Thursday, 12 May 2022

Ultra-X Scotland 2022 gallery and the months ahead


and some of them ran 75km the day before !

Just a bit of a quickie this week - because all the photos on sunday went out live on sunday using the pic2go technology and event branded and personalised sharing galleries (, but just in case you want to search about by race number - the backup gallery is now available for the Ultra-X Scotland 50km from the Sunday here: 
All free downloads and upgrades to prints etc all available.

Some absolutely stunning views across the highlands and around the sides of Loch Ness as the race finishes running up north towards the Inverness end of the loch. No monsters were seen in the water, but plenty of racing snakes around the shores !

Here's some views of what you missed out on last weekend... most don't need captions do they.

Fresh up the first hill from the start

Start field for day two is just down there in the distance

As Kate Bush said - Big Sky

Rush Hour

Double thumbs up ! must be good then.

almost Braveheart. The Culloden battlefield is relatively nearby.

don't hit the spectators

Someone was happy they finished !

Longest run to catch a Taxi ever... but then Uber dosn't operate around there...

Loch Tarff. Quite calming. Don't forget to take a photo of the runners. There are some in this photo apparently.

So well done to everyone on the Ultra-X challenges - get yourself over to their website if you fancy doing something Ultra somewhere nice in the world they have a summer one in the UK...


So, another convert to free photos...

There were plenty of other races on over the weekend (which we were not at!) - notably locally was RunGatwick with it's new course in the countryside right by the airport, so it is no longer "RunCrawley" as the race director once referred it to me... (finally a post lockdown Covid upside) also good to see that we seem to have made another slight shift in the world of event photos - because after years of us saying to them that runners really do want to have their race photos as part of their race pack and goodies - and always being promised "next time" for several years - and then we decided to stick to our guns and stick up for what we thought was right for the runners (and ourselves staying in business to be honest) - so it's very good to see that RunGatwick have now adopted and are providing Free Race Photos as part of their race package (albeit with another company, but never mind - the market forces have spoken for the runners!!).  Nice to have you aboard.

Also - as ever and in line with the maxim: "all runners want to know at the end of a race is what their time was and how they looked" - I've got to say just how nice and cleanly laid out their website
is after the race. Really simple and straight forwards to go to what you want - get your time and your photos... !

A good example of a post race website landing page.
The flip side of this is - see what a difference to promotion of the photos it makes when the event has "some skin in the game". When events are paying for a service, they definitely value it more - and then make much more use of it - which is what we all want to see isn't it !

AI recognition - does it really work ? Search engines matter.

Whilst I'm on a roll on the customer experience thing - let's talk search engine results and race number cataloguing and the resultant "search for your photos" and see if you can find them. I'll put my case that the events that use AI recognition of race numbers and faces all have a facility that says "this might be you - have a browse" and "this is not me" - really is effectively admitting they don't do a very good job at all. 

As many of you will know from parkrun - and possibly food shopping, manufacturing, and pretty much everywhere else where accurate number entry is really important - barcodes are the solution. Like - universally the solution. Worldwide. 

So that's why we use the small 2d bespoke barcodes / special QR codes from Pic2Go. Because they work. and if there is no barcode found in the image (because someone carefully folded it, or pinned it or whatever) then it simply says - help! - and we can then manually check it over, which we do. Which means - everything is correct. And if we can't see any barcodes or numbers in an image, then it's "000" for the universal find the hidden people.

 Meanwhile an AI will say - "well I'm 76% sure that's a number there" and will stick in whatever it jolly well thinks it might possibly be, and well - if it's wrong, nobody is going to come back and find it for them and correct it - so it will never be found under the correct number search - and it is forever lost into the data of wrongness. 

Sure, face recognition is a second method - but given that a)the police's systems should be the best out there and they don't trust it, b) the privacy rights campaigners say it doesn't work, and c) what the hell are you doing letting people gather databases of your face anyway labelling it with your number and name for them to sell onto the err... police ? or facebook, or Alexa, or google street view, or... do you see where I'm going with this ? "it's ok they don't do that and they delete it afterwards anyway". Yep Sure they do, they even say they do, and your private life is safe with them to commercialise, and yes, they use standard software solutions in the cloud in the background, and no, nobody knows what those companies are doing with it. And yes everything on the internet can be deleted properly...

I've not yet started on the computing power and internet speeds required for AI and face recognition either have I... let's not go there with the price of energy at the moment !

Hopefully people at these other companies will read this (yes I know some of you do !) and either a)disregard it as the ramblings of a madman - which is cool, because they are helping us retain a competitive offering advantage over them, or b)they will improve - which is also cool - because that's better for everyone. 

But I will always say if I think people are not getting the service they expect, or being tricked into paying for something they shouldn't have to - like if it's free photos - then that's all of them, not half of them, and don't direct me to the paying for page and make it hard to see the free page with only some of the images. That's literally the opposite of customer service.

In the meantime, don't even start me on companies still pushing the photo sales model as driving an income stream for race directors (which in the scheme of things for a race is pennies) and then also trying to promote half price race photo packs before you've even seen them or how many you get for your hard earned cash. That makes no sense to me... anyway I digress.

Get yourself signed up !

Right, and on that note, we have the start of the MacMillan Mighty Hikes this weekend, and providing the proof and serving witness to their hard work and effort. Live photos out during the day to help them get sponsorships incoming during the marathon walk and help them raising money for such a brilliant cause. The series raised over £12million last year, so with 14 locations and 21 events this year - it's going to be Mega !

Enter yourself now !

and so until next time - enter any of the events listed below - because pre-covid race numbers seem to be returning and you don't want to miss out !!


Date Event Event Website
Sat-14/05/2022 Mighty Hike - Norfolk Coast
Sun-22/05/2022 REP Arundel Tri
Sat-11/06/2022 Mighty Hike - South Coast
Sun-12/06/2022 Mid Sussex Tri
Sun-12/06/2022 Hampshire Hoppit
Sun-12/06/2022 Mighty Hike - South Coast Half
Sat-18/06/2022 Mighty Hike - Lake District
Sat-18/06/2022 Parish Walk
Sun-19/06/2022 Mighty Hike - Lake District Half
Sat-25/06/2022 REP Arun Swim
Sat-25/06/2022 Mighty Hike - Giants Causeway
Sun-26/06/2022 Mighty Hike - Giants Causeway Half
Sat-02/07/2022 Mighty Hike - Yorkshire Dales
Sun-03/07/2022 Mighty Hike - Yorkshire Dales Half
Sat-09/07/2022 Mighty Hike - Gower Peninsula
Sat-09/07/2022 BHF Bournemouth Pier to Pier Swim SAT
Sun-10/07/2022 BHF Bournemouth Pier to Pier Swim SUN
Sat-16/07/2022 Mighty Hike - Thames Path
Sat-16/07/2022 Mighty Hike - Northumberland Coast
Sun-17/07/2022 Mighty Hike - Thames Path Half
Sat-23/07/2022 BHF Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge SAT
Sat-23/07/2022 Mighty Hike - Peak District
Sun-24/07/2022 BHF Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge SUN
Sun-24/07/2022 REP Dawn on the Downs
Sun-24/07/2022 Mighty Hike - Peak District Half
Sat-30/07/2022 Mighty Hike - Dedham Vale
Sun-31/07/2022 Mighty Hike - Dedham Vale Half

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