EMF Running tour - Burns Night
Feel the Burns Night!
“Some hae meat and canna eat,
And some wad eat that want it,
But we hae meat and we can eat,
And sae the Lord be thankit.”

And why not add a wee run in beforehand? 

On the 25th of January, why not join us on a running tour to find out a bit more about the bards’ influence on and exploits in our fair city. 

We’ll be jogging for around 90 minutes, with frequent stops for stories, taking in the hidden sights that the city has to offer, and learning about the famous bard, his contemporaries, and other intriguing characters from the worlds’ first UNESCO City of Literature.

Come join us on January 25th at 6pm, get your ticket at emfrunningtours.com/book.

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Luxury Travel Guide Awards 2018

It’s been almost two years since we started up, and over the past couple of years, we’ve been racking up all sorts of awards here at EMF Running Tours – from our 5 Star rating from Visit Scotland, to RTJ’s “Best Partial Beard” at the Braw Beard Oils Beard and Moustache Championships…. Yep, that’s a thing…

Well, we’ve done it again!

Last year, we were awarded the Cultural Tour Operator of the year by the Luxury Travel Guide, and this year we’re continuing our streak by being awarded the title of “Unique Tour Operator Of the Year.” Being recognised by such influential international organisations is a huge compliment, and we’re very happy to shout about this new accolade!

Huge thanks to all the people who have come to join us on a tour, and to the guides and all those behind the scenes putting in so much hard work to make sure we consistantly deliver the highest possible standard of experience. If you’ve not come on a tour yet, then get yourselves booked on and come and see what all the hype is about 😉


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5 Stars!
“At this point, I’m obliged to tell you that I’m here on behalf of visit Scotland, and have been assessing the tour,”

Just a small amount of panic sets in at hearing these words… It’s my second tour of the day, and my brain starts racing. Did I give it my all? Was it as good as all the other tours I’ve delivered? I know that I enjoyed the run, the pace was good, the chat was fun, the stories were fluid, relevant, and entertaining, but was it good enough?

Then the waiting game, that horrid period of time when you’re anticipating the worst, as your brain tells you everything you could have done, should have done, shouldn’t have done, and every possible outcome.

The report comes in.

An overall rating of 92%, giving us a 5 Star rating from visit Scotland, the national tourism board.


5 Star

We are now counted among the best tour companies in the entire country, and not just in our field, in the whole Scottish tourist industry. Words cannot adequately describe how excited I am about this! The excitement comes two-fold as well, because yes, I am super excited that it’s us that have been the first running tour to be recognised by the governing body for tourism in Scotland, but it is also a huge step for getting running tours recognised globally as a concept. Come along and see for yourselves why we’ve earned out 5 star rating! 😉


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Edinburgh Running Tours Business Receives Scottish Tourism’s Highest Accolade
THE TEAM behind the Edinburgh Marathon Festival (EMF) Running Tours are celebrating after receiving the highest accolade possible from the Scottish Tourism Board.

EMF Running Tours are believed to be the only such organisation in Scotland to receive a 5 star rating from the national tourism organisation VisitScotland.

VisitScotland’s tourism board stated that the tours, which launched in May 2016, were “a brilliant addition to Edinburgh’s Tourism programme” and that “the strength of the tour lies in the ease in which the group can travel across the city and visit the more obscure and often overlooked features of Edinburgh.”

James Armandary, EMF Tour Manager commented on the company’s success:

“I’m utterly elated to receive the 5 star rating from VisitScotland! It’s really exciting not just for us here at EMF Running Tours, but for running tours as a global concept as well. Scotland are world leaders in tourism, and to be counted as one of the best products that the country has to offer is an amazing accolade.”

“It’s not easy to get 5 stars, and to be recognised as one of the best tours in the country is a great honour. I’m looking forward to growing EMF Running Tours, adding more themes and routes, and continuing to deliver a five star experience to customers from all around the world.”

EMF Running Tours are guided tours around Scotland’s capital city, offering the opportunity to explore Edinburgh in a unique way. The tours last for approximately 90 minutes and allow participants to see unexpected sights mixed in with the city’s rich history & culture. The tours are consistently rated as ‘excellent’ on TripAdvisor and are now positioned within the top 10 outdoor activities in Edinburgh.

Participants can choose to take part in the standard city tour, or there’s a choice of themed tours, including a Whisky and Trainspotting Tour.

To find out more about EMF Running Tours and to book online, visit www.emfrunningtours.com

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EMF 2017
EMF 2017

What a fantastic weekend we had; 30,000 runners descended upon the city for the events, and many of them came along for a tour to get a feel of the place they were visiting. We had guest from all over the world come out with us, from Uraguay to Australia, Hong Kong to Toronto, and between the three guides we put in around 50 miles over the weekend!

We saw a lot of new faces, with around 50 keen explorers joining us, and as a nice surprise, we actually had a lovely couple come along who had joined us last year, and had had such a lovely time that they wanted to go again!

With Nick on board to help, I managed to get away with not doing another accidental marathon this year! I did, however, end up running 18 miles on the hottest day of the year… I drank enough water to rehydrate a dying camel, and still felt really, REALLY weird that evening… We’re no built for the heat up here, and having inherited my grandad’s wonderfully pasty Lanarkshire skin, I’m not in the sun more than 5 seconds before I burn to a crisp!

Huge congratulations to everyone who took part in the EMF weekend events, it was a scorcher of a weekend, and everyone did a fantastic job- runners, race crew, and guides alike 😉


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T2 Update

T2 Update

What a rush!

We were totally swept away in February by the media frenzy surrounding T2, and the fantastic interest in the running tours as a result. RTJ was lucky enough to get his magnificent moustache featured in the Edinburgh Evening News, along with an article explaining the concept (link below) and a few other newspapers picked up the story, and that had a huge impact on the number of tours going out. So much so, that we were busier in February, which is usually the quietest month for tourism in Scotland, than we were in August, which is supposed to be peak season!

Possibly the funniest moment was when RTJ got a bit over excited and scrawled “1690” on himself in permanent marker, only to discover that the runners booked on hadn’t actually seen the film, and just thought he was a bit mad as a result! There were quite a few runners joining us on tour who hadn’t actually seen the film, and it was really fun trying to take them to the locations and tell them the stories, all the while avoiding spoilers.

The tours, taking in the sights and stories around some of the filming locations, as well as recreating classic scenes from the film, were a great success, and as a result we’ll be keeping them going through the summer as well, so there’s still a chance to get on one if you haven’t made it up to Edinburgh yet!

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Niall’s Adventures Abroad: Part one

Niall’s Adventures Abroad: Part one

Following the end of high season, intrepid explorer RTJ wasn’t the only one of the EMF Guides to set a course for the four corners of the wide world. For the first part of eight months of life away from the UK I was destined for India.

I am half Indian but had never actually been to the country from which one whole side of my family originated. So working with the British council in an Indian school was an opportunity too good to be passed up. So off. I went for five months and in those five months I experienced things like none other and genuinely feel like I have been to another planet.

It is hard to put into words all the things I experienced and how wonderful they were, but to name a few: I went hiking in the Himalayas and watched the sun rise and set over those same stunning mountains, white water rafting on the Ganges, I told Scottish stories in Hampi, taught ten year old Indian children some Rabbie Burns and watched England play India at cricket in Mumbai. All of which may well have been topped by the day I met a wonderful elephant called Radah who is now my best friend.

India is a magical country, full of colour, vibrancy and diversity. Indeed, following my return to the UK I feel like I lived a dream for five months. Fortunately it wasn’t long before I got to set off into the world again and I currently write in a café in South Africa. I shall update you all on that very soon. But until then I bid you all adieu.


Taj Mahal
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Tour Guides on Tour Part 3: Life and Death in the Desert

Tour Guides on Tour Part 3: Life and Death in the Desert

We last heard from RTJ after his running tour of Cape Town, so where did he end up next?

The day after the running tour of Cape Town, I loaded my bag into an old converted Mercedes truck and headed north to the Namib desert, with the intention of camping out under the stars, finding some wildlife, and surviving in conditions of up to 40 degrees.

I never thought I’d get to see a desert, and it was an experience I’m not going to forget in a hurry. Those who know me know that I’m built for winter. That guy who’s always in shorts, regardless of conditions? Yeah, that’s me. Cold, wet, I understand, these things I can deal with, but the brutal, cloudless skies of the desert? A mystery. To me, the heat, the dryness, the seemingly endless dirt, sand, and the sheer vastness meant death.

In amongst the dust and the sand dunes, however, there were still signs of life- specially adapted and accustomed to its environment, the creatures of the desert have made the most out of their harsh abode. By trees that had stood dead for almost a millennium, I found scurrying bugs, lizards, there were birds soaring above and signs of the roaming herds of animals.

I learnt about the Bushman, the humans who lived in this wasteland long before colonists arrived and all but wiped them out. I learnt about the techniques developed to live in this environment, about the special adaptations that the animals had evolved for gathering and storing water, about just how well life has adapted out there.

It’s a fascinating place, and if you haven’t been to the desert I highly recommend experiencing it.

I get the feeling I’ll be back someday, for now though, onwards….

Life and death in the desert
Life and death in the desert
Life and death in the desert
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Tour Guides on Tour Part 2: Run Cape Town

Tour Guides on Tour Part 2: Run Cape Town

SO, mere hours after wandering through the frozen forests and mountains of Norway, our intrepid RTJ finds himself in an entirely different climate….

Now, if you know or have met me, you’ll know I’m built for winter. Anyone who’s been out on one of the tours in the past few weeks, for example, may well have been wrapped up in as many layers as they can get on, in order to deal with the bitter Scottish weather. Not me though, I’m still in shorts and short sleeved t-shirt (although I have to confess, I do wear a hat if it gets below about 2 degrees!).

Imagine how I felt then, getting off a plane in Cape Town just as summer is kicking off! Yep, after an entire days worth of travelling, I went from -22 degrees to +25, and what’s the first thing I do? A running tour, of course!

I hooked up with the lovely Philippa from Run Cape Town who took me out on a wonderful run through the historical part of the town, filling my head with stories of pipe smoking pirates, key figures in the colonisation of Cape Town, and the history of life in South Africa. It was so much fun being a tourist for a change, and letting someone else take care of the chat, although I have to say I did find it a little hard to not tell stories as we ran along 😉

The city is beautiful, surrounded by a horseshoe of a mountain, with a really interesting (if somewhat troubled) history, and it was really great to see it from an insiders point of view. Next time I’ll be back for the run up table mountain, but the time is fleeting and I had to leave for the next part of the adventure….


Cape Town
Cape Town
Run Cape Town
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Tour Guides on Tour, Part 1: James goes to Norway

Tour Guides on Tour Part 1: James goes to Norway

“November 1st? Sure, why not…” Well, I can actually think of one MAJOR reason why not, but the flights are almost £100 cheaper, so yeah, that sounds fine. The reason? Samhuinn. A fire festival in Edinburgh (at which two of our guides are volunteer performers) that finishes at about 5am, giving me approximately 4 hours to wash off all the body paint, pack, and get myself to the airport for the 10am flight to Oslo. But still, £100 is £100, and with Norway being famously expensive to foreign travellers, I book the cheaper flights, and use the saved £100 buy enough dehydrated camping food and whisky to last a week, and off I go.

As with every trip I take, I did a little research into where I was going, and learnt the importance of leaving a small pile of ammunition for the local trolls. If you leave them supplies, they will leave you alone; if you get chased by them, you have to run or hide until sunlight, when they will either flee the brightness or risk turning to stone in its glare, so when I found myself at the base of the highest waterfall in the country (Vettifossen), I thought it best to leave a little offering to the guardians of the pathways, just in case.

The searing beauty of the west of the country is hard to describe- using Laerdal as a base we explored the Sogneford as much as we were able to, seeing 12th century Viking churches, seemingly endless torrents of frozen water and snowy mountaintops, icicles forming structures that resembled magnificent church organs, and some of the most remarkable night skies imaginable.

I would love to claim that I went out running every day, but with temperatures dropping to -22 degrees at one point, I decided that a week off was alright. I supplemented the running regime with a healthy dose of walks in the fjords, scrambling through frozen mountain passages to get to forgotten areas in the snow, the only company the wolves who’s pawprints I had spent the past few hours tracking…

After a week in the wilderness, I pack up my things, head to the airport, and get on the plane home. You would think that after a week in the winter wilderness I would be prepped and ready for the Winter Warmer running tour to get underway, but 18 hours after landing I’m on another plane, bound for a very different climate; that story you’ll have to wait to hear about in part 2…


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