Ever since I was a wee boy at primary school, I’ve been in the Pentland hills, I’ve watched in awe as the runners ran the skyline and it stuck with me. I’ve not always been a runner in fact I’m relatively new. But since I started I’ve had an ambition to run this race and what a race this is.

Looking at the results, the times are quick, there are no slouches in this race. My Celtman pal Fraser had also been checking the times and had asked what he had let himself in for. This made me even more nervous.

Race morning and I had pre race jitters, everything was imaginary hurting, aches and pains everywhere!

Breakfast was overthought, kit overthought.

Finally I’m in my van and I’ve arrived. A short walk up to the start and spotted a clutch of speedy hill running harrier royalty, started to think I would probably let the club down with my effort. But reminded myself, I’m in it to finish as this is a big distance for me.

After the obligatory selfies we were of. A bit of a slow start as the sheer amount of runners at the start makes for a lot of jostling. Can I also note, this is the last time I saw Fraser and indeed all harriers apart from Tony. It was his first skyline also. We ran together for a bit from Castlelaw and passed cheering harriers at the car park, thanks.

We all know some days we feel great and climbs come with ease and steady, others are a struggle, I had the wrong day for a struggle, my legs were screaming on Turnhouse, my least favourite climb, but due to the talented runners in this race I pushed on as fast as my now terrible legs allowed. I was so so conscious of being way to close to the rear. I was not gaining any places, in fact slipping some.

Doubt had crept in already. I thought my second wind would kick in but only thing getting a kick in was me getting over Carnethy.

Harriers gate was empty, I usually stand here and cheer the runners. More recently with my wee one Evie. This time I’m a runner of sorts. They have left probably due to the fact I was way behind time and the wind was horrendous.

In my head I’m now quitting at East Kip, I’m working my way down and calling for a lift!!! the wind on the tops is horrendous and it’s a head wind. I’m definitely not making cut of, glances at my watch and my then new ever changing attitude of “no way am I not making cut of”kicked in.

West Kip! Wind is now blowing me over, actually blowing me over, I have 40 secs to make cut of. At the top I’m folding, going home, finished, I don’t care about the finish.

At the bottom, no way am I quitting, I’ve made it. The supporter crew fill my flask and feed me with snacks and sweets, I was very thankful for this and very thankful to have some flat to get the head right on the red road. Legs felt a little better but I knew the hills ahead. I started to gain on runners in this section, my down hill was keeping me in touch, my legs started to feel better! Ah wait ! Now I’m in bog and moss!! Legs have now changed their mind and fancy cramping up but hang on I’m on my arse sliding down towards black hill as it’s impossible to keep my feet. What a race indeed!!

From the top of Black hill I can see Bells, the least I say about this and the en set of cramp the better!! Are you feeling my pain yet? ?

Thank god now for a tail wind this helped me a lot, I found strength from now on the next couple of climbs.

Q, the weather, driving rain and cross wind but I can see Juliane at the gate, cheering us on, us as now it’s Tony and I swapping pain stories. We have just enough in the legs to make over the next section and down to the finish.

What a relief, I’d made it. Would I run this race again?

No ? or would I ??

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2 comments on Skyline.

  1. sooz says:

    Gosh Mark that is a fantastic race report! It shows how many emotions are involved in doing these races and this was clearly huge deal to you. Now that you’ve done it you know what it’s all about and nothing to fear and just to set yourself as a target every year – a bit like the Penicuik 10k 🙂

  2. Dave Cairns says:

    Of course you will Mark! What a brilliant report and reflects how we all must feel on occasions. Just have to keep telling yourself that the fast guys are hurting just as much as you. Mind games hit us all at some point in a race and that’s where the mental strength kicks in, which needs training too! Great effort and a great read.

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