Monday 29 April 2024

7Oaks Triathlon 2024 gallery very alive

Running through Knowle Park on a Sunday morning !

The 7Oaks triathlon gallery from sunday was live in the evening, which is faster than my amazon prime delivery, and the gallery can be found here:

and if you want to find the names and numbers of the brave - that's in the results here:

Of course we were providing free downloads - and the 7Oaks tri has been one of the first and longest events to employ us on this basis. We have covered the races since 2007 - have a look here if you want to see a younger version of yourself -

and there's archive results here if you want numbers and names to look by for previous years (ie 2007) -

Actual sponsors - who make a real difference, sort out prizes, and get teams entered

The concept of swim, bike, run was initially invented as a challenge between exponents of the three sports to find out which one of them was better than the other. Little did they know that this would be outflanked by the hardy marshals at these events who do "wake, drive, marshal" from before the very beginning of the first competitor to enter registration and rack their bike, to the last participant finding their way back off the run course and through the finish arch, and dismataling the branding, prize backdrop and the bike racking from 3am through to about 3pm, and not forgetting all the road route signs and run arrows just for good measure. Sensibly, they didn't put direction arrows in the pool this year, as usual.

It's character building - Waiting for the bling to appear.

So after yesterdays trial-by-drizzle in the coldest of cold winds, the real winners yesterday were the marshals. Relentless teamwork by a team of club members, who all would probably preferred the easier task of taking part in the race - stood about in the wet and helped other people enjoy themselves. The three of my team on the course sat about in the wet and contemplated our numbness and wetness to a whole new level. It's the sort of club event that builds cameraderie amongst a club and its members, and gives stories of the day to share, and lessons in "triathloning" for everyone to learn - listening to stories of people leaving their helmet on for the run, or forgetting their crocs for the run through transition (yes there is a legal use of crocs by the over 5's) - event participation knowledge and expertise is shared and built. More clubs should get back to doing this - if only as a form of club-team-building - above and beyond the regular training squad sessions.

Yes - that hill, because of *that* view

Sometimes it's not the heavy rain that's the problem, it's the mizzle that blows awaft on the slightest breeze change and then clings magnetically onto the front of the camera lens. If the lack of contrast and greyness was there before - micro-dots of rain on a lens will only add to the folorness and suck the colour out of anything, especially backlit bike hill climbs up wet roads ! and I wear glasses too, so that blows as well. But then in, it really doesn't matter how much you photoshop it into life - it will look like a grey damp day - which in truth, was the reality.

He's older than you think !

One thing that does generally strike me about triathletes, and especially the ones that are still going past their 50's, is the general appearance of about 10 year younger than the age category they are running against. Compare this with other social activites - and for example I had the experience of going from covering a triathlon one sunday to the milton keynes bowl to watch Bon Jovi of the evening. It appears that they are running an inverse-aeging appearance look compared to triathletes, and people of a 30-40 aged demographic are more likely to look 10 years older and larger in the 40-50 bracket etc. 

It was quite a remarkable thing to observe, and given the choice of a diet of Bon Jovi versus endurance exercise for the rest of my life - it would be a very very easy choice to choose triathlon first, plus I'd have the additional benefit of my life lasting considerably longer on average as well as not having to listen to 1980's soft rock. I do believe the choice is exclusive as well, you can't really lead a happy healthy life listening to Bon Jovi, because who wants to go for a run being told "we're only half way there" of "living on a prayer" as you cycle through traffic all the time ? And yes, it is slippery when it's wet, that's what rain does, and when accidents happen and people hurt themselves, so stop with all the dangerous comments please, it's really not good for the self perception. I can tell I'm well on my way to make sure I don't listen to that sort of risk based demotivating danger-music any more and am much happier for it. Next there will be songs about always having a home and being a legend. The only person who had that album was Bob Marley, and now I'm wittering on. Sorry.

Balancing on a prayer, let alone half way there.

In other thoughts, perhaps it's the simple survival of the fittest, and that the 60+ age category participants left who do compete are by definition going to be the DNA gifted ones left - and all the others who have worn their knees out are now sat somewhere else more comfortable and not listenting to soft easy rock pop ? Who knows, but the bunch who have competed in the 7Oaks tri since 1985 are a special group and should probably be carefully stored over winter in cotton wool by the rest of the club now. It's always good to see some are still going every year.

Always give your supporters a wet bear hug even if they don't know it's good for them !

Other random things from Sunday was a catch up and chat with Tony who used to work with us in the office and as a photographer at the events, and now is a Primary school teacher, he seemed to be setting out his best Dad example to his two young kids who had been ceremoniously woken to support his good cause (yes it's the taking part that counts and not the winning, because it's an individual time trial system....) and getting back on the triathlon wagon, good effort Tony !

keep safe, keep seen !

Biggst winner on the day - the club !

best colour co-ordinated socks of the day

smashing up those hills

Dirt, it was indeed

Not twins, but yes sisters - doing it for themselves ?
good work up the hill

how to stop the timing chip from registering on the timing mat - plenty of air

keeping a tight line up the top of the hill

making it look like a casual stroll

very pleased with his number !

Flying in at the end - what more do you need to feel good ?

So that's it for this weekend - next weekend is the REP Bluebell - sorry sold out, and the 3 Forts - with their sneaky lucky last few on the day - because the weather is going to be absolutely fantastic !!!! (check last blog for details).

And then from then in it's a lot of the hikey mike season... grown year on year - free photos for everyone live on the day - I wonder if that's helped get it to 15 locations this year ?

The only other event to get your getting entered to is the Hampshire Hoppit - a beutiful trail run, which has a distance for everyone now, and the best goodies in town as well as free photos - so you'd be a Bon Jovi fan if you miss that one too

And if you're really a triathloner - then there's always the Mid-Sussex Tri - a pool based sprint tri, which it never rains at either - well, at least not on the swim leg...

until next time, train safely (unlike me, I have a twisted ankle and can't walk properly, and after 3x3x200m down the track also have a ruptured achillies... idiot boy, but I was happy with the 35's in trainers).



Thursday 25 April 2024

The Findon Grand National 10 and 10k and 5k Romero Run 2024

Raw Energy Pursuits (REP) is one of the rarer and more specialised running event companies that we work with. I often describe them as a "boutique" event organisers - well turned out, and a lot of attention to detail in presentation and planning, as well as putting up a good show, and excellent teams of marshals and well briefed volunteers. It's one of the reasons we like working with them ! - no dramas !

Tuff Fitty do von Trapp

We've had two events recently - both by REP for local school fundraisers - with strong turnouts:

Not sure how many dogs = 1 Horse power ?

This is blatant rule bending to get around his lapsed Animal Competition Licence

Not all dog power is equal

Jockeying for position out on the gallops

if you cover your number with a hydration vest and a coat, then this is how your action shots end up. Sorry ! But at least she had a number !

barely trotting up the last hill

working the camera !

enjoying the views along the trail
The solid sight of the tail marshal - you know it's a good event when they're about

Last Sunday at the Romero run was a cold one in the wind - from the east... 10 k was two laps aaround the Goring gap near worthing and then back into the school - only one lap for the 5k runners.

The sun did manage to crack through the clouds which made a nice difference when it showed itself !

Far too cool in that cold weather

marching through the pain of stitch for a good cause

Got to keep an eye out on the lead runner catching the lead bike !

is this competitor number 1 ?

and then the von Trapp family appeared in Goring

searching for updates on the london marathon?

Personally I'm substituting this in my head for the sort of welcome I want off my  kids

taking no prisoners on the 5k

zooming along on the firm ground

"aaaand another thing".... he said on his second lap..

Running with friends is the best

Next events up soon are the Sevenoaks Tri, The 3Forts Challenge and the REP Bluebell trail 10, 10k and a few other distances too.... and then we're into the Macmillan Mighty Hike Season - starting in Norfolk again this year - it's going to be a great one !

But here's the thing - they're all sold out, (but don't tell anyone 3Forts are opening up a handful of places if you turn up on the day if you're feeling perky and fancy running one of the best trail runs in Sussex ?). On a more general note - yes it means that events are back to selling out - it feels like the post-covid hesitation has mostly passed, so don't hesitate with your entries any more.
talking of which - another fab trail run.

Otherwise - it was great to watch a bit of the london marathon, more interestingly was to look at where the photographers were sat around the course and assessing how we would have done things differently - the two photographers at the Cutty Sark did a good job of getting runners side on (so can't be numbered or face searched) or getting the trees on the left and not the entire point of being at that location - ie getting the massive ship thing that's there.

Also - if I was doing the London marathon and had to pay £12 for a single photo or £33 for all my images - I'd be somewhat annoyed if they all had the photography company logo on the bottom corner of them all - and no relevant information about the race on them either... 
I have to admit I can't believe the organisers let them leave their logo all over them....(london marathon events are usually very very hot on any sort of non-sponsor branding anywhere on anything)  perhaps I'm missing a trick here ?... ah no, because whilst the London marathon is a large monopoly event and likely to attract large sales - our preferred business model of free downloads for everyone - means we get more memories out to more people to keep and remind them to keep running and how much they enjoyed it and get back and enter it next year !

Perhaps I'm yet again underestimating just how little some event organisers simply don't understand the power of engagement through race photos. I've just had a mailchimp blog land in my inbox about loyalty and engagement - which at first sight just reinforces the power of race photography and event loyalty. You can have a read yourself here (just scan read the first headline, or indeed download the whole report)  I've almost given up trying to explain to event organisers who "don't get it" why they should be giving their runners free race photos as part of their overall event marketing and package... and it's lovely to work with the ones who do, or are keen to test it.

And with that, i'm off to see the sony world photography awards exhibition in london. First time for me, and looking forwards to some inspiration and respecting others hard work.

Train safely and get those entries in. 
Until next time !


(also I've just been christened my Hash Running name. and no I'm not going to broadcast that !)

Tuesday 9 April 2024

Southampton Marafun, Cowdray Spring Run, and Brentwood 2024 all live

The 2024 Southampton Race gallery is now live ! and so is Cowdray Spring "run the seasons" trail run, and Brentwood was last week (sorry I didn't post a blog - but I knew the organisers had emailed you all).

Nobody caught up with the first prize up again this year. The rules are if you can touch the lead car you get to win it.... nobody has done it yet ! 

The event season has got itself going in a big way this year - it seems as if we're back to about 90% of the pre-covid runner volumes, there's a smell of optimism in the air, and the press is reporting on running in all it's forms - including the ever popular headline grabbing Ultra Runner races - which means running more than a marathon and accounts for probably less than 0.1% of all runners (that's why it's a bit extreme).

DO NOT and I repeat - DO NOT attempt to run the length of Africa if you're a bit bored. It will have serious consequences, and will change your life, take about a year, or just break your body, mind, health and many many laws you are not aware of. On that note, congratulations to Russ Cook,

Sunday had loads of races going on, london landmarks, brighton full (aka london by the sea marathon #2) and of course the Southampton Marafun of the full, half, 10k, 5k and funrun !

Call me biased but the Southampton course is way better than any 10k trapped into londons hyde park for most of it, or just running up and down the coast road in Brighton (which you can do for free all year round), but you do get to see the gas fired powerstation and the docks. Southampton goes down, around, over, up across and back as well as going through the football stadium... has some rivers, coast, bridges and parks. There's no comparison really... and you can't just do it any time of year - because it's proper "closed roads" and special access... plus it has it's own VIP lounge right by the start !!

chase the dream !

Also - its the 10th year of Southampton Marafun, my how we all stood about as we got the different companies (ie. got the band back together) that all work together to help deliver it and basically felt - old. Happy too, but definetly old. It also marks roughly 20 years of me running this business, from the early days of being a single freelancer with one of the first digital cameras covering a charity 10k with a 1Gb data card (what happened to those sort of races these days?) to running a limited company and having employees and managing sensible things like budgets and taxes and 27million images on an online archive ? WHAT HAPPENED ?

So - as part of our ongoing innovation - we have changed the front page on the website to help people find their pictures from the past by event name - (but you will still need your race numbers) - rather than only browsing through all the years and months that has been the super simple way we have done things on the gallery since forever. Please go and have a look and give it a go - but please please please - DO NOT USE YOUR WAVE LETTER - just numbers like "1234" Not "D 1234" - because it doesn't work (and obviously - they're not numbers !)

The idea is that you get your search result link for your race super quickly and easily (or even before the race!) - you don't need have to go through all the navigation to the event gallery page to see your photos. And then that URL is super easy to share with your firends and family too - Also it has all the share links that you might ever want as well as fundraising bits and bobs - so have a look and please email me with suggestions on how to improve things

One trend that I have noticed already is the change to hydration vests being a thing for half marathon runners instead of just marathon and ultra runners. There seems to have been a growth in front-wallet holders or "man-bags" for mobile phones of some sort - but all come with a big problem... if you put it over your race number - two things will happen - firstly you will absorb the very feint RF signal for your timing chip and not get a race time. They are very sensitive to being too close to your body (because of the impedance) and also having anything of substance over them (even stopping your watch and putting your arm across it can cause it to fail). So - you can pretty much kiss your race time goodbye if you cover it over. Secondly - we can't see your race number - which means - yes you've guessed it - we can't tag your photos with your race number. Off to search 000 for you !

Theres a few simple design changes that would make these vests / kitchen sinks/ bag pocket phone devices better for both number frontage and race chip timing - and that would be to have the clips/or zips assymetrically to one side - leaving space on the front for a number and the clips to the side. At the moment all the clips are down the middle - so are hidden by the number - and so of course - nobody puts their number on the front of them... and thank you - yes I'm off to patent that design.

And if you're wondering what takes the time to get the gallery online ? It's us having to do the manual quality checking back through all those race numbers we can't see or the barcodes have been covered (barcodes work faster than AI number recognition and is more accurate - so when it doesn't know - computer says No and we manually check through, it doesn't just make a guess like AI does). So don't cover your numbers and help us get the gallery online faster !

We have no chance of working out this race number ! Sorry.. but it was a hands thing on this one...

Have a click on this link to see all the people who's race numbers we couldn't read at southampton - and then figure out what the problem might have been - and then please - avoid doing it yourself !

I guess the other general warning is - if the race says no headphones - don't wear headphones, especially not the massive ones - because guess what - yes the race organisers look at the photo galleries too and do restrospectively DQ people and remove them from the results... not saying which races - but I know they've done it since PC (that's Pre-Covid)... so for all you newbies to running - pay attention - there's rules to this game !!

He solved the number problem - he put it on the outside !

Anyway what you really wanted was the gallery links for the past few days. I've foolishly left them on a different computer in the office as I'm sat watching my daughter launch herself around the local athletics track (from the comfort of the clubhouse), so here's the long links instead - but they can be read for what they are  -so they sort of work:

we have a half-winner !

Julia ran barefoot across Spain once. She's a legend of the running world.

Excellent fundraising skills

Additional magical unicorn fun points for Sophie

Add in the kids fun run, but keep back because they will run you over

The legendary docks and riverside views of southampton

Marshalls on patrol

run from the muffin man...

the coolest running clothes I've ever seen - not sure it's fancy dress or just good dress

So who had the best photo ?

It's all a mystery to me and probably to him too, but number on the front next time too.

Saturday Morning over at the Cowdray Park - Run the Seasons Spring Run.

good running across the trails

Jumping for joy of a saturday morning

Always check your watch to see what time you've not finished in

lots of canicross to enjoy

Yaay - smashing the hills

the dogs don't get seperate times, but I really feel they should be entered into the results as a separate gender category (or species, you know what I mean). 

Running Free and with your friends is one of the greatest joys

We have a winner

Canni-happy rnuning should be the correct name

Running with your best buddies is the best

So that's it for now, we're getting fully geared up for the rest of the running season. check out next sundays gallops over near Findon for a lovely Trail run on the south downs - and raise lots of money for the local school ! Even if ten of you turn up - that's 10 more contributions...

Hopefully the weather will get better and will be less climate chaotic this year, and stop with the rain already...but I am getting better at running in the mud to be honest.

next week I'll share my thoughts and discoveries on neuroplasticity and sensitivity overwhelm.

Run safely and well done at the weekend - whichever marathon or 5k you did - at least you were out there smashing it !

until next time