Around 9 miles in the North Lincs Half Marathon
This was the first ever North Lincs Half Marathon, one of many new races for 2012 brought about as part of the London 2012 Olympics promoting sport across the country. It was well organised and a good flat course – if anything too flat! I don’t run well on flat courses as a rule!
The route started on the edge of Scunthorpe and took us out to Bottesford on a 3 mile straight line, before we finally turned right and headed towards the banks of the river Trent. I kept a steady pace – aiming for 7 minute miles to get a PB and break 1hr 33 mins. However, I was struggling to keep this pace, but was on still to break my PB, even if only by a few seconds. I had left Julie (Donald) behind, and was feeling pretty OK, despite only being a couple of weeks after the London Marathon.
The route took us through some country lanes and right onto the bank of the River Trent through 10/11 miles. I was getting close for a PB but just needed to slog it out for the final 2 miles. I could see the finish – Glandford park, home of the Ironmen, alias Scunthorpe United FC but the long 2 miles with the finish in sight seemed to have a negative impact. With the final 1.1 miles to cover my pace struggled and was thrown as we had a brief incline over a bridge with two sharp twists to get back onto the road for the final push into the stadium and finish.
I lost the precious seconds I needed to finish in 1:35:02 – half a minute behind my PB. Beverley AC had half a dozen runners cover this new course and I’d certainly try it again.
Just after the start of the Tees Barrage 10K
24 hours after the North Lincs half Marathon I was lined up by the river Tees for the Tees Barrage 10K on the edge of Stockton on Tees and Thornaby on Tees. I had, in fact, ran just about all of this before when training in 2010 as I stayed on the Tees Barrage with work for 7 months. The nice thing was I met up with two old friends form my days on the Methodist Youth Exec – Jen and Ian Howse (they met through the Exec!)
Jen was also running and, unknown to me, is a very good runner! I had an added disadvantage that I was racing in my glasses for the first time ever having left my contact lenses at home due to the early start. I felt sea sick for a lot of the run as my vision went from clear to blurred as they bobbed a bit on my nose! I had been behind Jen for nearly 2K without realising as it was a narrow start and I’d passed her thinking “how and when did she get in front of me if that’s Jen!?”
6k along side the River Tees
Just keeping ahead of Jen before the finish line
I was bang on for a PB at the 5k point – and already knew a PB wouldn’t happen. Ian was moving about taking pictures so I was well documented in my movements! At 6K Jen was just behind me as we ran a switch back up over the Millennium bridge – renowned for its wobble – so not reassure we’d run over it! Jen was then trying to pass me from 7K. I was determined I wasn’t going to let her beat me and dug deep to maintain my pace.
It held off as I kept Jen on my shoulder – knowing she had the advantage to sprint past me, but I held off and out sprinted her as we passed Ian for the finish – over 43 minutes but a good course. Well done to Jen, who then ran the Edinburgh Marathon a few weeks later and has qualified for the London Marathon with a good for age pace.
Continuing to try some new races within the area, I headed to a brand new race at Caistor, North Lincolnshire, on the Jubilee Monday. I attended with my friend, Jack, who would run his second 10K. I decided to run with him to see if we could get him a 45 minute pace and wore my Union Flag shorts given the date! The challenge would be the last 2 km’s as it was listed as having a few steep sharp climbs in this section, hence “sting in the tail”.
We only just made the start line after a lengthy walk from the car park and both a bit hungover (good reason for me not to aim for any PB’s!). The route started easy enough with the first 6K flat as we went out of the town to the west and through a caravan park, avoiding large puddles on the track. Back into the town and a bit of a climb to 7k, where Jack had top stop to adjust his knee support. We had lost pace here to enable any PB for Jack knowing the “sting” was yet to come.
We carried on round into the start of the climb and through 8K and the sting was no joke – a steep sharp climb into a square past a church, which we’d somehow return to as there were runners running round the inside of the square too! We were taken into the town centre and round the finish area and back out and down a slope to then come back up another steep climb to the inside of the square by the church! This sting lark was no joke. Jack had out run me on the first hill and I’d gained on the second. As we dropped back from the square a second time, we then had another sting as we had a hill climb of 100 metres to the finish. 48:05 on the clock, but an enjoyable little race none the less!
Jack and I cross the line in Caistor
The final” sting” to the finish
Usually one of the club handicap races, this year’s wasn’t to be the case but, as I’ve broken my PB on the course twice before felt I should have a try. I talked mate, Jack (of Caistor 10K and Askern fame) into a third 10K, but this time I was in my own race! This course isn’t lent to a PB as it’s a 1K climb to start from Hessle rugby club before you run southbound over the Humber Bridge and then have the tough climb back over on the northbound side, which is a long 1 mile gradual climb to the middle before the less noticeable drop to the 8K point by the toll booth plaza.
I made a good start and Jack was left monitoring a couple of my club mates whose pace I’d told him about as targets. As I headed through 5K back onto the bridge I was at 20:32 – pretty much bang on to get a PB if I maintained my pace in the harder half of the race. Couldn’t see jack going over the bridge as I headed back north – so either he was running very well and not far behind or very slow and I never saw him! The wind proved a cross wind and thankfully therefore minimal disadvantage. 8K marker and I had 8 mins and 7 seconds to break the PB. This was gonna be hard given the 8-9K bit involves another hill climb as you go down and under the bridge to climb back up and go round to then hit 9K and the final descent to the finish.
Amazingly I got to 9K with 4 mins to spare still. From somewhere unknown I dug deep and paced passed the 5 runners who’d recently taken me, to fly into the finish straight on the grass and smash 32 seconds off my time from Askern and clock a new PB of 40:37! I’d run the final kilometre in about three and a half minutes!
I thought I’d a few minutes to get my camera from the car and grab a picture of Jack coming in. I literally just made it as he came into the final straight as I headed back from the car. I just got to the finish straight in time and got a snap as he also stuffed his time from Askern to finish in 44:20. He’d used the club runners I’d mentioned as targets and it had worked. Given the time we did in Caistor I think we both need to race in the future and not run together! Well done to some other great time from Beverley AC. I had the unusual honour of being the second club finisher and was 20th overall
Above: Jack finishes Humber Bridge 10K
below: With Jack after our PB’s
The second running of this event saw a higher entry list with 40 of us taking part. I hadn’t had as much training on the bike as 2011, having suddenly panicked two weeks before the event and had it serviced and cycled to work a few times!
The event is 2 miles run from Skidby, near Cottingham to the west of Hull, then ten miles cycling the route of the Ferriby 10 race, a far from flat route – and the 2 mile run route again to finish you off. I was 6th after the first run – over took our lead club runner when cycling (James Pearson – the only time I’ll ever over take him!) but had several other cyclists over take me – then past two as we went through transition back to run the last 2 miles – about a minute slower than the first time but I did catch one other person. I was 8th overall on the second run but 19th in the cycling! I need a lighter bike! Not sure of my actual position overall but was about a minute slower than 2011!