Yesterday saw another Jor-kiss Half Marathon weekend special take place, however this time the McCarkiss athletes would actually be running in the same event.
Jordan had eyed up this event some time in advance, identifying it (with the help of the organisers) as a “Flat and fast course, ideal for achieving a PB” on which he would undoubtedly nail his overdue sub 70 half. As a sucker for a free entry – Simkiss also decided to join in and see if he’d be any nearer his PB from earlier in the year having invested several weeks of reasonable training.
Kerb crawling Simkiss picked up Jordan outside a budget hotel in Rugby with Simkiss-esque precision at the agreed 7:45am, Jordan was running massively behind schedule meaning he’d only been stood waiting for a couple of minutes. With just one quick Costa & Toilet stop on the way for a Double Espresso (Jordan) and a Long Black (Simkiss) and the pair arrived safely at the Peterborough Royal Mail Distribution Centre in plenty of time before the 9:30am road closures commenced… just 5 miles away from the intended destination.
Jordan heroically suppressed his severe allegrophobia as the pair sat queuing in traffic, clock ticking nearer to the 9:30am road system shutdown, the hi-vis brigade hovering with their traffic cones and ‘Road Closed’ signs before finally an appropriate spot was found to abandon the MCKEP wagon, refuse to pay-and-display due to ambiguous and contradictory signage, and take a short stroll to the start area.
Whilst Jordan chatted with fellow elites, Simkiss felt mildly awkward being stood in the elite tent despite being nearly 2mins behind the required standard – there was just enough time to change, toilet, and jog a few metres to warm up before being chaperoned to the ‘elite’ start pen, worrying whether another toilet trip was required.
Generic pre race announcements were made whilst a dancing blue dragon entranced Jordan… more faffing and announcements ensued before finally the race was under way. With the usual opening charge, the generic Kenyan ladies set off at a blistering pace in pursuit of the generic Kenyan men. Simkiss committed to run ‘by feel’ and Jordan committed to run a metronomic 5:20/mi for as long as his body would allow.
Owing to the marvel of modern technology and GPS tracking, we can retrospectively produce the mile split times for our athletes as the race unfolded… Jordan clocking a long first mile in 5:26, Simkiss trailed 10m behind with a much stronger mile of 5:13. Mile 2 was a taster of what the rest of the course had to offer, with opportunities to gain a decent amount of ground by running the shortest route – or alternatively one could choose to follow the majority and run unnecessary extra distance – just for the pure joy of running.
Once looped around Central Park, 2mi had passed with a 5:22 split for Simkiss, and a 5:23 for Jordan, who managed to move further ahead despite his slower pace. Jordan pressed on with company to form a small group while Simkiss’s group had dwindled to two by mile 3. By 4mi Simkiss had passed the lead female, and by 5mi the gap to the guy ahead had grown to near 100m. In the meantime, Jordan had been beavering away in his little ‘sub 70’ club, and by 4mi his apparent slow first miles had been all-but neutralised and the group were bang on pace, continuing to tick off 5:18’s and 5:19’s… passing halfway bang on the desired 35:00. The only question now (as it was before) was how long could he hold the magic 5:20 pace for?
Simkiss followed not long after where the halfway clock gave his first inkling of how he was running, through in 35:42 – an equally paced second half would net a 71:24 finish – but the road ahead was empty and Simkiss grew increasingly lonely, finding it difficult to gauge his effort without anyone else around, only bobbing dots ahead in the distance. His pace had already started to slow.
Jordan was fairing only slightly better as the 8th mile marker saw a minor deviation from the target pace; a 5:24 split hinted at the first signs of an imminient ‘blow up’… that 5:24 mile became a 5:30, then a 5:38, 5:47, 5:47… the sub 70 gamble had failed to pay off for Jordan again and fears of being overhauled by the project’s Half Marathon slow-boy Simkiss crept in, as did the unavoidable pain and discomfort that comes in the latter miles of a half.
Loner Simkiss, approaching the 9mi mark, was now content to be in isolation for the rest of the race, and bring it home as strong as he could, until out of nowhere came a loud grunt, some heavy footsteps and an athlete (Chris Darling) stampeded past… despite legs not feeling ruined, and lungs not quite working to their limit, our man couldn’t latch onto his assailant and within 1km Simko was running alone once more (albeit now with a slightly bigger dot in front of him).
One more runner would pass in a similar fashion in the final miles before the course turned off the road onto a footpath, the finish was now fast approaching with only 800m remaining. For the first time since the start of the race Jordan came into view for Simkiss – it was obvious that he’d blown up (again) but alas the gap was far too big. Jordan battled his way to the finish and crossed the line disappointed in 1:11:48, Simkiss trotted over the line content with 1:12:09.
Another sub 72 banked for Jordan, and Simkiss saw a notable improvement from his recent Bristol Half time. Sub 70 will have to wait until next year now, as attention turns to the winter assault on 10k PB’s and the Club Record.
|1||5:26 /mi||5:13 /mi|
|2||5:23 /mi||5:22 /mi|
|3||5:16 /mi||5:15 /mi|
|4||5:18 /mi||5:19 /mi|
|5||5:19 /mi||5:20 /mi|
|6||5:19 /mi||5:24 /mi|
|7||5:19 /mi||5:28 /mi|
|8||5:24 /mi||5:33 /mi|
|9||5:30 /mi||5:39 /mi|
|10||5:38 /mi||5:31 /mi|
|11||5:47 /mi||5:34 /mi|
|12||5:47 /mi||5:32 /mi|
|13||5:50 /mi||5:27 /mi|