File photo.

Stable newcomer Luke “Skywalker” Hyland battled the Scottish heat (who thought those words would be in a sentence together?) and Buckfast-swilling Neds to slice 1’27” off his best at the Edinburgh Half-Marathon with a 1:27:13 finish. 

An 8am start lulled Hyland into thinking there would be cool conditions, but once the clouds parted, the thermostat rocketed up to a sweltering 18°C—positively Saharan conditions in Scotland’s capital. With the soles of his shoes melting to the tarmac, Hyland was well up the standings, finishing 393rd out of 10,000+ entrants and 52nd M40. 

With Ally “the Chin” Smith on a busman’s holiday in Straya, General Puffball (reluctantly) had to do some donkey work and get the Luke scoop for The Stable News:  

“I was nervous that it was going to be pretty warm, but fortunately, we got a nice bit of cloud cover for a lot of it.

The race has a net downhill for the first 8km that you really have to manage. Once the route gets to the coast, it’s pancake flat, and I felt I got into a better rhythm on that section; I certainly banked some time, but probably not as much as others. The plan was to finish strong, and even though there was downhill for the early stages, I did negative split. 

Support and course in general is good, and I thought the organisation was also spot on. 

It was the strongest I’ve felt in a HM; I passed a lot of people in the last 3km. I think my final 5K split was about 20:04, which I was delighted with. 

Stazza set out a few key sessions on the lead-in that were different to what I had been doing. They definitely helped a lot and gave me confidence to go for the goal.”

Afterwards, General Puffball arranged a conference call with Coach Stazza and the Chin for some input on Hyland’s half: 

GP: I hope you are both enjoying your time away from the office. Please give your elucidations in a timely manner. 

AS: G’day, mate! Trust me to come to “the lucky country” when it’s warmer in my homeland. Young Skywalker played a blinder in Edinburger! Held back on the downhill and held the pace on the coast. Well done, Luke. Perfecto! 

CS: I couldn’t agree more … The course is fast, and the initial downhill can catch some out by going too hard, too quick. But not our new recruit … He put on a fine display … Clocking ~20 minutes for the final 5K was the pièce de résistance!

Hyland will be back in action at the Tullamore HM at the end of August before moving on to the Dublin City Marathon in October.