Advice needed about practicalities of first time marathon

Hello Fellow runners,

I really need advice about something that may seem silly, but is bothering me.

In 27 may i will go to my first marathon, Edinburgh, and probably i will go alone as friends/family are not able to make it.

My questions and worries is about the little practicalities of where to keep clothing, do you get a locker? and after the marathon?

where  do you keep your personaly items? like tisues, cash, purse, etc?

is it a goood idea to wear a belt where to keep all that?  do those belts are comfortable?

and where to keep energ gels and similar?

If the finishing is somewhere diferent from the can you posibly use a locker if provided?

Does someone have experience of a marathon or race alone in a city they don't know and can help?

thank you


  • There won't be lockers, but there should be bag storage (and bags presumably transported to the finish if it's a point-to-point).

    Don't take any valuables, just a small amount of cash. 

  • Hi Fatima

    First thing I would do is to fully read the race guide that is given to runners, or check the website. This will include things like start / finish location, baggage drop are for your personal belongings, how to claim back baggage etc.

    The only thing I carry on me in the race is gels. There are various ways of carrying these, e.g. using a Gel belt. Whatever way you decide to use, practice wearing the belt, or the method of carrying on your long runs.

    Step 1 though is check out the race guide / website. This will overcome a number of worries that you have.

    Baggage for Edinburgh:
    Runners will be able to drop their baggage off at the baggage trucks at the start area and these will be transported to the finish area for you to pick up after you have finished your race.

  • You won't be on your own either Fatima - marathon runners are a friendly crowd and look after each other. You drop your bag off at the start and they drive it to the finish for you. Don't put anything too valuable in it (keep an emergency £20 in a pocket on you for example) but definitely put some warmer clothes in, a bottle of water and something to eat - a sandwich or something. Mars bars and salted crisps seem to work for me! At the end you go to the right truck for your number and they give it back to you.

    Do plan how you get home/to your hotel from the finish and remember you'll be very tired so the simpler the better. Read all the information they send you and plan everything in advance.

    Remember to enjoy yourself!
  • I normally go to races on my own.  I usually just carry my car key with me.  Any valuables I hide out of sight in the car.  Clothes etc I will leave at a baggage drop, or in my car if there is not ahywhere else to leave them. 

    I would agree with helterskelter that I have found runners to always be a friehdly crowd, and have never felt on my own at a race.

  • As above - do have a plan about how to get to the the event and how to get back again.  Put all your stuff in a bag and you'll get a tag for your bag to identify it at the end.   I've certainly never heard of anyone having stuff nicked from their bag, but obviously it's sensible to avoid having all your credit cards and expensive stuff in the bag. 

    If it's a bit chilly on the day, wear an old sweatshirt or something that you don't mind ditching at the start - many of the big events will collect these up and donate them to charity afterwards.   The same goes for a bottle of water if needed.  As the others say, I'd carry as little as possible - for me it's gels (plus one spare if case you drop one), a blister plaster and a hair grip, with sunglasses on head if needed.

    Even though you are on your own, you'll need to provide an emergency contact number on the back of your race number so just make sure that person is happy to be contacted if something happens - even if they aren't at the event itself.

    And finally - get to the start early so that the logistical stuff can be organised in plently of time so that you have time to "relax" before the race starts and really enjoy it.   There will be lots of marshalls to help you 

    Good luck!!

  • The older I get, the faster I was wrote (see)

    And finally - get to the start early so that the logistical stuff can be organised in plently of time so that you have time to "relax" before the race starts and really enjoy it.  

    Good luck!!

    And don't forget the loo trip - the later you leave it, the longer the queues image - and it's not always just the runners who use them. 
  • At Edinburgh you need to buy a bus ticket from the marathon site to get on the bus to take you back into the city centre. Just follow the throngs of runners - I was going to use the train to get back but the bus turned out to be easier. Do take warm kit to put on after the race.
  • I would say that, having done the edinburgh marathon.....assume nothing, they are a shambles!

    email/phone to find out all of these factors, so you are sure.

    and good luck! image

  • Oh crap! I keep hearing about what a shambles Edinburgh always is. Hope not this year!

    Fatima - take as little as possible of value just in case it goes missing. I've never had anything lost or stolen at dozens of races yet but it pays to be sensible so don't leave loads of credit cards and cash and your brand new iPhone in your race bag! 

    If I've driven to an event, I'll leave everything of value in the car and just run round with the car key and an emergency £20. If I don't have the car with me and/or the finish is miles away from the start I'll take a small backpack and put food, water and warm clothing in it.

    Sometimes I run with a race belt, sometimes I don't. Some of them are great, loads of them aren't so good. I've always liked the ones made by Nathan. You don't see them in most running shops but they're available on eBay pretty cheaply. If you're thinking of running with one, get it now and try it out on a few long runs so you know it'll be comfortable on the day.

    Don't take tissues, they fall to bits when they get damp/sweaty! Take kitchen towel instead. I usually stuff a couple of bits down the front of my sports bra in case of emergency toilet stops. Same goes for gels. Sports bras are great storage pouches! image

    Good luck! 

  • I did edinburgh last year and the only problem I had was that it took them 10 mins or so to get my bag and I was there before the main rush.
    Ok the finish screen didn't work either but I didn't have any supporters anyway so wasn't an issue for me. I thought the start, course, marshalling and buses back were spot on.
    I'd do it again.
  • Some advice specific to Edinburgh: You don't specify how you're getting there, or whether you're staying in the city the night before and after the race or not. This would obviously be key to how you plan your weekend specifics.

    Personally i am driving 3 hours up to Edinburgh on race day, parking at Wallyford park and ride (close to the finish line), getting a bus into the centre where the race starts, and leaving my bag with the baggage trucks there . When I finish, I'm reunited with both my bag and my car, and all is well. So there's one possibility. As stated, if you are staying in the centre of Edinburgh after the race the organisers do provide a shuttle bus service, though you must pay for this on top of the already extortionate race entry fee!

     I agree with Cougie about the organisation of Edinburgh though; yes there are problems but all the fundamentals, the really important stuff, is sorted out (yes they did run out of water one year, but generally speaking).

  • Another voice to say that the fundamental details of Edinburgh are perfectly sound. (They will take your bag at the start and give it back to you at the finish.)

    re: the trip back to town... to avoid the bus lineups, go to the Wallyford Rail Station (it's the upstream/uphill one). Trains are infrequent -- hourly, I think -- so have the schedule/map printed beforehand. Allow at least 15 minutes to get up the hill on tired legs. That train will drop you happily in the middle of town at Waverley Station.

    In the instructions, it's also noted that they've gone to gels and water in place of the traditional lucozade/water. Try the gels beforehand to see how you feel about them and make alternate plans if you don't get on well.

    Beyond that, have fun.
  • MuttleyMuttley ✭✭✭

    I go to races by myself. My kit I leave at the baggage drop in my backpack. For the race I wear a small bumbag for gels, phone, credit card and banknotes. And keys.

    Top tip: wrap your keys in clingfilm to stop them from jangling.

    Top tip 2 - visit a car boot sale or charity shop and buy a cheap fleece for keeping warm between the time you hand in your bag and the start. You can discard it when the race starts.

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