather dependent it might be pushing 5. Anyway whatever the time is I will give it my all and be happy with it.


Becky Burdon

This is my 6th marathon. It was supposed to be my 4th but due to it being postponed last year I ended up doing Boston Uk instead so the training didn’t go to waste, swiftly followed by London in the October (having got a club place for 2020). I don’t know which Linda came up with the idea, Alice, I think, but we all signed up and here we are!

For these last 3 marathons I have followed Matt Fitzgerald’s 80/20 Intermediate Marathon Training Plan with cross training. It was harder finding the motivation for this one, and many times I had to drag myself out kicking and screaming, but it has paid off. I have got faster and I’m hoping to finish in under 4hr15. I want to do this well as I’m going to take a break from marathons for a while.


Mike P

This will be my 7th marathon and is part ofy challenge to do 10 before my 40th! Training had it’s ups and downs as we all experience. I am not focused on a specific finish time. My main objective is to enjoy the race and look good in the pictures 😎. See you all there!


Part 2:Race Day


The forecast was cloud and 11 degrees. We were all expecting good running conditions. From Friday evening onwards the WhatsApp group we’d all set up was full of excitement … good luck messages, food photos and nerves.


Most of us took the chance on Saturday evening to take a gentle run around the start area. We agreed a meeting spot for photos and then did the compulsory kit check. Pins, race vest, number, gels, baggage drop kit ready, sun cream (some of us)… oh and nipple protection / anti chaffing preparations on standby.


On race day awoke to blue skies and a distinctly warmer looking Scotland than the one we had seen the day before. We met for photos and then the well organised baggage drop. Then we made our way to the pre designated zones based on predicted start times.


We set off right on time and the course wound it’s way slightly downhill through the spectacular city centre streets and the famous Golden Mile. It was definitely tempting to run quickly although some cobbled sections made for an interesting running surface.


After about four miles the course left the city and reached the coast. Miles of promenade and totally flat sea front stretched out ahead of us. This made for fun running as we ran through seaside towns and various local families playing music and joining in the atmosphere.


The course headed out to Musselburgh, the eventual finish and then continued along the coast towards a turn around point just before mile 18. This section found us running parallel with the half marathon returning runners initially and then, eventually, the lead runners of the marathon itself.


We were all keen to watch out for Harriers running in the other direction too. First came Kevin Dessoy and his sidekick Bob. 


After that some of us saw friends and were able to cheer them on. Between mile 13 and 18 Jon was overtaken by Naomi and then Nicky who had started in a different pen. The three of them ran a few miles at a similar pace before Nicky and Naomi broke ahead later in the race. After a loop in a county estate we were now heading home. Jon just managed to see Becky coming the other way and give her a big hug.


We’d definitely all been affected by the heat by this point. There was plenty of water about but some hadn’t even used sun cream as the forecast was so dull. (Note: don’t do that again!) There was lots of pouring spare water over heads etc. 


Some of us were already slowing between miles 13 and 20 but it was around this point that, as is standard in marathon running, some of us started to experience the effects of ‘hitting the wall.’ Backs and legs got tight, tiredness set in and, well we all have our own stories to tell about how we got ourselves through the last few miles.


The crowds were great. Notable race signage … we picked our favourites:


“Motivational Sign”


“You’re running better than our government”


“You’re running better than Scot Rail”


“Runners never die… they just smell like it”


“Sweat if you think I’m cute”


“Winners are grinners”


“Toenails are overrated”


“Don’t worry if you collapse… I’ll pause your Garmin”


Interestingly there were quite a few French runners including one who ran barefoot:



Mile 24 highlights included a family blasting out The Proclaimers from a PA system. I’m sure you can guess which song…


Everyone finished!! I think it’s a testimonial to our dedicated training that even though some of us were in pain we all kept going. When you’re experiencing pain and you keep going regardless it’s definitely really hard.


Some had stronger performances with Kevin, and Heidi getting a pb time. Heidi flew past Jon in the last mile and said afterwards she thought he’d already finished and had jogged back …?! A huge well done to the first time marathon runners Claire, Nicky, Pawel … superb!!

Nicky adds “‘Although I said never again before the race, I’m planning to sign up for London next year on the back of my ‘good for age’ result. 😁” Congratulations on the Nicky, no mean feet at your first marathon.


Congratulations to Chris on her 116th marathon. She ran with with Pawel, a new member of HHAC and they’re already planning their next marathon together. This is how great friendships are made!!



Huge fun was had before and afterwards in Edinburgh, thanks to Alice for organising and booking food venues.


Club results are available here:


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