McCarkiss & Friends: Leicester Marathon 2014 – “FOTP” Stuart Hopkins in Deep Throat action

Following on from the launch of our popular feature, ‘McCarkiss & Friends‘, we catch up with FOTP (Friend of the Project), Stuart Hopkins, on his adventure around the cultural capital of the UK, Leicester.

2012 Cotswold Hilly One Hundred Mile Road Race

Stuart Hopkins at the Nuremberg Rally (Image C/O the sexy Matthew Kingston Lee)

 

A rather late race (dubious use of the term race I ADMIT) report of last weekend’s Leicester Marathon, which has been delayed whilst waiting for the inevitable post race man flu to kick in, which eventually arrived last Saturday night/Sunday. With the final excuse in place of “that bug most have been in the system for the race and cost me xx amount of minutes” I feel ready to try and explain why I broke my promise to the MCKEP of “not being sh@t”.

Preparation for the race had gone well, with some pleasing runs at the relays and other races in the bag I was feeling in a lot better shape than I did for London earlier in the year. I’d enjoyed a good taper and carb loading in the week before was as glutinous as usual! The target was set to start off at 6 minute miles expecting to slow on the tougher second half of course, but come in sub 2.40.

So race day arrives and still no real nerves. I felt good in a brief warm up and I timed last prerace toilet break to perfection, getting to the start line with 5 minutes to go. A quick chat to Towel Davies on the start line about possible pace and another guy (eventual winner) and it seem their pace plans are similar although a bit vague. The only real concern was the forecast winds which were already testing the race village marquees.

We were called to the start and the guns off without much warning and after a couple of seconds everybody realises the race has started and we trot off. I ran with the group I have chatted with through the 1st mile comfortably in 5.40, it’s downhill with a tailwind so I tell myself ‘that’s ok’, but ease back a little, 5.50 second mile still feeling easy still but decided not to get dragged into running someone else’s pace and ease back again and click off 6s. The race splits at 5.5 miles at which point a group of 5 turn off onto the marathon course and a few off onto the half. It was at this point 2 things jump into my mind;

(1) it might have been a good idea to get into group on a windy day as they were only 20 seconds or so ahead

(2) shit the half marathon looks weak and maybe I should done that!!

I decided to try and get onto the back of the group, after making some initial ground the climb from 6.5 to 8 miles sees the gap gradually widen and I give up the ghost on that idea. I look behind hoping for a group to be coming at a decent pace……..no one in sight……that will be a lonely 20 mile solo run then!!! I run low 6s to go through 10 in pretty much bang on 60 and halfway in 1.19 and bits and still feel strong.

However, miles 14 and 16 are into strong gusting headwinds on undulating roads and I ended up clocking 6.30/6.40 miles, at which point a sub 2.40 went out the window, being told I am 4 minutes behind lead group means no racing for places either! It was at this point the motivation subconsciously waned and I thought I would let Chris McCarthy have a clear run at Kenilworth’s prestigious “Runner of the Month Award” and leave the 65 minute 2nd half for another day (Chris don’t forget the cakes for this month’s committee meeting). The reminder of the race turned into a training run pretty much, with the only excitement coming when taking the 5th placed runner at 22 miles who looked broken and later found out from Hywel he had literally exploded at 30K (won’t be too graphic and leave it to your imagination!!).

I managed to swallow some foil off a gel wrapper at mile 23 which felt lodged in my throat for a while, a few stops to try and clear it and some Will Sharman fingers down throat action to try and sick it. I ended up eventually being able to swallow it over the course of the next mile and at the next drink station (I was actually relieved that I filled the medical info on back of my number for the 2nd time ever when I thought I’d block my wind pipe). Eventually I crossed the line in 2.46.23 with a sprint for the crowds and cameras at the finish.

So that’s another disappointing marathon to add to the collection but this later waned when the effort was deemed worthy enough to Hywel’s weekly top 5 well done list. I have decided that it will only be big city marathons on flat courses for a while for me now! As proofof what a complete lazy git I was, my legs were fine to run on Monday if I’d wanted too and  I managed some light hills Tuesday.

I’m already looking forward to trying to get something out of the training with some shorter races and of course enjoy slogging round some muddy cross country fields!!!

2 thoughts on “McCarkiss & Friends: Leicester Marathon 2014 – “FOTP” Stuart Hopkins in Deep Throat action

  1. Good report Stu.
    Does McKep take report submissions for the FOTP feature from less winningest runners, or do you have a sister project for that category of runner? The McCarkiss Alright project, maybe.

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