The Edinburgh Marathon is now officially on the map as one of the leading road races in the world.
Scotland's capital joins cities including London, New York, Tokyo and Paris to earn the prestigious road race label from the International Association of Athletics Federations. The elite scheme was started in 2008 to recognise top road races. For a chance of winning an award, races are judged by strict criteria including the quality of the field of athletes, race organisation, safety standards and international TV coverage. The IAAF bronze label now awarded to the Edinburgh Marathon puts the race among the top 75 in the world making it a pivotal part of the sporting calendar for runners.
Edinburgh Marathon Race Director, Neil Kilgour, said: "We have worked incredibly hard towards attaining this prestigious award for 10 years."
"This is Scotland's first and only event to attain any form of IAAF label and we're proud that we’ve helped build the Edinburgh Marathon Festival into a major running occasion. I believe we have the fastest route in Europe and maybe the world. This is proven year in year out in the times achieved. If you’re looking to get a personal best time then Edinburgh is the place to be. Sky Sports' coverage of the weekend has increased year on year and they see Edinburgh as their jewel in their crown of marathon coverage."
"We are looking forward to delivering another world class event in 2013. Edinburgh Marathon Festival has it all - a great city that acts as a stunning backdrop to the events and a programme of races that means that everyone is catered for from kids to veterans. We're looking forward to next year and welcoming back the thousands of runners who’ve supported us over the years plus the thousands who will be joining us for the first time."
"We are proud that the Edinburgh Marathon Festival is the most inclusive festival of running in the UK. From the world's best elites through to the first time marathon runner, to youngsters standing in the start pen for the first time in their lives, we welcome them all. Each of these people are changing their lives and many are changing the lives of others too through raising vital funds for charity. It is a positive experience for all." In 2012, 34 races in the world received a gold race label, 22 races a silver label and 15 races a bronze ranking.
IAAF senior manager for road running, Sean Wallace-Jones, said: "We are delighted that the Edinburgh Marathon has joined the IAAF Label Road Races."
"This is the first time that an event in Scotland has achieved this status and we welcome the organisers' commitment to achieving world-class levels of organisational and competitive excellence."
The two-day Edinburgh Marathon Festival celebrated its 10th anniversary in May when a record 23,000 runners from more than 100 countries set off from the heart of the city to tackle the UK's fastest marathon course.
Among them was 101-year-old Fauja Singh, from Ilford, east London, the world's oldest marathon runner, who crossed the line in five hours and 23 seconds, as part of a four-man relay race team known as Sikhs in the City.
As well as the relay, the events included a full marathon, a half marathon, a 10K, a 5K, and junior races.
The festival is second in UK marathon size only to London. Since it started it has had an economic impact of more than 25 million for the capital and helped raise more than 30 million pounds for hundreds of charities. Together with the Edinburgh Marathon Festival’s partnership charity, Macmillan Cancer Support and hundreds of other other charities, the organisers are hoping to break all previous records and raise even more in 2013.
Entries are open for the 2013 event, which takes place on May 25 and 26. To enter go to www.edinburgh-marathon.com