I didn't mention this of course, and they told me to get moving so that I would warm up.
At the end of the village you turn left onto a track and uphill into some woods.
It was in these woods that I quite possibly had the worst nightmare experience from running that I have ever had in the 15 years I have been running. A night to try to not remember ever again, but here I am telling you about it.
At about mile 64 (still in the outskirts of Reading) there is no more towpath and you have to go through some housing estates. This is the one point where I got badly lost and went round in several circles.
Eventually found my way back to the river but it was now about 0300 and it seemed to me uncommonly cold for May. I was only shuffling along, my bad leg in the rut that the path now seemed to be and my good leg (the one I could bend) in the grass. A long line of head torches behind, and gaining.
You leave the river at Whitchurch for the only hill on the course. The next CP is in this village, about mile 68.
Arrived here in a bit of a state. There were lots of coloured lights outside, or was I hallucinating? Inside it was not a matter of deciding not to sit down. I couldn't sit down. My bad leg couldn't articulate the movement to make sitting down possible.
By about mile 55 I was shuffling along nicely but not generating enough heat to keep warm.
Arriving at the Reading CP was very welcome but there were steep outside steps to negotiate and I noticed one leg wasn't working very well. The best CP of the ones I visited with lots of fayre for vegetarians, and a warm sports centre. (Would make a better 'halfway' CP?)
Soon after this CP you must be careful not to branch left, going under the railway bridges and following the Kennet by mistake! Cross this on the Horseshoe Bridge and stay on the Thames. A rather unattractive section - at night anyway - with several tunnels.
The first 52 miles to the half way CP at Henley is idyllic riverside running. The main thing is to know which side of the Thames you are supposed to be on at any one point and cross over at the right places. The route through Marlow is a bit dodgy so well worth looking at the map there.
It took me 11h32 (I arrived just after dark) to get to Henley and I was feeling quite pleased about things. I was even thinking about 24h. It was very cold and draughty at the CP which was only a gazebo and they weren't really able to provide very hot food or drinks. In trying to change into night attire I get very cold and by the time I headed off I had badly stiffened up, or so it seemed.
Overtaking runners told me to keep going and I would 'soon warm up'. Well I spent an hour or two pottering along at about 0.5 mph, including heading off on a causeway into the middle of the river and thinking 'I shouldn't be out here' but unable to face going back. (It was the right route.)