So with months of vastly differing training mileage and a few weeks of hard graft at the track, Jordan and Simkiss journeyed to test themselves over 13.1 miles. Absent was McCarthy, who again had something better to do.
Whilst Simkiss had blagged a spacious “elite” hotel room to himself, Jordan’s 90 second superiority at Reading back in March and generally better PB’s across all distances had apparently not impressed the powers that be; fortunately Chris was able to blag a lift and was dropped off in the city centre a mere 3 hours before the gun. A sleepy Jordan set to nursing an espresso for 180 minutes in a run down café, and attempted to read every last word of AW, even the throwing reports! Meanwhile, a stones throw from the start line Slowkiss posed in a bath robe in front of a 10ft mirror before heading down for a luxury breakfast, gaining respectful nods from the Kenyans who were clearly fooled into thinking he was fast – It must’ve been his stylish new quiff and beard. As Jordan finished his last sips of an overpriced coffee shot, Simkiss finished his second round of pastries and toast (having already made short work of the ‘Full English’), and the Kenyans finished their 8 slices each of white bread… the race start was (slowly) drawing near.
Eventually race time came and even though both were proudly wearing their swanky new McCarkiss vests, Jordan and Simkiss contrived not to see each other on the start line despite a number of frantic Whatsapp messages during warmup. Usual form prevailed with Jordan lining up in the start pens an eternity before the gun, as Simkiss casually trotted from the baggage tent, hopping barriers into his start pen with a good minute or two to spare. East Africans aside the field looked relatively tame which convinced MCKEP that a 2 stone weight disadvantage, not having been born and raised at altitude, and being bog-average really were only minor differences when compared to the Kalenjin (plus Jordan had a T-shirt from Decathlon anyway). Bearing all that in mind early pace was woefully ambitious as the first mile flashed by in 5:07 for Jordan and 5:16 for Simkiss. Jordan yo-yo’d with seemingly reckless abandon with subsequent mile splits of 5:15, 5:06, 5:26, 5:34, 5:16, 5:10… though the course undulations could account for the most of the pace changes. Simkiss however stayed relatively steady over the flat course, following his initial 5:16 mile with a 5:17 and 5:19 before losing touch with the group at 5km and dropping to a more lonely fistful of miles around 5:30 pace.
With the Jordan’s downhill pace and Simkiss running in a group the two fools were lulled into a false sense of brilliance, and despite both Warwickshire warriors cruising over and under the famous bridges and through halfway under PB pace, the second half brought the lactic chickens home to roost. Simkiss hit a low in a very lonely 9th mile slowing to 5:39 before managing to muster a slight pace increase for the final 5k. Jordan found himself struggling with the gradual inclines and slowing to a 6:07 12th mile… If only he had listened to McCarthy’s advice not to do 200s the week before a half – then things could have worked out…
…worked out exactly the fucking same.
So – a slow death for our heroes, and even though Jordan looked round frantically every few yards he still never saw Simkiss closing him down and crossed the line in 1:12:13 . Not Jordan’s worst race but far from what he wanted. In the end Simkiss managed to claw the deficit back to a mere 30 seconds finishing in 1:12:43. Well at least he got a good breakfast out of it.
So it was (not) the best of times and (not) the worst of times for the boys, and as Jordan (40th placed in his race) in the North East spent hours looking for his car in South Shields and Simkiss (22nd in his race) sat in traffic on his way back up the M5 from Bristol truly it had been A TALE OF TWO CITIES.
(with additional material by Charles Dickens)