I ran this in 2018, finding it on the runbritain calendar. Entry on the day, £6. Cheap as chips. Flat course, sharing much of the North Lincs Half Marathon area and some of the route. It’s open, exposed, it’s on country roads. Right in the middle of flat country. I’m two weeks out from my target. The ‘taper’ begins tomorrow. The mileage has returned to my legs since the Hull Marathon and it’s feeling good!
This week has been interesting, I’ve started looking at and thinking about the Berlin Marathon next year. Pricing up, hotels, flights and logistics before I make the jump! It’s looking likely anyway. Then on Friday, I received a message from Luke McGuinness. A Penistone Footpath Runner, for those that don’t know him! Saying something along the lines, congratulations, Amsterdam Marathon… have you seen it? I didn’t have a clue what he was on about, not a clue in the slightest. So I questioned him and then he showed me…
Apparently, I had been entered into a competition with Polar, the running watch company. As a community to run so many miles in a week. The community of Polar did it, and for ‘taking part’ in the challenge. I was entered into a prize draw. Winning the prize draw for a place in the Amsterdam Half, a watch, accommodation, flights and some kit. But…. now here it is.
It’s the same day as my target marathon. And it’s only entry into the half marathon… I better speak to the organisers of the Polar competition.
Anyway, onto Burringham. Flat as anything, set off on time, the race starts at 11. I set off around 8.30, got there around 9.30 ish. Jumped out the car, feeling fresh! Returned the shield from last year.
Empty space in my cabinet now. Paid my entry anyway, and got my number. Quick trip to the toilet, and then back to the car. Number on my shirt and ready to roll when I got back from my pre run around that is! Off I went using some of the Burringham course, but running to the next village, known as, Gunness. Not Guinness. Most of us will have drove through here on our way to the North Lincs Half, crossing the familiar looking Keadby Bridge.
Ran around and out, then back. Finding myself on the road to Scunthorpe. Then back to the car, 4.5 mile later. Planned a bit of a running sandwich again, like I did at Cusworth. Choosing to run before and after, hopefully fitting in around 15 mile for the mornings activities. Back to the car, number on my vest and off I headed towards the line… starting just outside Burringham on the country lane, meeting and chatting to Keith Swainson in the process. A runner from Sheffield, who I see out and about at races. Also seeing Dean Thomas, another local runner around here, chatting to him at length before and after the race as well. All the other runners eventually walked up the lane to meet us already at the line. A quicker than Keith Binney, brief and we were off.
Out, and right, momentarily feeling a tailwind, only to be halted by the following headwind. Not nice, stalling our progress. I was out the blocks fast, much faster than Cusworth, but feeling much fresher than last week. A small lap of the outskirts of Burringham, before heading out onto our journey. Watch set on my usual 400 splits. Last year, I set a personal best on this course. 33:36 at the time. I have since improved it to a 32:39 at Dewsbury earlier in the year, in truth, I know I can go much faster! Just need to get the legs turning quicker! Lap nearly done when the 1 mile marker was ticked off, 5:11 pace after looking retrospectively. A little quick, but I felt strong and comfortable. I had now developed a lead, of about 20 metres. Only known through a marshal shouting the distance to me. Small triangle done, now running alongside the River Trent, with the high grass banking separating us and the river. Those who have done the North Lincs Half, will know what I mean. I begin to steady down from my quick out of the blocks pace. I had spoke to Dean and Keith before the race and said hopefully it would be a tailwind on the return. It was at this point, on our outward section, I realised. I was wrong and gave them the wrong information, like a nobhead! It was a definitely a tailwind on our outwards run. Pushing us, but not offering much assistance, varying from crosswind to tailwind. Ooops, sorry lads! A 5:14 mile, and my lead had increased slightly. I had the M180 bridge in my sights, head up and targeting the bridge. Knowing there was a left turn on a farm track, just after the bridge, where now I knew would be a true tailwind. Racing and dashing my way, not like a mad man, but a man running hopefully in control and running to feel. It would be nice to beat my time from last year, but not a necessity. Under the bridge, hitting the left turn and eventually feeling the full benefit, clocking the 3 mile marker and 5k, in 16:21. PB pace, roughly. But at this point, we had all the force of the wind to come. A small loop as we headed towards East Butterwick, on the rough farm track. Surprisingly not much standing water and not much mud, it was full of it last year! My last quality mile came as we approached mile 4, snubbing the water station in this 10k dash! We made the right turn to rejoin the road alongside the River Trent, running back towards Burringham and back into the wind, it wasn’t so much a crosswind anymore. Just a brick wall. As ran towards the runners who were out on their journey on the other side of the road. 400 splits had dropped from 1:19’s to 1:22’s, 3 seconds, marginal, but around 12 seconds every mile. It all adds up, I was still feeling strong and still feeling good. Looking towards the house, the only landmark on the route and thinking that was the turn, I was wrong again! Passing it only to see the actual turn near the church. Head up, as I ran into Burringham, towards the small roundabout that last year I ran circles around with Kieron and Lee, ‘to get my mileage in.’ Making the right turn and spotting the village hall, somewhere in the distance. Holding in there, crossing the line to take 1st place…
4 seconds quicker than last years time, in worse conditions. But if we waited until every thing was perfect, we’d never get anything done! Happy with the time, given that I ran to feel, stood around and spoke to a few people for a bit before heading out and getting slightly carried away on a run towards Scunthorpe. 5 mile later, I was back just in time for the presentation!
Taper starts tomorrow, here we go, again! Ps. if anyone has any hints, tips, hotels etc. for Berlin, give me a shout!
Just Keep Running…..