A blog about a painful, 9.5 day, 420 mile DNF is inevitably not going to be a festival of positivity. So before I get started with the moaning some thank yous:
To Lindley Chambers and Maxine Lock from Challenge Running for their super-human efforts in putting the race on. Maintaining rolling open-air checkpoints with runners dispersed over many, many miles, while fixing badly trashed feet, recharging power-banks, replacing lost phones and finding Hokas in Somerset is probably nearly as hard as actually running the race.
To Bruce Ballagher for his fantastic support at checkpoints 2-4, in particular for knowing exactly what was needed and just doing it (in my case this included a gentle telling off for letting my lips get badly chapped...).
To John Tennant and the Monarch’s Way association for their ‘painting the Forth Bridge’-esque work in keeping the route stickered and passable, despite the worst efforts of some of the land-owners (and also to the sub-set of famers who actually keep the footpaths across their land clear).
To Andy Persson, Roz Glover and Rich Cranswick for providing much appreciated support in the Bristol area and the rest of the back half of the pack for company at various points along the way. And apologies for the unsolicited lectures on the correct pronunciation of West Country place names and how to shoo cows out of your way.
To the OH for putting up with me banging on about the Monarch’s Way for most of the last year.
To ‘coach Steggy’ (more about her later...) for the motivational messages.
The end (for me)