It seemed such a great idea for somebody going frequently on a jolly jog in the Pentlands to finally patch the different parts together. Doing ‘The Skyline’ just sounded fabulous, and up to the morning of the race I was really looking forward to it.
Of course experienced Skyliners warn you that this race is not for the fainthearted and quite tough. I have even seen what carnage this race can do to people – i.e. watching Rob painfully stumbling along several times. But hearing what others tell you and feeling it yourself unfortunately are two different things. Now I know – the Skyline is definitely not for half-hearted sunshine runners. If you want to do it, you have to seriously train for it. (To my defence, training was going pretty well up to August, when the autumn tennis season kicked in again and work / other commitments got a bit too time consuming for my liking).
The first part of the Skyline was quite jolly, although the narrow paths at the beginning of the race caused a bit of over-crowding almost all the way up to Allemuir – at least for people near the back (where I was lingering). There were over 250 runners this year – so getting lost (my biggest worry before the race) was literally impossible. At the first hour of the race the Pentlands were at their best – the sun was shining and it was warm with hardly any wind. Unfortunately about 1.5 hours into the race the heavens opened and sent down some ice cold sleety rain – this was very bad timing as it cooled down the body enormously and made the bogs feel arctic. Along with the temperature swing, my mood turned swiftly from happy to considerably less happy when I left the eastern Pentlands and entered Bogland after Hare Hill. By Gum, this was cold wet and never-ending mud!!!!! Wading through this black gunk took a lot out of me – and judging by several people walking ‘funny’ (even backwards in one case!), I was not the only person struggling with cramps. The sight of a frozen Harrier at the top of South Black cheered me up enormously, and kept me going for a while (thank you Chris!!!!). [Also thank you to all the other Harrier’s spectators]
Although I was quite tired by the time I got stuck in the icy river between Black Hill and Bells I did not worry because Rob had told me “once you get over Hells Bells, you’ll be home dry”. Needless to say, I should have worried because it was when I reached the top of Bells that my body decided that it was quite enough for me for today and went on strike. How unfortunate that at this moment, Allemuir in the distance, transformed into the Himalayas. Having run Allemuir so many times it was a weird experience to realize what it means when you have nothing left in you – even the simple task of walking on the flat seemed almost insurmountable. I had to face the cruel truth that having bagged 14 of the 16 peaks I may in fact not make it over the last 2 hills to the finish line. But then an angel [Editorial comment from Rob: Let’s not push it!] appeared out of nowhere (I first heard her before I saw her :-)). The angel jogged down and literally took me by the hand and pulled me up Allemuir, talking cheerfully all the way to take my mind off the fact that Mount Everest (i.e. Carketton on a normal day) was still to conquer. I’m not sure how she got me over the last hump – it must have taken forever – but the angel completed her job and got me down safely to the finish line where a lonely frozen and very relieved Rob waited for me. Thank you Susie for chumming me during this very very difficult part of the race!!!!
The results are in and I’m highly impressed by the great times that the other Harriers (Duncan, Richard, Mike, Rob and Carl) achieved. Well done guys – and sorry for dragging down the team time!
Results from 250 runners:
44th – Duncan Ball: 3:10:16
75th – Richard Osmon: 3:22:11
101st – Mike Brooks: 3:32:06
114th – Rob Wilson: 3:34:38
137th – Carl Proctor: 3:44:13 (Manor Water: 1:34:01) – RESPECT!!!
239th – Andrea Wilson: 4:40:28
Thanks to Susie for most of the following piccies. I stole a couple from the Carnethy site as well. R.
Duncan making it look easy as usual
Great race from Richard
Mike feeling the previous week’s marathon with Rob hot on his heels
Rob being abused by Susie – who is NO angel!
Carl unashamedly happy despite having run both Manor Water and the Skyline
Andrea crossing the finishing line.
Rob realising that he will be probably be cooking that night!
Finally, Andrea earned the GrandPrix trophy.