Andy said : At the start of the year this was one of my target races. However, not having been hill running since July and having let running in general tail off slightly I had written it off but when Rachel’s newsletter came round last week and mentioned The Skyline, I thought perhaps perhaps…
At 11am on Sunday morning I found myself standing amongst 200 hundred others about to start The Pentland Skyline. I knew I could get round because I was carrying three mars bars, a packet of jelly babies and a big bundle of flapjack and so I wasn’t going to run out of energy. As I hadn’t trained for it I didn’t have the worry of training going well or badly and although the race was advertised as sixteen miles long, my plan was to walk up the hills and only run the downhill and flat bits. Therefore if the hills were half of the race (eight miles) I knew I could run the other eight miles and so it was in the bag!
The race started and we then basically walked up Caerketton Hill. This was a great start before jogging over Allermuir and Castlelaw. My plan was to try to run within myself and cover the ground at about 4 miles per hour. After about an hour and 4 miles I reached Flotterstone for the first water station. The second water station was just after West Kip and you had to reach that point within 2 hours fifteen from the start to be able to go on and complete the race. I blanked this thought from my mind and then headed off up Turnhouse. At the base of each hill I was taking onboard either jelly babies or flapjack and this helped me to keep a good steady pace on all the ascents. The weather over the eastern half of The Pentlands was not pleasant at times with wind and rain but everybody kept going and the miles and the peaks passed by.
The cut-off point was reached after about two hours eight minutes and the pacing had remained at four miles per hour. The legs didn’t feel too tired and I set off for the second part. The descent off Hare Hill was through some deep boggy heather but that soon passed and then the ascent of Black Hill went pretty well too. The atmosphere amongst the runners was good with lots of conversation and the miles and hills gradually passed by.
Soon enough we were at the base of Allermuir for the last sharp climb. I walked up with a couple of guys, one who was telling us how he would normally be running up here!! It was at this point that the cloud had lifted enough to enable us to look back over the whole course. It was a great view and an even better feeling knowing it was all behind me.
And then there was the final run down off Caerketton and back to the Ski Centre. I have to admit at being chuffed to bits to have finished, to have kept the pace going and to have enjoyed a fantastic event. Yes my legs ached and I don’t expect my quads to be working properly for a few days yet but that will all have been forgotten by the time next year comes round!
Phil and Kelly also took part and I hope they enjoyed it as much as I did. Phil had also run a ten mile hill race the day before which enabled him to enter The Man or Mouse competition which is the combined times for The Manor Hill Race and The Pentland Skyline – Machine!!
Finally, thanks to Carnethy HRC for organising such a great event. It can’t be easy monitoring two hundred odd runners through The Pentlands and a special note of thanks to the marshalls who sat or stood in not the best conditions to ensure everybody was safe.
Looking forward to 2014…