On the overcast morning of the 2nd September 2023, a few intrepid members of the Grantham Running Club arrived at Belvoir Castle for the inaugural running of the half marathon and 10K. The race route was initially advertised to take in the castle grounds and the surrounding lanes but was changed at the last minute to remain within the castle grounds. This change resulted in a lot more hills and an increased trail element (much to some runner’s dismay).
However, in for a penny and all that, we received our race briefing (which included the race director being amazed that people run with music when he said ‘No Headphones’) and then we were off. A steep climb was just 100 meters away and it kept going up before finally descending and joining part of the Equinox 24 course. From there it was to the top of the drive where you looped back down to the start/finish on the field (where the long grass grabbed your feet and made it hard going). Only one more lap to go for those mad enough to be undertaking the half. Oh, and great, the sun has come out!
A gruelling race and a hot September morning saw Daniel Wallace first home with a time of 2:06:51, followed by Catherine Wallace in a time of 2:17:44 and Emma Bannister 2:20:53. Warren Stark had to retire after one lap injured and club member Rob McArdle who, after running with me on the first lap, completed the 10K.
128 runners took part in this inaugural half marathon with first male home being Robert Cassy of Sheffield RC in 01:16:30 and first female, Jessica Necchi in 01:39:21. A hard and arduous race but, one that we will talk about and remember for the aching legs and hills. Lots of hills!