I had chosen earlier in the summer to run in the Pentland Skyline race in the run up to the Glen Ogle 33 race. I came to regret this as I struggled with a recurring virus after the Speyside Way race which refused to clear. The weather forecast was pretty ominous, and I did seriously consider giving the race a miss. Ultimately I decided that I’d spent best part of 6 weeks training specifically for the race, and that I just needed to man up.
Again, with hindsight that was probably a mistake, but I simply did not want to throw another race away this year.
The weather was very changeable throughout. Wet and windy from the outset I started in jacket hat and gloves, but these had been stowed away in my sack by the time that I had dropped to Flotterstone. I felt that the move up and over Carnethy went as well as I could have hoped, and indeed I beat my training splits over this range. The weather deteriorated seriously as I headed out to South Black Hill, with visibility markedly reduced, and so the wet weather gear went back on, only to be removed again for the climb up Hare Hill shortly thereafter.
The descent from Hare Hill to Black Hill had moved to the East of what I had trained on. It was steeper, wetter and more precariously poised. I did not enjoy that particular section, and was happy to get running again on the climb up Black Hill.
Bells Hill is probably the hardest part of the route, not in itself, but because of the combination of its grade and position late in the run. I knew this was coming, and was prepared for it, making good time to the top. I underestimated how much climb was left though after Bells. I was pretty underfuelled by this point so ate, but bonked all the way up the final range before the food started to work. The coat came back on as the weather deteriorated greatly again on the summit, but I was able to run strongly into the finish at the ski centre at Hillend.
I had been aiming for around 4 hours for the circuit, but finished on 4:34. I was not to disappointed with this as with better fuelling I would have been much nearer to 4 hours anyway, and hillrunning is not one of my strengths anyway. This race was a learning curve.