In 2014 the Lincoln 10K was my first proper race so I knew I had to try doing this race again this year to see if I’d improved at all. The downside to this though was that it’s timing was the week after the Silverstone Half Marathon, another race I’d wanted to do well with. On the day of this race I should have been doing an 18 mile run for London Marathon so running a 10K race didn’t really fit in. Over the previous couple of weeks though I’d changed what runs I should have been doing to try and accommodate for this. It would mean this would instead be effectively a “cut back” week during marathon training.
For the week after the half marathon I trained as normal, ignoring the fact I was racing at the weekend. My training plan tends to have a mid-week fast session of between 5.5 and 8.5 miles so I just had to think of this as one of those in place of my long run. After all, instead of the intended cutback week the week after I planned on doing a 19 mile run instead.
I didn’t want to get to Lincoln too late as I knew that some of the roads are closed closer to the race normally so could make parking up more difficult. To make matters worse I knew some of the roads in Leicester would be closed too for the reburial of King Richard III, so didn’t want to take any risks. As I’d prepared my race kit the night before it didn’t take long to get ready and was on the road by 08:00.
By the time I was parked up in Lincoln the sun had come out and the temperature had risen quite a bit, enough for me to change from my base layer into just a technical tee. From the car park it was about a mile from there to the race village, a place with the longest queues for portaloos you will ever see. This was near the start line, which was in a different location to the previous year. On the way there I passed Toni Wade (@FlamingCopper), from #UKRunChat, who is running 12 events this year in support of CDH UK, but I was in a rush and by the time it registered that it was her – she was gone.
Before the race even started my Garmin watch started to beep to say it was low on power, so at that moment I decided I was no longer going to take it easy around the route as I’d planned, but instead to see if I could beat the 10K PB I’d set last week at Silverstone. I’d got a rough idea of the pace I’d need to go at to just comfortably beat it, so decided I’d stick to that and wouldn’t go faster. An attempt at a group warm-up preceded the start, though as usual I didn’t bother to warm up. I’d read somewhere previously it’s better to stretch after the race than before it, as stretching cold muscles can cause injury. Time passed and the scheduled start hadn’t happened – unfortunately an ambulance had needed to cross the route to get to an accident, hopefully it wasn’t anything too serious. It was good for them to keep us updated though.
Eventually the race had begun, and as usual it was slow progress to start with. By the time of the second kilometre the pack had spread out enough for it to be more comfortable and to start thinking more about pace. At this stage I was mostly wondering if I was going to fast and slowed down a few times just in case, but before I knew it I’d reached the 5K marker. It’s odd as I hadn’t really noticed the 3 or 4K markers – I guess I was too busy looking around at the crowds.
The roads for most of the race were lined with people cheering and clapping all of the runners – a far better atmosphere than this race last year, though I guess the sun had a lot to do with that! There was also some great live music being performed outside of the Lincoln radio station building as well. There was a water station at some point after this too, though as usual I didn’t bother with it.
When passing the 5K marker I looked at my watch and noticed it wasn’t that far off the 5K PB I’d set at Parkrun last year, something I’ve not really tried to beat since. I decided although I was going slightly faster than I’d intended I’d continue on at this speed with the intention of running the last mile faster. Not too daft a plan in theory…
The course took us passed the Lincoln Imp pub, the place where it had started the year before, and eventually crossing the start line for the second time, though instead of repeating much of the course it instead veers off to the left and around near one of the race car parks. Once off the residential area it is then onto Nettleham Road for the last stretch to the finish.
I hadn’t spotted the 9K marker, which is what I’d planned on using for increasing my pace, but eventually we got closer and closer to the Cathedral and I recognised the area from last time. At that point I realised I’d either passed the 9K marker or was about to reach it, at least I thought that was the case. Just as I was speeding up ready for what I thought was the last approach to the castle it turned out as I rounded the corner the finish line was right in front of me! They’d moved it!
I hadn’t realised the finish had moved, I’d not bothered to check the course map beforehand (other than assuming it was the same as at a glance it looked the same), so the second I saw the finish line I tried to get up to sprinting speed as quickly as possible, but never reached top speed before crossing the finish line. Then, the main problem was then trying to stop before running into the group of ladies that had stopped to talk to each other about two metres from the line – not the best place to stop! Having seen the position of some of the photographs later though I did wonder if they were in fact having their picture taken.
I was a little disappointed with myself I’d messed up the finish by not having increased speed when I’d planned. Glancing at my watch though, I was then pleased though as it was showing the “New PB” message! A second after crossing the finish line I’d felt my phone vibrate in my media belt so I pulled it out to find that they’d sent me my official time by SMS pretty much as I’d finished. Now that is impressive!
From the finish line there was then a runners only section across the cobbled pavement (which I was thankful I didn’t have to run on it like last year!) to where they were handing out water and the goodie bags. The goodie bag wasn’t as good as Silverstone’s, but then, that was the best I’d ever seen. This one was still good though! It consisted of:
- Bottle of water
- 2 x Rocky chocolate bar
- Finishers Medal
- Finishers Technical Tee
I probably drank about half of the bottle of water pretty much straight away as I was walking around to the front of the Cathedral. After a couple of photos I then slung the goodie bag over my shoulder and set off on a 2.31 mile run back to the car park. For some it, I was running along the same route as some of the runners that were still out there – from about the 7K marker through to the 8K marker – I hope them seeing someone who had finished overtaking them wasn’t off putting.
Getting out of the car park was far easier than last year too – I don’t know if that is down to better organisation and different road closures, or whether it’s just because I got back to my car earlier than last time – but it was nice to get back on the road quickly.
My official time for the 20th Lincoln 10K was a personal best of 41:30, which also set a new 5K PB of 20:37. I finished 280th out of a field of 4261 finishers – that puts me into the top 6.5% for this race. A definite improvement over finishing this race last year!
I think with the new organisers for this race it was still a great race – it was well organised, plenty of sign posts, plenty of support, and a great looking medal and finisher’s tee to finish. The course is one of my favourites, there’s nothing quite like finishing at the Lincoln Cathedral – pretty much the best looking Cathedral in the country, and I think the changes to the route, although unexpected were good ones.
Although I’d planned on this being my last time running the Lincoln 10K I must say that I’m now tempted to run it again next year, unless there’s another race I’d like to do that it clashes with.