As I sit here (the following morning) enjoying a coffee in a warm and comfortable apartment in Newcastle, County Down, I watch the wind outside blowing an absolute hooly and I thinking ‘thank goodness I’m not outside’. Conveniently the mind quickly forgets and remembers with rose- tinted glasses….Yesterday I was out in this wind and at 700m (+/-) 9 times I struggled to stay grounded. It was my first Skyrace. Lots of climbing- according to my watch; good competition; mud; wind; and falling over. The 35km race was excellently organised and well marked out which was definitely required as the low cloud often obscured visibility. I didn’t get to admire many views but from sea level the mountains looked pretty impressive.
I finished 6mins behind the World Skyrunning Champion, Stevie Kremer but it felt a closer race than that. We tracked each other until about 5miles to go when she just pulled away powering up the hills. I had been catching her on the downs but as the race went on and I fell (again) and rolled my ankle (again) and got buffeted off track by the wind (again) I seemed to lose confidence. Still it was a great race. I finished 2nd in 4hrs 30mins (yep not a great average pace but them there hills were pretty steep especially Slieve Donard).
Post race and definitely post bath-
I headed out to enjoy some Irish culture, good food and of course a glass of wine with some of the other runners.