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Grantham Running Club travel to Quibell Park Stadium in Scunthorpe for the North Lincolnshire half marathon

Given the exceedingly wet winter that the region has endured it was hardly surprising that the North Lincolnshire Half Marathon, held on the last Sunday before the Spring equinox, would see incessant rain fall on the near 1500 strong field.

It included 10 members of Grantham Running Club who made the journey to Quibell Park Stadium in Scunthorpe.

Undeterred by the inclement weather, the GRC runners posted some superb performances that saw three new personal bests and some fine age graded performances.

Matthew Kingston-Lee.
Matthew Kingston-Lee.

First held in 2012, the Tape2Tape hosted North Lincolnshire Half Marathon makes full use of the flat terrain that Lincolnshire is famous for with only a pair of road bridges in the third and 12th miles spoiling a near pancake flat elevation profile.

Although the rain made for a trying experience pre and post-race given the relative lack of shelter at the race headquarters, conditions during the race were perhaps better than feared given it was relatively mild and not overly windy – the bane of many Lincolnshire races held on exposed agricultural plains.

Given the saturated land and the volume of rain, roads were thankfully free of deep puddles save for one brief section in the closing stages that had runners sploshing their way towards the finish line on the running track that sits inside an outdoor velodrome at Quibell Park.

Finishers were presented with a large St Patrick’s Day themed medal that complimented the optional race t-shirt.

First runner home for Grantham Running Club was Matthew Kingston-Lee, taking part in his first running race following heel surgery in the summer of 2022.

His Achilles tendon now attached to the bone with tape and screws, the recovery process has been long and is ongoing but significant improvements in recent weeks saw Matthew confident enough to enter his first race in two years (and only his second in the past four).

Matthew Atter.
Matthew Atter.

After a cautious opening mile that doubled as a warm-up, Matthew settled into a pace that he was relatively confident his heel could cope with.

He pushed on a little in the second half of the race, aided by a tailwind, before his cramping quads at 11 miles reminded him that he is not yet fully race fit.

Rallying in the final mile to even muster a slight sprint to the finish, Matthew was delighted to post a finishing chip time of 1:22:08, which saw him finish just inside the top 100 in the men’s race and 11th out of 120 in his age category.

Suffering pleasingly few ill effects post run, he is optimistic that it will be less than two years before his next race.

Next home was Sam Jepson, taking part in his first race of the year and looking to make a significant revision to his previous half-marathon best time.

After being caught out by the lengthy toilet queues, it was a race to the start line for Sam to begin his 13.1 miles just over a minute after it actually began.

Sam Jepson.
Sam Jepson.

Beginning further back than planned galvanised Sam to run an excellently paced race, with the fastest mile coming at the end to clock a chip time of 1:22:55, bettering his previous best, set at the Cardiff Half Marathon six months ago, by more than two minutes.

Also in attendance and running was Sam’s father Paul Jepson, who ran well to finish comfortably under two hours in 1:55:08, finishing 10th in his age category and setting his best half-marathon time since 2020.

Coming home after Sam for GRC was Matthew Atter who received a most welcome confidence boost ahead of the forthcoming London Marathon with another display of well-paced running to better his previous best set in 2017 with a time of 1:25:53, a time good for a silver age-graded score of 72.99%.

Former men’s club champion Robert Howbrook was next to finish in 1:39:19, a time good enough to finish fourth in his age category.

Just one week after his debut over the half-marathon distance at Retford, Karl Clark was back for more and performed admirably given the lack of recovery time to finish under a minute slower than seven days prior in 1:46:17.

Not far behind were the duo of Kevin Wallace (1:48:48) and Carlene Veasey (1:48:49).

Robert Howbrook.
Robert Howbrook.

Carlene was the first of two female GRC finishers and was a respectable 16th out of 77 in her age category.

Experienced parkrun veteran Daniel Wallace made just his second foray over the much longer half marathon and was rewarded with a four minute personal best, breaking the two hour barrier with 1:56:24.

The final finisher for GRC was Luanne Morton who has seemingly made her debut race appearance finishing in 2:06:59, a performance that saw her finish better than halfway up the field in both the women’s race and her age category.

Additionally, club member Robin Atter was assisting Tape2Tape with pacing at sub 1:40 and particularly enjoyed the friendly vibe of the race.

Rick Dobbs was GRC's lone entry to the 10k event.

After running a personal best earlier in the year at Cleethorpes, he wasn’t expecting much with the weather on the day and, after warming up, had pretty much written off any kind of good result.

It was a relatively flat course with inclines over the M181 at two points on the course which is quite open and exposed, with not much shelter from the rain.

Rick finished in a time of 45:21 which is a new 10k personal best by 31 seconds.

The first male on the day was Matt Bowser of Lincoln Wellington in a time of 31:06 and the first female on the day was Sarah Kemshall of St Theresa’s AC in 35:26.

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