Monday 14 November 2022

Sussex XC League 2 - Ardingly 2022


Start of the Men's race - Sussex XC League - Round 2 Ardingly 2022

Here's the link to the gallery - all age groups are covered:

Just a short update - the gallery for all the Sussex XC League Round 2 at Ardingly were uploaded and online saturday afternoon - using a new gallery for us when it's just me covering something on a freelance basis and not sponsored by the organisers. Whilst the number tagging and search is not 100% when compared to our normal gallery, it also has a selfie-search facility which also allows you to purchase all your photos for a very discounted price.

Richard points out the winning line

A nice healthy busy event village

one downside of the new test gallery is that they take a 30% cut plus paypal fees, so that's about 40% gone on the overall price  and that's before we consider VAT - however it does allow me to get out and cover a race, see some of you I've not seen for a while, and get some much needed vitamin D - and saved me from 8 hours of image cataloguing...

off to the hill of doom

Apologies to any of you who heard me imitating my old coach from Trafford AC as I shouted "Run Faster!". It's a long story, but hopefully it motivated some of you too.

Here comes the future !

And here's the present...

So, if you would be so kind and you know the team managers or parents at the Sussex XC League meeting - please let them know that photos are online and available for them to see their hard work on the day. 

up the hill and round the corner - nothing like a backlit shot

Experience tells me the team managers don't send it on, the parents never see the images, and well, people wonder why they never get any good photography coverage... I think the last time I did the league was 2009 because precisely this. So all your help in sharing the gallery to those that were there - if only for them to see themselves and their friends on what was a lovely day - would be greatly appreciated.

strong field in the womens race

someone sign this chap up

Here's Tom, not complaining about his over 20minute parkrun.... 

An endless stream of talent getting better

Far away

Near... The face of concentration

Unbelievably the dog wasn't there for the close racing

So that's the quick update for this weekend - I'll have a look on Fetcheveryone in a bit to see if there was a lot of weekend action - but at first glance - it apart from the cross country leagues - it doesn't really appear to be anything above 500 people going on in the 10k or half marathon world.

So, fingers crossed I will have shifted this cold that unfortunately my arthritis medication stops my immune system work on very well - it's been two weeks now... (negative covid test and I'm Flu and Pneumonia jabbed).

So please share the gallery link to your team - all age groups are covered:

results are up online here

until next time, keep safe and train well


Tuesday 8 November 2022

November 7th 2022 roundup rain rain rain

I was the first person to finish the entire Brighton Marathon course in 2010 (I did get a lift around in the lead car though)

With news that the Brighton Marathon has applied for administration, which might not be a surprise to many, but it's worth remembering - it is the second largest marathon after London in the UK. 

There's a lot of factors at work here, and I confess to not being the frontline on the journalism across this - but basically the winner from last year didn't get paid his prize money. So he asked for it, and didn't get it. After a lot of asking and a lot of not getting, he took the company that runs and organises the event to court. Meanwhile the local Brighton Council decided that they would not issue the licence to hold the race (ie permission) to the organisers for the April 2023 race, not only until the prize money was paid - but all debts the race owed - were paid.

Now business is a strange beast - most companies at any one time have debts - either salaries, suppliers invoices outstanding that need paying, and then a race would also have the liabilities of Entries paid for the next race (ie people who have paid something and expect something later in return). However apparently Brighton Marathon had a lot of debt that had gone past due (ie unpaid invoices) - and they themselves said that their total debt was £1.2M. It's a risky business paying for a race with the entries from the next race.

There's much more information on the local Brighton Argus newspaper here:

So we start to wonder who the preferred bidder is and wait to see what is going to happen.

In the meantime, if you're still looking for a Marathon on April the 2nd in 2023 - you'll be delighted to hear that the Southampton Marathon has been busy talking to the local council and moved it's date to the 2nd of April to avoid the busiest cruise ship docking day of the year on their provisionally planned date - so get yourself over to Southampton 

And here's the good news - they also have a half marathon and a 10k on the same day - April the 2nd - so enter Southampton now and don't be a fool ! (and did I mention that they have free photo downloads - so it's a better value for money race anyway). and they get to run through a football stadium !

All of this sort of things makes me wonder if we need an industry assurance plan - a bit like we have for travelling with the ABTA travel protection - if it all goes wrong - if your race is a member - then you will get home safely. So for Running events - perhaps the race certification bodies (UKA and ARC are the main two) - should be taking a race refund guarantee insurance and stipulating it as part of their race certification. It would be easy enough for the race entry platforms to configure as part of their entry fee to pay a part to a trade insurance body. And if everyone was in it - then it would be cheaper overall.

Anyway - that would mean having a legitimate and independent trade body - and hell, that simply doesn't exist.

Looking through the archives - we would have been doing the Grand Union Canal Half marathon - ending at Watfords Cassiobury park around this weekend - but that's another race that's gone to the wind in the past two years. Very disappointing.

Weekend roundup - Nov 7th

As I've been doing for the past few weekends - I'm watching the national scene and seeing who's running where - and comparing the 2017-2019 race attendance to the 2022 race entry volumes. I'm discovering some interesting events - all thanks to 

I have to confess to never having had heard of the Richard Burton 10k in wales - but blow me - it's a popular one - and done great guns to get out bigger this year !

Average race sizes compared to 2022.

So - yes - apart from that one super welsh race - the average is down 23% - and that's still a lot and we need to be really careful as we are already starting to quote for jobs next year.

2017 was a lovely year for the LBVCR

I've not included the Veteran Car Run in this lot either. Years ago we would have 650 cars. Last year there were only 245 finishers. This year in the very very terrible rain - with flash floods blocking roads near the main route - I doubt there were many more finishers - we await the official finishing statistics (how hard can it be to count to 250?) but this is the first time in 18 years I've not taken any photos at it. I've had a bad flu, (and thank goodness I've had my jabs too) - but really - there's no business to be made from so few participants, and I'm not sure the event organisers know this - despite being moved on the Saturday off Regents Street.

The good news is I did go and drive some of the course in the rain - and nobody was sat at our signature location near Staplefield - so we still know any photos published from that location - are ours. 16 used without being paid for in the entry page images this year - always nice to know that our work is valued, and being sold by other people in the official program, but just not by us - the creators.

Anyway - for a bit of fun I've reloaded the 2012 veteran car run here: so you can see what they looked like 10 years ago (practically identical apparently).

Brentwood Half 2022 startline was well attended

Enter Races

On some good news - it's good to hear that the Brentwood Half Marathons appeal for early entries to get it past it's minimum number to go ahead - has been successful. However - now we're at that point of getting more runners into the event to make it even bigger and better - and raise more money for the local Rotary - so get your entries in here : (and yes - free race photo downloads!)

Race operational costs and control
What we've seen with the race entries is that the infrastructure costs and event locations are charging significantly more money for events to take place on their premises. Box Hill in Dorking is a case in point - a National Trust landmark that has just increased in prices every year since the 2012 olympic cycling road race did 8 laps of the hill. The whole area has benefitted from cycling tourism and training at weekends - much to the annoyance of drivers who can't overtake them. But now we're getting news of one event organiser (who is owned by the company that owns the Tour de France) has cancelled one of the longest standing events at Box Hill - The Ballbuster Duathlon.

I think the honestly disappointing thing in all this is that one of the once largest single triathlon organisers in the UK now has only 4 multi-sport events in their portfolio. I'm not sure being bought out all those years ago has been that great for them to be honest.

One of the things that needs to be done to mitigate these operational uncertainties - is to make the business more certain. For example - running the second largest marathon in the UK on an annual year-by-year licence from the council can't really help with planning ahead. Surely it would be better for the council to be running a 5year rolling license - after suitably good and proper (or I guess corrupt) business capability checks. That way the event organisers actually have an asset, and secondly - they can actually get a sensible relationship going with their sponsors and suppliers. I mean, at least until the next pandemic.

But single year annual license contracts from councils for events - is the devils game. I've seen race licenses bought out, organisers impersonated to claim a license from an unwitting Council Official, and new event take-over owners simply declined rendering their investment worthless. There's no stability, and no continuity - which is what all businesses need. So if you're in the business of putting on an event - think about what and who you need to talk to in order to secure a bit more of a life than a future of asking permission for next years charity fundraiser. Negotiating a rolling 3 year contract has got to be worth the effort to be able to relax a little more !

Any work for us ? Nope.

Anyway, in the meantime, I'm going off to the Sussex XC league races at Ardingly showground this Saturday the 12th of November for a bit of practice, testing and a touch of freelancing. We don't have any official races going on until the 4th of December for the Seaford Mince Pie 10 mile run, so putting up a purchase gallery here ( seems like a good way to make sure these important races have coverage. And anyway - it's going to be sunny !

so, until next time, keep training and I hope you shake off that flu,