Operation Big Smoke: Week 9, Session 1 – Long Run inc. Parkrun (sort of).

First non-“generic plod” run of the week, and following early symptoms of separation anxiety the MCKEP duo forwent a Saturday morning lie-in to embrace in a long run, come semi parkrun effort. Simplified, it was a classic 5,3,2,1,2,3,5 session.

Simkiss won early negotiations on the start location – avoiding an unnecessary journey into the Leamington suburbs, and precise plans were drawn up to ensure a swift arrival at the southern car park of Newbold Comyn, starting at 7:20am precisely, allowing a 13.65mi run before arriving with minutes to spare before tagging onto the Leamington Parkrun.

Simkiss, late as usual, arrived 5mins after the agreed 7:10 meet time, pulling into an empty car park. Despite the aforementioned negotiations to save travel time, McCarthy had planned a route from the main carpark, and failed to inform Simkiss, or Simkiss didn’t bother to check the route properly… either way – it was a typical balls-up.

When Simkiss finally arrived at the McCarthy determined course start, McCarthy was sat immobile in his vehicle, unable to run before greasing up with the communal MCKEP Vaseline. 7:28am and the boys were finally underway.

All plans of a 5mi Easy, 3mi Steady, 2mi Easy, 1mi Steady 2mi Easy before Parkrun had turned into a 13.65mi ‘get round before parkrun starts’ trot. Excessively muddy fields and multiple visits to the bushes (make of that what you will) and the boys were making reasonable time… although cutting it very close. Back at the cars and a quick glug of drink, a change of footwear for Simkiss, and change into race attire for both was sufficient to ensure the elite duo missed the parkrun start and were once again bringing it up the rear.

MCKEP’s top two athletes are regular sufferers of acute P.S. (People Syndrome – the phenomenon whereby egotistical arses inexplicably speed up in the presence of other people – symptoms are most pronounced when passing large crowds or other runners that have been visually assessed as being inferior). Starting a friendly, non-competitive 5km timed run from the back of the field invariably triggered this unfortunate condition, and the boys were tearing through the field at an unsustainable rate of knots. The steep golf course hill saw McCarthy scrub off a large chunk of speed whilst simultaneously curing his P.S. Simkiss pushed on alone, chasing more and more of the runners ahead, and doing his best (as did McCarthy soon after) to avoid being eaten by the beasts of parkrun as runners set about encouraging their dogs to chase down and kill any runners daring to overtake in a sport apparently referred to as CaniX.

With both athletes finished, MCKEP coaching staff were caught in a PR battle, refusing to allow the MCKEP athletes race times to be published for fear of losing any competitive advantage over their competitors as they continue to prepare for the sub maximal, sub 2:40 trot around London. With the court battle pending, MCKEP results remain undisclosed for now (other than on their Strava GPS uploads).

A painful 4mi cool down finished off the session and brought the tally for the day to 21mi – McCarthy owing the success of the session to the gel he consumed 10mins before the end of the run.


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