Thames Path Challenge. The big one!

The last few days have been a bit of a rush too say the least. I've never done anything like this before, so we have been going overboard.... big time.
I've spent a fortune on clif bars, energy gels and any other sugary shite I could stash in my running vest. Our car is full of bottled water, dried fruits, oatie snacks, extra clothing and of course more wet wipes then you could use in a year.
My little sister Linz (The house elf) has come down to keep Emma company. She's just as big a sarcastic, piss taking loonie as Em so i no they are going to get into trouble.
lyndsey has a really cool habit of tidying up when me and em are sleeping so she has earned the nickname house elf.

We have been pestering the orginisers for the last few weeks trying to get my start time and race number. We were assured my start time is 7:20. The wave after the elite runners. The day before things were changed so my start time is now 8:40. At least i get a little extra time in bed.... and a little more toilet time.

We got to the start venue with loads of time for the world's most expensive shit coffee. The venue was in a beautiful park by the side of the Putney bridge.
It was all pretty exciting to be honest. There was tons of little stalls, selling food and all sorts of shite.
There was a pretty big sound system playing some proper cheese for a big warm up session.
A all out jumping around warmup session seamed a little OTT for a group of walkers but it was still fun to watch. Im far to manly to participate. Says the guy in the world's shortest shorts and green hair ;-)
Before i even realised it i was saying goodby to Em and linz. The count down had started.
It was overcast and raining as we set of, i was trying my best to convince myself these were perfect running conditions.
As we approach the Putney bridge the only other guy running, ran straight past a turn marker. The arrows were pretty small and it did not look like he could see much through his rain soaked glasses either.
Only a true specky will understand the pain!

After shouting him back on course we started to run together. He is a school teacher from windsor. You would never have guessed by his appearance. Tattoos, piercing's and a big ass beard.
For the first couple of hour's we were weaving in and around the walkers who had started before us whilst talking bollocks. Great fun! Most of the walkers were covered in waterproofs, carrying rucksacks big enough to sleep in. Some had a definite serial killer vibe going on.

We ran to the first check point 14k in really good time. I was feeling really good but was really worried about slowing him down or more importantly burning myself out.
I wish i could remember his name but have the memory of a goldfish with Alzheimer's and struggle with my wife's name half the time. cough cough EMMA!
He continued to run on, i attacked the buffet like i had not ate for days.
The waypoints were awesome! this is only half of the buffet.

After pigging out on pastries and chocolate bars i've not seen since childhood i started my first walking section. Walking in the rain is no where near as fun as running. I was trying my hardest to be sensible but i was getting pissed off with the weather so pretty quickly started to slowly run again. Stopping only to attack one of many large bags of jelly babyies in my backpack. Them new berry one's are the bollocks.
I was pretty much past all the walkers at this point. there was less and less people on the trail. I got to the second major waypoint just as the were setting off a new wave of walkers doing a shorter route.
After another binge i was starting to get sick of freddie frogs. Never thought i would say that. I chased after the new walkers. I was still feeling pretty good. The weaving was a great distraction but the weather was getting worse.
It had started as a shitty drizzle but was turning into a full on thunder storm. Running in my water proofs was awful. It felt like moving in giant sack of stinky custard.

Whilst running on a slippy grass verge i managed to slip and end up on my knees. Within meters i hit a protuding root and ended up on my arse. I was starting to get upset.
I was starting to keep my vision a lot closer to my feet now. The rain was in my face pretty bad and i was really worried about falling again and doing myself real damage.

               **Huge mistake!!!**

Suddenly i was acutely aware that i was all alone and heading into a housing estate. I had not seen another runner for at least a hour.
I reached into my pack to pull out the map they had given me at the start of the race. It was sodden. It was coming to bits in my hands as i was trying to open it. I tried to use the maps on my phone but the heavy rain was making it impossible. It was really a toss up between laughing, crying, going on a mini rampage or phoning em for evac.

A car pulled up,
"Mate, are you doing the thames race thing today?"

"yeah"

"You're on the wrong side of the river mate."

The couple in the car are keen runners and ran this race last year. Very kindly they told me I should of crossed over the walton bridge about five miles back.
SHIT! They directed me back towards a ferry crossing about a mile back. While trying very hard not to laugh at the fact i was looking like a drown rat with a pile of paper mashie in my paw.

I pretty much sprinted to the ferry crossing. Two quid later the ferry skipper was pissing him self laughing at me too. It was a proper little popeye boat. Big enough for about half a dozen people at most.

I would love to make out i was bluto. Truth was i was feeling more like olive. I was in desperate need of rescuing.

Once i was on the other side i was pretty much by myself again but at least i had now started to find the markers again. over the next hour or so i was just leap frogging over one of the walkers.
He was doing the full on hip swinging speed walk. I was really struggling to get past him when i was running. Whenever i slowed down to my idea of a fast walk he would go storming past me. He was really not helping my ego. I was getting out run by someone mincing!

Around about 40K, It started to dawn on me i had missed the feed station when i got lost.
My carbs were crashing pretty bad and i was more dehydrated than Gazza after a week long party.

The dramatic bitch in me was really getting the better of me now. It was still raining, I kept tripping up, I was worried about missing another bridge or crossing and everything was starting to cramp.

I was tired, cold, wet, hurting and getting more and more pissed off.

I've never been so pissed off about a bit of rain in my life

40k to 50K took forever. I got to the feed station at runnymead started attacking a massive bottle of full fat coke like my in-laws at a all you can eat buffet.
You have no idea what they are like.

I sat down with some chocolate and thought.... I'm not enjoying this anymore. I was sore, wet.... et cetera. this would not of been a problem if i was still having fun.
My brain was on a loop "Why? you're not enjoying it any more?"
I decided to call it a day.

I was not seeing the sights. I was running with my head down trying to avoid the rain and tripping up. My ankles had taken a real beating. It was getting dark and i was alone....worst of all i was out of jelly babies!!

"EMMA!" Can you pick me up?

My first DNF.... still really enjoyed myself for most of it. I did my longest run ever of 50k so i'm pretty happy. I made some mistakes but am keen on doing another one. Next time will definitely be in a team. Hopefully on a nicer day too.