Tuesday 9 April 2024

Southampton Marafun, Cowdray Spring Run, and Brentwood 2024 all live

The 2024 Southampton Race gallery is now live ! and so is Cowdray Spring "run the seasons" trail run, and Brentwood was last week (sorry I didn't post a blog - but I knew the organisers had emailed you all).

Nobody caught up with the first prize up again this year. The rules are if you can touch the lead car you get to win it.... nobody has done it yet ! 

The event season has got itself going in a big way this year - it seems as if we're back to about 90% of the pre-covid runner volumes, there's a smell of optimism in the air, and the press is reporting on running in all it's forms - including the ever popular headline grabbing Ultra Runner races - which means running more than a marathon and accounts for probably less than 0.1% of all runners (that's why it's a bit extreme).

DO NOT and I repeat - DO NOT attempt to run the length of Africa if you're a bit bored. It will have serious consequences, and will change your life, take about a year, or just break your body, mind, health and many many laws you are not aware of. On that note, congratulations to Russ Cook, https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/articles/c51dy5603zxo

Sunday had loads of races going on, london landmarks, brighton full (aka london by the sea marathon #2) and of course the Southampton Marafun of the full, half, 10k, 5k and funrun !

Call me biased but the Southampton course is way better than any 10k trapped into londons hyde park for most of it, or just running up and down the coast road in Brighton (which you can do for free all year round), but you do get to see the gas fired powerstation and the docks. Southampton goes down, around, over, up across and back as well as going through the football stadium... has some rivers, coast, bridges and parks. There's no comparison really... and you can't just do it any time of year - because it's proper "closed roads" and special access... plus it has it's own VIP lounge right by the start !!

chase the dream !

Also - its the 10th year of Southampton Marafun, my how we all stood about as we got the different companies (ie. got the band back together) that all work together to help deliver it and basically felt - old. Happy too, but definetly old. It also marks roughly 20 years of me running this business, from the early days of being a single freelancer with one of the first digital cameras covering a charity 10k with a 1Gb data card (what happened to those sort of races these days?) to running a limited company and having employees and managing sensible things like budgets and taxes and 27million images on an online archive ? WHAT HAPPENED ?

So - as part of our ongoing innovation - we have changed the front page on the website to help people find their pictures from the past by event name - (but you will still need your race numbers) - rather than only browsing through all the years and months that has been the super simple way we have done things on the gallery since forever. Please go and have a look and give it a go - but please please please - DO NOT USE YOUR WAVE LETTER - just numbers like "1234" Not "D 1234" - because it doesn't work (and obviously - they're not numbers !)   www.SussexSportPhotography.com

The idea is that you get your search result link for your race super quickly and easily (or even before the race!) - you don't need have to go through all the navigation to the event gallery page to see your photos. And then that URL is super easy to share with your firends and family too - Also it has all the share links that you might ever want as well as fundraising bits and bobs - so have a look and please email me with suggestions on how to improve things info@sussexsportphotography.com

One trend that I have noticed already is the change to hydration vests being a thing for half marathon runners instead of just marathon and ultra runners. There seems to have been a growth in front-wallet holders or "man-bags" for mobile phones of some sort - but all come with a big problem... if you put it over your race number - two things will happen - firstly you will absorb the very feint RF signal for your timing chip and not get a race time. They are very sensitive to being too close to your body (because of the impedance) and also having anything of substance over them (even stopping your watch and putting your arm across it can cause it to fail). So - you can pretty much kiss your race time goodbye if you cover it over. Secondly - we can't see your race number - which means - yes you've guessed it - we can't tag your photos with your race number. Off to search 000 for you !

Theres a few simple design changes that would make these vests / kitchen sinks/ bag pocket phone devices better for both number frontage and race chip timing - and that would be to have the clips/or zips assymetrically to one side - leaving space on the front for a number and the clips to the side. At the moment all the clips are down the middle - so are hidden by the number - and so of course - nobody puts their number on the front of them... and thank you - yes I'm off to patent that design.

And if you're wondering what takes the time to get the gallery online ? It's us having to do the manual quality checking back through all those race numbers we can't see or the barcodes have been covered (barcodes work faster than AI number recognition and is more accurate - so when it doesn't know - computer says No and we manually check through, it doesn't just make a guess like AI does). So don't cover your numbers and help us get the gallery online faster !

We have no chance of working out this race number ! Sorry.. but it was a hands thing on this one...

Have a click on this link to see all the people who's race numbers we couldn't read at southampton - and then figure out what the problem might have been - and then please - avoid doing it yourself ! https://sspimg.com/3xuoYBa

I guess the other general warning is - if the race says no headphones - don't wear headphones, especially not the massive ones - because guess what - yes the race organisers look at the photo galleries too and do restrospectively DQ people and remove them from the results... not saying which races - but I know they've done it since PC (that's Pre-Covid)... so for all you newbies to running - pay attention - there's rules to this game !!

He solved the number problem - he put it on the outside !

Anyway what you really wanted was the gallery links for the past few days. I've foolishly left them on a different computer in the office as I'm sat watching my daughter launch herself around the local athletics track (from the comfort of the clubhouse), so here's the long links instead - but they can be read for what they are  -so they sort of work:




we have a half-winner !

Julia ran barefoot across Spain once. She's a legend of the running world. https://juliachitaylor.com/

Excellent fundraising skills

Additional magical unicorn fun points for Sophie

Add in the kids fun run, but keep back because they will run you over

The legendary docks and riverside views of southampton

Marshalls on patrol

run from the muffin man...

the coolest running clothes I've ever seen - not sure it's fancy dress or just good dress

So who had the best photo ?

It's all a mystery to me and probably to him too, but number on the front next time too.

Saturday Morning over at the Cowdray Park - Run the Seasons Spring Run.

good running across the trails

Jumping for joy of a saturday morning

Always check your watch to see what time you've not finished in

lots of canicross to enjoy

Yaay - smashing the hills

the dogs don't get seperate times, but I really feel they should be entered into the results as a separate gender category (or species, you know what I mean). 

Running Free and with your friends is one of the greatest joys

We have a winner

Canni-happy rnuning should be the correct name

Running with your best buddies is the best

So that's it for now, we're getting fully geared up for the rest of the running season. check out next sundays gallops over near Findon for a lovely Trail run on the south downs - https://rawrunning.co.uk/events/findon-grand-national-10km-trail-run and raise lots of money for the local school ! Even if ten of you turn up - that's 10 more contributions...

Hopefully the weather will get better and will be less climate chaotic this year, and stop with the rain already...but I am getting better at running in the mud to be honest.

next week I'll share my thoughts and discoveries on neuroplasticity and sensitivity overwhelm.

Run safely and well done at the weekend - whichever marathon or 5k you did - at least you were out there smashing it !

until next time


Thursday 14 March 2024

Cambridge Half, Paddock Wood and Steyning Stinger - free galleries 2024

 Happy New Year ! (chinese new year if you insist). Well that was a busy weekend back after - no work since December 2023. Things can get a bit weird if you're not up on your self motivation and ready for the rush ahead and keeping on top of the admin for next year (yes it does take a bit of organisation and planning!)

To go from zero to three races on a sunday with the full team of 22 photographers out and about - and a total of more than 15,000 runners and taking over 500,000 imags with live delivery for 450,000 of them on race day - was a bit of an acceleration rate from hibernation.

Cambridge University, Kings college chapel and some Student runners, and daffodils. Can you tell it's spring ?

Hibernation went relatively well - I did not lose that much weight or put that much on, and the company is going through what can only be described as a chrysalis stage - although we're not quite at the fundamental level of everything turning to a sort of microbial goo and reassembling itself into colourful wings. We await the full moment of emergence into the summer event calendar - but as David Attenborough might say "often these things do not go smoothly, but eventually the creature makes it into the sun and over a period of days it begins to discover life beyond it's front door". Not quite sure If we're the grizzly bear or a hamster, but spring seems to be knocking.

So with that I hope you're enjoying the slightly warmer training, the almost light evenings after work, and the less unforgiving rain. If the mud on my hash run was anything to go by (and I say Mud, but basically standing water 5 inches deep across many many fields), hopefully we won't be cast into drought this year and the water table is getting a good soaking. It is also is a realtively safe to point out if the carpark at the national cross country had been anything like that, then the tractor would have got stuck - let alone the cars - so it was probably for the best that it's all rearranged for the 14th of September. A fast and dry one possibly ? should see a different type of runner benefit from the season and the time of year and training. August endurance training anyone ? (no thanks!).

A Full size Start arch for the Cambridge Half - complete with logo and artwork

Galleries and Future events - quick links - all the galleries are now fully quality control checked and upgrade orders can be made. For clarity - if an event logo etc is on the image that will exist on everything including prints - unless you order the original digital image by email. We've had a few people being surprised that their heavily discounted high resolution image price thanks to the sponsors includes logo of said sponsors and race logo. That's the whole deal...

Sun-03/03/2024 Steyning Stinger https://sspimg.com/Steyning-Stinger-2024-Gallery

Sun-03/03/2024 Cambridge Half Marathon https://sspimg.com/Cambridge-Half-2024-Gallery

Sun-03/03/2024 Paddock Wood https://sspimg.com/Paddock-Wood-2024-Gallery

Sun-24/03/2024 Brentwood Half - enter http://bit.ly/Brentwood-Half

Sun-07/04/2024 Southampton Marathon /half/10k - enter http://bit.ly/southampton-half

So next up for us is Brentwood at the end of the month, and then we're straight into the Southampton Marafun weekend...

Some of you will have noticed our new front page - which is all part of the www.SussexSportPhotography.com re-positioning of how we are trying to make it easier for you to find images, and to share them with purpose and meaning with those you care about and who care about you and your endeavours.

Hopefully that will get better and better with use feedback - but you can always just go straight to the date based gallery front page and drill down that way - https://gallery.sussexsportphotography.com/gallery-list which we keep brutally simple - just because thats what we all like in life

At some point I might need to put the results links against events so when people select an event they can actually go somewhere to find out what their race number was (because that's not the easiest thing to remember) - but trying to make that bit tidy and simple to use is also not so simple. So work to do.

In the meantime here's some photos from the weekend !

First up the ever popular TTP Cambridge Half Marathon 2024

G'raf on kings street, outside the Chapel and the Senate House - where they get their degrees

Special celebration arm backpack

C'mon Lee ;-) top effort mate

Small, and Far away ?

And now you know why parking in Cambridge is a nightmare

To be fair he's getting a great selfie with the Bridge of Sighs hidden behind the bush on the right

I think my photo of him is better than his one... but he probably doesnt have the railings

In 1986 I took a black and white photo along the inside corridor of this building as a play of light and shadow on the internal corridor as the sun dappled through the arched windows. It's still up in my hallway.

Bungle is keeping the couch to 5k real. Looks like it's working too.

All ok at the Cambridge Half this year !

Over in deepest Kent - at the Paddock Wood Half
Hungry work out there

Rise like a Phoenix

Fly like a plane

Past the scenic hopbines of Kent (really hard to get these in the background !)

busy pacer bus riders

Proper competitive finishing

lots of pointing about the place

a good flow out of the start

Flying down of the railway bridge - the high-point of the course

and then over in Steyning in deepest mud

celebrating the first climb done

everything is going well
red team v green team - who would claim victory ?

proper cross country

almost done at the last field - conditions better than last year

views off to worthing in the far distance

on top of the world with your friends - what's not to enjoy

breaking through the cloud and mist layers for the best views

strong finishing on the relatively new established/stone dressed local path. it used to be just mud.

demonstrating the correct way to wear a number on a leg ! - because horizontal ones wrap around and the digits can't always be seen fully.

So that's it for most of this week, its been a hell of a return journey for us to the 2024 season and we look forwards to seeing you out there and doing your thing more in the year ahead !

Until next time - train safely