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Newsletter - Friday 23rd December 2011

Dear Fetchies,

Picture me sitting next to a roaring fire (both bars on), in a high-backed winged arm chair, a glass of isotonic shandy in one hand, the other hand lazily stroking the dog in that place he likes (which is just behind his ears, or in fact anywhere except his nose). Bing Crosby is "ba-baba-bom"-ing gently and eternally from an out of sight gramophone (or possibly the cupboard under the stairs. That'll teach him to put a football through my window.)

Yes, it's the Christmas Special newsletter - a chance to review the year gone by, and to look ahead to the year-that-must-not-be-named for fear of breaching trademark agreements with the International Doodad Committee. And it's a bumper double edition -a cosmic fusion between the Radio Times (without the mandatory interview with David Jason) and any Beano annual pre-1985, before Dennis started smoking. There'll be graphs. There'll be site updates. There'll be me spouting inane non sense as usual. So go fetch yourself some industrial-grade sherry or engine coolant, and settle in. Let's Fetch Christmas!

Oh gosh, that's a bit of a build up - I think I may have put my back out. Let's start with some graphs, because we haven't had those for simply ages. As we're just a few days from the end of the year, it's time for the annual report.

You folks have done so much training that I can't measure it in hours any more - so this graph is in years. And between us all we've crammed just over 86 training years of activity into the last 12 months, up from 77 years in 2010. Running still has the sort majority (75% of all activity) you'd normally associate with state television and food shortages, but biking has bitten a bigger chunk, taking 13%, up from 10.7% last year.

I've occasionally seen people wondering whether running these days isn't as high quality as it used to be - a bit like GCSE results. So I looked at the average WAVA scores of every racer from 2008 onwards - and the results are remarkably consistent, but also increasing ever so slightly - we broke 60% as a group for the first year.

I took a look at the number of people in each performance group, and drew the lovely graph up above. Do we see a thinning out of faster runners? The answer is an emphatic no. The 90% WAVA runners are a mere scratch, but we're showing an increasing number of 80%, 70% and 60% runners, at the cost of 50% and 40% runners. So Fetchies are getting tougher and faster, and in fact we need to recruit more runners in the 40-50% WAVA bracket, and train them up.

I promised you some site updates too, and have managed to squeak one out, like a fart at midnight mass. A few people have asked recently about the possibility of hosting club championships on the site. In my experience, these usually take the form of a list of races that members should try to complete, with points awarded for each performance. So I've put together a simple prototype that will offer you this service.

It's pretty basic at the moment, so your feedback is very welcome. To give you a flavour of it, I've added some 2011 races for FERC. If you're interested in doing this for your club, but you need a bit of help, please let me know via feedback.

FetchPoint has been spreading like a weed - we have over 1500 registered players, and nearly a million coins, bugs, checkpoints, traffic lights, relays, presents, but only one Higgs Boson, which is just outside Peterborough as I write this. It's also not too late to collect five Garmin triangles (or Garmangles as they've now been nicknamed) for a chance to win a Garmin Forerunner 110.

Entries are trickling in for the Friends of Mick and Phil Half Marathon - so if you're looking for a heavenly half marathon in April, this is the one you should enter - there'll be more Fetchies than you can shake a stick at (particularly since the restraining order took effect). A huge thank you to everyone who has volunteered their time, or their goods and services to this eventapalooza.

And finally... I'm getting married next week to KatieB, my bestest friend in the whole world, and I'm so excited I might just pop - so you may find that my typical laser-like response times are lagging for a bit. The newsletter will return in full force on January 6th. Enjoy the holidays, eat just the right amount of chocolate, make sure the dog doesn't eat any, and let's hit the ground running in the year-formerly-known-as-2012. Gobi bless us, every one.

Happy Running,

Your privacy is your right - update your settings to control which emails I send you. Natmag-Rodale is a limited company registered in the United Kingdom. Registered number: 00519122. Registered address: 72 Broadwick Street, London W1F 9EP. Well, just come back here, Mister. I'll give her a kiss that'll put hair back on your head!