After weeks, nay months of anticipation, the climax of Operation Big Smoke had arrived. After a somewhat dull visit to the VMLM Expo’ on Wednesday prior to the race for number collection, doping control, and PR Work the McCarkiss duo were busy packing suitcases of carbs ready for their big trip to the big city, and one final feeding frenzy before the race.
Simkiss was abnormally on time at MCKEP HQ on Saturday morning, and after the team bus was loaded, the journey was underway. Unconsciously parking in space number 39 of the multi storey car park was clearly a sign that all systems were go for the 2:39 finish on Sunday – other than the fact Simkiss was still moaning about his ITB/Gluteus Medius/Piriformis/TFL issues. A coffee, train ride, and taxi fare later the pair arrived at the recently renamed McCarkiss Inn (formerly Holiday Inn – Oxford Circus).
McCarthy was pleased to have done such a good job of saving the legs during the travel process, meaning that once the pair had dropped off their bags, they were free to set off on the final training run before the race. A simple 5k up to, and partially around Hyde Park. Simkiss was tentative to start – trying to nurse his sore bits – McCarthy was also tentative to start, but moreso owing to his shy nature whilst running down Regent Street in porn shorts and T-shirt. Simkiss stretched the troublesome piriformis once inside the grounds of Hyde Park, and the pair continued their trot, beginning to inject some gentle strides – and ultimately nailing it along at sub 4:30 pace. God knows why – still… at least it felt comfortable.
Back at the hotel disaster nearly struck as it became apparent the TV was locked down to hotel approved channels only. Determined to connect their Playstation to the hotel TV to enjoy an afternoon of gaming, malt loaf and haribo, the Athletes showed that they’re far more than just pretty faces and fantastic athletes by disconnecting a myriad of wires and an electrical box on the back of the TV and Boom! The boys were in and the Playstation was on. Once Simkiss had shown McCarthy how to drive a virtual car, the pair set about showing their sporting prowess in a game of “Beijing Olympics ’08” obliterating world records across many sports… it was now time for the Runners World recommended final pasta feed.
After several minutes of loving attention from the finest pasta chef at the Spaghetti House, Simkiss was served with spaghetti and meatballs, and McCarthy served the spaghetti bolognese he didn’t order. Today was not to be McCarthy’s Dolmio day. Not to worry, two minutes of hard kitchen grafting later McCarthy was served his tagliatelle swimming in green pesto and olive oil… Of course the MCKEP duo were pleased to find such fine cuisine at such a reasonable price. £30 seemed something of a bargain given the time, effort and quality of ingredients that went into the creation of a bowl of pasta.
A wild goose chase to find a used copy of Fifa football never came to fruition and once McCarthy had finished moaning about the extra 800m he’d walked, the boys headed back to the hotel to prepare their race kit. Simkiss was next in the queue to moan, as he pondered how on earth he would attach his two timing chips with one single supplied wire tie (rather than the 4 that should’ve been supplied). Concerned MCKEP fans were quick to offer suggestions from hair ties to pubic hair, the answer came as Simkiss looked at the floor and realised he’d dropped one… (one of the wire ties that is… We shall discuss flatulence later) two wire ties should suffice.
Numbers pinned, chips attached, gels packed, team vaseline ready to go and the boys began to settle for the night. McCarthy’s digestive system had other ideas though as he filled the room with the sound of trumpets, trombones and tubas; all playing at full pelt whilst wheaty and sugary carbs fermented in his bubbling beetroot arse cauldron and filled the air with the most pungent of aromas. Simkiss did his best to harmonise but the squeak of his French horn just didn’t compare to the musical marvel of Macca’s Fart Orchestra.
Lights out. Tomorrow was race day.