How did I not know about running tours before Edinburgh? (Tracy)

EMT3 Calton Hill
Tracy and James atop Calton Hill in Edinburgh on the EMF Running Tour.

I stumbled into the most wonderful new-to-me thing on my recent trip to Edinburgh: running tours! A running tour is a guided city tour but instaead of walking between sites of interest or sitting on a bus, you run. I was in Edinburgh for a workshop last week and I spent a lot of time sitting. I wanted to go for a run and as I was searching the internet for routes, I ended up finding the Edinburgh Marathon Festivals Running Tours.

EMF6 swag bag
The “souvenir kit” or what I would call a swag bag: orange vest, water bottle, key ring, poncho, t-shirt, and print.

For £27.50 you get quite a bit of EMF swag and a 90 minute tour with James, a personable and well-informed guide. He takes you through old and new Edinburgh at a comfortable pace. The website advertises 6-7 km, but of course it depends completely on the group. I was on a tour with James and a young couple from France. We covered 8.5 km in 90 minutes. There are lots of starts and stops, of course, because it is after all a tour. I learned quite a bit about Edinburgh and I got to go running. What a great combo.

My biggest fear was that it would be hard to keep up. I felt nervous when I saw the young couple because I assume their regular run pace is probably a tad faster than mine. James assured me that he paces to the slowest person in the group. If there are faster runners who want to skip up ahead, he gives them extra loops of things. Still, I didn’t want to be that person who slowed everyone down.  But that wasn’t necessary on our tour.

It turns out that running tours are a thing. They have them all over the place. You can find out more about where there are tours at No doubt they vary. A lot depends on the city and the guide. Edinburgh is an incredible city, steeped in interesting history and packed with sites. James is an experienced tour guide and a lot of fun to be around. So the EMF Running tours in Edinburgh are excellent.

Image description: Tracy, in capri running tights, a bright orange running vest over a neon pink running t-shirt, with a neon orange top tied around her waist, a blue cap, white shoes with blue laces and neon yellow trim, smiling. She is standing on grass and a large hill, known as Arthur's Seat, is in the background. Grey cloudy sky above the hill.
At the end of the tour, with Arthur’s Seat in the background. Happy, with enough fuel left in the tank to go up to the top of Arthur’s Seat and then run-walk all the way back across town to my hotel in the Haymarket area.


I plan to do a lot more run tours now that I’ve discovered them.

Have you ever been on a run tour? If so, please tell us about it in the comments.

7 thoughts on “How did I not know about running tours before Edinburgh? (Tracy)

  1. I had no idea running tours existed either! I also recommend free walking tours, I did one in Stockholm’s old town and it was lovely (and being free, only based on tips is great for a cheap traveler)

  2. No tour needed, just look at a city map. Deb and I ran from Stanbridge, two minutes from Princes St., along the Water of Leith to the Firth of Forth and back. It’s a nice, quiet, non-touristy 10k run through interesting neighbourhoods. If you’re a North American birdwatcher, you’ll probably see some species that you’ve never seen before in the foliage along the banks of the stream. The run up to Arthur’s Seat is a good, short workout, but there are too many people on the trails a lot of the time.

    1. Yes I did a lot of solo running while there too. As for “no tour needed,” that depends on your situation. I’ve never been to Edinburgh, had limited time, enjoy learning about a city when I visit, like running, like meeting other runners, and was traveling alone. So maybe you don’t “need” a tour (not something I’m likely to do in the place I live, or Toronto or Boston or New York or any other place I know well) it was a great option that delivered and that I recommend to others.

      1. Yes, the “no tour needed” thing is very much a “you do you” thing for me — I run a lot on my own in foreign cities but I really like the occasional opportunity to have people point out stories and history to me that I would never pick up from running past it. Plus it’s a keen way to make a light touch connection with people when you’re traveling, especially on your own. I did a night cycling tour of bangkok last year that I loved.

  3. I’ve been on several with a company called Secret London Runs. Cost is about the same, and it’s fun to do with groups. Also a great way to do a 10k run for the first time as you get to ‘rest’.

    The tours were well researched, and the woman who set the company up picks good guides.

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