Following McCarthy’s failed attempt at sub-16 a few weeks ago in Leamington, it was a late drive up to Manchester for yet another attempt at a time he has been failing to run since 2011, having lowered his PB by a staggering 2.2 seconds already this year.
The plan was to ‘go off hard and hang on’, completely in contrast to the track tactics which saw metronomical 76 second laps from Simkiss and McCarthy resulting in a race that felt much more comfortable than the time suggested. This was going to be a horrible painful slog on the wet and windy course in Sale.
The field offered hope. It was the Northern Champs’ and the 4th race of the Sale series with the last race seeing 6 under 15 minutes and 17 under 16. McCarthy had run his 16:29 and 16:32 on the course, both sub 16 attempts ending in failure. This offered less hope. 5 splits of 3:12 would do (well they wouldn’t but take off 1 second…) for the target.
The route is a lap of the track followed by two laps around the park, before returning for a final 250m on the track. After a long and drawn out pre race briefing, which most importantly tried to find the owner of a pair of spectacles found in race 3, the race was underway and McCarthy ran out a 74 second first lap and then left the track. Settling in alongside Jess Coulson of Stockport, the first frantic lap was elbowed out in 3:05, 7 seconds in the bank already. 2k down in 3:09 , 3k in 3:16. It was on, time to dig deep and deliver.
In a blow to the confidence, the small girl that was neck and neck with McCarthy began to pull away like a graceful Swan as McCarthy activated full thigh flap mode, soul destroying. A terrible 4th K of 3:18 and it was beginning to slip away with a 3:13 needed to join Simkiss in the sub 16 club. As McCarthy lapped Ron Hill, the greatest runner of all time, for once McCarthy would have to ‘not be a fanny’. Knuckling down as he entered the track the clock was ticking past 15:10, the sprint to the finish was on, as every agonising second brought the 16 minute barrier closer. Flummoxing over the line in 15:52 for a final K of 3:04, McCarthy joined Simkiss in the sub 16 club, smashing the McCarkiss Elite Project Club Record by 1.8 seconds. He also joined the illustrious sub 15:53.8 club, a club that Simkiss cannot join due to his lower standard, class and ability over 5000 metres. McCarthy also smashed another of his Dad’s all time best time for 5k by 4 seconds, again proving that he is a much better runner. Funnelling through the finishers to collect his participators Orange, McCarthy knew this was one race prize he was going to relish throwing in the bin / hedge / bush more than any other.
Strava Detail: http://www.strava.com/activities/180256655