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Newsletter - Friday 6th January 2012

Dear Fetchies,

If it's not too late or too early to say it, Happy New Year everyone! I hope you've managed to steer clear of whichever harmful substances you're trying to eat less / drink less / inhale with a straw out of the navel of a consenting adult less, and that you've crammed yourself so full of friendly bacteria that they've evolved their own society in your small intestine and are currently developing a space programme, or failing that, something decent to replace Strictly.

Before I crack on with the newsletter, and whilst you're all still vaguely awake, please can I draw your attention to The Friends of Mick and Phil Half Marathon, on 11th March. It's a wonderfully well-organised race for an excellent cause, and I would love it if you could make it so please enter now. It'll be full of Fetchies, and if there's no cake, I'll come to your house and make you some myself.

My dad turns into a pensioner today, and he regularly phones me up with details of his long runs, which put mine to shame. So I thought I'd look at how much mileage various age groups do. To help make the data more reliable, I looked at currently active runners who had logged mileage all year round.

The red hill on the graph shows the number of runners in each of the groups, and the blue line shows the typical (median) mileage by the runners in each group. For example, there were over a thousand fifty-somethings in my study, and their typical annual mileage was about 915 miles. Although there are fewer runners on the right-hand side of the big red hill, they are leading the field in mileage, which just goes to show that if you love running, it'll stay with you too.

It's also tempting to link the dip in the middle of the blue line above to some sort of mid-life crisis, but more realistically, it's because it's the biggest group, and therefore shows the greatest range of abilities. The fact that it's the biggest group is probably a bigger indicator of crisis but hey, if you're midway through at 50, you're not doing too badly. Younger runners also collect more of their mileage (up to 20%) from their ten longest runs, whereas runners in their 50's and 60's only get 15% of their mileage from their ten longest. If my dad is anything to go by, the enjoyment of going out for a run is more important than pushing the envelope.

Taking a bit of a diversion, I thought I'd look at the typical number of days training to achieve a particular mileage target, irrespective of age. As you can hopefully see from the graph above, reaching a thousand miles for the year means an average commitment of about 156 days running per year. What you may not see straight away is that the line on the graph is starting to flatten as runners increase their mileage. As far as I can see, that points to the increasing importance of rest days in between all that hard effort.

Site news now - and as always, I'm tinkering away behind the scenes, a bit like the Duke boys under the bonnet of the General Lee but without the moral guidance of Uncle Jessie or the uncomfortable internal conflict with regards to my cousin. Anyway... this week I've been updating the race listings so that they handle duplicates a bit smarter. Any two races with identical names, dates and distances will silently blend into one entity faster than you can say coalition government.

If you've been driven mad dragging the FetchPoint map from one place to another, there's now a little box where you can enter a placename or postcode to jump location. Speaking of FetchPoint, I'm hoping to announce a new sponsor for the next few months shortly stay tuned for details!

Finally, if you'd like a brand new Fetch Buff, I'm happy to announce that they are now back in stock in the Fetch Shop.

Happy Running,
Fetch

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