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Pentland Skyline 2018

17/10/2018

On Sunday 14th October, Carnethy running club hosted the Pentland Skyline.

This race has been held annually since 1986 and its popularity remains high with entries filling up fast. Craig Malcolmson and Mo Khan represented DRC at this year’s event, and were treated to wonderful autumn weather ideal for running.

The race traverses both the southern and northern hills in the Pentland regional park, and as advertised, is definitely a race of 2 halves. At just shy of 17 miles and with a total climb of 5700ft, the DRC runners knew they had a tough shift in store for them. The first 8.5 miles consists of the highest peaks in the Pentlands such as Carnethy and Scald Law. There is a time cut-off at the half way point, which at 2 hours 15 mins is rather testing especially as there is 3500ft of climb in this section. Runners are compelled to push hard to make the cut-off, and it is fortunate that the underfoot conditions are favourable.  The return leg on paper seems less tough, with only 2200ft of climb. However, the ground conditions are far worse in this section. The second half includes a few testing descents such as coming off Hare hill, as well as number of lung bursting steep climbs. There are also long stretches of running on energy-sapping boggy terrain as well as through heather. Plus the legs are tired by this point so all in all its not a pleasant second half! This year there was an additional complication in that forestry works had made the Drove road really difficult to run along, and it was surprising more runners didn’t lose a shoe or 2 in the deep mud.

Craig was coming off the back of a very successful Hardrock duathlon but he admitted that he had neglected his running to concentrate on his mountain biking prowess. Nonetheless, the Old Man of Haugh showed his base hill running fitness with a strong run. He started steadily and worked his way up through the field. Craig made the half way cut in 1h 53, and had a great second half, coming in to the finish line in 3h 38.

Mo enjoyed the first half of the race, and made the Drove road time cut-off in 2h 08. However not long after this, the wheels started to come off. He did not enjoy the muddy conditions of the Drove road nor did he enjoy the descent of Hare hill, which in hindsight should have been tackled with a simple bum slide down the hill. During the steep ascent of Bell’s hill, a fellow hill runner pointed out that you only break the back of this race once you have crossed the finish line. Thankfully at this stage the sun came out and gave him a second wind. Having targeted sub 4h 30, Mo crept in just under at 4h 29.

All in all, it was a tough but enjoyable day out in the hills. Both DRC runners were pleased with their performances although Mo was adamant he wouldn’t be returning in a hurry.

Mo Khan

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