Great Grimsby 10k – Pain now, beer later.

The Great Grimsby 10k has only been on the race calendar for 3 years but it has grown remarkably in popularity with over 3,000 completing the race in 2018, more than double the number from the inaugural event in 2016.

The course is pancake flat and run exclusively on closed main roads, accept for the final 100 metre stretch in Grimsby’s People’s Park. Unfortunately you do not get to see a glimpse of the sea, port or quayside, but the payback comes in the form of great PB potential, atmosphere en route and organisation (courtesy of Tape2Tape).

Now if you’re organised and enter this run early enough, in 2018 you could get in for as little as £12 (+£1.23 admin) as an affiliated runner. On completion you get a quality bespoke medal and technical T-shirt which constitutes astonishingly good value.

With the volume of runners, in 2018 for the first time competitors started off in 2 waves. Wave 1 for those expecting sub 55 minute times at 10pm, and wave 2 for the remainder at 10.10am. The surrounding roads close at 8.30am sharp, after that the route to the Town Centre can prove slightly trickier. The race brochure gives a number of suggested car parks, many of which are tariff free for runners. I headed for the multi-story at Freshney Place a short walk to the Town Hall where the race HQ was. An adequate number of portaloos for race day here too. Baggage storage comes courtesy of 2 buses, again split by wave. They depart for the finish (a 10 minute walk from the start) at 9.20am.

The course follows an unspectacular route out of town but there are a lot of spectators, to the extent that the 3km marker was the first one I actually saw. Those looking for great scenery or lumps and bumps in the road – this one ain’t for you. However as someone who’d struggled through 4 half marathons in Apr/May all with undulating elements, this one fitted the bill perfectly on quite a hot July morning.

In the latter half of the race, there were a series of placards planted at the side of the road with motivational messages on them. My favourite amongst them at 7km being simply ‘pain now, beer later’ although you were also encouraged to ‘cheer if you’re not wearing underwear’! The mile from 4.21 to 5.21 was branded the ‘mad mile’. This enables those who embrace efforts to throw one in just for good measure. The start and finish of the mad mile clearly designated with arches and chip timed.

With no fewer than 3 water stops as well as a sponge station and a jelly baby station runners were more than adequately cared for in the July temperatures.

The finish in People’s Park went by in a blur of effort, although I happen to recall a funfair and an enthusiastic crowd. At the end you’re handed a T-shirt, a 500ml bottle of water and have your medal placed around your neck. A leisurely 10 minute stroll back to the car followed.

In recent years I have tended to pull a series of 10k’s, 10 mile races and half marathons out of a hat on New Year’s Eve to constitute a rough schedule for the following year. Whilst I completely accept this may not typify the behaviour of a man of sound mind, it does end up taking me to some wonderful races that I would not otherwise consider. This one being another great example.