In the midst of a heatwave on September 10th, 11, members of Grantham Running Club headed off to Grimsthorpe Castle to take part in the Grimsthorpe Gallop. Organised by SBR Events, there was a choice of 5K, 10K, 10 mile and half marathon distances to have a crack at.
Ironically, the organisers had pushed back the date from its traditional June date to avoid the usual baking temperatures and to their credit, they made some snap decisions in an effort to keep all participants safe.
Lining up at 8:15 for the start of the half marathon were Adrian Land, Mark Carter and Warren Stark. Runners initially headed up the castle drive before taking a right turn in front of the castle and around into the countryside.
The course itself was a hilly mix of tarmac roads, woods, grass, a farmyard and an old railway line. Previously the railway line route was very muddy but this year this part was perfectly dry as was the rest of the route. Even the ford at mile 8 where runners often plough through the water was dry this time. Between the 7th and 8th mile, the road exits one wooded area and dips across a very open area before reaching the next wood. This mile stretch was particularly hard as there was absolutely no shelter from the sweltering sun and it was a case of just of focusing on the far wood and pushing until you reached some much needed shade. Thankfully the very supportive marshals were on hand with encouragement and water spray points for runners to cool themselves off.
Coming out onto the field in the front of Grimsthorpe Castle runners then had to run alongside the finish line going the reverse direction before making a U-turn onto the finish straight itself.
First back for GRC was Adrian Land in an impressive 1:37:44 which gave him a podium finish at 2nd overall.
For Mark Carter this was his 2nd time at this event and he had set himself a target of 2:05. Aware that the temperature would climb considerably, he aimed to get his head down and try and bank some quicker miles early on to beat the heat. He wisely made use of every water station as well as carrying his own supply. Despite his pace dropping off he hung on, consuming a full litre of water in the final 2 miles to cross the line in 2:06:11 which gave him 22nd place overall and 2nd in his age category. Considering the intense and prolonged energy sapping heat, he was happy that he had only just missed this target by a minute or so.
Warren Stark commented that the event was brutal and finished in 2:12:33.
The other GRC members took park in the 10K. First back for GRC was Chris Smith in 59:57 which brought him in 16th place overall. Mark Rice followed a few minutes later in 1:05:45.
Clare Smith completed in 1:13:23 then Judi and Simon Allsopp finished close together in 1:15:10 and 1:15:27 respectively.
Gililan Cardus and Vikki Geeson ran the event together (exchanging words of encouragement with Mark Carter who they saw out on the course) and were very happy to finish in 1:21:10 and 1:21:14 respectively having really enjoted the event.
Runners were rewarded with a great medal and another well organised event.
Pictures c/o Mick Hall Photos