…Grab a cuppa… this could take a while…
September the 25th will see Jordan, Adcock, Simkiss and Pyntn (plus a good several thousand others) toeing the line for the Berlin Marathon, hoping for good conditions on the fast course that has led to many a PB and World Best. Recent blogs have hinted that Jordan and Simkiss are coming into (for them at least) relatively good form, whilst Adcock and Pyntn are both making surging comebacks from recent injury problems that had been dogging them for much of the spring and early summer. So – time for a brief round-up of a couple of recent ‘indicator’ races, and for those who are interested, a little breakdown of some of the Jordan-Simkiss key training sessions in this summer’s marathon block.
27th August, Tipton Track 10,000 (Midland Championships)
Simkiss and Jordan arrived at Tipton during an almost apocalyptic rain storm which seemed to have flooded the area (track included) as BMC 1500m hopefuls appeared to be donning flippers and goggles. A lifeguard watched on nervously with a Baywatch float thing ready to rescue stragglers. Nevertheless as the MCKEPers set off for a warm up around the lovely surrounding streets, it appeared that the deluge had run its course, and by the end of the 2 mile shuffle the pair (who had set out clad to climb Everest) where cooking like boil in the bag meat. After changing into nobbishly matching shiny new spikes, they were called to the line.
A brief scramble ensued as people made for the inside of lane one, before, following a first ‘K’ of 3:11, a group containing Jordan, Simkiss and several others formed some 20 metres back from the lead bunch. Jordan would’ve been forgiven for being unaware of the existence of this group as he found himself on the front and essentially attempting to pace for sub 32 unassisted. 3k passed in around 9:30.
It was with great relief therefore that the cavalry in the form of Simkiss (concerned for the future wellbeing of his workhorse McCarkiss compatriot) surged from the tail end of the group and arrived to take the reins for the next 3 laps (that was after pleading Jordan to give him a lap to recover from his surge first). Perhaps inspired by the selfless (even self-sacrificial?) gesture of Simkiss, or maybe feeling obliged after Jordan asked in an unintentionally sarcastic tone “does anyone else want a turn on the front?” – Stuart Hawkes of Tipton then came to the fore to keep the strong pace driving forward, dropping everyone in the group bar Jordan, and through half in 15:55. Simkiss led what was left of the group through 5k bang on 16:00. Jordan and Hawkes fronted alternate laps to reach the 8k point in 25:30, still 6 seconds inside the long sought after sub 32 mark. Simkiss was alternating laps with himself followed foot clipping-ly closely by Gordon Lee of Leicester.
Undoubtedly the sharing of the time on the front made a big difference to the psychology of running 25 laps on the track… well for Jordan anyway, as the laps ticked by in an “1 effort, 1 recovery” fashion. Jordan’s bell rang and he smiled as he laid eyes on the giant clock, a 9600m time of 30:40 meant that only the slowest lap of the race would deny Jordan his target time. Meanwhile Simkiss was doing the Maths to figure out if he would come in ahead of McCarthy’s PB of 32:17 from the 2014 Trafford 10,000m festival – with lap times having fallen away from the targeted 77’s… it was a 77 that was required as Simkiss’ bell rang on 30:59. As Jordan ran his final lap, fingers were pulled out of various orifices to stave off a challenge from Williams of Notts – crossing the line for a PB of 31:51 (5th) at the same time Simkiss entered the home straight, gurning all the way to the line for a PB of 32:07 (8th) with a 69sec final lap.
A good event, which we hope to see back on the calendar next year. Neither runners were available for further comment after the race due to being knackered. Decent footage is however available thanks to Martin Whitehouse and his camera (which was initially thought to be used as line judging evidence for anyone running the bends too tight).
The next morning saw a case of ‘no rest for the stupid’ as Jordan and Simkiss completed the weekend with a 26.2 mile (a marathon, for the eagle eyed of you) training run. This was ticked off in 2:55, however it was not without a few incidents of dehydration confusion and generally absurd levels of fatigue rather than being the enjoyable sunny Sunday ‘easy run’ anticipated by the puff chested Simkiss – feeling invincible following his shiny new PB from the night before. This was almost the last ‘big’ run on the schedule with only a 22miler with 16@marathon pace [MP] incorporating the John Fraser 10 mile race (*spoiler) to follow.
Admist a variety of track, tempo, and long run sessions here are a few selected ‘favourites’ from the last 13 weeks complete with noted bragging rights.
- 12 easy, 12 progression to marathon pace, 2.2 easy (nb. Jordan flying Simkiss lagging)
- 8 easy, 11 @ MP, 5 easy (nb. Simkiss flying Jordan lagging)
- 3x2M HMP, 5x1k (5k pace), 4×400 (all out) – (nb. Jordan flying Simkiss lagging)
- 5k @ MP, 6x1k (5k pace), 3×400 (all out) 3×200 all out – (nb. Simkiss BATTERS the 400s)
- 5k @ MP, 20×400 (3-5k pace, 45s recovery) – (nb. Simkiss doesn’t like this session so he didn’t do it, but MAdcock stepped in and was flying)
“I don’t like doing lots of 400s” – R.Simkiss
“Today we die a little” –
Emil ZatopekC. Jordan
*sigh* – R.Simkiss
With four days after the last super mega ‘guaranteed sub-2:30’ track session to regain the feeling in their legs it was (as subtly hinted earlier) off to the Leicestershire League and the John Fraser 10 mile race to bring up the last big marathon paced run of the schedule. The plan was a lap of the race route as 4mi easy, 6 @ MP then followed by the race itself at MP. Which is what happened, more or less. Jorkiss were running the preamble with project associate and fellow Berliner (from our French office) Ludovic “Ludo” Renou who had taken a few days off during the week to shake off the onset of an old injury. As a result he was a fresh young bok compared the tired goats CJ and RS and pushed the pace at the front, taking Jordan with him as Simkiss fell further and further away wondering wtf had happened to the session plan. Pushing 6:00/mi pace uphill and continuing to fall away on this so-called ‘easy’ portion of the run – it was only Jordan & Ludo’s inability to navigate a single turn of the course correctly that allowed Simkiss a chance to rejoin the ‘group’ (albeit momentarily). The entire first 10 whipped by in barely an hour. Stat heads may be interested to know that Renou’s PB from London 2016 (using the Hywel Davies timing method) was an excellent yet excruciating 2:29:64 – surely with a showing like this, sub 2:30 now beckons at Berlin.
After five minutes to grab a gel and some water the race proper was underway, with a bunch on the front which makes the TDF peloton look paltry by comparison. Adcock, Simkiss, Jordan, Birt, Pyntn and Renou (all going to Berlin) crowded in the bunch, joined by Leics running legend, diamond plated granite super-vet Tim Hartley and the ever higher flying Kyte of Anstey. As the group approached the first mile marker, Simkiss rolled to the front owing to the gentle descent and the laws of gravity. A little over a mile further and Pyntn it seemed was chomping at the bit on the comeback trail and took to the front, half a mile more and Simkiss was back at the front on the downward slope until finally the course began it’s biggest climb which saw the entire group push on, minus Simkiss. Pyntn, Jordan and Hartley began to lead the pace from around the halfway point. Adcock and Birt joined on making a 5 to contest the second half. Ludo was beginning to regret his lap 1 eagerness as 15miles into his session, he was paying the price and Simkiss was able to move ahead.
Having re-written his will and taken out travel insurance to come to a Leicestershire road league race, Simkiss had this to say, apparently oddly bemused that no one wanted to race off at an unsustainable pace and kill themselves, as is (apparently) the tradition in Warwickshire (citation needed).
These Leicester boys… they run like it’s the feckin’ Olympics. All tactical & nobody wanting to run at the front. The featherweights shot off every time we reached an incline then put the bloomin’ brakes on for the descents
– R Simkiss
Ponytn continued to relentlessly drive the group on the inclines, perhaps not noticing them after recently having cycled up Alpe d’huez 15 times in one day. Adcock and then Birt dropped back on the steepest of the climbs towards the 8 mile mark leaving the remaining 3 with a 2 mile race for home. Pyntn had forgotten that he couldn’t freewheel the downhill sections, which meant that the final mile left Jordan and Hartley alone, in an exact repeat of the 2014 race. In the end CJ managed to get a gap on the final climb for a narrow race victory in 54:37. Pontyn took 3rd with Adcock 5th. Simkiss was the self-proclaimed real victor of the day however, having turned in a sturdy 56:15 to complete a bang on MP race as promised.
…Three weeks until Berlin then and obviously there is no way anyone is going to be foolish enough to predict what happens on the day. Watch this space…
MCKEP Berlin Predictions:
Jordan 2:27:00, Simkiss 2:29, Adcock 2:32, Poynton 2:37 – Simkiss
I’m predicting a hangover on the Monday – Jordan
I predict a Wurstfest – Buckingham
Jordan 2:27:50, Simkiss & Ludo will just miss 2:30, Adcock/Poynton 6min miling (2:37) – Adcock
Simkiss 2:29:45, Ludo will injure himself – Jordan
Cuntiness – Hywel