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. http://www.thepowerof10.info/athletes/profile.aspx?athleteid=28720. 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.