Speed of light

The luminous, ludicrous Speed of Light
Ailsa MacDonald and Rosie Grieve travelled to Edinburgh to participate in the NVA’s spectacular ‘Speed of Light’ over the stunning nocturnal landscape of Arthur’s Seat.
At once a running and creative performance event, as part of the Edinburgh International Festival, it was an art project three years in the making. But to us it was one night of glorious sweaty exertion, a mass participation event as beautiful as it was challenging, exhilarating and, quite frankly, dangerous!
We were briefed to come equipped for fell running, with trail shoes and technical kit. However after a short reconnaissance session on the hill before the sun set, and the donning of radio controlled LED light suits, we soon realised that we were no longer to be recognised as runners but, according to an incredible feat of mass choreography, as ‘fireflies’, ‘sparklers’, flowing ‘lava’, and pulsating ‘heartbeats’. Some of us were lucky enough to be part of a group that overlooked the others’ paths and luminous forms, and so were able to spectate while providing the spectacle. Some of us were foolish enough to continue to spectate while running back and forth along a narrow cliff path, towards fellow runners from whom we were to ‘rebound’ – in near pitch darkness – almost becoming a lone tumbling light…
The run was an easy paced 4 miles, but still a shock to my Scottish legs now accustomed to the gentle Suffolk landscape, and a timely reminder to squeeze in a few more hill reps while in the homeland; – bring on the Lowestoft Scores Race!
In the opening welcome and initial briefing by Director, Angus Farquarson, we were warned that the endurance of the event was the less expected intense concentration needed by each of us during the throng of the event…and this was no exaggeration!: when stopping momentarily between the short intense bursts of Blair Witch style running, it was clear that the fell terrain at night demands so much more than a breezy Dunwich heath 10km.