Friday night in Portree and the rain hammered the roof of the van whilst the wind buffeted it about. We were as about as excited as a cat about to get bathed at the thought of running 18 exposed miles in this the next day.
However by the time we (yes, we, incredibly Huw had been persuaded to go for a run) rolled up at registration, whilst the weather hadn’t improved much, the course organizers had been thinking along the same lines as us and had sensibly shortened the route. It seems 2015 is destined to be the year of the Plan B course.
We were starting in the usual place at Flodigarry, but would miss checkpoint 1 and then from 4 take the escape route down rather than stay on the ridge till Storr. Feeling were mixed, definite relief was in the air, but also disappointment at missing out on the whole route. It must be a hard life as an organizer trying to get it right.
However, of the 75 runners, only 44 had bothered to turn up. Of the 31 that didn’t, only half had told the organizers that they wouldn’t make it. Now this seems very rude to me, and denies those that would have braved the forecast a race entry. While I accept there will always be some last minute issues that prevent folks arriving (Ive missed a race when the car broke down on the way and spent the next 12 hours getting towed home), I feel that with the limited entries at a lot of races and the increased popularity, there should be a system of blacklisting repeat offenders. Thoughts on this welcome!
The first few km were sheltered and very hot and sweaty as we wound up through the incredible scenery of the Quirang. A quick glug of water at the road and then up into the wind. Leaning and stumbling, it was an exciting 7 miles of exposure, a bit like being in a wind tunnel, cheeks blowing about. Frustratingly close to Ian, a fellow Dunoon hill runner, but he skidded and bounced his way down the hills and out of reach. Must sort out the descending part of hill running. Into the mist over Ben Edra before dropping back out and down to Checkpoint 4. From here an incredible descent, straight into the wind. We were able to relax and lean forwards into it, the perfect brake. A kilometer and a half on the landy track and we were back and welcomed into a barn full of tasty treats and tea. Amazingly the rain stayed off, apart from about 5 minutes of being struck by needles. We got off pretty lucky and overall it wasn’t too bad a day.
Props must go to the Skye team that organized it, there aren’t many races left where you get a bus to the start and a tasty dinner included in the entry fee. And in one of £15 at that! And of course all the delicious baking. Time for the other events to up their game! I hope I will be on the start line next year. And maybe with some sunshine?
Full results here: http://www.shr.uk.com/raceresults.aspx?RaceID=RA-0650&Year=2015 Top of the mens field was Donnie Campbell in 1.50. No surprises in the lady’s as Jasmin Paris thrashed the rest of us in 1.59. My consolation this time came as she was in a good 10 minutes ahead of a slightly miffed Huw 😉