Aberdeenshire runner Ally Sutherland had to pull out of his attempt to set a record time for running the North East 250-mile tourist route.
The Cosmic Hillbashers club member hoped to complete the journey inside three days but decided to withdraw after a testing opening 24 hours during which he completed 95 miles.
Although extremely disappointed, Sutherland is far from despondent and has vowed to give the record bid another go later in the year.
He said: “Physically I’m not too bad but mentally I’m a bit battered. It just turned out to be a step too far for me but I have learned a lot and there are a few things I’d do differently next time.
“One of the bad points came in the Glenshee area when I headed off in the wrong direction for a while and ended up losing about an hour. That left me feeling quite down because it left me well behind my schedule on the first day.”
Sutherland’s cause wasn’t helped by having to make some last-minute changes to his plans when a local lockdown was imposed on Aberdeen after an upsurge in coronavirus cases.
He had intended to start and finish in the city’s Duthie Park but altered that to a location outside the boundary, at Blackburn.
More significantly, he was unable to call on two of his support crew, Tony Little and Marie O’Hanlon, who live in Aberdeen and were not permitted to leave because of the lockdown regulations.
Aside from providing logistical backing they were also going to run with Sutherland for part of each day.
He said:”I must admit, if I had Tony and Marie to run with it might have been easier to have started off again on day two.
“Also, as they weren’t available, it meant my wife Kay was providing all my support. As it was so hot she had to meet me every couple of hours to replenish my drinks and she also had to drive ahead to sort out our accommodation.”
Sutherland also admits that next time around he’ll change his strategy based on what he learned from this attempt.
He said: “I started at midnight, and on reflection I don’t think that was the best thing to do.
“It would be better to get a decent sleep then start in the early morning.
“And rather than try to arrange accommodation along the way, I think I’ll hire a campervan in future as that gives me much more flexibility.
“Despite the outcome, there are positives to take from it. It was certainly a glorious day, too hot perhaps, but I now appreciate just how stunning the route is.
“Also, running 95 miles in the heat is still a decent achievement and good training for the future.
“Sometimes you have to fail before you learn how to succeed. The ambition to complete the North East 250 is still burning away inside and I’ll probably give it a go again in a few months when its cooler and when, hopefully, the lockdown situation here has eased again.”