MCKEP Lab Rat Results

Results are in from the MCKEP physiological assessments courtesy of the English Institute of Sport. Fans need wait no longer to get a true breakdown of the head-to-head stats of the Men of McCarkiss. The following report contains lots of numbers, and in order to give an accurate indication of what the numbers mean and ultimately who won, MCKEP enlisted the man best placed to give us a run down on the data, McCarkiss statistician, Zac Mac.

Before we start, it should be noted that all assessments we done using the same equipment and test protocols.

Lets play Top Trumps!

Body Composition

We know the McCarkiss boys used to be chubbers… but how chubby are they now? Lets measure their fat rolls and do the Math’.


Biceps – TIE
The lads come in equal for this skin fold measurement – Lean guns all round.

Triceps – TIE
Virtually identical measurements, both showing bingo wings during the winter season.

Sub Scapular – Simkiss Wins
This area, also known as ‘under the scapular’ is pivotal in determining running performance; and Simkiss just edges it over ‘fat back’ McCarthy. Note: this is not to be confused with the sub-scalpular measurement, in which Simkiss still takes the win – despite his receding hairline.

Illiac Crest – McCarthy Wins
The ladies love a nicely defined Illiac Crest… and McCarthy’s been known to inject chilli sauce (a well known fat burning compound) under the skin in this area to minimise the fat rolls.

Supra-Spinale – McCarthy Wins
After initial enquiries as to what the f#ck this was… it turns out McCarthy has smaller love handles than Simkiss.

Abdominal – Simkiss Wins
Gluttonous Simkiss secures a narrow victory on this one where McCarthy has willingly traded the victory for an extra pint (or three) of Old Speckled Hen.

Thigh – Simkiss Wins
Simkiss wheels out the thunder thighs and demolishes the competition with McCarthy’s puny legs coming in at less than half the measurement… Oh wait… this is measuring fat isn’t it? Nevermind…

Calf – McCarthy Wins
Chris mimics the athletic calves of Olympian Mo Farah more closely than Simkiss, who appears to be developing ‘kankles’.

Overall… 3-3.

Submaximal Aerobic Physiology


Speed (km/h) 13 14 15 16 17 18
Speed (min/mile) 07:26 06:54 06:26 06:02 05:41 05:22
Lactate (mM) 1.3 1.4 1.7 2.9 4 6.5
Heart Rate (beats/min) 150 158 166 172 178 181
VO2 (L/min) 4 4.3 4.5 4.8 5.2 5.4
VO2 (mL/kg/min) 51 54 57 60 65 68
Economy (mL O2/kg/km) 234 231 227 227 228 227


Speed (km/h) 13 14 15 16 17 18
Speed (min/mile) 07:26 06:54 06:26 06:02 05:41 05:22
Lactate (mM) 1.4 1 1.3 2 2.9 4.3
Heart Rate (beats/min) 135 141 147 152 160 166
VO2 (L/min) 3.6 3.9 4.2 4.4 4.7 5
VO2 (mL/kg/min) 44 48 51 54 58 62
Economy (mL O2/kg/km) 205 205 205 203 204 205

Enough numbers… lets compare some data… graph time:


Other than McCarthy’s initial shock to the system as he got underway, the athlete profiles were fairly standard. Although immediately obvious is the fact that at all speeds, Simkiss is operating at a higher workrate, with a higher Lactate concentration in his bloodstream than McCarthy.

In Summary:

Chris Rich
Lactate threshold (km/h) 15 15
Lactate threshold (min/mile) 06:26.2 06:26.2
Lactate turnpoint (km/h) 17 17
Lactate turnpoint (min/mile) 05:40.8 05:40.8
Economy (at 16km/hr) 61.6 60.5
Economy (mL O2 /kg/km)  205 230

Lactate Threshold pace was slower than expected, and we don’t know what the difference is between that and the faster speed at which the Lactate Turnpoint occurs… thus the turnpoint is undoubtedly the important number to analyse. McCarthy and Simkiss are equal in this respect – No winner.

Economy at 16km/h (approx 6:00/mi) – Simkiss WINS this category with a total of 60.5 economies… McCarthy could only manage 61.6 economies at 16kmh. A surprising result.

Economy (regardless of speed) – McCarthy Wins. 205mL of Oxygen per kg, per km is better than Simkiss’ woeful 230… because he’s using less Oxygens.

McCarthy 1-1 Simkiss.

Maximal Aerobic Physiology

Chris Rich
VO2max (L/min) 5.7 5.9
VO2max (mL/kg/min) 70.4 73.9
vVO2max (km/h) 20.6 19.7
Final Speed/Gradient 16 / 8% 16 / 8%
HR (beats/min) 173 186
[La] (mmol/L) 7.9 10.1

Here’s the big one… the one that every athlete wants to know – the definitive answer to who, statistically, has the potential to possibly run faster.

VO2max – Simkiss WINS. With a recorded VO2 Max of 73.9 mL/kg/min, Simkiss trumps on McCarthy and his 70.4 mL/kg/min. Though interestingly these values are notably higher than one would estimate from race performances alone.

vVO2max – McCarthy WINS. Stick an extra ‘v’ at the front and McCarthy wins.

HR @ Max – TIE. Whilst McCarthy’s heart rate is lower than Simkiss’ at VO2Max, it doesn’t really mean much other than perhaps McCarthy has a bigger pump… and that he struggles to get it up.

The final item relates back to Lactate concentration – which as covered in the submaximal test, and shows Simkiss operates with a greater level of Lactate in the system. This could in part be down to the extra work required by Simkiss in order to shift his thunder thighs along, and/or other running inefficiencies which show that Simkiss has to work a lot harder to keep up with Macca. Though to quote the conductor of the assessments:

If Chris was subjected to the levels of Lactate that Richard’s body was experiencing, it wouldn’t cope… it would shut down.

Assessment Summary

The above results could be interpreted differently by somebody who knows what they’re talking about, but it suggests, in laymans terms, a few things that McCarkiss already knew:

a) Both athletes are punching above their weight, or below their weight… depending on which way you look at it. Their VO2Max suggests they could be capable of some impressive performances – if they weren’t so damn heavy and inefficient. Or conversely… they run pretty darn quick considering their size – which is explained by their VO2Max values.

b) McCarthy is the diesel engine of the project – the endurance machine who ticks along nicely – not a lot going on up at the top end – but able to sustain a near top end effort all day long.

c) Simkiss is the V8 of the project – with a bigger power output, but gobbles through fuel in an unbelievable manner, being incredibly inefficient.

The next 10 weeks will see two 4 week blocks of training, and further assessments (at midway, and at the end), which will give further information to (poorly) analyse.

Overall – McCarkiss WINS.

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