Scunthorpe – The North Lincs Half

Posted: May 7, 2012 in Running

Two weeks of gentle running on from the London Marathon, I return to the rural life. A calming run around the flatlands of North Lincolnshire, starting from the Trent Valley’s very own stadium of light – Glanford Park, home of the mighty Iron, Scunthorpe United.

Many post-industrial towns have clasped culture to their heart and established ventures such as water parks or sculpture trails; Scunthorpe has followed suit. The start, according to the race guide, ” is around a steady 10 minute walk away” – which indeed it is, although possibly one would be doing it a lot quicker once night had fallen. Scunthorpe’s Arts & Leisure department has seized upon this route as the site of its newest art installation; sadly, the artist is unnamed. Beginning with a small display of shopping trolleys in mud, the walker is led through a triumphal arch of multi-coloured graffiti, the entrance to the arch being guarded by an old mattress carefully juxtaposed with a large puddle. Once through the arch, one’s senses are confronted by a blaze of colour and, seemingly, randomly placed objects; bright orange plastic bags jostle for attention with piles of bricks; old tyres nestle next to once alive television sets. This cornucopia of found objects at once symbolises….(Ed: that’s enough art, thanks!!)

Ah…ok…the race. It was a larger field than I expected, nearly 600 runners. The gun was unannounced but pretty prompt at 0901. To be fair to Scunthorpe, the town soon gave way to very pleasant country roads and lanes, all of which were subject to total road closures, which is pretty rare these days for a small event. Just how rural it was  can be seen below:

The Route – jolly flat too!

The weather was cool, but with no wind to speak of and just a hint of sun. Ideal running conditions, aided by the fact the course was flat – very flat. My GPS said seventeen foot ASL for most of the run, although there was a short alpine section as I ran onto a motorway bridge at about mile 12. The northern leg was along the Trent, where I suddenly realised that the Berlin Wall structure to my left was actually the flood defences for the area – a serious piece of engineering.

The race was well marshalled by very cheery people, had plenty of water stations and even provided a  band at  some point! I ran a decent 1:47 including the fastest 5k and 10k that I’ve run for a bit; I probably ran close to a PB but I’ve no idea where my old times are in the Coker Acres data centre. The sun  came out as I sat in the home dug-out – yes, the race finished on the centre line of the pitch – and the DJ even played the original Chuck Berry “Let It Rock”. My post run enjoyment was only slightly marred by two Male V60s telling me how they narrowly failed to break 1:35. However, a medal, a decent t-shirt and my physiotherapist was first woman home; nice work Sally!!……….A refreshing walk around the hypothermia inducing Asda and then home to find a small tribute on the pile of stone outside my house:

Hurrah! A Flag!

Onwards and upwards to next week’s half in Orpington – don’t ask; it’s an Old Boy’s dinner that evening and I thought it might lessen the pain if I were tired. I shall recite my old school’s motto continuously during the thirteen miles: “Nitere Porro”, which might broadly translate as, “Go to work on a cabbage….”.

“Valete”, as we say in north  Derbyshire…….

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