Sunday on Lincoln South Common was, as in most years on the day after Bonfire Night, misty and overcast at first, with a heavy dewfall and a seasonably chilly start. For the thirteen lucky Grantham Running Club participants in the second round of the Lincolnshire cross-country championships however, the weather was kind because it wasn’t raining and as the day progressed the weather got warmer and drier and the Bomber Command Memorial Spire became clearer as it presided over our races.
The GRC men’s and women’s teams consisted of veterans, both in racing ability and also in age, but were competing in the same events as Under 20 and Senior runners, meaning that in some cases our competitors were decades younger. Both teams did the same loop around the outskirts of the Common. Starting in the north-east corner, the race progressed south-west alongside South Park Avenue until directed to climb the hill, where part-way up the route turned back on itself to return to the pond near Hall Drive, followed by a fast downhill sprint to the finish (or the next lap!).
The men set off at 11 in a mass charge that caught up with some of the faster U15 women as they took their second lap, a stampede which was only exceeded in intensity for the day by the horses that were spooked by the U11s in the first race of the day. Fortunately, no-one was hurt by the horses and obviously no-one was hurt by the men’s race.
After three laps round the challenging but fair course, which was shorter than advertised due to the decision to make the hill climb in the far south of the course a straight one instead of bending round to the south-east then north-east, as well as taking a route that kept away from the Queen’s Park Play Area, the men came into the finish having enjoyed their trip out.
The first team consisted of Peter Bonner (position 27) Gav Meadows (32) and Robin Atter (42), with Peter Jennings, Paul Davis, Warren Stark close behind in the second team and Andrew MacAllister and Paul Jepson completing the field. Particular thanks to the runner who competed on his birthday, though that might be helped by the support from his son who lives in sight of the Common!
In the women’s race, first home for the club was Rachel Hamilton in 7th, who settled into her rhythm well after some initial exuberance and had a good battle with those around her. The next two finishers were the expert cross-country duo of Sarah High in 20th and Caroline Davis in 23rd. the team was completed by Vicki Hardy in 25th and Kate Marshall in 31st.
Comments on the course afterwards included the classics “I need to do more hill training”, “the photographer caught me at a bad time” and “at least I didn’t fall over this time”. Everyone agreed that it was a good course apart from the horses and would enjoy running there again.
Finishing positions for all GRC runners were significantly lower than in the first round last week due to the much larger fields as this event didn’t clash with other races such as the Lincoln 10k and the Worksop half marathon. However, that also allowed several people who had raced elsewhere last week to run for the Club this time.
Grantham Running Club would like to thank everyone who spends their time in making these events happen, including organisers, timers and scorers, marshals and first aiders. Full results will follow in due course.