Monday 17 September 2018

Glencoe Skyline

credit photo : Skyrunner World Series

Seven and a half years it’s been now, since we left the lush-green Scottish central belt for the piercing-blue skies of Provence. And over those seven years I’ve only been back a handful of times and usually to see family, not to run over fells. So it really was great to round out my mini Skyrunning season with a weekend trip up to Glencoe. Shane and all the race organising team have managed to pull together a perfect Skyrunning event in the uk, with a level of technicality that’s spot-on. Hard, steep and rough, but not too silly either! The Glencoe Skyline has joined Tromsø and Kima as the unofficial triple combo of ultimate skyraces. These are the real ones - the ones that get you high, over summits, along ridges, off paths. And all three of which I’ve had the fortune to attend over the last six weeks. Not a bad schedule to “get back into it” after some months off following injury!

credit photo : Tom Owens

Unfortunately for the first time in the event’s history the weather conditions were not suitable for releasing two-hundred runners onto the Aonach Eagach - a sensible decision given the wetness and windiness up on the Munro summits - so the B course was enacted on the Saturday afternoon before the race. That said the B course is still a good one, it still incorporates some proper hills and some gnarly climbs. But it didn’t half feel like a sprint racing over three hours and forty-five minutes compared to the more habitual six or seven hours!
credit photo : Ian Corless

Fully aware that race would not be an “ultra jog”, but rather an intense confrontation between the Spaniards, Scandinavians, Americans, Brits,... attending, I went straight into a relatively high gear and tried to go with the flow at the front end of the field.

credit photo : Tom Owens

It went pretty well all in all, just one tame descent in the middle cost me a few minutes and resulted in me loosing touch with the top three, definitively. I was no doubt more at ease throwing myself down steep slippery slopes when I was based in Scotland and practising such antics on a more regular basis. But hey! - you can’t have it both ways - the sunshine overhead and slippery wetness underfoot! Back to France now and time to get in shape for something more undulating, relatively flat even, some might say...

credit photo : Skyrunner World Series

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