Monday 20 April 2020

Not the Brighton Marathon 2020 and not a lot of other races

Lockdown from the South Downs - do not cross the line !

So whilst I admit readily to having had a sunday lie-in, based on the fact I have to conserve energy as much as possible ready for whatever might be going to happen later in the year, I had missed three phonecalls and several whatsapp and text messages from a friend about his son Ben deciding he wasn't going to run the Brighton Marathon and raise money for the Martlets Hospice, and was scheduled to go past the end of my road. Alas, he had already done so once by the time I got the message, and then I had a good 2hrs to get ready for his coming past on the second lap - because he's about a 1hr50 half runner, but as my wife said "yeah but he always crashes at 20 miles"... not true this time.

So we thought we would be in plenty of time to get the cameras and team ready and socially distanced properly at the end of the road. As it turns out we made it to the end of our road with about 30 seconds to spare, which if my experience of getting to races normally - that's 29seconds too early, unless you're in good weather waiting for a sun tan. A quick glance into the sky and a judgement of the conditions and dialling +2/3 exposure compensation, and off we go, easy peasy. That means I managed to get about 30 shots of him, Sally about 10, and eldest daughter 3 shots. Youngest daughter was given the iphone to do video, and to be fair, she smashed that with excellent panning and framing !

So the full gallery was put live and an update put onto facebook here:
And I've put a load of previously unpublished Brighton 2010 photos on the facebook posts just to give it a flavour of what the first ever Brighton Marathon looked like - tag yourself or your friends if you see anyone on there !

So, that's the work done for this month. Raise a cheer for Ben and help him raise some money for Martlets Hospice, especially as he's an NHS future doctor doing his bit to help !

Other things to do during this lockdown living - I was wondering how to get people to do things as a collective theme of inclusion. I mean there's the "challenge" to "flood" facebook with running photos - which is great ! I love looking at them and seeing our work helping to bring that happy feeling, just none of those ones with copyright written all across it please ! It's great to see so many shots we have taken going up, and of course very ironic when friends who we have taken photos of for literally - decades - puts up a photo we didn't take, and he's also stationary after the race finish funnel. I've told him I hate him. He knows it to be true. Please do flood your facebook feed with the photos from the past that you have of your running ! There's the 20 year old challenge too, but well, no. My line is digital cameras wern't about 30 years ago and I'm sticking to it, I'm sure my neg scanner is no longer compatable with windows 10 or somthing like that.

Online Challenge ?!!?
So - without challenging you like all the new and growing exponents of free and paid for online bullying would have you shred yourselves into infintessimal drops of sweat all over your now spotless and redecorated and tidier lounge (yes Joe Wickes, I'm looking at you), without trying to make you do something overly energetic or actually a whole lot more than the lot more you're doing already - I thought - well we are a photography running club after all - so please - join us on Strava - on our new photo challenges - to be taken whilst out running, cycling, or excercising the small hobbits!

The SSP Strava Photo Challenge
This week - it's yellow flowers - so see if you have any on your route and then when you look at the SSP Strava club recent activity feed - we can all see the different yellow flowers out there !!

You are all free to join us on the strava club, don't know what next weeks challenge will be - possibly animals or road signs, or something inanimate... just join us and see if you can stop Dave from winning the weekly activity list at the very least.

in the meantime...

Archives! archives !, they've all got archives !
So far we have managed to dig the 2013 January to June archives onto the internet, and have just dragged July to December kicking and screaming onto the better Network drive (one that actually works faster than 2MB per hour). To be fair it was 2TB of data, so this week we will be preparing and uploading it onto the online gallery.
If you want to see what's there already - go to the 2013 gallery here:

How to find yourself during this time of lockdown 
And by that I don't mean your inner concience, because I know that could take all day and we don't have all day do we !!! [Ed: yes we do!]. I mean your race results and race number.

The first challenge is of course to remember what races you did in 2013 ?
well step one - search for yourself on run britain rankings
this should list all the races that submitted results you were in to them. Trouble is, they don't all do that. (For example I ran the Surrey half in 2018, but it doesn't show that because I wasn't in the first 1500)...
Strava is another good place to remind yourself if you ran in a race, although 2013 - there wasn't a whole lot of hot strava action going on back then...

So, you can remember you ran in a race... find the race and the results:
Next thing is to see if your race results were listed on run britain - here's an example - and see how I've put the "*" on the end of the search term so it brings up all the results - and of course - see the date range I've set:*

Once you click through onto the year you want - you then have to navigate to the race results website and find your race number on there for that particular year.

Of course - if you remember the race - you might have a chance to google the race website and see if they still have a link to the results - works quite well.

Alternatively - try your favourite race results websites and see if they allow you to search by your name to see if they have a list of you at the races they timed:

Try some of these and any that I've forgotten !

And then voila! You have your race number, go to the gallery, find the race and search away !!
To be honest, it might be easier just to browse through the gallery for a race you were at, until you find a shot of yourself and see your race number and just stick that into the search box for the race instead...

So until next time, enjoy the browsing, tag yourself on anything we put on facebook with you on and please share it to your friends because we like a bit of hot sharing action during this lockdown...

And here's a few other pictures from the 2010 Brighton Marathon you never saw back then...

Safety tape - mind the post box !

Tuff fitty as usual going the wrong way...

Cara, probably doesn't even read this blog, will harass her on Facebook instead...

Fetcheveryone to the Max...

Local Legend from Henfield Joggers

Me at work, sat in the boot designed for a small terrier... spacious my arS*

Haven't seen Ryan for a while, wonder where he got to ?

Me, fleet of foot heading to the finish out of the lead car - you can just see the car clock in the background

Proof that I was the first ever person to complete the whole Brighton Marathon course and cross the finish line !!!

Eva did a marathon row and then ran in to the finish to get her medal...

cheeky minx back then !

Brighton on a nice sunday in 2010 before social distancing was a thing, the crowd forced the runners to meander around them and couldn't run straight to the finish !

Steve Ovett remembers it well

and Cathy won something again !!

Until next time ! keep the lockdown madness at bay and stay safe! Anthony

And next here's a strava widget that won't work in your email...

Friday 3 April 2020

Hastings, Colchester and RBK half *not 2020, 2019 and the Bournemouth Bay Run 2010

where were you ? The Bournemouth Bay Run - March 28th 2010

Well, if our weeks are going by anything like yours are, it's not quite the reality of rocket ships to mars that they thought we would be on once in the 1970's. However we probably could have learnt a few lessons from them about long term islolation. The main difference probably being that they were able to choose their multifuntional skilled personalities and team members for a succesful mission. We can't. Oh god. I choose option B. 2016 now seems like some kind of halcyon dreamscape. I'm now thinking that the film GATACA is an upside. (the filmography is awesome as is the soundtrack if you're stuck for a most brilliant film).

So in order to keep up some semblance of hope, and work to do, which we are now doing on a wholly voluntary basis because everyone has been *holds back slight vomit choke taste in mouth as utters an american word* "furloughed".
I mean - can't we say this like "ploughed", shouldn't we say this as "fur-loud" in english ? not "fur-lowed" as it's not "p-lowed", it's "P-loud"..
so yes - we're digging through the archives and getting stuff that we have here in cold-store, but hasn't made it to the shop front - and by that I mean stuff from 2010.

Yes - do you remember what you looked like ten years ago - when you would have been in an entirely different competitive age-group ? younger, faster, less enclosed ! Simpler times... like it was for this Hen party we met in the hotel.

10 years on, I wonder how she's doing since her wedding day in March 2010

So First up we have the Bournemouth Bay Run

I was also bored, so I also did a spoof video for the race, using the top 100 chart music from that week - at least my daughter got the joke -and yes they are actual music tracks from 2010 that I've referenced...check their lyrics...
Tag yourself or your friends in the video if you see yourselves or your club members !

And if you took part - you can check - Full results including names and bib numbers for searching are here - and yes you can search by club name too - so dig out your friends and share them a link (just use the share buttons on the left of the images)

And yes - here's the Radio top 100 listings for March 28th 2010 - spot the coronovirus hits in this lot

and yes, I think Ed "Stewpot's" career is safe for the meantime... (who's he? askes anyone under 50 who didn't listen to Radio1 in the 80's). Anyway sorry about that, perhaps not a job in hospital radio either...

Also in the meantime for those of you who like a look back - we have the last years 2019 galleries from Hastings Half, Colchester Half and the Royal Borough of Kingston (RBK) Half marathons

Here's a gallery list and results links for you to do your time travelling !

Race Gallery Race Results - for your bib numbers !

Also for 2010 - I've also got Cranleigh 15-21, Eastleigh10k, Finchley20 and the Worthing20 from 2010 to do next. Basically I'll do whichever one I get an email request for first. You'd think I get loads of emails back after each blog wouldn't you ? well, nope I don't, it's a rarity to even get one ! (although I did have a wonderful one from before the Brentwood Half the other week). So, if you want me to do it, damn well email in !
(and on a darker note, we get requests every year for photos of deceased people - and I'm not really looking forwards to many more of those over the next 10 months, but I'll do my absolute best to help bring back the happiest of memories for anyone).

It was a fantastic Sunday in Bournemouth 10 years ago
Last 2 week
Talking of the Brentwood half - how are you all doing ? - it's been 18 days since the race - statistically - how many of you have had Covid-19 symptoms - more or less than the general population after getting too close to each other at a race - did it have an effect ? Oh how I wish we could study it, I mean all we would need is all the entry contact details, and all the actual runners details and hey presto - you've got a statistically viable test and control group of those who ran, versus those who didn't and you could see who's had symptoms across both groups...
Ah I miss my spreadsheet analytical days before data protection and GDPR. A simple google form could do it too....

Meanwhile, Event organisers, timekeeping and race refunds
Back in the real world - there's a really heartfelt post by a well respected event organiser we know - David, here
and one by our friends Mark at sports timing and event entry fulfilment company SportSystems here : 

There is no overall flowchart for event refunds, some events are very very organised and have booked (and spent) all the money many months ahead of the event, so cancellations, even with months to go - once you strip out all the costs of transactions, and the operational teams which for professional events companies - means that the money is spent - you just need the plan to be pulled together with the right people in the right place at the right time on the day beacuse they're porfessional and have been paid to do that. If unfortunately do to circumstances - then you can't do that last bit - then, well, there ain't no money coming back is there for anyone to be refunded...

And on that note - I truly hope that anyone trying to get a refund isn't caught up in the "Lets Do This" world of chain-payments - where you paid them, they paid the event (less, because of their 20% commission) and then they tell you to get their refund from the event - because that's basically, pretty nasty stuff if that is whats happeneing. You should be getting refunded by "Lets do this". Hopefully you paid "Lets do this" by credit card and you can get it back through the credit card dispute process - it takes time 30-60-90 days - but it does work. Do read the terms and conditions, and I'm sure after all this - everyone will be reading the refund details on their race entries with a bit more attention.

Unfortunately - complex project planning and operational management isn't part of everyones life experience (although this is probably a good thing, having done it!) so there are always going to be people who don't understand it, and are always going to think that surely they can just have their money back ?

 Simple things like payment transaction fees are not things that many people are aware of, and then an additional refund charge for that return tranaction - are not included. Paypal for example just changed their policy - which was up to recently, everyone gets refunded everything - to now not refunding the merchant (shop) the original transaction fee. So if on a £10 fee you end up being charged 60p on a transaction - so you only receive £9.40, and then you have to refund the £10 back to a customer - which for us would be under under the digital product online transaction laws - well - you're going to be 60p out of pocket, and scratching your head.

Doesn't sound like much does it ?- but if I had 4000 runners all asking why they couldn't have a full refund - we start pointing fingers at the banks. This is of course assuming you're not paying the member of staff who has to sit there re-processing them, or the rent on the office, or the internet connection, or the monthly banking fees, or employers insurance... yes there's a lot of hidden operational costs which - unless you've done your applied operational accountantcy module - it's a bit of a struggle to understand your per item processing costs. But now you know why many of these companies are actually one person set-ups, working out of a cold garage, with minimal insurance and bad internet connections and a mobile phone - it's to keep costs down - all so they can bring fantastic races to you. Hopefully they can put it all on hold for the foreseable future - otherwise there won't be any events coming back after this.

Next up - the usual facepalming when people complain about large companies organising big races for large entry fees because they have large costs. Anyway, I digress...

Here's some pictures from The Bournemouth Bay Runs 2010
Local Lion leads the warm up

The view from the fish and chip shop

tight running round the corner for the juniors

not too busy

How he grew over the last 10 years

He was big for his age

light and sprightly

flying into the finish

a regular we have seen for the past 10 years !

ah, the finish line !

running with friends is more fun

Top arm success waves

hang on, where did his friend go ?

no surrender

Run for the charity !

spotting friends at the finish is always nice !

High fives ! ahh, the olden days of contact

Bob was so much younger then

running in at a top pace here

shout out to the @fetcheveryone - better than strava

no escape

what, he ran for winchester even back then ?

last yards effort

matching tops, but brand confusion in the leggings

ah, had enough of this

all done yes !

wave at the camera, if only you'd given me a chance

look ! Its Debbie !!!

Lion man is happy

Top Dadding and Mumming

Salisbury surrender

thinking about the next 10k already

strong finish

a wave out to all his friends

Its been emotional

Tonight, David, this is your life...

And I beseech you to run, run for your lives

Not a Celtic support

cooo eeee

littledown legend

run like nobody will catch you


uppercut running

check out the fashions from 10 years ago

can you belive they'll use this picture 10 years later

It was a cold day

The joy of friends and companionship

hope he's going well now

the wristband of valour

he put everything into it and sacrificed himself at the finish

In other news
I truly hope some of you have managed to come across the Andrew Cotter commentary of his dogs eating. Which is very similar to his commentary of swimming as far as I can tell, but there's a certain delight listenting to a commentator for who the words and expressions flow - I've sat next to enough race finish line commentators to know that the day can warp time itself if the commentary isn't really up to scratch. Enjoy this:
Even Paul enjoyed it.

Home and family contact:
If you've not tried it yet - try as a video conferencing tool. It is more robust than skype and has better quality sound. It's struggling to keep up with demand but seems to be managing well. After a few calls - you won't want to switch back to driving for miles and miles to bother to meet people face to face. This is as lifechanging as 9:11 was for flying around the world for meetings and they rolled out teleconferencing at work - this time it will be local journeys or commutes that will be replaced with video conferencing. You've seen the future and it's greener.
The ongoing monitoring of pollution levels will continue to point out that driving places is now redundant. This is decimating industries faster than ever anticipated, I could go off on a whole MBA strategy module on what exactly that means - but I'm too busy trying to figure it out for my business thank you very much, and of course decorating the garage. Like everyone else with a garage and old paint at the moment.

Get a routine
I sent out the rules for a routine from the submariner last week, so I hope to see that you all have now adopted some kind of routine and weekly meal plan. Obviously ours is rock solid (really really solid, like er, a solid thing) - we are all getting up in the morning (ie not the afternoon), and eating at a sort of regular time (when we are hungry and not before). we just need to take it to the next level, whatever that is. Something with eggs for lunch, and then some sort of rota through the week of main dinner types. I'm going to attempt to start a daily run instead of every other day. God help me and my back which is a bit twitchy at the moment. The runs might be a bit slower and shorter for a time being, but I need to force this one and set an example to the kids, if not myself.

I hope you're looking after yourselves, but also your neighbours, especially by now you know who the vulnerable ones are. The whatsapp group here in the road is starting to tick over, but mindful that the eldest in the street are not on the tech - they do need a knock on the door and a wave through the kitchen window ! The clap for key workers was very well intended, but my kids got saucepans out and hit them and my hearing can't cope with that and I'd spoken to our Hermes and UPS local delivery drivers today and thanked them, so I had to cover my ears and grimace through it. Plus my back-garden neighbours are a surgeon and an A&E doctor, and I'm sure they could have just done with some quiet rest... to be honest, I don't know if they were in, I must check up. Thank you to all my friends out there who have checked in on me too (now I'm old and in the at-risk vulnerable group with my heart thingy).

For now I'd better do the year end accounting and then take a long hard look at the forwards forecasting and cashflow that we have for the rest of the year, and see what the critical dates are. How far can we go before it's game over ? can we survive if everything is cancelled through to december ? or January ? What's the cut off, and when we know we are past it - when do we make that call ? Everyone is furloughed, I'm writing this in my spare time as a hobby (once again, nothing really changes).

Anyway, The really important question - when is TopGun2 going to be released ?

Until next time, stay safe, stay home, and enjoy the outside runs whilst we can, and if you're working in a key worker role - please please please - look after yourself just as much as anyone else - you're important to you too !