There’s probably not a lot left to say about this iconic 10k race that’s not already been said a thousand times before but here goes.
Set in the historic market town of Caistor high in the Lincolnshire Wolds this race has been on my radar for many years, mainly due to the super cool race vest seen at many an event I’ve attended over the years. The problem being though is that I hate 10k’s, these ‘shorter’ long distance races are bloody tough and feel more like a sprint to my Ultra accostomed legs nowadays – but up it popped on my FB notifications and without a minute’s hesitation I was in.
Race day was soon amongst us and after picking up a bleary eyed Laura, still fuelled on VK from a night out with the girls we (Tracy, me and Laura) were off to Caistor. Registration was a busy affair but really well organised and we were soon stood on the start line – watched over by the lovely duo of Tracy and Karen H who offered loads of brilliant support on the day.
Starting the event were myself, Caroline and Rich G, Dave H, Laura Syd and Mick P and for some reason we ended up starting quite near the back but because of chip timing this mattered not and it actually turned out to be a masterstroke because from the sound of the gun I seemed to be streaming past runners pretty much from start to finish which as most of you know is better than the alternative and gives a much need boost to the ego – *note to self for future races ! *.
The first 4 1/2 miles were much like any other 10k with part road, trail and paths being utilised and to be honest I liked the feel of, after feeling slightly lethargic in my running lately I felt like the brakes had been released a bit and felt half decent out there for the first time in a while, and it was mainly downhill which helped – – but I’d already been warned about the ‘sting’ to come !!
The first uphill came at roughly 7k and didn’t last that long – ‘what’s all the fuss about’ I thought. Then a nearby Caistor runner said ominously “I hope your ready for the Sting ! “, I brushed it off.
Another Km or so of undulating paths went by before I heard a second Caistor runner say “brace yourself for the Sting !” – his mate laughed. Then a third warning came and as I rounded a sharp corner there it was – a hill steep enough to force several in front of me to straight away start walking and if I’m honest I was coaxed into joining them for half a dozen or so steps – – until the first Caistor runner I’d spoken to came past chanting his war cry of “never give in, never stop running !! “. This did the trick and after probably only 20 seconds of trudging I was off again and hill or no hill I pushed forwards. The next Km carried on up into the market place, skirted around the centre, under a couple of diggers which were positioned so we had to ceremonially run under their outstretched arms – and then we headed back down out of town to skirt around and hit the ‘sting’ all over again on the last K. The last 500 yards or so were up-up-up and as we skirted the corner to the market the finish arch loomed – in sight but not ideally positioned for a sprint finish though and although it felt like a heroic finish it probably looked more like a stumbling trudge over the line to finish.
With legs burning and lungs bursting it was over and I joined the orderly queue for goody’s. Vest *tick*, beer *tick*, sausage sarnie *tick* – Caistor certainly know how to look after their runners.
Summary: A cheap as chips race, very well organised, lots to keep runners and spectators entertained – with an entertaining warm up troop and everything from ice cream vans, stalls, kids trampolines and even a couple of sheep and a donkey to pet in the market place, all local amenities were also open to all who require post run refreshments.
Would I recommend it ? – hell yes. Am I converted to 10k running ? – all I can tell you is that I’ll definitely be back for more next year…. Nuff said!