Monday, August 24, 2015


A couple of weeks ago my Contego trail running team mate Eddie let me know their (Contego's) Mountain Biking team wanted a race... a sort of who's best race!  A real head to head none of this they do one thing we do another. .. This was going to be 5km trail run followed by a 10km mountain bike ride!  Yes I was going to have to get on a bike and ride! And the mnt bikers had to run... The race would double as a PR event for Contego to show the other sponsors (New Balance, Swift, First Ascent, hope I'm not missing anybody important) and VIP's what we get up too... (Contego is an Asset Management company with a passion for the great outdoors!)
Being introduced

5km isn't far...Well for someone with as many marathons as me it isn't far...10km on the bike is easy 10km on a mountain bike easy,  but I do have a fear of dying! There is no chance of a kamikaze descent from me... the bikers Adriaan and Luke were licking their lips! With the introductions out the way the 4 of us lined up with sponsors and media looking on...On your marks get set Contego...I took the lead...
Away we go

Eddie let me go before passing Adriaan and Luke and setting chase.  It's not easy running from the front, but it's fun. I worked that first hill and opened a gap on Eddie. I didn't see the mnt bikers till I was weaving down the single track Luke wasn't enjoying himself rather give him a 5 day stage race with no running. .. I took the lap split 10:13 before looking back to the others: Eddie about 15sec and Adriaan and Luke, running together were about 2 min back (I would need more time if I was to stay ahead). Lap 2 wasn't easy as the day was warm and dry if I was feeling the burn so were the others!
I had settled into a nice rhythm round the vineyards at the top. At the top was a short mnt bike loop it was fun running over the bumps and on the banked slopes.  Just the down hill and I was ready for the bike. Lap 2 was slower 11:06.
Heading for the bike

Swift had very kindly set me (and Eddie) up with one of their state of the art bikes but would that be enough?  Eddie was now about 40 sec back and the boys... maybe 5min but these boys aren't runners they are top mnt bikers so the race was on... The grass was heavy as I headed out and I could feel the pressure from behind as I slowed to turn onto the gravel road... I like to think I wasn't losing much time on the straight or the climb. But the climb had bumps and as I slowed to get over those I knew that 5min was coming down. Again I slowed for a corner why why why... last climb and down. I don't know if I peddled at all on the way down. It was a case of hold your line Coach slow that corner looks tight. Yes we've done it bit of grass and around the Manor House down the stairs lap 1 9:20.

Eddie was with me now and Adriaan and Luke had pulled back 90sec and didn't look like slowing! I passed Eddie again as hammering the hill was my only chance to stay ahead.  Eddie's done a bit more biking than me so told me to go he would keep an eye on the others. At the top on the little loop a dad and his boys were "playing" Son keep to the right and let then pass. .. I never caught him (oh he was about 6!)
Do I look the part?

I was better on the single track down (probably not faster). Eddie passed on the grass and took the stairs first 2 down 8:49! Adriaan was hunting and Luke was feeling a pain he knew cycling as a pair they closed the gap to just over 2 min. It was time for Eddie and I to work as a team and lap 3 was even faster 8:33. We still had over a minutes lead.With every lap the sponsors, media and other supporters were cheering and willing us on as we took the stairs and passed through the start finish area. That said I bet they were rooting just as hard for team Mountain Bikers!  Adriaan and Eddie had plan a great route and it was going to come down to the wire... again I worked the hill hard getting ahead of Eddie.  But the guys were showing just who should really be on the bike. With passing near impossible on the single track I hit the grass first...But hitting the grass first wasn't enough... Team Mountain Bike was unstoppable now as they flew past Team Trail Running. Eddie tried to spoil their party but couldn't while I was left in 4th...
I didn't look like that coming down there...

The racing was over but the day wasn't... There were snacks to eat and Darling craft beer to drink and wine, yes Meerendal is a wine farm! Thank you Adriaan, Eddie and JC (Contego) for putting this together you did a great job I enjoyed showing the Sponsors what we do...


  1. What a great idea for an event. I'm such an arrogant runner that I thought you guys would have it in the bag but I guess there are some skills needed for mountain bike riding. Maybe next time the run and ride should be the same length.

  2. Agree with Char, both stages should be the same length. Sounded like fun though...

  3. I saw this and it made me smile! Awesome event and I think you did great! I'm getting into the mountain biking thing at the moment and there are definitely a lot to learn. I hope you do this type of event again.