Friday 31 March 2017

Race Discount Friday for you - two events, four races, or six... it more

Race to this Tower. Find your Rapunzel, or get tangled up and find the Eye of Sauron. Save 15% in the process.

It's Friday, the spring is springing and your thoughts have turned to what to do at the weekend, and being payday Friday (or Saturday if it's the start of the month like it is round here), then it's time to get entering some races.

Good Events Only
My analysis of what the most popular events of 2016 revealed without fail that they were all 
trail half or full marathons, over gentle hills in the countryside, in good weather, with good event organisers

So, as we sometimes do, we like to ask Race Directors those awkward questions for you. We asked our good friends at Threshold this teeny question - "Can you do our running friends a decent entry deal on your awesome trail marathon races this year ?". And guess what ? they have generously said yes ! 15% off - which is better than their early bird discounts (read on for the discount codes!)

Who are Threshold Sports ? Those much acclaimed people who organise the London Revolution Ride, The Race to the Stones (we provided all the images to competitors as part of the event - straight to competitors facebook feeds - live during the Event using Pic2Go Technology), loads of comic relief adventures, The Delloite Ride across Britain, (that's a fully supported Lands End to John O'Groats ride) and of course these two races we have a discount code for you to use. Full details below. 

The Ride across Britain, includes a lot of Wales and Scotland !

Marathon Season
So it's also Marathon season, Sunday sees the Brighton Marathon (Did you know I sat in the lead car and took photos facing backwards the whole way transmitting them live to their PR team during the first ever one?) and then in about a months time the Southampton Marathon and London Marathon.

Keep motivated, avoid the post race blues
However - it's really really a good idea to keep motivated and fit after you've done these mass participation road races, and it's a very good idea to have the entry sorted out for the next Marathon before the start of your current planned one. Why ? because without the next one planned, it is very very common to finish such a large adventure and feel that you've just landed in the middle of the sahara desert of training and job done and ticked off with nothing to motivate you to get out of the door - after the obligatory two day rest. This is what they call poor goal setting, it's like running exactly 100m and not a meter further - nobody does that in reality, and you shouldn't either. 

Who doesn't enjoy running through fields, rippling your hands through the cornfields ?

Aims and goals
Have the next thing on the horizon to aim for and you'll finish your current race with a bounce in your step and a thought of great things for the future ! (and you won't let all that hard earned fitness drop off either over two to three weeks of "CBA blues").

So timing is everything - when are these great events  and what is the discount ?

These two Ultra Race events are all based on this format of Two marathons across a two day weekend - like this:
  1. Day 1 - Trail Marathon of the first half of the course or
  2. Day 2 - Trail Marathon of the second half of the course or
  3. Day 1 and 2 - both trail marathons with a stop and rest or 
  4. Day 1 into 2 - The Double Marathon in one go Ultra
You can check the route pages on the race websites to discover just how this all works out.

They are both two days over the weekend of two marathons. You can "just" do a marathon on either day, or you can "go Ultra" and do the whole thing joined up as a big double ultra marathon, or you can split it and have a rest and recovery evening and night ready for day two.

Please remember - these are proper weekend away fully serviced and supported running events, not an evening ramble and a sausage roll organised by the local hash harriers to a pub. The race management we have seen by Threshold is not bettered anywhere else. Just check the website for info.

Here are the links to the events - and please note our exclusive discount codes and share them far and wide !! (yes you can tell your friends on facebook too ok!)

Race to the Tower Discount code of PICTOWER
June 10th and 11th
Race to the Tower - Along the Cotswold Way in Gloucester from Stroud to the Broadway Tower 
click here to go to this race website to find out more and enter: 
Your 15% discount code is "PICTOWER"

Race to the Kings Discount code of KINGPIC

June 24th and 25th
Race to the King - Along the South Downs from Slindon near Arundel in Sussex to Winchester Cathedral.
Click here to go to the race website -
Your 15% discount code is "KINGPIC"

We are planning things carefully here to bring the Pic2Go experience to both these events, just like we did for Race to the Stones last year and Ride Across Britain. This does nothing but add to the enjoyment of the day for everyone involved.
Pic2Go is the fastest and best way for everyone to share in your experiences and achievements so that everyone can enjoy your adventures. If you want to find out more about Pic2Go, then just look at the website or contact Sally for more information - and if you're an event director - remember - memories from the day are not an operational event expense, they are a long term strategic investment in something you believe in - your participants.

So that's it until next time, probably Monday, when the Paddock Wood Half Marathon gallery will be live ! Enjoy your weekend of race entering !

Monday 27 March 2017

Bolt Round the Holt (Free Gallery) and the Cranleigh 15-21 - 2017 are now live and online

All start of the Cranleigh 15-21 with clear signs of spring blossom
At last - some perfect weather for running in (and working in). With the Trees blocking a lot of the wind - Saturdays race was more challenging because of the hills, and Sundays Cranleigh 15-21 a convivial endurance test and check for the April Marathon season and the beginning of the inevitable taper (if you've been doing the milage) or the start of the inevitable panic, (if you have not).

This weekends race Galleries
Sat-25/03/2017Bolt round the Holt (free race downloads) Sponsored by GUTS - Fighting Bowel Cancer 

Just add the free downloads products to your order basket to get them for free [I think that's clear enought - Ed.]
Sun-26/03/2017The MABAC Cranleigh 15-21

Last weeks galleries - which were massively important races - make sure you've checked out your race photos ! Useful for that justgiving fundraising page to prove you've done the hard miles and ready for the last push !
Sat-18/03/2017Kelly's Clandon Park Run
Sun-19/03/2017Richmond Half and 10k
Sun-19/03/2017Hastings Half Marathon
Sun-19/03/2017Brentwood Half Marathon
Sun-19/03/2017Fleet Half Marathon
Sun-19/03/2017ETL Spring Badger Half

Enter these races- they're great and well organised, and we'll be there to shout you on !
Sun-02/04/2017Paddock Wood
Sun-09/04/2017HONC - mountain bike enduro
Sun-09/04/2017PP Grand Union Half (Spring special)
Fri-14/04/2017Folkestone 10 (Easter Friday)
Sat-22/04/2017Brutal Windmill Hill
Sun-23/04/2017REP Bluebell (Free Downloads)
Sun-23/04/2017Southampton Half, 10k, and Marathon
Sun-30/04/2017REP Steyning Tri (Free Photos)
Sun-30/04/2017Oswestry Half Marathon (Pic2Go Photos)
Sun-30/04/2017Ranelagh Half
Sun-30/04/2017YMCA Fun Run
Sun-07/05/20177Oaks Tri (Free Photos)
Wed-10/05/2017Mundays 5k (Free Photos) wednesday evening run around the

always protect your friends from the "Slow"

Jazz Hands

All going well into the wind

Good progress being made by Peter

All Happy on the first loop

Mrs Strong

Let your friend run ahead and then do this behind them. Classic.

Sort-of going ok I think

ouchy, ooh.

Neil and Dad get it in for St.Catherine's

He did the whole race like this - check his number on the gallery

Alternatively get a diaphragm strength exerciser 

Ah see, second lap and all had changed

Double thumbs up - so at least he *thought* everything was ok at that moment... (indeed nobody got hurt)

Top running out with friends

Meanwhile at the Bolt round the Holt, sponsored by Guts - use your free photos to drive better sponsorship for the charity !

Nobody mentioned the Hills !

never stand int he way of a kids race start. never.

excellent 5k effort

ahh, shy.

Really ought to include the other runners when telling a good joke to your friend

Anti-tree crash hands - locked and ready

She stared in awe at the size of it. But it wasn't that big as hills go.

Ta-da ! as he popped out from behind the tree with his red baton. Good work on the Relay.

"About this wide" - when asked her favourite TV size.

Drunk on Running

Such a cheerful winner !

it's crazy stuff ! you should try it

Solid trail running - in reality - for once - just as nice as those god-awful magazines make it out to be

Rory, making sure everyone finished Happy.  or there were consequences.

So have a thought for Tony in the office who is now into week 2 of his maternity leave. He's getting no sleep and will be returning to the fray for Paddock Wood Half and then to the office to get some rest. It's their second one, which brings back happy memories for me of it bringing on exhaustion and my heart condition. Oh such great times.

Enjoy the spring weather and the perfect training conditions into the lighter evenings - for all you warm weather tracksters - now's the time to find those spikes again.

Until Next time

Hip Hop Band Long Neck Sheep, enjoying Spring, just like you should

Thursday 23 March 2017

Busiest weekend of the year - Galleries all live 2017-03-19

On what is always the busiest weekend of the year (it's one month from the London marathon, so lets do a half for our training plan), we covered the following races last weekend, generating over 950GB of image data !

Sat-18/03/2017 Kelly's Clandon Park Run
Sun-19/03/2017 Richmond Half and 10k
Sun-19/03/2017 Hastings Half Marathon
Sun-19/03/2017 Brentwood Half Marathon
Sun-19/03/2017 Fleet Half Marathon
Sun-19/03/2017 ETL Spring Badger Half

I'm honestly too exhausted from about three nights of 4.5hours sleep in a row and 19/20hr days (my commute is about 2 minutes - if I go slowly) to do anything more creative than this very basic email, although I did want to point out the end of an Era, with Events To Live having their last ever event.

Events to LiveThe Badger half started some 10 years ago, although we first covered it in 2009, and have seen 3843 runners complete the race in it's various shapes and forms and locations. It's been one of our favourite events, mainly because of the Tshirt, and because we have often been generously given one by the Race Director Nicky. The repeating badger silhouette design and the variants thereof that there have been is as near iconic pop-art as I've seen a race Tshirt possible to become - identifiable at a great distance on runners at other events when they approach the finish, it's always been good to see one approaching when I've been working.

The passing of Events to Live is quite indicative of the entire race landscape that we see. We know of two other multiple Race organisers who are discussing their options and contemplating the future, and only one race director looking to take on more events (yes we have put them all in touch with each other!). For us, we seem to have a 20-30% change in events every year, so churn is very much the normal way that business goes - but it's usually the small races, the less well attended in ugly courses, or the 10k charity race that nobody from the original team was left and they farmed it out to a third party to run and then didn't do the marketing with the same passion and believe that was what made it as before - so nobody turns up, are the ones that fade and die. But not this time.

The people we are talking about do big races. The sort that are not "corporate branded overpriced running", but good value, mass participation well organised, safe races with solid reputations in their local communities. This has got to be a concern for all of us out there who enjoy running, and it should be a concern for the councils who try to promote sport in the community and running clubs in your areas. It is an incredibly good value sport compared to many, but to survive it has to have solid entries above anything else to make it worthwhile and simply economical to pay all the race day bills that come in (it's a massive list of costs, but you'd be amazed how many people think that it's only costs are free volunteer time). What we have seen is operational costs rising and rising and rising. About two years after 2012 we saw many venue prices that had previously been pleased to have the extra passing trade that an event brought - start to charge incredible prices per competitor - almost bankrupting many events in the process, and causing many to change locations, get creative with their routes and parking, or quit the scene. Areas that were along or near an Olympic activity seemed to suffer the most with this.

I fear for the unchecked continuation of the location fees, the road closure rates set almost arbitrarily by councils, the randomness of fees charged by essential services, and also the growing expectation of event services to be provided for free, because they've run a corporately sponsored 5k run where they get all of that delivered for free (to them) in return for their data being sold as advertising fodder for a healthy profit. Part of that is also causing volunteer burn-out and the bigger events that still rely heavily on volunteers in the community are not finding the core troopers that they used to - they've already been booked up weekly and have no spare capacity. Where does that leave the event ? paying for marshalling - which puts your entry fees up, so you don't enter, so the race declines, or makes a loss and then eventually closes.

I don't know why Events To Live decided to close, but we see and discuss all the above pressures and realities on a regular basis with all the race directors we know - and we know a lot of them ! If there is one way we can all make sure our local races continue to thrive - there is only one answer: you must -
Enter them.

Goodbye ETL, it's been a pleasure !! (sorry about the Top Gear Test Track incident too).

So here's some races you might like to think about, and Five of them have free photos !
Sat-25/03/2017 Bolt round the Holt (free race downloads)
Sun-26/03/2017 Cranleigh 15-21
Sun-02/04/2017 Paddock Wood
Sun-09/04/2017 HONC
Sun-09/04/2017 PP Grand Union Half (Spring special)
Fri-14/04/2017 Folkestone 10
Sat-22/04/2017 Brutal Windmill Hill
Sun-23/04/2017 REP Bluebell (Free Downloads)
Sun-23/04/2017 Southampton Half, 10k, and Marathon
Sun-30/04/2017 REP Steyning Tri (Free Photos)
Sun-30/04/2017 Oswestry Half Marathon (Pic2Go Photos)
Sun-30/04/2017 Ranelagh Half
Sun-30/04/2017 YMCA Fun Run
Sun-30/04/2017 3Forts
Sun-07/05/2017 7Oaks Tri (Free Photos)
Wed-10/05/2017 Mundays 5k

Right, it's now 1:20AM, on a wednesday, so I'm well past late on this - here's a handful of images, sorry no captions, try and add your own, but use my voice...

Finally, our thoughts are with everyone involved however seriously or lightly by the attack in London earlier today. I hope you all made it home safely.

Until next time,