Sunday, 14 October 2012

Pentland Skyline

My 11th Skyline in a row started in sobering mood with a minute’s silence to reflect on the passing of Darren Holloway at last Sunday’s Ian Hodgson Relay. John Blair-Fish spoke a few words, and emphasised the importance of stopping to help fellow runners in difficulty.

Once underway, the race followed a slightly new route to gain the gateway and path above the ski slope.  I’d already constructed a plan in my head that involved setting off ridiculously slowly, and putting in no effort until after Turnhouse, and even then saving myself until Bell’s Hill when I hoped to have a strong run to the finish.

I’d also decided to eat and drink more than before, and to start eating and drinking earlier. Therefore I’d decided beforehand exactly when and where I would take my 4 gels.

I arrived at the top of Castlelaw pretty much with Jasmin Paris and Iain Walker, and caught Jon Gay on the descent.  After Flotterstone, I took it pretty easy on the climb up Turnhouse watching Stuart Smith of Cosmics disappearing off into the distance and wondering if I’d catch him later.

I jogged over the 5 Carnethy hills pretty much together with Iain Walker, and was with Iain more or less to the climb up Bell’s Hill.  I had a chat with Stephen Winter who was sheltering in the gully, took my last gel and some more drink and tried to get organised to run from the of Bell’s Hill to the finish in under 40 minutes.

I passed 2 runners more or less straightaway, but then there was a big gap in front.  Strangely I suddenly caught Stuart Smith, but it looked like he’d taken a route diversion, since he then took off again, and I had to chase him all the way to Allermuir before I finally caught him again as he hesitated in the mist, not knowing which path to take towards Caerketton.  I made my move and jumped back, and tried to finish strongly down the super muddy slippery descent to hit the track running above the ski slope.  I wasn’t 100% sure of the final section, but forced the pace to the gate and then put in one last effort to the new finish, which gives a much nicer run in.

I was pleased to finish in 13th position in 2:54:18, having made up 6 places in the second half of the race, although in less soft and muddy conditions I’m sure I could have run sub 2:50 again.  Perhaps next year...

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