After a week without an East Midlands Grand Prix race, the Corby 5, a 5 miler, near Corby (Northamptonshire) was eagerly awaited by Simkiss; less so by McCarthy who’d completed the race last year and was still suffering with the emotional distress of the final hill.
The race is openly advertised as a being Hilly, though the course profile in chart form appears relatively forgiving – showing a nice descent at the start, a flat middle few miles, and a climb to the finish. The scaling of the chart, and the rolling/rounded nature of the profile takes it somewhat out of context though… this course is tough (as far as road races go), and for road running purists, it’s just f#cking stupid.
- Start to 0.5mi is all uphill.
- 0.5 to 1mi is undulating (but no elevation loss/gain)
- 1mi to 1.75mi is a downhill section, reaching a gradient of 15% – not a comfortable gradient to race down.
- 1.75mi to 3.25mi is pretty much flat, besides one slight undulation.
- 3.25mi to 4mi sees a slightly larger undulation, what you would probably call an uncomfortable hill in a normal race.
- 4mi to Finish – Uphill. Horrible Uphill.
Miserable weather had lingered for the past few days, and was enough to discourage McCarthy from making the 10 minute drive from work to take part – he advised Simkiss to steer clear too, touting claims of ‘Torrential Rain’, McCarthy clearly feared for Simkiss’ safety, and the future of the ‘Elite Project. Simkiss was undeterred by flood risks, and despite tales of woe with car problems and a new (not seen before from Sicknote) excuse of back pain on the race eve, the 1hr B-road rally in varying levels of rain was completed thanks to MCKEP chief nutritionalist Emma Peach who saved the day, offering Simkiss the use of her Mini Cooper.
Simkiss was feeling good for this one, having discussed the merits of strength training with McCarthy over the weekend, combined with a strong run at the Blisworth Friday Five, and a spiffing new hairdo, Simkiss was looking forward to it. Rumour was spreading that the race might see a weaker field, owing to the miserable weather and long drive to the venue, though the rumour was soon quashed upon arrival at Race HQ; the competition was immediately evident. Blisworth 5 (and Rugby 6) winner Michael Aldridge, Andrew Siggers (who beat Simkiss at Rugby 6), Paul Andrew (always a threat when fit), Harvey Speed (Godiva Athlete, big threat when fit), Ali Smith (31min 10k’er – but blows hot and cold) – and those were just the ones in sight. Revert to default target – EMGP was always about getting in hard training runs, the racing is secondary to that.
With no McCarthy panic to get to the start line 20mins before kickoff, Simkiss enjoyed a relaxed warmup – returning to the car to change into race attire 10mins before the race start, he jogged towards the race start completing a few strides on the way, and even allowed the fans a few photograph opportunities; still he arrived at the start with minutes to spare.
Race underway at an abnormally sensible pace (such was the fear of the hills), a group formed at the front and from further back in the group Kenilworth athlete Kyza ‘hotpants’ Derby surged to the front which raised the groups pace to maintain contact. By 0.5mi Kyza was paying for his surge and finding himself in debt. The leaders regrouped at the early summit and prepared for the descent – Ali Smith working his way round the outside to the front.
A big descent past 1mi where the group started to stretch a bit and at 1.25mi the hill became steep – Harvey Speed had broken away at the front and downhill favourite Simkiss left the group and followed – passing Smith who was blowing and clearly out of shape. Aldridge reeled in Simkiss once back on the flat and Siggers was close behind. Strong running on the flat from the MCKEP athlete reeled in Speed with Aldridge alongside him. The threesome worked themselves hard, and it was clear that Siggers wasn’t up for it today. Testosterone levels were high and Speed was reluctant to relinquish his position. Finally, Speed was unable to keep it up, leaving Aldridge and Simkiss to finish each other off.
Unbeknownst to Speed & Aldridge – Simkiss was gone by this point – he’d used almost everything he had to break away from Speed, and the undulation at 3.5mi had lined the legs with lead, just in time for the final mile long climb to the finish. Form gone, knees knocking and thighs slapping against each other with every other stride, the supplementary stength training was clearly paying dividends. The hill-tortured soul of Simkiss managed to hang on for the finish in 2nd place; so exhausted that his amateur dramatics in the finish funnel seemed almost sincere.
Self timed at 26:18 – an equal time to Blisworth, despite a tougher course. 3rd Place for Harvey Speed and a 5th place finish for Andrew Siggers. A fourth successive team prize for Kenilworth Runners in the EMGP – One more and overall victory for the club is surely secured.