On high mileage legs (relatively speaking of course), MCKEP athletes weren’t sure what to expect at the Midlands Road Relays – Both athletes being selected for ‘Long’ Legs of marginally over 5mi, the pair would be relieved that 3mi pace wasn’t required, but mildly concerned about the battering that 5mi of hard ass running would give.
Simkiss fuelled up on his recently discovered love for Tesco Bakery’s “Fruit & Nut Loaf”, and even coiffed on a late purchase of beetroot juice, meanwhile, somewhere in rugby, McCarthy’s basket was looking a little different.
Simkiss rose early to watch the start of the F1 season, stretched and eventually got ready to depart for Sutton Park. McCarthy, whose leg started 45mins after Simkiss, was already in a panic about traffic with only 3 hours remaining to complete his 1hr journey.
Sicknote Simkiss had a 16mi target for the day, an opted 2.5mi warmup – during which he experienced some ankle pain, but for once kept his mouth shut about it and a carried on… until now. Joining the mass start for Leg 1 (Simkiss’s favourite leg) he started in a calm and controlled manner – halfway down the field in the opening charge, passing a couple of people going up the infamous opening hill.
Reaching the top and turning right, runners were greeted with a headwind, and Simkiss tucked in behind runners as best he could as they progressed along the mind numbingly dull, unfathomably long top stretch and out & back portion of the course. The MCKEP athlete was tailing BRAT athlete and familiar competitor Ed ‘the beard’ Banks – upon drawing alongside Banks, Simkiss and Banks agreed to work to catch the athlete ahead who’d been slowly falling back towards them. This attempt failed and the athlete opened up an even bigger gap.
Banks and Simkiss exchanged places repeatedly over the final miles, and it was Banks who edged ahead and opened a gap as the course reached Keepers Pool. Simkiss thought he was done, but training partner McCarthy was strategically placed to offer words of encouragement with fellow Kenilworth Runner Stu Hopkins. Simkiss, confident of his finishing kick, even on weary marathon trained legs, made his move before the final corner; passing Banks and taking the corner at speed to the cheers of the Kenilworth supporters before promptly realising how f#cked his legs actually were, and that he had no kick left to give! Thankfully his McCarthy-esque hunched crawl, complete with claw-hand was enough to see him finish ahead of Banks in a time of 26:52.
WIth Simkiss finished, there would be a 14minute interlude whilst leg 2 runner (Phil Gould) completed the ‘short’ leg, before McCarthy was to strut his stuff. With minutes to spare, he nipped off to the sh1tter to shed some excess weight.
The lead runners began to come in, so the Kenilworth Men’s team wouldn’t be far away and as Gould came into sight, Simkiss began shouting at a stranger in the portaloo’s that he was going to miss his start… unbeknownst to Simkiss, McCarthy had long since dropped his load and made his way to the starting pen.
McCarthy wombled his way round his leg, emitting a visible haze of alcohol, with Simkiss opting to offer support on the tedious ‘out and back’ section of the course… Simkiss’s words of encouragement failed as McCarthy lost ground to athletes and was overtaken as a result. Despite this, McCarthy was suitably pleased with his performance having ran a sensible controlled effort and even managed some Strava segment PR’s on the latter portion of the course.
The pair cooled down together, and McCarthy threw up in a bush.