Revolutions and Laws

“It is impossible to predict the time and progress of revolution. It is governed by its own more or less mysterious laws. But when it comes it moves irresistibly.” Nikolai Lenin


Och – nothing so profound here. Just some hot sweaty runners taking some time out and running around a couple of hills. I guess it could be said, we moved “irresistibly”.

Couple of races this last week:

Red Moss Revolution (9km, 220m):

Largo Law Hill Race (10.8km, 330m):


For me, Red Moss Revolution is the fastest “hill” race on the annual calendar. More of a cross country race really. Very runnable – but fast. Starting at the carpark at Threipmuir Reservoir, the first kilometre is a fast run along a tarmac road which steadily gets exponentially steeper before it takes you up onto the more gentle inclined open drove road that goes up over the Pentlands past West Kip. The routes joins the Skyline course up over Hare Hill and down into the bog (still wet) before the climb up to Black Hill. Instead of going up Black Hill, the route contours along the wall down to the eastern end of Threipmuir Reservoir. There is then a 2km sprint along the track to the finish line.

I personally find this a tough race as my knees really suffer on the final 2kms of track, but I actually enjoyed the bulk of the race. After an odd start where there was no warning and suddenly we were all running without mental preparation, I found myself in the unique position of not being in the top ten during the first kilometre. Perhaps this slower start is not a bad idea as I did not feel completely broken after about 5 minutes. Anyway – for much of the race, I was battling with the 2nd placed woman (someone had shouted her position early on). It is odd to say, but if I was a woman, for most hill races, I would almost always be 3rd. This time I was determined to keep ahead of her. I basically passed her going up, but she passed me going down. I finally lost her on the track – DAMN – 3rd woman again!


120 runners: Multiple runners from the Harriers:

Duncan Ball: 30th, 41:16 (had cycled to the race!)

Mike Brooks: 40th, 42:33

Mark Snodgrass: 41st, 42:59 (had cycled to the race!)

Rob Wilson: 51st, 44:47

Jan Dawson: 81st, 49:46

Sadie Kemp: 96th, 52.19

Rachel McTavish: 109th, 1:03:00

Full Results:

Stuart unfortunately had to pull out due to a groin strain and Carl missed a trick by swimming in  Threipmuir for triathlon training and did not twig that he could have raced as well. An enjoyable race on the whole although none of us hung around at the end due to the cloud of midges.


Largo Law is a much more pleasant affair. Another very runnable race with woodland and field edge tracks and the crossing of the river 4 times but compared to Red Moss, it has a much more serious hill to climb – in fact the final ascent/descent is probably one of the steepest sections of any race you will find. Luckily it is short.

A more normal start for me. I was 7th at the first corner and managed to keep ahead of Mike for the first kilometre. But he inevitably passed me, but I was determined to keep him in sight. As usual, I was about 30 meters behind him going up the main hill, but he steadily moved away on the return trip. No hope! However, as seems to be the norm, the 2nd lady was in front of me – about 200 meters. Here we go again. I pushed and steadily narrowed the distance. At the penultimate river crossing she was only about 20 meters in front of me and was walking up the hill out of the river bed. I pushed thinking that this was it, I could finally catch her. However, at the top of the incline where the path levels out, I started feeling sick. I won’t go into any details, but dry heaving did not stay dry. After I had recovered, the distance between us had grown to 200 meters again. Shite! With only 1 kilometre to go, I just did not have it in my to catch her up. DAMN – 3rd lady again!

Anyway – despite these minor woes, this was a much more enjoyable race than Red Moss and of course, there was a free (although race was £8 if you were not a SA member!) pint at the Crusoe Hotel afterwards.


From 53 runners, in order of decreasing speed and increasing beauty:

Mike Brooks: 11th, 53:29

Rob Wilson: 14th, 54:54 (beat my BP by 2 whole minutes!!! :-))

Tim Doyle: 23rd, 59:42

Sadie Kemp: 40th, 1:05:42 (1st vet woman!!!)

Full Results:



having a pine:

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4 comments on Revolutions and Laws

  1. mags says:

    Me and Lorna huffed and puffed our way over the hills , on a beautiful night, to spectate the Red Moss. Always amazed at how quick you guys get round ! , well done to all. Think we got back to the Cuik at around 10 pm !!

  2. Susie says:

    Okay, who pays Rob to write race reports, or is he saving them up for a book in the future ‘My life in races – strains, sprains and trying to keep up with the ladies’?
    I missed both of these races which I’ve done before and they’re fab – next year I’m sure.
    I agree with Susan re. Sadie, you are some girl missus!

  3. Sadie Kemp says:

    1st vet woman, hehe I was the only vet woman! Nice to get a prize just for turning up 😉

  4. Susan says:

    Ah Rob you made me laugh with your analogy to the third lady finisher! I bet your hair is longer than some of the female racers! You were obviously trying so hard to catch lady number 2 that you were sick – respect for continuing after that! Well done on your PB…which I’m assuming is the same as BP…?

    Well done to everyone in both races – Sadie features in just about every race these days which is fantastic (how do you do it Sadie?). Huge well done also to Rachel McGavin (where did McTavish come from?) who’s one of our newest members and certainly a newcomer to hill races.

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