Following the previously mentioned selection drama over the Commonwealth Games place that would ineviatbly result in a drop out or a poor performance…..one of the MCKEP athletes was offered a place in the most prestigious 10k in the south-west of France, the Cote de Beaute 10k.
McCarthy set off on Friday morning, with the race organisers promising him a place (following payment) and guaranteeing that his travel costs would be covered (if he paid for them himself). An overnight stop in the sleept town of Abbeville after 8 hours of driving saw an evening 5.5 miler completed with ease at around 6 minute miling, the recent disabling effect of any fast running seemed to have only lasted one day this time, as our British here was was running freely only 48 hours after his previous race. McCarthy sampled the local cuisine with 5 pints of Stella and an Omelette (filling free due to a breakdown in communication) and hit they hay before Saturday, and the rest of the mammoth journey.
Saturday came and a mere 500 miles and 10 hours of driving ensured that the typical pre race day routine of doing everything physically possible to be in no state to run was strictly adhered too. After 500 miles of driving the first thing you want to do is a 30 mile road trip to the local hypermarket. With this final leg of the hourney completed McCarthy finally settled down with a crate of 33 and a bottle of the cheapest French wine around.
Race day, 5:30 am, another 80 mile journey ahead to the town of St Georges de Didonne. What a f*cking stupid idea this was. Upon arrival at the race start, the guaranteed victory that McCarthy had predicted while he was picking Brioche from his car seat at 5:33 was looking a little more uncertain, this was a proper race. A 5k and a 10k set off at 0900, one sponsored by Asics and one sponsored by Mizuno. Lots of lean looking Frenchmen stretched and strode as McCarthy burped last nights beer. Following submission of his forged doctors the number was in hand and it was time to don the 2012 replica Team GB top that has previously only had an outing in the Amsterdam marathon, McCarthy was primed to look like a complete knobend if he didn’t win this race.
And by St Georges, did he not win this race.
Following a trip to the local public WC for his pre race weight shedder, McCarthy emerged with one sock less and the dilemma of running with one sock, no socks or a trip back to the car. Returning to the car for a last minute sock hunt and a thigh rub of pubisiline in honour of ‘Thunder Thigh Simkiss’, he was ready to stand on the start line and severely overheat in the 26’c morning heat. As the organisers spoke in an aggressive European tone, McCarthy stood out on the second row like a balding Albino with a massive red swede, in the Kenyan Rugby Union squad, if they were to have one.
The race began and 10 Frenchmen ran off (McCarthy has head this about the French a lot from his Grandad) at around 5 minute mile pace, McCarthy sat back, conscious that the French are renowned for their cowardice temperament and the ethos of MCKEP (Run Hard, Don’t be Sh*t) would surely win through at the end of the day. The course was two 5k laps along the beach front, no-one told McCarthy that it deviated off the beachup a big hill and then around a cone, in fact no-one told him anything. As they climbed the hill after the first K, the French began to raise the white flag (again, a French tradition) due to the pace and McCarthy slowly crept his way though to 5th place. 3k and into 4th with ease, this was reminiscent of a massive D-Day landing craft arriving on Sword Beach, guns primed and troops ready to march on to victory.
3rd place was coming back to McCarthy and as they approach 5k in 16:29 he pounced and kicked straight past him to open up a 5 yard gap, the Frenchmen hadn’t looked so shocked since someone stole his onions / garlic / striped top / bike with a basked / baguette (delete as appropriate).
6k, McCarthy had gone. White flag. 15 yards off first place and overheating like a Rover with a blown headgasket. Race over. He turned the cone for the second time at 7.5k and with about 30 seconds over Jean-Paul in 5th place and even further off Maurice in 3rd it was coast it in time and get home in one piece, a fitting end to a 900 mile journey. Another 4th (his 4th this year) place and another pointless effort for a terrible time of 33:58.
Not willing to hang around for his reminder of yet another 4th place, McCarthy had a photo with the trophies and it was back to the ranch for some cheese and wine.