Wednesday, 24 November 2021

Events into 2022 - start your motivation

Us, standing around waiting for events...

If there's one way to make sure that you don't sit about and do nothing - it's having something to look forwards to. Like Kayke.

Granted in this recent topsy turvey world of covid - planning ahead has been the carrot that used to keep us going - and then the fishing stick of hope was thrown behind the donkey cart and turned to mush. [Ed: Don't call the Prime Minister a Donkey. Me: Why not ?]

So - is it worth entering races in 2022 now in order to get yourself through the winter training days  ? - the lure of head torches and reflective jackets put to one side for a moment. In short - yes.

It is possible to manage your expectations and goals setting to have options if the actual race day is pulled from under your feet. Metaphorically - put some supporting goals in place, and set good goals, and reduce risk.

Set a Goal. This isn't actually a goal, it's a finish arch, but it sort of looks like a goal, and the finish line is a goal too. So it is a goal. Sort of.

Setting good goals. Just say them right.
This is to set continuous goals that always exist - "get fitter" is a considerably better goal than "get fit". Anyone can move forwards on the first one - the second way of saying it brings in a whole load of metrics and decisions on what is "fit" ? "Get fitter" just means do something / anything that moves you in the right direction of fitness improvement.

Always consider the opposite too. Get fat, as opposed to get fatter. Which is the easier goal to execute an immediate plan against ? I opt for biscuits immediately on the latter, but would have to think long and hard about the former and start to procrastinate.

The difference between this is that one is a continuous goal, the other is a finite measurable goal. And if things are finite - it's easier to stop. And consider the finish line of a race - you don't just stop at it - the winners always run through it. So it should also be with your goals - they should be designed to keep you moving in the chosen direction !

Much like washing regularly, getting fitness into your routine delivers health benefits

Make things a habit
yeah yeah yeah, you know this - habits breed habits, like make tuesdays, thursdays and a weekend day an exercise day. and then it's easy to keep to a routine. Routines are easy if you're in a routine. It takes 2 weeks to build a routine apparently. Its taken me a lifetime, but what do I know Mr Covey ?

Put an appointment in your calendar to do it, and make it non-negotiable with yourself to do it. Apart from anything else - it will make you get other things done to make space for yourself.

Don't just enter one race
Enter a few, space them out. The biggest downer after a single race is that you don't have one booked in the future to keep the goal going. If you finish a race with another one in a few or three months time - then you can reframe how you've just done as a step onto the next race.

Planning ahead can be an uphill task, but you always get the benefit of the downhill bit afterwards

De-Risk your entry fee
Pay with a credit card,
don't enter through a third-party middleman entry - always from the actual events website (otherwise the third party takes 20% which the event organiser could really do with instead), and
check the small sprint on the refunds.

If you're ok with deferred or alternative races - pick a race organiser with other events you'd be happy to run in too, or confident they will be doing it next year too.

The more ahead of time / in advance you enter - the more likely the event is going to take place (apart from pandemic related things) - because the critical number of entries is passed sooner to make it economic to run the event. If you wait to enter last minute - it might be called off before you get the chance to. If you're trying to offset the risk of non-refund policies or deferments by doing this - then you need to accept that the races might not be there when you wanted to enter them. Support the good races and they will support you.

you can always done a parkrun too - if you like to keep your planning minimal - or of course - give volunteering a go - they *always* need people. In fact - *all* races need volunteers. Always step up - it is surprisingly good fun.

Enter local races organised by local running clubs
Sussex is incredibly gifted with the wonderful Sussex Fun Run league, as well as the winter cross country League. (question - why isn't there a summer cross country season?).

interesting fact - you don't have to be a running club member to enter the XC races - but you won't win the team prize if you're not...

Try Cross Country - (XC) - it might make you feel younger ?!

What events to enter ?
Obviously (and I would say this wouldn't I?) enter races we are working at. We've been around on the running scene since 2004 working at events, but have been around and about since 1995 involved in the local athletics and clubs in the sussex area. We know races come and go, and we know what type of events stick, and what type don't. Because our jobs are relying on them - it's probably as equally seriously as you putting your entries in. We have an archive online of 25million images - fully searchable - take a look - don't accept a race has free photos if it's just a few hundred photos put online for you to scroll through and find yourself - that's not a service - and you shouldn't get short changed.

We take a long look at value for money for participants and overall packages. Event organisers who do the same are the sort that want you to have free race photos and "get it". I'm a runner too remember.

Chris Rees - Race Director of the Southampton Marathon - yes - he gets it !

Here's a little list of 2022 races we will see you at to kick start your plans ?

1. Enter your local XC leagues
2. Consider some parkrun

Have a look at these beauties - and we will hope to see you there:

Date Event Event Website
Sun-20/02/2022 Hampton Court Half Marathon
Sat-26/02/2022 National XC Champs
Sun-06/03/2022 Steyning Stinger
Sun-06/03/2022 Cambridge Half Marathon
Sun-20/03/2022 Brentwood Half

and here's a few event organisers to keep an eye on and their browse their 2022 plans:

And on that note, time for a lunchtime run in the cold autumn sun whilst I can, because I've just heard a friend from school died from multiple heart attacks at the weekend, and, well, that's far far too young, and I don't want to sit down and contemplate that right now. Extra hugs for the family tonight.

Until next time

Sunday, 31 October 2021

Beachy Head 2021, and RBK Half now live and free downloads

Sunrise over Eastbourne - the new early start time had a minor drawback for action photography

So that's the end of the season for us, the Beachy Head Marathon and 10k, and Royal Borough of Kingston Half Marathon all done and dusted. 

This weeks free race galleries and upgrades available here:

We're now going to work our way through the winter just like we did last year, and hope to see everyone on the other side. It will be a bit different without furlough though - but we are well used to the seasonal nature of our work. It is off a smaller base this year - and it's a longer break - these are testing times (and I don't just mean Brexit and Covid).

Free downloads are the future
Every singe event we have covered this year has been a free download - paid for by the sponsors or the event themselves. This has been a five year strategy, stretched into six, based on helping events make increase the overall package that runners get from their event.  Some race directors "get it" immediately, as do some of the iconic brands and charities that we work with. Some haven't and we didn't see them this year. I will keep asking on your behalf - because we know it makes you happy, but sometimes I can't move mountains !

Still doing a great job !
We aim to continue to frankly surprise people with the quality, quantity and speed with which we deliver images to people after an event, based on decades of doing better each time we can work out how. You will have seen my rant last time about AI - and I know it can and will get better - and with good programmers it will - so we will always keep an eye open for the next improvement available !

A Tough Year - tougher for some more than others - some breaking industry news

In other news - we heard that The Race Organiser - has gone into administration -  There's the small point that the other company they bought F3 Events has also gone into administration. It would appear that the websites have not been changed since October the 8th when it was announced  - so at the moment it's not possible to know if they are being managed as a going concern or being wound up - but everything they are organising tomorrow on the 31st of October is cancelled. 

The race page for Sunday the 31st Octobers Danefield dash says it's not going ahead, but they are doing the kids Trick or treat run
Meanwhile F3Events continue to promote their popular triathlon races around Dorney Lake for the autumn season.

 I note with interest and sadness that the AAT Guildford10k scheduled for tomorrow Sunday the 31st October has been cancelled - we don't know why as no reason has been given on the website - was it council license, lack of entries, or administration ? All of these things have been affecting races recently - hence my shout out last blog to please turn up if you've paid your entry or deferred to the new date !

I'll be honest - if I was going to enter into any events over the continuing covid crisis -  for now I would only be entering by credit card and reading the small print on refunds. 

Protect yourself - but get your entries in
I was once involved in not letting a major credit card company not pay a major airline for flights that had been booked into the future - because we didn't think the flights would take place - because the airline was struggling - and then we wouldn't get the money back to refund the customers. The airline went bust, our customers hadn't flown - they got their money back - I don't think we were solely responsible for them going bust. I think what I'm saying here is - book your race entries with a credit card ! The purchase protection insurance that goes with them is very much worth it sometimes (It's technically the law that protects you under the Consumer Credit Act 1974). Oh and READ THE REFUND SMALL PRINT - especially on entry-gateway websites that are not the actual race website (even though they might look like they are - check the URL if in doubt!) - who might take your details and pass them onto the actual race entry page - leaving you think you have entered directly, but actually you've entered through a third party. Try getting a refund when *that* happens.

Anyway - here's the free download gallery list for the latter part of the year - one job for the next few months is going to be getting some endorsements from race organisers and events...


Free download and upgrade Gallery


The Beachy Head Marathon 2021

A race with a bit of a difference this year - because of flooding the day before it meant that the half marathon course was going to be run twice - which any runner will tell you makes it mentally much much harder. It did however give those who had bitten off a bit more than they wanted to chew - a really safe place to stop after the first lap and of course - it gave us two chances of getting their photo up beachy head itself.

 The earlier 8am start was a lot darker than usual, and I was grateful for the clearest conditions (I could clearly see Dungeness Power station from the top near the golf course), and also the stillest conditions - there was literally no wind whatsoever - which is the biggest battle when I'm up on top of the cliff tops. Staring into a gusting wind, sometimes in rain, often in cloud, and having left a few times early due to hypothermia setting in with uncontrollable shivers - this was the most perfect conditions for running Beachy I've ever known it since 2004.

2021 - The red line shows the cliff edge from a photo in 2008
In the spirit of COP26 and climate change - it's always worth a quick mention of erosion along the edge of the cliffs. A big chunk fell away last year - cutting across the road that gets to the Belle Tout lighthouse - itself moved back from the edge in 1999 - may be needed again... 

I can only make a small shout out - but thank you to all of you who got the memo about leg numbers down the front of your thigh. It really does make a difference when we're cataloguing the race numbers for the search function to work properly.
Shout out to the vertical shorts race numbers on the front ! Some didn't get the memo.

Great team effort for the finish

Nobody here got the number memo

Not too far to run back to Burgess Hill, and re-pin that number so we can read it from all angles...

We still don't know who they were !
got the leg memo, and it worked ! It almost got back to the two behind as well.

They definitely didn't get the safety common sense memo. And won't find it that close to the edge.

This years winner. Good number for Halloween preparation. 
This years winner - strong pace all the way round for 3hr5min !!

It felt as if he was mocking me about the leg number memo.

Finish BIG !!!

Then the next day we had the Royal Borough of Kingston Half marathon.

This was a full pic2go technology event and we had all the race images online and passed over to everyone who had registered by 2pm on the day. Something we always find rather pleasing ! The backup gallery (as linked at the top of the page) was ready and online on Tuesday. Watching twitter is always a pleasure after these events because the images make their way out onto social media very very quickly...

This one made it's way out onto the world as a happy tweet that got over 1300 likes and a load of comments. It has since developed into a meme because of her surprised face at his sprint finish ! Interestingly she had this for the train ride home after the run, on the same day. Glad she got the race number memo !

all good going past Hampton Court

love a double thumbs up !

Floating on his feet

got to give Jim a wave

The subtle double thumbs up

Proper sprint in at the end

All good for the win !

Didn't get the race number memo, but he did get a loaf of bread (no I don't think he was in the race!)

That first bit through the bustling streets of Kingston !

So that's it for the weekend just been, There was also the Beachy Head 10k on Sunday morning which also had a good start, and being a bit later - had some daylight too !

That start - up that hill

Done 10k for the feel of it !

So lets see what next year holds for us - we have some bookings in march and provisionally through the summer. If you know a race organiser or a potential race sponsor - then tell them to get in touch - we can do great things - 7 Million brand views on a good sized half marathon - and we're cheap by comparison to other advertising methods !

So, until next time, I wish you all a very safe rest of 2021, fingers crossed you've ordered your tinned food and toilet roll for Christmas already, and we await the ongoing management of the NHS, which if anything should be enough motivation for us all to keep fit and well with our running through winter.

See you on the other side, Happy New Year !