For all that though, it wasn't that bad. I think a lot of the issues were forgiven by most people as it was a charity event, and nobody there was running it as an A or even B race.
I'd decided before the race that I wasn't running for all 12 hours. I'd wanted to do the marathon option but it didn't start until the afternoon, so figured the ultra would do just as well - there was a minimum of 30 miles or so, but that was fine. I was also still feeling a little bruised from my fall at Portsmouth, so wasn't feeling like making myself too uncomfortable. I'd also, since entering, made some decisions about my 2014 race plan. In short, I'm going to be spending the first quarter of the year working on getting faster and stronger, slowly building up to the South Downs Way in June. I want to do well in some 10ks and half-marathons in February, and didn't want to jeopardise that by smashing myself to bits in this one and needing two weeks to recover before I can start bursting my lungs again. So I planned to run easy, for six hours, aiming for 60km with nice even splits and finishing with plenty left.
It started off ok, the route was so boring I stopped noticing it after a while, and apart from a few hellos, didn't really chat with anyone along the way for the the first few hours. I made a quick pit stop at 20km (a proper toilet being one of the few plus points on the route), and plodded on. I was eating every hour (my own gels and chocolate bars), and drinking (my own) High5, and feeling ok physically. Then I saw Phil Ecclestone who was there to run the 10k. He ran a warm up lap with me before winning the 10k by about ten minutes, and then ran a cool down lap with me which was great - not least because he brought my HOAH DVD with him!
Then it was back to the grind, getting passed by the same people, then passing the same people, and cranking out laps. I realised along the way that I've done a lot of lapped races this year - but I'm not planning any at all for 2014 (unless I cave in and enter HOAH again). Julie from HOAH was there which was cool, and I saw Wona who did one of the days there - Kate was there too but I managed to miss her again somehow.
Five hours in I hit 50km and thought about stopping there, but I felt ok and was still hitting even splits and was on track for 60km if I did another hour so I plodded on, hit 60km in 6:03:25.
Although my last race of the year was underwhelming to say the least, I'm pretty happy to have finished the year after 20 marathons/ultras by casually knocking out 60km in 6 hours with no real effort, and needing hours rather than days of recovery before I'm out running again.