I’m not sure I’ve ever enjoyed a race as much as I enjoyed the Lincoln half marathon, a great route and perhaps more importantly a race where I had no time goal at all. Although ironically one where I got a PB, but more of that later. I’d entered the Lincoln half marathon with my wife with the idea being that I paced her to her first sub 2 hour finish, but she got injured in August and so didn’t manage to get enough training done. We’d booked a weekend away without kids so decided to come along any way and I’d run the race for fun.
I’m in the middle of training for Broadway marathon in November so while I hadn’t trained specifically for doing the Lincoln half marathon I’ve done plenty of miles and actually it was the perfect Sunday long run for me. Plus of course nice to be running with 3,000 other people rather than on my own and it turns out racing is a lot of fun when you have no goal set to achieve.
Lincoln half marathon overview
It’s the first time Lincoln has had a half marathon for 20+ years and you could sense at the start there was a lot of excitement about running around the city again. Shame the start/finish wasn’t in the city but I can understand the logistics that mean it probably wasn’t possible. Finishing on the Brayford waterfront would have been really cool though. As it was, the Lincoln showground was a really easy location to get to/from and so nice to have masses of room around the start/finish which meant despite there being 3000 entrants it never felt crowded. Plus the added bonus of decent toilet facilities, love having a proper toilet to use for that all important pre race final poo.
As I had no goal for this race I decided to head off at 4.30 min/km pace which would put me around 1hr 35mins for the race. I thought this would be a good pace to maintain without smashing myself, enjoyable but tough. As ever half the field hurtled over the start line for the normal frantic few miles, I let them go happy to run my own pace and enjoy myself.
The route slowly descends towards Lincoln along some pleasant country lanes which were very quiet other than the sound of feet pounding the tarmac. Strange after the nervous hustle and bustle of the start line but gave some time to relax and enjoy the sunshine. The crowds started to build as we reached the suburbs of lincoln and after a few twist and turns we arrived at the old city for a short but wonderful run past the cathedral bathed in sunshine and then across the castle from one wall to the other. These are the bits of a race where you get real value for being in a bigger city race.
There was a fun descent down towards Brayford marina where I started to pick up the pace a little before a loop of the marina itself past the biggest crowds of the race. We then reached around halfway and the bottom of the only major hill on the route. I love hills, I know that probably sounds weird to a lot of you road runners but I love running up hills and feeling the burn in my legs. I hit the bottom of Yarborough hill in around 269th position, from then to the finish not a single person passed me. I didn’t speed up going up the hill but I did hold my pace and it felt amazing cruising past people. Once at the top I upped the pace a little and headed for home passing a total of 146 people between the bottom of the hill and the finish for a finishing time of 1:33:51.
It really goes to show the impact of pacing doesn’t it? If I’d been pushing for a big PB time and certainly sub 90 minutes I’d probably also have been struggling up that hill. But by keeping it controlled I felt great and I don’t think I’ve ever smiled so much in a race. Post race we a nice heavy medal and a goody bag that actually had a few decent things in it (although the sachets of salt were a bit random). There was ever a free glass of alcohol free beer at the finish if you wanted it.
A race that is here to stay
It may be a long time since Lincoln had a half marathon but I think it’s safe to say this race is here to stay. Sure we’d all love a city centre start/finish but the reality is the logistics just wouldn’t work and I think this route strikes a good compromise. It was good value for money and very well organised. Too far from home for me to come again I think but I would recommend the Lincoln half marathon to anyone looking for a fun and friendly race to do, just be ready for that hill!