Wednesday 21 March 2018

Hastings Half Marathon 2018 - gallery now unfrozen

All go on time and just a tiny bit cold at Hastings 2018

The Hastings Half Gallery 2018 has been unfrozen and is available here:

A dry clear day set out for everyone in Hastings last Sunday. On the face of it another early spring day with some bulbs in the flowerbeds poking up and the odd patch of frost to be seen in places. But this hid a terrible truth. The dry air was taking the water from anything it could touch, snow and frost was evaporating gently, the sea was hardly breaking a wave, and any exposed skin was having the moisture sucked out of it like Dracula on a Bite-2-get-1-free special offer. And just to add venom to the pain - the wind was gusting 25-35 MPH and delivering a wind chill of -8degC to -10degC - really depending on your choice of letting the wind see your eyeballs, or cowering in a corner out of the wind and wrapping up in every single coat you can lay your hands on, or just sitting in the car.

Personally, 4 technical layers and three technical winter coats, a pair of thermal lined trousers covered by sallopettes, two pairs of gloves including hand warmers, feet warmers, military boots and gaiters - just for that off road look (and to keep ankles warm), didn't really work. My fingers are starting to suffer from Reynauld's - where the finger tips start to tingle in utter pain like pins and needles because of the cold, just writing a quick facebook message hurt from the cold after about 20 seconds.
It was a long day... I suffered for my art.

Mark from Sportsystems getting down and dirty with the timekeeping game
So it is with great joy to point out that Hastings was one of two events that took place at the weekend in the mass-participation scale of events from the 19 that we were tracking through the end of last week as the weather forecast set in. Yes - you just figured that out correctly - 17 events cancelled.
If you didn't know - at 12:15pm on saturday UKA (that's UK Athletics) put out an advisory note to everyone organising endurance events at the weekend to err on the side of caution and not to put emergency services under pressure, during what will be a difficult period of heavy demand normally.
Come sunday morning - quite a few events were grateful that they had acted on that caution and cancelled - Reading Half marathon - after cancelling their junior races on saturday, only cancelled their Sunday Half at 6:30am on the day - when they awoke to 2-3inches of snow across their race village... whilst the Fulham 10k had already checked the wind and gusting forecast to decide that even if they could build the event village they wouldn't safely be able to deconstruct it by the end of the Sunday - so cancelled on the Friday Morning before people flew in for the race.

Neil models the latest SSP fashionable Tech Scarf

So here's a list wot I did of races with more than 300 people (very light mass participation!) in the south of England:
race status
Colchester 15 mile Road Race cancelled
ADIDAS City Runs - Fulham 10K cancelled
Eastleigh 10k cancelled
Stowmarket Half Marathon cancelled
Hampton Court Palace Half Marathon took place
Run Whitstable 10k cancelled
Fleet Half Marathon cancelled
Brentwood Half Marathon cancelled
Victoria Park Winter 10K Series - Race 3 cancelled
Windsor 5km, 10km & 15km Run - F3 cancelled
Battle of the Knights cancelled
Queen Elizabeth Park Run cancelled
Richmond Half Marathon cancelled
Hastings half marathon took place
Reading Half Marathon cancelled
SEAA road relay championships cancelled
Finchley 20 cancelled

Many of these races had never cancelled in 36 years, so you get an idea of how hardy the conditions had to be for them to do so. One surprise was the Hampton Court Palace Half going ahead - given that Richmond Half just up the road cancelled on Saturday - however Richmond did have some parts of the course that ran on grass, whilst Hampton Court Palace was entirely on gritted tarmac or the riverside walk - which is light gravel.

I've not gone digging about to find out if HCP had a particular problem with hypothermia of other runner injuries, nor Hastings for that matter - however Hastings was outside both the yellow and amber warning zones - it's just that you may have had to drive through a bad zone to get there in the first place - and with that in mind three photographers didn't make it in the end, and one extra got roped in. As it was the race was only a couple of hundred down on the usual race numbers - either wise locals or trapped from further afield - but certainly more than we had expected given the sub-zero conditions.

If you're into videos of the race - I did a bit of a facebook live feed before the start and towards the end at the finish line - thank you to everyone who tuned in with your encouraging comments (sorry about the small bit of swearing too, but it was 'effing cold).

Pre-Start video
Near the end video

and if you want a heartwarming story of great charity raising - here you go
Bonus points if you can name the country flag without using google image search

So now the cold snap has passed our sincere thoughts are with Richmond, Fulham and Brentwood who all had to cancel due to the weather conditions - all these events have put out excellent communications and messages - we believe that Fulham 10k is trying to reschedule - but that might prove a bit tricky given their route and the premiership end of season football season... we wish them the best of luck.

Next weekend is the Bolt - a great race around the trails of Alice Holt forest near Farnham, and then we also have the Colchester Half Marathon (sold out) and the Cranleigh 15-20 - still places I think - so get yourselves out and about as soon as you can.

GDPR and an easy solution (if you're interested!)
One last thing - and a lot of you involved with race organisation or running clubs will be using things like Mail chimp to communicate to people about goings on. Well with GDPR we are all wondering how we fix it - so here's a little website that solves this for you very easily - it's free for under 1000 in a data set - so perfect for small clubs and events to keep things under control - and easily explained -

We're busy making sure that our gallery and business practices are fully GDPR compliant over the next month or two rady for May - including your subscriptions to this blog (it's always been a two part authentication - so we're fine, and you can unsubscribe at any time - just click the unsubscribe link!)
Some other legislation is the implementation of quarterly business returns instead of annually in 2019 - and that's going to be a big shock to the admin here - so we're already going over to an online live accountancy package to pull that all together...

So here's some photos for you from Hastings, and I wish you all a warmer week and weekend to come
Catch No1 if you can...

looking strong at the front

mind out Lewes coming through...

well, at least she had warm hands and wasn't angry

happy to finish 

not slow or late, in fact well on time

Happy St Patricks day !

Lycra they said, yes I have some she said. Wear a hat too, ok she said.
All turned out exactly right for running in the cold !

Strong team finishing together

winner of the best hair competition

Keeps you warm and you can wear it in public at least once a year without question

proper mobot at the finish

Good running from democracy Donald

Anyone for the Posh Club ?

Super fast sumo

The view at the finish line back along the seafront

Wacky races all the way in that wind and cold weather

I should add that in the last three years we've raised over £580 for the Hastings Lion Club from sales of photos at the event and I hope you'll help us to continue to make donations to their excellent charitable causes !

until next time

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