Sunday, 6 March 2011

9bar Ultra Race Grantham - Race Report

With only 3 weeks to go until the Anglo Celtic Plate, I wanted to get a decent ultra race in as a training run. I also needed a change of scene from my usual Bramley training routes. I decided to travel up to Cotsgrave near (or in?) Nottingham to run the 9Bar UltraRace Grantham. This is split into two events comprising a 29.1 mile trail run along the canal on the Saturday and a 29.1 mile return run on the Sunday. As a last minute decision I decided to run both days.

The event is mixed terrain of mud, grass, gravel and a mile or so on road. The scenery is beautiful - you essentially run alongside the canal which passes through Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire and Lincolnshire.

Standing at the start line, I noticed most people were looking down at the ground, it was then I noticed a 22 year old, James Blisset, standing in the pack barefoot. It crossed my mind that he may have some kind routine where he puts his shoes on just before the go. Then it dawned on me (looking at his toe nails) that he was intending to run the entire race barefoot. Not in fivefingers, but truly barefoot - i.e. skin meet road, thin gravel, mud, small stones and whatever else may be lying on the floor. The next time I saw James was at the finish line. He had finished! He also looked in better shape than other runners. I know several people who end up injured for several weeks because they decided to run about 5 miles in their 5 fingers - which makes James' running truly amazing. Most certainly the star of the show!

Saturday went by quite well, as usual with most of my races, I decided to get lost and took a 'left' instead of a 'straight on'. It was around about the time I was running on the side of a motorway that I questioned my navigation skills. On returning I could quite clearly see the markers pointing in the right direct. As usual I get carried away in the moment and end up in a world of my own (with cars driving past at 80mph!).

Sunday was a little tougher and I really needed to get my nutrition and hydration right. As usual, I had only gone about 500 yards before Ian Berry (who finished in a close second place) shouted at me that I was going in the wrong direction. Thanks Ian... Great, I got my "getting lost" out of the way, well until about mile 23 anyway! I was only about 12 miles in when my legs started to tell me they were there and hurting. The last 3 miles reminded me of my first marathon and what it was like to hit a very large wall! Still all very good training and experience.

Here are the results:


Daniel Doherty - 3.16:13 (course record)
Mark Davis - 3.27:54
Andy Nice - 3.30:03


Daniel Doherty - 3.20:30
Ian Berry - 3.21:20
Thomas Peoples - 3.27:51

Overall Grantham 2011:

Daniel Doherty - 6.36:43
Andy Nice - 7.10:03
Richard Kowenicki - 8.13:55

If you want to check out more on the 9bar events organised by Rory Coleman check out

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  1. Well done matey - although not sure what made you think you could slack off on Sunday ;)

  2. Nice work.

    Can't believe that guy did it in barefeet. I don't think I could walk across my garden without whinching.

  3. Thanks Debbie. Me too! I doubt I would get to the end of my garden barefoot without at least an injury!