The race started at 7pm with maps given out 15 minutes earlier but by the time I had got home from work, eaten dinner, got changed and headed over to Epsom it was nearly 7.30 already. As Jonty and I were both doing the 2 hour rogaine we were allowed 15 minutes to work out our courses and our 2 hour hours started as we set out. Although we were going to be running as individuals we ended up with similar courses.
I headed away first and warmed up with a jog along the roads to XC. As I was backtracking from here to take the route across the park to XB I passed Jonty going the other way at full pace. From XB I headed around to AH, expecting Jonty to catch me up any moment. My aim for the next few controls was to minimise climb as the 20m contours meant that a leg from AB or XJ to AD would involve over 40m of elevation gain. Hence from AH I ran the back roads to AC. I passed Dwayne coming out of the track from AC as I headed in. Road works made finding the end of the track difficult but local knowledge - I spent a year working nearby and walking these roads at lunchtime - meant that I had a fair idea where to find it. As I returned from AC I passed Jonty who had visited XA first and was able to give him detailed instructions on finding the track.
My supposed local knowledge then let me down badly as I stuffed up XA big time. At the intersection just before the control I followed the main line of the road around to the left instead of going straight ahead, perhaps distracted by passing Roger at that point, and, as the wiggles in both roads are similar, it took me a while to figure out what was wrong. In the end it was the control description indicating a chicane that convinced me that it was me that was wrong rather than the control that was missing - that, and the fact that neither Roger nor Jonty had mentioned a missing control. I backtracked and soon found my mistake and the control but I had lost quite a bit of time.
From XA I ran the ridge to AD and then had a nice fast leg down the hill to AB. A couple of girls were sitting near the control and they informed me that Jonty ("a boy" was their exact description) was a few minutes ahead of me. Out to the main road and XJ and then a long noisy main road run up to Royal Oak and control AE behind the shops. From there I was faced with the choice of going to XM or XL and, after a bit of dithering as I ran north a couple of hundred metres, I chose XL.
By the time I reached XL I had been running for just a whisker more than an hour. It was time for a break and a rethink of my plans for the next hour. I walked towards AF, ate a Mars bar, polished off a fair proportion of the water in my camelbak and considered the map. I dropped my plans for getting AW, AM and XH north of the motorway but was happy that with the second wind I should get as soon as the sugar and water hit my system I would be able to get most of the remaining controls south of the motorway (with the exception of the mountain tops).
I broke into a gentle jog and ran to AF waiting for my strength to return. Only, it didn't. I ran to AG and then abandoned my plans to get XM and headed to XT. By the time I got here, an hour and a half into the race I was exhausted so I gave up on XK and AI as well and decided just to get XD and then head back to the event centre early.
Of course, by the time I reached XD I was feeling great again but I chose to call it a night anyway. I arrived back at the event centre in 1 hour 45 having collected enough points to finish fifth. It was then a long wait for Jonty to finish as he ran about five minutes over time but, just as I was starting to get worried he turned up having run a (half) marathon 23km and collecting enough points that, had he been running the three hour event, he would have won.