Wherever you’re goin’, I’m goin’ your way. The last big one. I get the overground train all the way west, slinking through fashionable and unfashionable suburbs, to Richmond. I meet Pete W outside Quinlan Terry’s peculiar assault on modernism, in the shadow of Richmond Bridge. Pete is an old friend, colleague and relative local; he often runs this stretch of the Thames. It’s grey, and getting brisker. I am loaded with two bottles of fluid replacement, three gels, and a reasonably steely determination to see the last one through. 

Off we trot, able to chat at a steady pace along the muddy Thames path. Pete provides a brilliant running (ho ho) commentary on every oddity that this end of the river throws up; the Harrods Furniture Depository, ha-ha’s, the location of the first FA Cup match, and a dozen other oddities. It’s muddy and damp, closer to a cross-country run than a city. Pete peels off at Putney bridge after a piece-of-piss eight miles, and I’m on my own with Neu! ’75 .Why haven’t I done more running with other people? Way more fun. Along the North bank. Thump, thump. Starting to ache a little. Through the heart-stoppingly hideous Chelsea Harbour development; yacht-club glamour but gleamingly empty of people, like a J.G. Ballard fantasy. On. Past Battersea Power Station on the other bank, the post-industrial devastation stretching half a mile. Westminster 3 miles. Really? Hack to Vauxhall Bridge and cross back to the South Bank. Run without stopping to the London Eye, where I couldn’t run if I tried, it’s so thick with tourists. Stop briefly for a Coke and more water, for which I am charged £2.70. Welcome to London! Start up again. Ow up the steps and turn north at  Blackfriars Bridge.

With five miles to go the hurting really starts. The last three miles past the Angel is something like walk one min, run five min, walk one min etc. Everything below the waist hurts. Here is where I really could do with more long run training. I know the real thing is going to be tough – there is a saying that “the last six miles is the last half of the race”. But the main training is done, and there are no more heavy days like this. Twenty miles. I now have two weeks until the big dance to recover. I think I might need them.

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