McCarkiss & Friends: Abingdon Marathon 2014 – “FOTP” Chris Jordan Takes on the World’s Fastest Clown

In a new and exciting feature which may or may not become regular – McCarkiss have ventured out into the world of running to bring you a guest column from other runners who aspire to be part of the Elite Project – be that either through slightly more mediocre times – or just because we’re so damn funny and likeable.

First up is friend of the project Chris Jordan who recently chased a clown around Abingdon.

Abingdon Marathon 2014 – “FOTP” Chris Jordan Takes on the World’s Fastest Clown

After having negotiated numerous fees and royalties with project in exchange for this guest report (which I’m honoured to have been commissioned), I humbly submit my account of Abingdon 2014.

Most of the week at work had been spent following the Abingdon weather forecast (not sure what the pupils I teach were doing at this point) – and wind was on the cards (not just from the masses of carbs). Following a bit advice from various local marathon gurus I decided that if there was a group I would go with it rather than trying to run solo in the wind and piss away my chances.

Recent pbs suggested that my 2:36:22 from NYC in 2009 (before I mucked around for a couple of years with the sport that dare not speak it’s triple disciplined name on this hallowed blog) stood a fair chance of being broken, and there was even a vain thought of sub 2:30 in the back of my mind.

Having done some P’O’10 stalking from the entry list (like we all do, right :-/) I had ascertained that the ultra-runner, former winner and Abingdon local legend Paul Fernandez was in. Even more interesting than his ultra runs are PF’s Guinness World Records for marathons dressed as a Clown. So I was somewhat disappointed to see he had turned up dressed as a runner with not even a Hywell Davo style Hawaiian Shirt to disguise his serious intentions. Myself and 5 other runnery looking types mooted running around 5:50 pace.

As the hooter sounded Fernandez blasted away and put a minute on our quintet inside 3 miles. We lost sight of him after that but wondered if we might see him later. In the windy sections being int the group proved a good choice as we took turns on the front Tour De France style (but without the drugs or bikes). We suspected Fernandez might be having a slightly tougher time with no one to draft, and after passing half in 1:16:04 we caught sight of him again around 16 miles.

Entering the windiest part of the double loop for the second time caused the 5 musketeers to split like Brendon Cole’s trousers, with myself, New Forest’s Alastair Pickburn and Lewis Chalk of Stubbington Green left chasing the lead. This trio then fragmented further around 18-19miles, and seeing the leader getting closer I was able to pull out a couple of 5:35s to catch him at 21. Pickburn was now 20-30 seconds behind and in my excitement to take the lead I had childishly forgotten / overlooked the remaining 5 miles.

I resisted the urge to look round until 24, and saw Pickburn making a cheeky comeback. By this point my pace had slipped into the 5:50s as the earlier surge took its toll. Strava stalking later confirmed that Alastair was holding onto 5:45s at this point , scything away at the lead. Luckily the end came just in time, with a lap of the Tilsley Park running track (a completely false but wonderfully Olympian experience) taking me to a 16s victory in 2:32:35, a 4 minute PB. Group stalwart Alun Myers of Victoria Park Harriers overhauled Chalk for third place, with the top 4 (and 10 out of the top 11!) all achieving PBs. Fernandez came home 5th after an admittedly brave solo effort. I wouldn’t want to race this guy over 100k, but then, I wouldn’t want to race anyone over 100k. It’s too fucking far.

2:30 pace at London, anyone ? (no, Siggers, not 2:20 pace thanks)

Many thanks to the project for this guest commission. I apologize for any decline in journalistic standards it may represent.

4 thoughts on “McCarkiss & Friends: Abingdon Marathon 2014 – “FOTP” Chris Jordan Takes on the World’s Fastest Clown

  1. Rumour has it Mr Pickburn credits his Abingdon performance largely down to an impromptu hills session he did with Grantham Running Club back at the end of August. A lovely guy, albeit with an annoying tendency to pop into Grantham once a month or so and attack my hard earned Strava segments, which he never would have done had I not suggested he join Strava in the first place….

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