Following the success of last weekend's Edinburgh Marathon Festival, organisers are already looking ahead to next year with places now open for the 2014 event. The festival will be held on Saturday May 24 and Sunday May 25 with an early bird discount available until midnight, 1 June.
The event, which is expected to attract more than 30,000 runners, will kick off an extraordinary year of sport in Scotland with a line-up that includes the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in July and golf's 40th Ryder Cup at Gleneagles in September.
Neil Kilgour, Edinburgh Marathon Festival director, said: "Scotland is preparing to welcome the world in 2014 and we look forward to delivering an outstanding Edinburgh Marathon Festival that the nation will be proud of. Now is the time to make 2014 your year. The earlier you sign up the better, both to guarantee a place and set aside plenty of time to work out a sound training programme so you're in peak condition on the big day. There really couldn't be a better time to plan a trip to Scotland."
With its flat and fast course, the Edinburgh Marathon Festival offers runners a great opportunity to achieve a personal best. Edinburgh marathon joined the world's elite road races in 2012 by becoming the first event in Scotland to be officially recognised by the IAAF - the athletics governing body. The IAAF bronze label puts the race among the top 75 in the world making it a pivotal part of the sporting calendar for runners.
Maureen Virtue, 41, is already looking forward to next year's marathon which will be her third time running the race. She loves the marathon so much it inspired her to set up her own running group, Run for Fun. Maureen said: "I love running and I love Edinburgh. I ran a personal best at the Edinburgh marathon this year, racing to the finish in 4 hours and 46 minutes. It's a beautiful route. The crowd at the finish must have been a mile long and really kept me going to get that personal best. I'm not a natural born runner. I started running after a serious riding accident punctured my lung. Running has given me back by health and happiness. I wouldn't miss it for the world."
For 20-year-old, Callum Murray, this year's Edinburgh Marathon Festival half marathon was his first major race, which he finished it in two hours and four minutes. Callum said afterwards: "I can't complain with that time for my first half marathon. I definitely enjoyed running in the Edinburgh Marathon Festival. The crowds cheering along the way made it a great day so I'd recommend it to people out there thinking about taking on a challenge next year."
The festival includes a full marathon, half marathon, relay marathon, 10K, 5K and two junior races. To enter one of the races, visit the Edinburgh Marathon Festival website.