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Tuesday, 1 October 2019

Winchester Half 2019, Revolve24 and Oxfam Trailwalker

All go at the start of the Winchester Half 2019

It didn't rain in winchester this year, unlike last year. OK, it might have just a teeny bit, but not enough to put anyone off properly.

It's been a few months off writing these news updates - so sorry about that - the regular feed of event timetables and schedules have been full with work - things like Macmillan mighty hikes, Races to the trail series, and the odd weekend off. The Revolve24 cycling at Brands hatch is always a quite laid back affair too, mind you, it has to be if you're going to ride a bike in circles for 24hrs... It's been a summer of free race downloads as more and more event organisers start to understand what it's all about. We even had a weekend away from real work at the European Running Business Conference (sat inside for three days in big dark rooms) where time and time again speakers stood up and urged event organisers to put event photos front and centre of their runner engagement plans. You know it make sense when a leading global race entry portal and timing company is designing a race photo hosting platform with virtual medals. The IAAF and European Athletics top brass were all there too - trying to work out how to engage more people in running and sharing their insights. It was a good conference - rounded off by taking part in the Prague 10k - which off no training - was an "experience" !

A recent table of events is listed below as well as some of the next events we're going to be covering.
Date Event Gallery
Sat-14/09/2019 Free downloads -
Sun-06/10/2019 Enter today !
Sun-06/10/2019 Full Pic2Go service - free images on the day - register here
Sun-06/10/2019 Full Pic2Go service - free images on the day - register here
Sun-06/10/2019 Enter today !
Sun-13/10/2019 Enter today !
Sun-20/10/2019 Enter today !
Sun-20/10/2019 Enter today !
Sat-16/11/2019 Enter today !
Sun-17/11/2019 Enter today !
Sun-17/11/2019 Free downloads - Enter today !
For some reason the 6th of October seems to be a very popular date, especially if you live in Hampshire ?

As ever - here's some photos of what's been going on - but only this past fortnight - otherwise it gets a bit silly on catchup...
Jack Whitehouse didn't win the winchester half

that moment when you really should be watching the kerb

spread some sunshine

got to keep up to date with the mexican wrestling even during a run 

any witnesses to a childs scooter being stolen on sunday morning ?

Gemma and Rosie ran at the same time, as co-joined clothing twins

BOO! people have no idea how genuinely frightening this can be for a photographer concentrating on the runners...

He's going to grow into it, or at least spread his wings a bit.

*as if it's not hard enough already*

making top memories

top support duly acknowledged !

Rumour has it, once they get their bagpipes out they must play them until their enemies ears bleed...

spot the star

spot the star

high five !

LYYM ? what is this - Latin ?

Running 60 miles. Because why not ?

moves like Jagger...

when adjusting your hair for the photo, don't twonk your friend in the face with your ski-pole...

so the dust, all day. Whole field. Wasn't an issue for me sat there. Oh no. not a problem. *cough*

Captain Morgan's team did ok

they crowded round to see what their photo of the photographer would look like...

we like a bit of flag work

Rare photo of secret Gurkha RAF pilots

The right hand member of the team took the message as more of a threat when he turned up and read his team-mates shirts telling him "you'll never walk". Undeterred he started anyway.

It's a nice view along the way !

Top teamwork !

It's a signal... well done !

Off you go !!

last bend on the course and it's a nice bit of downhill

the view across the touring car part of the course

moon set at sunrise on the sunday morning at 6:30am

The golden hour of the sunday morning 

there are two types of downhill technique

just how aero do you need to be ?

top aero

Had time to get all arty 'n stuff

Brands Hatch is a bit hilly - here's the top of Druids


She won the 12hr overnight and was just off to run the Reigate Half Marathon off no sleep !

The morning train ride

Pushing along the train

Working the hill

Having a caravan apparently is the next thing you buy after a bike, except they are cheaper.

So here's the thing that's been slowly creeping under the radar over the summer - a certain "race entry" company that is "using" our images - so we thought we would take a closer look. I'm not going to name them here - because I really just want to warn you all to only enter online via the official website for any race.

There's some good economics in there for the point - which I will get to - but you need to be aware, and please tell your clubmates and friends if they don't already know - there are companies out there taking entries and passing them onto the official entry websites.

The sites do a very nice pretty job of getting all the information together in one place - but it's not the actual race website, that ofcourse is buried at the very very bottom of the scroll. It's so you use these race entry services without thinking that it might not be the actual race entry form.

 Also - they are taking your data - and passing it onto the official race possibly without you realising that they are not the official race entry portal for a race, they are just a middle man, taking their cut - financially and technically (data). You need to read their terms and conditions to find out what's going on...

 They take your entry data and present all the race information for you to the race organisers entry website - and then if they can - take your money and then pass that all over to the official race entry page "in the background" to get your entry. You receive that entry directly from the race organiser - but because you put it all through the "race listings and entry" website - they have gathered all your personal data, and according to the terms and conditions - they can then use that and sell it on as they see fit - either as marketing data, targeting data for future races, or as their own data to "send you third party offers" ie they sell you onto advertisers.

 Their clauses in the terms and conditions contain phrases like this: "You acknowledge and agree that once you have provided the relevant Registration Information and indicated your agreement to the relevant Event Terms, we may act on your behalf as your agent to submit your Order to the Event Organizer or Ticket Seller (as applicable)."  which should start to ring alarm bells for you.

They make money from trying to get you to enter other races that they promote for race organisers. Some Race organisers believe this is worth the price to get more entries for their races.

 It goes on: "In order to submit your Order on your behalf, we will require you to pay the full Price directly to us using your selected Payment Method. Before we submit your Order we will either need to take full payment of the Price or obtain an irrevocable pre-authorisation from your Payment Method for the full Price. Once the Event Organizer or their Ticket Seller has confirmed your Order (or any part of it) a binding contract will be formed between you and the Event Organizer and/or their Ticket Seller, as applicable. As we are acting as your agent in relation to the payment of the Price, any refunds owed to you in respect of the Event shall subject to the relevant Event Terms."
God only knows what that means if the event cancels - will you get a refund or not - even if the event is refunding ?

 This is one of my favourite GDPR and data protection act clauses that I've ever read - telling you what they are going to collect, they don't say if they are going to pass it onto Cambridge Analytica though:
"As part of the Event Registration Process, we shall collect from you certain registration information that is required by the Event Organizer or where the Event Organizer uses a third party booking agent (“Ticket Seller”), the relevant Ticket Seller. Such information may include name, address, contact details, date of birth, gender, previous performance information, and details of any health issues (“Registration Information”)"

 But why do they do all this ?
 "Our commission We provide the Registration Service free of charge to you. However you should be aware that we do receive a commission from the relevant Event Organiser each time we register a participant for an Event and/or submit orders for Additional Products. Events we don’t have a registration arrangements with We may promote or refer to some Events for which the relevant Organiser has not signed up as an Organiser with us, and for which we cannot therefore offer our Event Registration Service. If you want to sign up for those Events we will direct you to their website. We have no responsibility for these third party websites and clause 15 below applies in relation to them."

The bit highlighted in yellow is where they admit to putting up race information to get your interest and track you, even if they are not an official partner of a race. For them the benefit of the non-partner races is that they have tracked your demand - so they have got some data to add to their business model.
If you're not scared enough - find the privacy policy for these sites and read the sections usually titled something about "data sharing" because the answer is yes, all hidden in a plea to explain that's how they make money so pleease let us do it...

I mean this example fills me with privacy confidence: "We may sometimes contract with third parties to supply products and services to you on our behalf. These may include payment processing, delivery of goods, search engine facilities, advertising and marketing. In some cases, the third parties may require access to some or all of your data. Where any of your data is required for such a purpose, We will take all reasonable steps to ensure that your data will be handled safely, securely, and in accordance with your rights, our obligations, and the obligations of the third party under the law."

 You should know the commission that some of these companies are taking is 20%. Yes - it's 20%. read that again. 20% for companies they have a registration "arrangement" with. We know this - because one of them said so in their online presentations for investors. Now between you and me - for a lot less than 20% per entry we could provide free race photos for everyone. I mean, I'm willing to risk being paid 20% if you want - and those happy memories shared between you and your friends of an event worth running in - would encourage more people to run the event next year - if it's a good one ! (it's proven - running races with friends is much more fun to do!)

And who are these wonderful companies taking your money to enter you into races ? well, for now I'll leave you guessing and watching the adverts on google - but have a good heads up on anything except an entry button on an official race website - because otherwise you'll be cutting out the races revenue - significantly.

And whilst times are tough - do we think these services will get a race at least 20% more entries so the races working revenue is the same ? nope. To put it in perspective - even parkrun hasn't managed to increase the number of runners by 20% at paid entry races, so net-net no increase in the overall global picture - this service is just another drain on race organiser revenues - which will either put them out of business and close the races (if enough extra people don't enter) because it's another overhead cost, or reduce the quality of races and services that race organisers can put on.
One race organiser said "an entry is an entry" - but what happens when they manage to divert all your normal (repeat) entries and are not getting new entrants ? yes - your working revenue is 20% lower for the same number of runners. This is not the way forwards to help the industry grow.

The way I see it - putting a middle-man into the equation is not going to increase the amount of money for everyone in any business, and event organisers should think long and hard about using these services - as well as insist that they remove their listing on these services if they are not officially affilliated - otherwise you are giving them important market data (web traffic etc).

So - my advice to you all - you should steer clear too if you don't know what race entry third party services you are using, the long term end effect is race prices will end up going up by 20% to accomodate their services and races are expensive enough as it is.

So, get your race entries in through the official websites, don't pay the middle man, and train well in the rain.

Until next time

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