22nd June 2011


It’s not often that a race is preceded by a song from the organiser, but before the start of the Red Moss Revolution we were treated to a wee ditty about Bavelaw to honour the land owner who stays in those parts and whose permission is required for the race to go ahead. (Rob – grab your mic for this weekend!).

It was a damp evening following a period of monsoon conditions, so the course seemed far slower than my last brush with it on a sunny evening in 2007 (from whence my Scottish Hill Racing profile photo originates). However, it’s still one of the fast and runnable types, and the field set off at a ridiculous gallop down the driveway at the start, only to regain sanity quickly as the road tilted upwards. I used Julia Connor (Moorfoots) as a good marker through the initial stages, and could still see Alan Gilkison up ahead as he struggled with a stitch. Alan was around 45 seconds ahead over the summit of Hare Hill, but soon disappeared as I bumbled across the sodden heather. A reasonable descent into the knee-deep bog at the Green Cleuch won me a few places and took me up to 2 very quick Lothians girls, with HBT’s Eilidh Wardlaw right on my heels. The run down the path to the dam was fast and furious, allowing me to push on past the Lothian duo but losing out to an HBT chap doing battle with his clubmate Eilidh. The flat run in to the line is a long drag, and places were traded several times, heart rates maxed out, and stitch held off – just. I lost out to one HBT, was blasted away at the last by the Lothians speedsters, but held on to finish ahead of Eilidh for a PB by around 1:30.

I was delighted with my result (circa 44:55, versus 46:27 in 2007) as the conditions were much better in 2007 and I had run a decent half-marathon time back in August 2007 just before that inaugural Red Moss race, so my old time wasn’t exactly a soft target.

Ross Houston won the race, and talk after the finish suggested he had smoked the final run-in after it was close as far as the dam. Niall was first Westie (6th place), then Owen, Cam, Osama bin Kelly, Alan, me, and Niall’s flatmate Peter who is now a Westie too! Note to anyone considering sharing a flat with Niall – it’s a tough life. Peter was forcibly introduced to hill racing at the Loch Lochy Munros!

There was concern about the non-appearance of John “Chippy” Quinn, after suggestions that he would also be present. Had he been waylaid after discovering that he was actually a “salt and sauce” man, despite years of living in the West? Or had he been poleaxed by a particularly large pre-race black pudding supper? We may never know….

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