Checking into the ‘Elite Hotel’ the day before the race, McCarthy had never felt like such a fraud.
The pre race meal in the hotel restrurant was at 7pm but ‘the McCarthy’s’ decided to avoid it and headed out to meet up with some friends that live in Bristol for a few beers and some food. No nuun, no ibuprofen, no paracetemol, no anti histamine, no protein, no BCAA, no calcium acetate, no fairydust. 12 months ago it was a week of Beetroot and an array of bizarre foodstuffs in anticipation of an attempt at sub 75 as the MCKEP duo returned from injury. Ths year would see a more relaxed approach, without Simkiss, whilst attempting to run a 71:xx. The target pace was to be about 5:25, 5:23 felt too quick and 5:28 was only just under 72 which felt too close to the edge if the wheels came off after half way. Sub 72:38 was a PB, Sub 72:02 bettered Simkiss (big priority obviously) and Sub 72 felt like the top target. Having stolen PB’s over 5k and 10k in the last 7 weeks the pace was there but with a noteable lack of long runs in that time (one over 13 miles) there was a high chance this could end in tears.
Race day came and the group of very fast runners, plus McCarthy in alumni Bristol UWE vest, were walked from the hotel to a holding room near the start line where they could lube up, warm up and get ready to race without having to mingle with the common folk.
A calm but warm day, perfect.
On the line McCarthy spotted Savery of Leamington and together they bunched into a group of five or so guys and ticked off a few steady miles in 5:22 and 5:29, nice average. The third mile out on the Portway and under the Suspension Bridge saw a bit of a surge as they latched onto the ladies race leader with a 5:10, oddly this was as they took on a big headwind. Nothing of interest happened as they hit halfway in 35:35 (5:30, 5:19, 5:25, 5:16) before Savery and McCarthy reeled in a few stragglers and pushed on together to go through 10 miles in a few bits over 54. Savery pulled away and McCarthy was really hanging on through the undulating part of the race and around the cobbles before putting it all in to finish in 1:11:33, for 13th position. The last 4 miles had droppef to 5:29, 5:29, 5:31, 5:31 but the early gains had paid off and we have seen much more catastrophic blow ups than that from McCarthy.
Sort of justified the elite entry, just about….