Sunday, 17 October 2010

Steeples and Spires Trail Marathon

I was looking forward to this event for several reasons.Firstly ,it was a chance to have a good run out.The event is run in a similar fashion to the LDWA events-being a walk and a run.The walkers set off at 8.30,followed by the runners at 9.30.The cost of the event,to enter on the day was £12-if you entered before it was £10.For that you got a rather nice t-shirt,plastic cups of finest tap water(well presume it was tap water!),and thats about it.That's exactly how I like it.The race was over the marathon distance-but the accuracy has to be questioned-and if you wanted to know how fast you ran,it was up to you to time yourself.These type of events always tend to be really friendly,with alot less big egos around than sometimes found at races.

The conditions were near perfect.The proceeding night was cold,and a heavy mist hung over Lincoln Castle at the start.The forecast was good-about 14 degrees,combined with a clear,sunny autumnal day.Setting off from the castle grounds on the way down Steep Hill to the river saw its normal fast start and the usual exuberance by people who should perhaps have taken it a little easier at the start.Once we hit the cycle path a lead group started to form with myself,Jon Hobbs,a couple of army guys and a couple of lads I had not seen before-and not forgetting Pip-Jons dog!We stayed together,until the army lads tailed off,leaving 4 of us together.If anything I thought the start was alittle to fast.Jon is smack bang in the middle of a hard training block,in preparation for the Florence Marathon at the end of November,and seemed to want a long,hard training run.Combined with having to stop/start regularly to keep check on his dog,who couldn't resist chasing the local wildlife-usually in the opposite direction to the race,I think a good training run was what he got.

At the aid station around half way,I inadvertently developed a 50m lead.I think it was solely a case of the other runners spending more time getting drinks,rather than me speeding up.I knew I was approaching an area where last year I took a wrong turn.This year I did exactly the same and found that my lead had disappeared,and had to chase the leading two runners up the subsequent inclined field to catch up.I was feeling good and decided to up the pace slightly.The rest of the run was on my own.I crossed the line in 3hrs 02 mins to win,and was slightly disappointed at not registering a quicker time(my brother won the event last year in 2hrs 52mins),but several runners clocked the course longer this year-the finish was moved,and we had a detour this year to miss a railway bridge,which added extra distance,so my time was probably worth a sub 3hr run.Anyway,I'm not bothered.It was a pleasant day,nice scenery and good company.On days like these positions and times are largely irrelevant.

The logistics of getting to and from the race also added to the experience.Choosing not to have a car can cause problems,especially if no-one else you know is going ,to share a lift with.Sundays are the worst-the reduction in the number of trains and buses make travelling,even relatively locally,a task in itself.I,ve been looking at LDWA events for the coming year precisely because some of the events are held on Saturdays,making travelling on public transport a hell of alot easier.In days of old-well the 60's and 70's,the majority of road races were held on Saturdays.This would be ideal for me,but I suppose the passage of modern day life,in relation especially to working patterns ,have eroded this.Shame.

However today was very,very simple.Bus to Lincoln from Skegness,arriving half an hour before the start,and a train from Sleaford an hour or so after the race finished.I was back in Skeg for just after 3.

All in all,a good day!

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