Monday, 8 March 2021

Oh hello, how's it going ?

Shaun and his mates were not wearing masks and strictly patrolling the village Covid boundaries

How's it going ?

It's all strange times for us too. As our sole source of income is from "mass participation event photography", you can imagine the past year has been somewhat "quiet" on the work front, but not without it's stresses.

Since March when the pandemic started, we managed to squeeze in the off-road and non-urban Beachy Head races, as well as the Clarendon marathon and Half, but other than that - we've now been at 5% of our normal annual turnover. If it wasn't for the furlough scheme, we would be permanently closed and everyone redundant - as it is that has kept a few things ticking over and we haven't cancelled the future. To be honest we came close when the original end of the furlough scheme was for 60% company support - that would have been unsustainable - and I think we all breathed a collective sigh of relief when it was adjusted back again although the 20% top-up + taxes etc is eating through the savings, just at quarter of the speed.

out the back of beyond and getting lost the right way on a 12miler

With the news of the latest "unlock" plans - we have now had an whole load of events announce their intentions. If your facebook feed is anything like mine - I am getting hit with adverts for ultra races and charity ultra walks at a rate that makes me wonder where all these likeminded people come from. One genuine concern is with *every race in the calendar* reorganising into early October - where are all the timing mats going to come from and also all the runners - because all the runners - no matter how keen - are not going to run four half marathons back to back into all these re-organised races!.

Here's the current list of events until the end of June - all subject to change!

Date Master Event name organiser website
Sun-25/04/2021 REP Bluebell
Sun-02/05/2021 REP Steyning Tri
Sun-02/05/2021 3Forts
Sun-16/05/2021 REP Arundel Tri
Sat-05/06/2021 Mighty Hike - South Coast
Sat-12/06/2021 REP Arun Swim
Sun-13/06/2021 Mid Sussex Tri
Sat-19/06/2021 Mighty Hike - Lake District
Sun-20/06/2021 Hampshire Hoppit
Sat-26/06/2021 Mighty Hike - Giants Causeway

Thankfully there seems to be some sense prevailing - if not forced by councils that don't particularly want their town flooded with supporters hanging about - to delay for a whole year into 2022 - instead of messing about with conflicting new event dates. To be honest there's also the difficulty and amount of work of only allowing 6 months to the next event if you do decide to delay to autumn and then return to a spring race - the event organisers have got to be very good to do that - but their employees will be exhausted by next summer if they try that. We shall see.

the 30mile ride to the sea and back over the hills was a bit of a February treat on a warmer day, especially for my vintage Peugeot... (it is my only road bike BTW).

Inevitably we have had several photographers give up over the past year, and unfortunately one succumb to Cancer, but thankfully none passed away due to Covid, so we are still counting our lucky stars and as far as possible - keeping isolated and distanced. Some of us have had our first vaccination too - so there's a small bit of protection - but still wary about distancing at races.

Running in the cold in January was err cold.

In order to fight the boredom, apart from getting fitter, I've been doing some computer modelling of the hospital admission numbers as a favour for a friends work, and also the impact of vaccinations as they are rolled out. The vaccine does have some impact - but please remember this bit of basic maths - if 70% of the entire adult population has had a 70% (average guess) effective first vaccine - that's only 49% of the population protected - leaving half  (51%) of the population still vulnerable to Covid, which is still enough people to suffer from devastating spread through society. Heads up - we won't be at that 50% point until the end of August 2021 - so if you are keen to get back to normal - please remember that we need at least 85% of the population fully protected so the virus doesn't find other unprotected people easily. That's going to be when everyone has had their second injection - which *should* be august+12 weeks - which is the end of November 2022. Just in time for Christmas I suppose...  Just don't jump the gun this time eh Prime Minister if the data doesn't stack up ?

(Update - Public Health England announced last night that so far through the age groups we're nearer to 85% received of eligible adults so far (except in London) - so that's a bit more hopeful).

(if you want to see some rather unnerving data analytics - then the SAGE advice based on the simulation modelling by Warwick university given to the government before announcement of the unlock says an even more restricted unlock still leads to approximately 45,000 more deaths - it's just the timing that changes - so please still be careful out there :     )

the cat found a new holiday destination

Future Races in 2021 

So with all that in mind - here's our current up-to-date calendar of events which are all looking at their covid secure regulations and spreading everyone out:

Sussex Sport - News Blog: Calendar of events

You may perceptively see that all but a handful of events are "free downloads for participants". (I hope you are thoroughly happy and excited by this transformation!)

This is where the event and/or a sponsor has decided that they are going to pay for your race photos for you ! We are in the situation now that apart from a few exceptional cases - all the events we work at are going to be free-downloads for all competitors, and we are continuously working on that with the remaining races too. 

The benefits for runners, events, and sponsors from free race photos for everyone massively outweigh the alternatives. The benefits of promotion, positive reinforcement, happy memories, and wider race awareness from everyone having their images and sharing them - are just huge for all parties involved. When you compare it to the other option of "you want people to buy these and expect them to promote the race effectively for you ?" - like hello - why would you expect that to be in any way effective compared to giving them race branded photos for free ?  (I think I'd better leave that there before I start getting rude).

Anyway, we've been working intentionally towards this for the past 5 years, and decided to continue down this route despite the lockdown break. Possibly a risky business decision, so we shall see. Races have plenty of time to re-organise their finances or their approach and costs to advertising, marketing and sponsorship - and where or how free race photos represent simply a different channel for money they are already spending on alternatives, but one that generates a significantly more effective outcome - especially for you, the runners, who get their photos for free ! (as a bit of event business information - some well known "aggregator" race entry sites take a 20% cut of race entry fees. We could definitely do free race photos for that much, and promote entries for next year just as effectively!)

my christmas present of a pair of trail shoes have been used a fair bit

You may also see over the past year that several events have come and gone - and several race organisers have gone too. Some race organisers have continued their acquisition of events and bringing them under their umbrella - and the 12 month "no changes" clauses will have expired during lockdown - so be prepared to see some well known races suddenly being promoted by completely different event organisers. Some organisers we have seen uplifting and growing the races, others we've seen cut costs and make the race to bare infrastructure minimum to keep costs down and run on a shoestring - and there's been A LOT of that sort of decisions made through lockdown. In my opinion there's a place for both types in the race marketplace - but as all economists know - you can't cut costs to make more profit in the long term, because you lose the infrastructure and extra capacity to support expansion - and that's your long term growth gone. 

We also have seen timing companies go over the past year due to covid - particularly annoying as I was busy doing some race results analytics and now I can't because all their results have been swallowed up whole too. Bugger.

NO to running zwift, the west wing box set is more interesting on a treadmill, plus it takes up 2.5Gb of my iphone memory !!

So have we truly gone through a period of new runners in the world ? or just the benefit of free time for those of us furloughed and keeping isolated, or the new commute instead of spending it in traffic jams or on trains? Having quit the commute into london in 2008 when this became my full time job - I still have not talked (online obvs) to anyone who wants to go back to full time commuting when this is over - and I don't think they will. At least that will take some pressure off the rail system that you couldn't get a seat at 7am for a one hour ride into london, fingers crossed to anyone going back that you can.

And to those of you still working fully through all this - you seem to be working harder than ever, how you're doing it and keeping it going I don't know - very well done !

and with that - fingers crossed you all managed ok today with the return to school - it's been a bit of a weird one here, the Cat has missed being on the class Teams calls and her all day fuss. I did my best but I'm no replacement.

Until next time, keep up with the training and stay safe


Thursday, 29 October 2020

Beachy Head Marathon 2020 and 10k Galleries all live

 The 2020 Beachy Head race galleries are all now live and online here in size order for your delight and enjoyment !

Beachy Start with 30 person waves - and that 2020 mask fashion

The weather on Saturday compared to the Half the week earlier was completely different. Wind was gusting so strongly it knocked me over several times - and I was sat on the floor with my legs out to brace myself. I have a bruise on my forehead where my camera kept getting buffeted back into my head suddenly. Apparently though we completely missed the rain all day in Brighton/Sussex west end of the county, thank goodness for that ! It wasn't the same on Sunday though - full torrential rain for the 10k, but less windy, so the route went back over the top of the Beachy Head as usual, instead of keeping more inland as they diverted on the Saturday for the Marathon.

The more inland (and much safer) Marathon diversion along Hod Combe / Shooters Bottom road.

The very much wetter 10k start on Sunday - note the small stream across the road...

Anyway - here's some pictures from the marathon, and then some from the 10k...

This is actually to show you where not to pin the number on your donkey, as they go off into Friston Forest

Number 1 - milking it big time

The full Von-Trapp hills are alive moment

Climb every mountain at Jevington

Good hills for the double thumbs and a smile

possibly over excited with 2 miles to go, and they're uphill

Magicians hands

I want whatever Betty had - the energy was amazing

Always a joy to see Debbie and her hat

Both worthy charity causes

Not sure she would need an ice-axe, it's not that cold.

Bob cruising along the estuary

A running SSP photographer !! - donate to Ingrid's great cause here -

A lot of social distance measurements this year

Yep - about 2M at a stretch

Double thumbs up for Ashford and District !

Burgess Hill Runners taking the early victory at Cuckmere Haven

Happy to be here I think

Flying along the river bank at Alfriston

Gangham style

It all went a bit bananas at this point

Stuart with his serious face on

Definitely a 2m socially distanced start

for the win, an unbelievable record time...

Correct joy of finishing expression

Fulham take the victory and the moment 

Superb Man

Victory wave

Great finish

Think she's happy about it. Or on Acid.

amazing new 3D shadow effect on this camera

When you put your number on upside down

Lester gets his number out

Skip the light fantastic

And then there's this type of skipping

Too early or photobombing ?

I think I know what's he's trying to say

Excellent number-wang

Thou shalt not pass

Matching legs and number

Can you get an Uber from Belle Toute ? Nope - no signal...

It's behind you

The river bank proved slippy

Marlow was better *allegedly*

Prospective candidate?

Look in the sky! No look down there....

All along the seven sisters he managed that

Hastings takes the Salute 

Job done - level 1 complete

Job done - Boss Level (yes that's the winner)

Job Done - level *emotes*

Job done - Level Castaway

Job Done - Level Citizen Smith

and then there was the 10k which was a bit wetter

this has had a bit of processing to make it clearer!

Tom lead the Seaford attack

Run home for a quick shower

One benefit of Covid - you can run all the race distances each year

great teamwork

happy in the wet !

That's enough !

So that's the end of work for this year - as tragic as it gets - we've had no work for the past seven months since March and won't have anything at least until March next year - so please can I urge you to buy your race photos from this years races - it would mean a lot to us (because - food), and hopefully they will mean a lot to you too in years to come (because - happy). 

We would love to be around next year to do this work for you - but we will need something to keep us and our families in baked beans - so every photo counts now !

No Veteran Cars
In other news - you may not have heard but the London To Brighton Veteran Car run has been cancelled as well (usually the first weekend in november). The final straw was the level 2 London lockdowns and various licensing permissions.

Might get a Brutal Run in?
There is a Covid safe Brutal race taking place on November the 21st at the moment under current restrictions - - which might interest you - reduced numbers for safety so get in early.

Future race format
Yes - we definitely need a hybrid virtual-real race format, I'm going to start talking to people in power about seeing if we can get a trial sorted out.

It's only a bit of nail polish on your finger nails - what's so hard eh ? it turns out that almost every man I speak to is impossibly scared of the whole idea. All the women think its fantastic. Go figure. A one month challenge to talk to women raise sponsorship and get boring men to avoid you - it is ideal I can tell you.

Anyway, this year personally I'm raising money for Mind, with everything that's been going on this year but anyone can use Nailvember to raise money for any charity they want to - just link your justgiving page to the team here where all the information is

Please give me a follow on, like the page on facebook or on the twitter @nailvember (I could do with the follows and some shares !) or on Insta as Nailvember_UK 

Last year it raised over £1000 pounds - so if you can help this year - then please get involved or just donate !

So, apart from keeping fit over the winter, what else are you going to do anyway?

until next time (whenever that might be)

Stay safe, secure, sensible, and sane