The first 20 mile run that I essayed, on 14 September 2002, was memorable for several reasons besides mere length and my survival:
But much more significant than any of the above: during the homeward journey near mile 13 an angel joined me, in the person of an elderly but fast-moving gentleman named Dennis W. He lifted my spirits immensely by chatting about his various calf and knee problems, his racing experiences, and a unique athletic competition that he held via email with his brother and sister every summer.
Dennis described the scoring system he designed for his family: each 1/8th of a mile covered is worth 1 point if bicycling, 4 if running, and 9 if swimming. On top of that, he introduced distribution bonuses: doing an Olympic triathalon within a week gets you 100 extra points, and finishing an Ironman triathalon during the week is worth 1000.
DW set a brisk pace as we talked; I was surprised when I checked my watch to discover that we had run my fifteenth mile in only 10 minutes. (My average rate for the entire trip was ~11 minutes/mile.) At the next trail marker he turned around and bid me adieu. I slowed down and made it home in relative comfort. Thanks, Dennis!