Didn't fancy doing the Skyline so soon after the marathon, particularly thinking about how tough it gets in the 2nd half and how the marathon fatigue typically also sets in later in a race... a recipe for misery you would have thought. However Peter was up for it so I offered to give him and Ben a lift in my beautiful new van (goodbye go-kart), drop them off, go for a run myself on the lower level 11.5 miler in the Pentlands and then get back to get some photos of folks finishing the race.
As it happened Scott F. also fancied a shorter run in the hills so with uncannily good timing arrived at Flotterstone just as I was getting ready to set off and we took off without much preamble.
It was a nice day, sunny but quite cold and breezy. The first few miles were a bit of a struggle, being uphill and into the wind. Coming down the other side, past Threipmuir etc and then back up to the foot of Harbour Hill was a pleasure though being easier angled and with the wind behind. Scott's knee had been playing up but there was little sign of it as he took off down the rocky path back to the road which leads back to the carpark. On the last stretch of the road some Skyliners were spilling off Castle Law onto the road to the water stop before Turnhouse. We recognised the distinctive form of Ben Kemp and gave him a big shout. We stopped for a while and clapped people as they passed and shouted the people we knew. It was good to see Lynn from club was running. Scott expressed some twinges of regret that we weren't racing but I was really quite glad.
Scott F. went back to do some painting and decorating at his folk's house and I made my way back to Hillend via the garage for some diesel and oil for my NEW VAN and a Boost bar and some coffee for me. Life seemed pretty close to perfect sitting in the Ski Centre car park listening to music and eating chocolate and drinking coffee in the sunshine.
It was a bit of an effort to set off out again up the hill into the wind to get into position to take some pictures and do some shouting.
The top of the hill was very blowy and blustery. The first man (not sure who, Shettleston vest?), was miles ahead and on his own. Then people started to arrive a bit more frequently. Stewart Whitlie was spectating at Loch Ness last weekend so there was some symmetry in spectating him this weekend. He was well up the field.
Some people were smiling and some people were under a cloud and holding grimly on. I was just thinking I'd have to go back down as too cold when a very muddy Peter swung into view. I was so excited to see him I pressed the wrong button on the camera and put it off! Peter told me he was stewing about this for the rest of his race. Anyway, he was well up there again, especially for an old bloke. (Although old blokes - and if you ever read this you know I'm just joking - Wull Hynd and Chris Upson were well ahead.)
There was no sign of Ben which was surprising. I had half expected him and Peter to stay pretty close together. Ben's training has not been ideal but he always puts up a good fight. I trotted back downhill, taking the long way in case I got in anyone's way. When I got in I found Ben with a big ugly chunk out of his knee and blood down his shins and also his elbow. He took a hard fall fairly early on which had hampered his race. He said it was with horror that he ran into the unusually deep but always septic waters of the Green Cleuch and submerged his open wound.
Alison, Ben's wife, arrived with Reuben who is considerably bigger than the last time we saw him and pretty jolly.
Home at last, tired, wind-blown and very hungry. It was so good to be out in the hills. Back to the rigours of work tomorrow...