Race Preview: Reading Half Marathon, England Championships & World Trials


With breaking news from October 2013 that the Mizuno Reading Half Marathon (the English Half Marathon Championships) is also the official trial race for the 2014 World Half Marathon Championships, after much consideration MCKEP have decided to release an official statement, playing down their expectations of selection for the World Championship team.

McCarthy, whilst having posted a solid mileage base through January appreciates that some people will not accept training mileage alone as an indicator of future race performance, and that politics within the sport may mean that he narrowly misses selection.

Simkiss on the other hand has been trying to increase his training load through February, having struggled in December and January with niggling injuries so intense, he cannot currently remember what was wrong. Given Simkiss is steadily progressing and on the upward curve, versus McCarthy who is working to maintain fitness gained in January, his chances may prove slightly favourable if the choice comes down to one of the MCKEP athletes. Simkiss says:

In reference to any potential selection for the World Half Marathon Champs, it is widely known that I’ve been immersed in a period of mileage building in preparation for a sub maximal effort at the London Marathon. I’ve proven my current form and the ball is in the court of the selectors to decide if 158th at the National Cross Country Champs satisfies their needs for selection.

I don’t want the worry of selection over my head on Sunday, and I just need to focus on running.

With the recent increased training load Simkiss is unsure what to expect at Sunday’s Reading Half Marathon. Original McCarkiss strategic planning dictated that McCarthy would head out at 71min pace, and to hell with the consequences; Simkiss, being the sheep in such situations, would follow suit to maximise the chances of another comedy race photo together.

With McCarthy on babysitting duties and unable to run, Simkiss is now left to fend for himself, and with little over 36 hours until race start, needs to actually think about what his strategy is.

– 71mins is a high risk strategy – His 10k time from Telford suggests a 71:20 half time is possible, but with a lack of fast paced work, is Simkiss likely to be in better or worse shape than Telford?
– 72min is a safer strategy – it fitness allows anything greater than this then pace could be picked up from 9-10miles. Still… there is little to say whether or not Simkiss is actually capable of a 72min Half.
– 72:30 pace. Safer still… if this isn’t achievable then it will be a disappointing weekend, but then if 72:30 is achieved – so what? a ‘neither here nor there’ strategy but with less risk of a blow-up akin to that of the MCKEP midweek long run.
– Running ‘naked’ without a watch… a strategy Simkiss used to live by when he was rapidly improving as a runner – ensuring that as long as the effort was there, the result would represent the runner’s potential… but requires sensible pacing.

No doubt that whatever strategy is decided upon – it will have changed drastically by mile 5 of the race.

Race report to follow on Sunday/Monday.


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