We started from Hatfield forest as it is only a couple of miles away from us; at 6am just when the sky was starting to light up before sunrise. It was a bitter cold start of the day but as the sun rose, it became warmer and the weather was gorgeous. It had been raining a lot recently, and at this time of the year, the ground is pretty saturated with water, so the paths were extremely muddy and slippery. Also, quite a few footpaths are going through cultivated fields that the farmers had recently ploughed, so progress was very slow through these muddy fields. Navigation was also surprisingly not straightforward, not sure may people are using some of these paths as some seemed to have disappeared altogether. The GPX route supplied by The Long Distance Walkers Association is not very precise in some area, we lost the path a couple of times through the Epping Forest. We were hoping for a non-supported attempt and were relying water taps outside churches to resupply with water. Unfortunately, this was not sufficient and we had to stop in a couple of shop/restaurant to buy water. We carried all the food with us from the start, we actually didn't eat everything we had. We didn't have any external support, it was just the 2 of us the whole way. We didn't plan for this but it was Guy Fawkes night, so when sun did set, we were surrounded by firework displays pretty much all the way to the end of our route, just before 10pm, which was pretty cool. We were both struggling a lot to do any running at the end but didn't suffer any major issue or injury.
This time of the year is definitely not the best to set up a record, but a 100 mile race we entered was cancelled last minute due to England entering a new lock-down (because of covid pandemic). So we decided to put the training to use and set up a first known time for a local route. I think it should be renamed though because very little of the Way is actually in forests. I would call it "the muddy fields way" ;-) The route is rather flat and could make a fast 100k (ish) during summer, when the ground is solid under foot, with more daylight and easier navigation.