After years of envying other local clubs with their foreign trips, Grantham Running Club finally put one together and what a weekend it was. Luxembourg City was the chosen venue and what an impressive city. Everything was pristine, the inner-city views were astonishing and getting around was so easy with free public transport.
A team of 12 flew out early Friday morning for the Saturday evening races. The 8 who were running the Half Marathon set off at 7pm along with around 13,000 others in warm and sunny conditions and much fanfare. The marathon is a major event in the Luxembourg calendar and the organisers and city officials make sure it goes with a bang.
Leading the GRC pack was Sam Jepson in his first race back after nearly a year off injured and Andrew Pask. Their plan of running together for the bulk of the race went out of the window after a few miles when Andrew couldn’t live with the pace. Sam had his own struggles later-on and overcame some serious blister issues to clock 1:29:05. A PB but not the time he was hoping for. Andrew was not too far behind with 1:32:17.
Next home was Sam Dodwell who’s had some injury niggles lately and lacked some long run conditioning. Finding the later miles tough going Sam clocked a respectable 1:39:25 although some way off his best. Sam was happy enough to get around in once piece.
Trip organiser Matt Atter had a great weekend. Not taking the race too seriously and with a modest amount of training he enjoyed his run with a time of 1:44:03.
Next up was the first lady, Zoe Wragg. Having already run a 10k PB recently, Zoe went into this race full of confidence. On a course that is far from suited to PBs and with many deceptive hills and 90 degree turns, Zoe seemed to love every minute of it. With a smile on her face, she ran brilliantly to bag a 2min 5sec PB with 2:00:59. The prestigious sub 2hr race is now well within her grasp on a faster course.
Alison Clark also had a strong race, her time of 2:14:51 bagged her a new official half marathon PB of 2min 7secs.
Hot on Alison’s heels was Kate Marshall who was also struggling with blisters. Kate clocked a solid 2:15:15 which is someway off her best but the focus on this race was enjoyment, not fast times.
Stephen Fay also made a fleeting appearance as he wasn’t travelling with the main party though members managed to catch sight of him at the finish line and before the race. He rocked-up as the GRC dark horse and without ceremony to run a solid 2:19:35.
It was then the turn of the 5k team runners. Setting off at 20:10 for the challenging (as in, completely uphill) last part of the Half Marathon course, Sylv Hull, Julia Hallam and Robin Atter ran as the GRC Chimpions in what turned out to be a slightly chaotic fun run and with no accurate distance measured. While this was frustrating, they didn’t allow it to put a downer on their weekend and came 31st out of 100 teams.
Runners were rewarded with a pretty impressive medal and some rather fetching straw boater hats which came in handy for providing protection from the sun in the beer gardens the next day.
After all the running was done, all that was left to do for the weekend was kick back, enjoy the sun and sample the local Bofferding beer and eat ice cream. Plans are already afoot for the next adventure!