Over a week since the event and last night I took my first steps back on the road, so now seems an appropriate time to update you on the events of the 3rd/4th May along the Thames Path between Richmond and Oxford. It’s taken until now to really come to terms mentally with that day and I’m beginning to feel ‘normal’ physically as well.
So, in a nutshell, this was unsurprisingly the toughest thing physically I have ever experienced. I underestimated how taxing mentally it would be, particularly the last 15-20 miles where I had slowed to a crawl and the miles were taking longer and longer to get through.
I started in Richmond at 10am after a straight-forward kit check and a bit of breakfast. Looking back I realise that the first 58 miles were relatively ‘easy’ going with a run/walk strategy kicking in from around the 40 mile mark. A change of kit at that checkpoint (adding some layers ready for temperatures to drop close to freezing) delayed me and I seized up a bit. I think this added to my struggles but I ground it out until the 77.5 mile mark where I met my pacer.
The first 5 miles with her were fantastic, keeping to around a 13-14 minute mile pace and having a good chat to keep my spirits up. Shortly after this though the wheels completely fell off and I became slightly delirious and struggled to keep my head up. A slip on a particularly muddy patch of the path almost put me in the Thames and some navigational issues around 84 miles put me in a seriously bad frame of mind.
With the support of my crew at various stages and an absolute determination not to quit (I thought about it until the very last mile to be honest) I was able to get the job done in a time of 21 hrs 22 minutes and 38 seconds.
An extraordinary event which has given so much confidence and an absolute belief that I can’t be beaten and I will complete the Grand Slam this year. Next up is the South Downs 100 on the 14th June.
For a slightly more frank account of the race please check here –