The running continued to go well for the next 5 miles or so until somewhere in West Watford. I met my crew sheltering under a bridge with some more soup & bread which I ate whilst I was there, watching the rain getting heavier out on the towpath. Just before I set off they offered me a giant chocolate cookie they'd acquired at a petrol station, unusually for me I fancied it and it went down really well! Off into the pouring rain my run/walk strategy changed to running between trees and walking under them to appreciate the shelter they provided.
I crossed the canal at a familiar bridge and the towpath for the next couple of miles was not only unrunnable but also under a continuous 2 or 3 inches of water. I had no choice but to squelch through it, soaking my feet for the umpteenth time and making me thoroughly miserable.
Once the towpath improved I was mentally in a pretty poor way, the soles of my feet were a continuous searing pain, despite being infinitely better than they had been last year. I knew however from the checkpoint sheets that I was doing ok in reality, just at this point I couldn't quite grasp it.
I walked on as best I could resigned to walk to the finish, watching my 36hr target drift away and just hoping I could get under 40.
My parents had arrived to see me and when I saw them waiting for me I tried to look a bit less miserable. Since I was walking now I swapped to a warmer waterproof from the crew and after a brief pause set off again.
Over the next section I couldn't stop myself yawning every 10seconds and knew my walking was getting slower and slower. Looking over my shoulder at one point I saw a runner and was soon passed. For some reason I was absolutely distraught at losing this and despite giving myself a good talking to was ready to sit down and cry. I didn't, and kept telling myself I was doing fine.
Another crew stop, not much more to say than keep going by this stage. It was still light which meant things were still going well compared to last year. The next meeting point was the final checkpoint at 12miles to go, I walked on.
The checkpoint never seemed to arrive despite my greatest efforts, I lost another place with a long sigh. Finally the turn onto the Paddington arm arrived and I was within a mile of the checkpoint, bizarrely I had to fight my way through a film crew, actors. make-up and assorted security at this stage. After an eternity on this long straight stretch I was at the checkpoint.