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Thursday, 23 March 2017

Busiest weekend of the year - Galleries all live 2017-03-19

On what is always the busiest weekend of the year (it's one month from the London marathon, so lets do a half for our training plan), we covered the following races last weekend, generating over 950GB of image data !

Sat-18/03/2017 Kelly's Clandon Park Run
Sun-19/03/2017 Richmond Half and 10k
Sun-19/03/2017 Hastings Half Marathon
Sun-19/03/2017 Brentwood Half Marathon
Sun-19/03/2017 Fleet Half Marathon
Sun-19/03/2017 ETL Spring Badger Half

I'm honestly too exhausted from about three nights of 4.5hours sleep in a row and 19/20hr days (my commute is about 2 minutes - if I go slowly) to do anything more creative than this very basic email, although I did want to point out the end of an Era, with Events To Live having their last ever event.

Events to LiveThe Badger half started some 10 years ago, although we first covered it in 2009, and have seen 3843 runners complete the race in it's various shapes and forms and locations. It's been one of our favourite events, mainly because of the Tshirt, and because we have often been generously given one by the Race Director Nicky. The repeating badger silhouette design and the variants thereof that there have been is as near iconic pop-art as I've seen a race Tshirt possible to become - identifiable at a great distance on runners at other events when they approach the finish, it's always been good to see one approaching when I've been working.

The passing of Events to Live is quite indicative of the entire race landscape that we see. We know of two other multiple Race organisers who are discussing their options and contemplating the future, and only one race director looking to take on more events (yes we have put them all in touch with each other!). For us, we seem to have a 20-30% change in events every year, so churn is very much the normal way that business goes - but it's usually the small races, the less well attended in ugly courses, or the 10k charity race that nobody from the original team was left and they farmed it out to a third party to run and then didn't do the marketing with the same passion and believe that was what made it as before - so nobody turns up, are the ones that fade and die. But not this time.

The people we are talking about do big races. The sort that are not "corporate branded overpriced running", but good value, mass participation well organised, safe races with solid reputations in their local communities. This has got to be a concern for all of us out there who enjoy running, and it should be a concern for the councils who try to promote sport in the community and running clubs in your areas. It is an incredibly good value sport compared to many, but to survive it has to have solid entries above anything else to make it worthwhile and simply economical to pay all the race day bills that come in (it's a massive list of costs, but you'd be amazed how many people think that it's only costs are free volunteer time). What we have seen is operational costs rising and rising and rising. About two years after 2012 we saw many venue prices that had previously been pleased to have the extra passing trade that an event brought - start to charge incredible prices per competitor - almost bankrupting many events in the process, and causing many to change locations, get creative with their routes and parking, or quit the scene. Areas that were along or near an Olympic activity seemed to suffer the most with this.

I fear for the unchecked continuation of the location fees, the road closure rates set almost arbitrarily by councils, the randomness of fees charged by essential services, and also the growing expectation of event services to be provided for free, because they've run a corporately sponsored 5k run where they get all of that delivered for free (to them) in return for their data being sold as advertising fodder for a healthy profit. Part of that is also causing volunteer burn-out and the bigger events that still rely heavily on volunteers in the community are not finding the core troopers that they used to - they've already been booked up weekly and have no spare capacity. Where does that leave the event ? paying for marshalling - which puts your entry fees up, so you don't enter, so the race declines, or makes a loss and then eventually closes.

I don't know why Events To Live decided to close, but we see and discuss all the above pressures and realities on a regular basis with all the race directors we know - and we know a lot of them ! If there is one way we can all make sure our local races continue to thrive - there is only one answer: you must -
Enter them.

Goodbye ETL, it's been a pleasure !! (sorry about the Top Gear Test Track incident too).

So here's some races you might like to think about, and Five of them have free photos !
Sat-25/03/2017 Bolt round the Holt (free race downloads)
Sun-26/03/2017 Cranleigh 15-21
Sun-02/04/2017 Paddock Wood
Sun-09/04/2017 HONC
Sun-09/04/2017 PP Grand Union Half (Spring special)
Fri-14/04/2017 Folkestone 10
Sat-22/04/2017 Brutal Windmill Hill
Sun-23/04/2017 REP Bluebell (Free Downloads)
Sun-23/04/2017 Southampton Half, 10k, and Marathon
Sun-30/04/2017 REP Steyning Tri (Free Photos)
Sun-30/04/2017 Oswestry Half Marathon (Pic2Go Photos)
Sun-30/04/2017 Ranelagh Half
Sun-30/04/2017 YMCA Fun Run
Sun-30/04/2017 3Forts
Sun-07/05/2017 7Oaks Tri (Free Photos)
Wed-10/05/2017 Mundays 5k

Right, it's now 1:20AM, on a wednesday, so I'm well past late on this - here's a handful of images, sorry no captions, try and add your own, but use my voice...

Finally, our thoughts are with everyone involved however seriously or lightly by the attack in London earlier today. I hope you all made it home safely.

Until next time,

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