Midland 12 Stage Road Relay 2015: Race Report

Late breaking news broke (as breaking news does) on Friday evening in the Kenilworth camp as Star Baker Andrew Siggers announced he would be unable to take part in Saturday’s Midland 12 Stage Road Relays at Sutton Park, following the news that Zayn had left pop sensation boy band “One Direction”. Distraught that his musical idols had lost a key member, a tearful Andrew emailed the team to say:

I did a tester run today and it wasn’t pretty! Certainly too risky for the team for me to run a long leg I think, maybe even to run at all… ever again… I never knew it would hurt so much to see Zayn go… why is it always the best looking ones?

Leicester Coronation Streetians suffered a similar late blow but with no reserve available swapped their leg 1 runner to leg 3, bumping Elite Project ‘noob’ Chris Jordan from Leg 3, to Leg 1 – head to head with born-again running enthusiast Simkiss who, following his surprise PB at Reading Half last weekend, had a new random approach to racing:

It’s all about the group – stay with the group… run your arse off, and no matter how much it hurts… stay with the group.

Race day arrived with changeable weather, and route… rain showers came and went and a swirling wind made for a miserable morning – as did the late news that the course had changed – an additional loop early on in the course extended the already hellish early climb, ensuring that the route was in no way comparable to any other year this historic event has taken place.

Jordan lined up at the start area, Simkiss joined with moments to go before the off and the gun sounded as Father Christmas lead the way on his motorcycle, celebrating his 3-billionth lap of Sutton Park. Jordan made his way round the outside of the field on the descent and Simkiss chased, using gravity to his advantage before turning on a sixpence and heading back up the hill – working his balls off to catch Jordan and most importantly, to stay with the group.

With section 1 of the hill complete, a brief respite was had on the shitty underfoot conditions of the revised / new section of the course before rejoining the ‘old’ route. Onto the main hill and the customary break between groups occurred – Simkiss falling away from the lead group and forming the head of another group – however for a change he had company; Chris Jordan… current MCKEP Half Marathon record holder.

The pair were blowing hard up the hill, putting in a massive effort that was rewarded as they reached the summit hanging onto the tail of the lead group. Simkiss’ race acumen and command had put the MCKEP athletes in a great position leading onto the long top stretch of the Sutton Park course, seconds before the group thinned and disappeared. Simkiss was left chasing the Ed ‘the beard’ Banks alone and Jordan was going backwards.

Jordan, now blowing out of every orifice, had dropped off quicker than sales figures for Rolf Harris paintings. Such was the magnitude of this fall from grace that recent victims of Jordan’s Coritanian sword Simkiss, Banks and Adcock all waltzed off into the 29 minute distance whilst the project new boy waddled home in 31+. It is worth noting however, that Leicester Albanians Coritanians managed to steal a 1sec victory over local rivals Hermitage, which AT LEAST partially vindicates Jordans decision not to “have a little walk”. (That, and the fact he’d have been packing his bags after his first MCKEP outing on account of failure to “not be shit” – Chairman).

Jordan, who has risen from his man-flu sickbed like lazarus to pen the self-apologetic waffle you are now reading, was suspicious of his pre-race morning heart rate of 53bpm compared to the usual 9. He might learn from his mistakes – in the words of homer simpson -“never try”. Additionally, having conducted detailed psychological profiling of his project team mates, Jordan was also acutely aware of the potential damage that two successive weeks of thrashing would do to the ‘fragile lambs’ McCarthy and Simkiss and thus opted to finish in an embarrassing 31:31. Simkiss was satisfied to have run 29:50, several seconds quicker than two years ago where the course was a different length and route, and is therefore irrelevant.

McCarthy took the baton from Roddy, who whilst unavailable for the Hilly 100 as he is running shorter distances this year, was still available to run the road relays following his half marathon last week.

After Simkiss’ wise words, McCarthy was conscious of the extra hill and set off extremely cautiously over the first mile or two, hopeful he could make back time in the second half of the race. He did. After two miles at well above 5:30 pace, he ran a strong and almost effortless (other than the fact he couldn’t run any faster) 29:54 to move Kenilworth into the top 10, just three seconds down on the leg of a completely exhausted Simkiss who had the benefit of leg one.

McCarthy has politely forgone the opportunity to benefit from running leg 1 at the National 12 Stage Road Relays, not due to his inability to actually race against anything but the clock – but because he runs for the good of the team, and always puts his team mates before himself.

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