Monday, 24 May 2021

Three Forts Challenge 2021 and Ultra-X Spring Trail Series - Free Race Galleries now live


The Three Forts Challenge 2021 - the comeback year

The free download race galleries for this weekends races are now available and online !

For Three Forts Challenge - just go here, search by your race number and "order" the free digital downloads -

The Ultra-X gallery was delivered direct to participants live during the event using Pic2Go technology - register here to get your race images - I'll try to do a roundup of that event next time.

It's been a busy weekend with a Saturday and a Sunday event as the outdoors countryside slowly unlocks itself. It wasn't my turn for the 4am start on Saturday - and the 100k/50k/HM/10k that was the Ultra-X over at Haslemere with a 6am first wave off - for what is frankly a very challenging distance to take on in any weather, let alone the wind and rain over the weekend. Fortunately the wind had died down from Friday - but that picked back up for Sunday !

Sunday saw the comeback year for the Three Forts Challenge - ably organised by Mike Airey - fundraising for the Rotary with some tenacity through all of the pandemic. It wasn't so funny that the event toilets left on site saturday night were set fire to in a bad case of arson, 6 of them gone into a molten acrid heap. The only one to survive was the marshal's loo for the the officials stuck near the finish line and various end services - and that one had survived (just) an arson attempt on it - two burnt holes by the sluice pump handle. So well done to the suppliers of WCHire on getting the replacement toilets on site on time.
To that end - the waved starts probably helped relieve what would have been the usual pressure on the facilities before a large race start ! Quite how the rain managed to start precisely for about 15minutes at the beginning of each races first wave I don't know - but it was perfectly timed to be exactly annoying.

HOW TO PUT ON A RACE NUMBER and why do I need to?
There's a lot of reasons why you need a race number to be visible - but I'm going to concentrate on just the one reason we need it - if we can't see your race number - we can't tag your photo with your number. You may well get a firm "show your number" shout-out and understandably you've put a temporary layer on over for the weather - but why ? I hear you ask...

It's all because the team in the office can't hear you later when you reply saying your number to us - the wind and distance sees to that, and frankly I can't remember all of you and relay that at a team briefing (You can picture it can't you - an office huddle with me trying to describe what they look like and saying - ah yes they're 651, don't worry I'm sure you'll recognise them in the 10,000 images we have to go through.). 

So I get that some of you don't want to put a pinhole in your latest £250 gortex breathable layer, so you pin them to your shorts. OK so far. However - you then pin them OUT OF SIGHT on the side. And I'm not going to get all rules and regulations about folding event name ID and sponsors names out of sight (meaning you could be running without entering - and yes we see a LOT of that each year).
So here's our best advice if you must pin it to your leg.

1. Have a big leg. 
2. Pin it to the front.
3. PUT IT VERTICALLY - so all of the digits can be seen from the front.

Here's a vertical number - but not on the front - you can see it would work better on the front - but this is almost right.

Vertical leg numbering (just needs to be on the front)

Side leg numbering doesn't work, even if it is vertical (ref the red legs) if you're on the wrong side

You'll see a whole load of examples from the photos below with side numbering, or where water/ultra harnesses cover the numbers - again - put the number vertically on your front so that the digits are between your straps and we can read the whole thing. It's absolutely useless if we can't read a digit on either end of your race number ! (it's even worse if we think it's a two digit and not a three digit number - because we then do it wrongly and you'll never see it).

So my apologies if you need to search on "000" results to find your unidentified pictures - especially as we might have read it at one spot because the photographer is lucky to be on the viewing side, it doesn't mean we will know the number when a different member of the team here is looking at you from a different location and can't see the race number ! So please do look through the "000" photo search results - just in case !

Here's a few from Sundays Three Forts Challenge - and remember you can get your free race photos from the gallery directly !

The legend that is Bob off on his way for a swift Half

social event bubble begins

smiling all the way from the start

It's just a short walkies today

they kept this up the whole way round

The rain made people do unusual things

Happy at the course split point and with his mask !

running with the wind behind gives you wings

Off for a cheerful marathon

Always a thumbs up

Looking thoughtful

Got to enjoy the puddles

Kate broke the chain, in direct contravention of Fleetwood Mac's instructions

What puddle ?

Quick sip of the natural water

Team running

Straight through the middle

Over the top - gives you wings !

Too early Frank...

walk the hills !

It's about this long

What do you mean no Ubers in Worthing ?

All ok for Arena80

Portslade Puddle Hoppers

good concentration in at the finish !

Front of leg - all digits in sight - vertical next time please !

2 walkies ?

classic first digit missing - vertical would have solved it

She's happy because she got all her race photos first search. He will not.

Best foot forwards - how light on your feet do you need to be

Hod Carrying practice

Debbie was practicing for her hod carrying too - 

Oh to have a knee lift like this after a 5k, let alone a marathon

Remember to sanitise afterwards !

Thank you to all the Rotary volunteers that make this event happen for you !

So that's about it for this weekends roundup. Off the back of doing some epidemiological forecasts for morgue capacity planning in Greater London when I had nothing better to do (don't ask) I've re-ignited my race simulation skills and familiarised myself with computer simulation software.
It includes the ability to do map based (GIS) logistical simulations - so with a bit of touch and go - I can now do full time based race simulations - which for races with wave starts, different distances, and various unknown factors - can help event organisers and other support crew (like us knowing where to sit for when and how long) - and make the right decisions on timings etc. when things happen at the Finish line.

It does have the ability to also do public pedestrian density and crowd modelling for things like evacuation and building movement - which I'm sure that parkrun would be interested in for their slightly tighter courses and capacity planning - but for now - this sort of things is helpful enough.

How a 10k might run with a wave start

I'm going to be using it with the events we have going forwards in the future - if you need it for a race near you - just get in touch ! (Because it's not as easy as it used to be with mass starts!)
Our UltraX Finish line busyness forecast - runners per 5 minutes example simulation.

And with that, we move onto a lot of Mighty Hikes, planning for the summer months ahead and getting ready for a busy June and July. 

So, ultra runners - numbers on things on the front and vertical so we can see the whole number please - and if there are pic2go barcodes on there - make sure they are clearly shown too - thank you !

Until next time and very well done to everyone who managed a run out in those conditions !


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