This is a slight change for me, and definitely not my normal mode of racing! 9Bar being the wonderful sponsors that they are asked if some of us brand ambassadors would mind travelling down to Guildford for the inaugural 9Bar 9x9 Trail Running Festival. It was basically a 9km cross country lap, with options to run 3 laps (27km), 5 laps (45km), 6 laps (54 km), or 9 laps (81km).

I decided I would show willing, and ran one lap with some of the other 9Bar athletes, and at the end of the first lap felt good enough to run another! 18km done and dusted I decided to have a kip in the back of the mighty Vivaro. I should explain at this point that it was my birthday the night before so I didn’t get to bed until gone midnight and I was up at 4am to collect Helen and drive down south. I was knackered!





Waking up a (far too short) two hours later, my calves were aching like nobody’s business and I felt a bit chafed under the armpit from running in a trisuit (As I had no 9Bar logoed running kit – I’m a cyclist damn it!). When told that if I could run one more lap I would be eligible for a medal, I decided I could drag myself round for a further lap – but only if I could convince someone else to join me! Michael (our ever wonderful sponsorship coordinator) agreed to run/walk our final lap together and away we went. It was towards the end of this lap that my left ankle began to hurt. Not good. This turned out to stop me training for a week and copious amounts of ibuprofen and bed rest have now meant that there are no further issues.

I did however manage to finish all three laps, but with a total time of around 5 hours, I don’t think I would have been troubling the podium!

As an event, this was thoroughly enjoyable and I would recommend it to anyone. The food was worth the entry fee on its own, let alone that there was a complimentary sports masseuse too!

Don’t think I’ll be running a marathon any time soon though…