John Grimshaw has been on his travels again and sends us this excellent report from the Lincoln 10K:
Lincoln is a city and an area of the UK I have never visited and I had heard good things about the cathedral. Travelling into Lincoln at night you can see the cathedral lit up, dominating the skyline as it is on a hill….. This was pretty impressive! It also holds one of the 4 copies of Magna Carta but sadly this and the castle (which was nearing the end of a £22mil restoration process) were not accessible but the city still had plenty to see.
The race on the Sunday was ran over a mainly flat road course, which were closed to vehicles for the race, and it was in the shape of a figure of eight ending outside the cathedral. The start staging area was well sign posted and had a bag drop off point (3 huge trucks), a race HQ and plenty of clean porta loos.
The race start area was also segregated into ‘pens’ marked sub 35,40,45,50 & 55 with an area at the back for joggers. This was an excellent idea however, anyone could go into any pen which did mean there were the obligatory over ambitious runners in pens designated for faster runners (a pet hate of mine!).15 mins before the race you were informed via tannoy, which were very good, that there would be a mass warm up (which you could hear but couldn’t see unless you were in the front pen!) The start was delayed due to an emergency call on the route but there was good humoured banter over the tannoy with the racers to help pass the time.
When the race did get underway, it started with the wheel chair racers followed by the runners 2 minutes later. Each pen set off together which caused some bunching before the start but generally you got away well (all be a number of slow unrealistic joggers in the fast pens grrrr!!)
There was excellent support all the way round the course and the figure of eight meant you went past a couple of places multiple times giving good vantage points to spectators.
A water station at 5k was well manned and on both sides of the route, though they may have struggled at the peak times. Waste bins to dispose of used water bottles were also situated both sides of the road but rather close to the water station meaning two gulps and you were there.
The chip timers are built into the race number which is made out of tear resistant paper, I signed up for the season ticket which entitles me to 5 races in the series over March to August, Lincoln is the first followed by Hull and Burnley in June, Leeds in July and York in August (I’m doing all but Hull as have other commitments).
How your race number (which you keep for the whole series) will stand up to the rigours of 4 (potentially 5) races we will have to see.
As well as your number it has your first name on it and there were a number of spectators shouting encouragement and your name… That said there may have been 5 Johns running behind me!!
Just before the finishing line you run through an arch which is part of the old priory gate after which is a short 10m downhill stretch to the finish allowing a glory sprint finish!
The finishing area was large and stretched around the south of the cathedral. You were encouraged to move around to the water and sports drink point, followed by the swag bag collection points, available in small/medium/large and XL but there was a significantly larger queue at the medium section which may have benefitted from two or more queues?
The swag bag included a T-shirt and nice medal (see photos)
After this point, at the front of the cathedral there was plenty of room where you could arrange to meet friends and family.
The medal was quite nice with the cathedral on it and made of metal (see photo)
Walking back to the car I was presented with a free banana from ‘revolution’ that had a two for one pizza and free drink sticker on it. There were a number of other businesses on the return route that offered discounts to finishers indicating a buy in and support from these local
All in all I would have to say Lincoln is a nice place to visit and it is somewhere I would go back to (but more in season and when the castle has reopened)
A spectators view …. my partner.
As a supporter of Mr Grimshaw, I have been to many runs as a spectator and I have to say this one was one of the better organised. There was plenty of viewing places to comfortably watch the runners within easy walking distance. The marshals were friendly yet kept control of the spectators, asking us politely to stop where we were, within the areas where there were no barriers allowing access to the other side of the road, whilst the runners were passing as to not interrupt the race. The support off the spectators was fantastic and with many people holding up banners and posters with words of encouragement on them and others constantly shouting supporting words and clapping throughout.
From my vantage point near the start It was about a 10-15 minute walk back to the finish line and when I got there it was so busy but definitely had a good atmosphere for the tired runners running in. The only problem for me was that it was so busy I was standing on my tip toes at the back of a crowd and missed seeing John cross the finish line.
Overall it was a beautiful day and that really did help as a spectator, but I definitely wouldn’t mind going to watch this race again.