Thursday 31 December 2015

Brutal Longmoor 2015 now live, Holly Run and the end of the year

Ah, the end of another year, spent recovering from the excesses of Christmas and preparing for the New Year.
Perhaps some Liver and  a Nice Chianti to see in the new year, or just a muzzle to stop you getting fatter ?
We were over at the Brutal Longmoor race on the Monday after the Friday before, sharing the spring weather with an exceptional bunch of individuals who felt the need for a spot of light exercise around the hills, sand and water that the training area provides.

Photos to follow at the bottom, forgive me if my captions are not up to my usual late night exhausted witticisms. On that note, in 2016 there may be less of that, I've been told in no uncertain terms to get more rest by the medical people - which means no more writing blogs late into the 1am,2am and sometimes even 3am - despite my ambition to hit the Tuesday morning email window - which seems to be the most popular for everyone, it might well be that these blogs get a lot simpler, or go out later.

Also my personal need to get rid of the 2 extra stone that have slowly supplanted themselves onto my hips over the past 8 years is now in critical need to be removed, which now that we have made some quite fundamental changes to our work processes in the office over the past months and invested significantly into the future - should enable me to get the time every day needed to rebuild my health.
The biggest problem is the very busy weekends in march and april - and part of our strategy to cope with that now is to turn down events, some which we have been covering for many years. This isn't an easy decision but it's the only way we can still deliver our services at the level we want to and still exist.

We also have some significant changes that will take about 2 years to implement, but we hope to start to see this being rolled out in the next few months - it will eventually effect everything on the gallery, archives, browsing, saving searches - ok it's a completely new gallery website - and it should bring things up to date from the current solution which for various reasons is looking a bit dated. It's going to take a lot of testing, but without continuously inventing and regenerating ourselves - just like DrWho does - you will eventually run out of chances.

Archives from 2015 - have been one of our major projects for this year- so if you're looking for anything from 2015 that has been archived from the current gallery - then you need to go here: and you can see yourself and your friends and get them that last minute Christmas gift.

Here's the latest and next events that are going to be on the gallery - and the links to the Holly Run and the Brutal Longmoor races that have just been put live online:

Date Event Name Event type Direct Gallery Link inc. event link
13/12/2015 Holly Run XC
Mon-28/12/2015 Brutal Longmoor XC - challenge
Fri-01/01/2016 Serpentine NYD 10k 10k
Sun-17/01/2016 ETL Denbies10 10m
Sat-23/01/2016 Brutal Women Only 10k
Sun-24/01/2016 Brutal Men only XC - challenge
Sun-24/01/2016 Fred Hughes 10 10m
Sun-07/02/2016 Watford Half half marathon
Sun-07/02/2016 ETL Bookham 10k XC
Sat-13/02/2016 Brutal Bagshot XC - challenge
Sun-14/02/2016 Worthing Half Marathon half marathon

so as usual, here's a few photos from the last event:
wife wanted me to include this one. Not sure why, suggestions welcomed.

Sy smiling knowingly at the slimming effect of the back-light

Self immersion was the order of the day

The new Rudolph wave, technically harder to carry out than a mo-bot on the Sleiss-Gerber Difficulty Scale (NB this is not the same as the FINA degree of difficulty scale)

Flashdance or Rambo. Nobody puts either of them in a corner.

too much energy still. Go and do another lap.

Best photobomb of the day

Donkey sprints the hill

Wise man or shephard, or perhaps a bit of both ?

Best Sprint technique of the day, good arms, high knees, straight back.

four little Elves, letting their hair down after a hard year

Dads and Sons do a bit of post Christmas Bonding

Drag your friends along to the Womens only in race in January ?

There's always one friend that has to dramatise a situation

Geronimo - into the water

I think he just found the monster from the Death Star Refuse Bay

Probably will need another manicure

By not carrying a handbag you can swing your arms freely

Always make sure you have your go-pro the right way around

Make Canicross more interesting with a mono-ski trick session

That moment the puddle joke by Dawn French becomes real

Yep, your friends will love you for dragging them round

Live for the moment, take on the challenge

So that's it for this year, next year starts tomorrow at Hyde Park for the Serpentine 10k. I hope it brings you many life changing experiences that you can embrace and grow from.

Anthony, Sally, Tony and the wider SSP photography Team, Happy New Year !

Wednesday 9 December 2015

Mince Pie 10 and the Hogs Back 2015 galleries now live

Keep your hat on, the weather will improve. (Unfortunately it didn't.)

It was a day of two halves on Sunday, you could either go to Guildford and run around on the long hill to the west of the town called The Hogs Back, or go over to Peacehaven and run about on the top of the South Downs for the Mince Pie 10. Both races afforded views, bracing winds and a good challenge for the human condition. The Seaford Striders Mince Pie 10 also had the added fun of Rain for most of the race into your face, and the final real challenge of eating a mince pie when you're dehydrated, out of breath and exhausted. Although I'm told you were allowed a bit of a recovery before eating the mince pie ? (surely can't be right, it should be a timed eating challenge!).
Very well done to you all, excellent racing , and very well done to all the Marshals at both events organised by the Seaford Striders and AAT, not the nicest weather to be standing around encouraging people in...

Here are the latest galleries - don't forget there is a long list of them on the gallery here

Date Event Gallery link
Sun-29/11/2015 ETL Molehills
Sun-06/12/2015 The Hogs Back
Sun-06/12/2015 Seaford Mince Pie
Events coming up . .
Sun-13/12/2015 RPAC Holly Run
Mon-28/12/2015 Brutal Longmoor
Fri-01/01/2016 Serpentine 10k
Sun-17/01/2016 ETL Denbies10
Sat-23/01/2016 Brutal Women Only
Sun-24/01/2016 Brutal Men only
Sun-24/01/2016 Fred Hughes 10

Christmas shopping victory can be yours. Even if you just want flip flops.
Wanting Archive images for a Christmas presents ?
Anything that is not on our main gallery from 2015 is now live on our archive gallery. So if you remember the national cross country championships from last February, or wanted something from the Surrey Half Marathon ? check it out here:

It costs us a bit more to get this gallery together, and it is not as flexible in it's product choice - but it means we can store images on here for much much longer and ensure you can still search and find your images very quickly.

This means that you can go all the way back to January 2015 without having to send us an email first and us searching through the master files locally for you. The main trick is going to be finding race numbers - and most of them are somewhere on the results for your races - so have a look there first if it's not in your race diary ! (you do have a race diary don't you? now there's an idea for christmas)
(and yes for anything before 2015, send us an email with race, data and race number)

Don't end up being a Christmas Turkey without a present !
Christmas Warning. Err, I mean, "Reminder"...

Please get your orders in sooner rather than later !
The team here only really gets these few weeks off all year, so we are already running on a thinner team in the office. Unlike proper jobs out there, for most of those 104 days per year called weekends that we used to enjoy with you doing "stuff etc" we don't get those on top of our 5 days a week admin. I think we had 4 "stuff etc days" this year and we need a break.
So, please give us a chance and get your orders, especially those special ones for someone else, in to us as soon as possible. Then we will make sure everyone has everything on time, promise.
Whilst I long for almost any excuse to not cook, tidy up, DIY, socialise with the in-laws and avoid the latest repeat of chitty-chitty-bang-bang, I do want it to be for a really really good reason that calls me back to work on Christmas day.

Printing times
Please remember the printers take at least a day to print and the postman at least three days in the lead up to Christmas, and that I speak from personal experience - a nice framed print is always nicer to receive than a digital file, plus the quality always stands out better on paper than on screen (there are more dots you see, better resolution.) However, digital downloads are always available instantly - so take your pick depending on urgency and circumstances - "I'll buy that for you" has never been a phrase rejected over a drink in the pub between friends.

Embrace the future and tradition. I tried, but she didn't stop for some reason.
2016 and beyond
By the time the end of the year comes around we will have taken and placed over 3 million images online this year, which is a staggering amount by anyone's shutter button. We have now almost outgrown our current gallery solution of the past 12 years, especially on the very busy half marathon days, so we are now engaged in a search for a new gallery solution and part of that search involves knowing what we are looking for !
We have a dreamlist of things that we would like to be able to offer as part of the service to sell images easily through the web (Paypal acceptance, really slick and easy search and browsing, lightboxes for gathering favourites and sharing, URLS that make sense and can be copied that work, massive gallery storage so we don't have to archive off galleries to make space, paywalls to let you see the larger images), so if you have any ideas - please drop me a line (just reply to this email). Obviously getting events to pay for free downloads is always on our ideas list - so we have that one covered - gallery functionality is what we're all about here.

Top tip for event organisers if you're planning on launching a new event (and read this blog!) - please check in before you publish the dates. Whilst we don't have much say in when you can get your locations, the sooner you book us in - the better - we have turned down several major new events this year already simply because we have already been booked up, so please get in quick !

Some other Mince Pie 10 shots
For 11 months a year, these are Spock's Vulcan Ear Hats

Everyone loves a fairy
A very Christmassy Pair.

Santa was trying to find the best spot for charging his solar panel - alas to no avail

Ziggy, Elvis and James all looked like they were enjoying the conditions

Welcome to our Peacehaven Office. All mod cons provided like shelter from the battering wind and rain.
Good balance in the slippery conditions was critical. Even the Ballerinas took emergency steps... 
Meanwhile a few moments earlier at the Hogs Back, there was less fancy dress...
Lou was contemplating how many laps to do for her training, and weather to wear a rucksack for the 5th one...
Frustration at running past the pub and trying to flag the other runners to come back
I used to work for their main competitors, their HQ is in Guildford...
Top Photobomb from Epsom Oddballs
We know all is good when we get a double thumbs up
Just needs the red nose to finish the full Rudolph look

Only the two laps today then
Proper running from the front at the start
So that's it for this week, enjoy your running and your training during this unseasonally mild weather.
Next weekend is the Holly Run at Reigate. 
There is always entries on the day and I would urge you to go and support this race - it's a great series of races for the kids and the main adult race is a real test of skill and fitness, plus your supporters get loads of chances to support you on the way round ! Online Entries close Thursday ! so get in quickly.

Until next time, and have a good one if I don't see you before OK, cheers for now


p.s. apologies if the card gets there late, it's in the post. Promise.

Tuesday 1 December 2015

Events to Live - 3 Molehills now live 2015

Testing of the House White atop Box Hill on Leg 1

Yes !!! The race gallery is now live and online here:

The 3 Molehills race is so called - I'm lead to believe - not because of the ironic naming of the three largest hills in the area as "molehills" to give the unsuspecting and naive runner a sense of security before succumbing to the race directors coincidental "in-joke" with the locals, but instead it is so named after the iconic topography that generated the three Hills by the river Mole.
Needs a bigger number?

Granted "The Mole River Three Hills Trail Run of pain" isn't such a snappy title, or would it be as much fun to watch the recently informed or those just discovering that these so called Molehills include some of the steepest escarpments in the South of England as you stand by the trig point at the top of Box Hill trying to admire the view whilst giving "encouragement" to those who for some unknown reason have slowed to a stumbling shuffle to get sustenance and oxygen from the water station.
No, it wasn't a sponsored 8 legged race - Can you spot the one with the twisted ankle ?

The other few interesting facts - that you can read in more detail on wikipedia - explain why the stepping stones get so readily covered over when it rains just a little bit, and also that it actually joins the Thames over by Hampton Court, at East Molesey of all places did you know ?
He didn't give them a really big push, just enough...

So for all of you who took part in running around a little bit of local history and hills, I hope you all had a cracking time, which despite the wind (that only really had any effect on the top of the Hills for a short while) and the small amount of rain - was perfect temperature for running, if a little dark for photography (ISO 8000 anyone? just as well I have 1DX isn't it, nice to see the price coming down)

So here's the full list of future events for you to come and enter over the next few months,

Date Event Event type Gallery Link
Sun-29/11/2015 ETL Molehills XC Gallery now live:
Next week to enter:

Website links on the race gallery:
Sun-06/12/2015 The Hogs Back 11.7k
Sun-06/12/2015 Seaford Mince Pie 10m
Mon-28/12/2015 Brutal Longmoor XC - challenge
Fri-01/01/2016 Serpentine 10k 10k
Sun-17/01/2016 ETL Denbies10 10m

Get your entries in for these races then - the Hogs Back is a great challenge and if you want to work off some Christmas excess - then get yourself booked in for the Brutal on the 28th of December - it's also a chance to enjoy 2hrs away from the relatives if you need an excuse...
The Seaford Mince Pie was sold out the last time I checked, although you might want to check the Serpentine 10k for some last minute places on New Years Day...

Good teamwork up to Box Hill

Everyone had a good run up the final steps

All going fine on the second leg

Running downhill is good fun

A Kazakhstan Snow Queen ?

All was good as Jo gave a thumbs up

The traditional blown raspberry welcome was afforded to some special people

Butter however wouldn't melt

Forgotten your sanity at the end ? - where did you put it last !

At least now they can get a shave

She did a fourth leg, and was suitably impressed

He didn't enjoy doing four legs

Pushing on past for the last minute win on the home straight

See you on Sunday at the Hogs Back or at the Mince Pie - the weather forecast isn't stacking up too well at the moment so I hope you can remember to show your number and not cover it up with your coats.
As a small point on the matter of number pinning - it does not work when you pin it to your shorts - we simply cannot see them because they wrap around your legs and we can't see the first or last digits... we do our best on indexing, but we are simply going to take less photos of you - because it saves us a lot of time struggling to index them up. Same goes for tri belts too - they just don't work.

Until next time - train hard !