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Newsletter - Friday 13th January 2012

Dear Fetchies,

I hope you're not suffering too much at the hands of the cold snap. I'm happy to be hairy on days like these, but although everything including the palms of my hands are nice'n'toasty, my fingers tend to go white and as stiff as a cat in a robot costume. My tip for winter: mittens are better than gloves for minimising heat loss, unless of course that's the name of your cat, in which case Smarties tubes painted silver make excellent futuristic legs*.

Blatant promo interlude time - please enter The Friends of Mick and Phil Half Marathon, on 11th March.

We're hoping to move house in a few months time, which will take us away from the luxury of Bedford parkrun just a quarter of a mile from our doorstep, and give us a tortuous 1.37 mile journey on a Saturday morning instead. Combined with the fact that our nearest shop is now a MacDonald's, you may discover that I'm the subject of a new Channel Five documentary: "The One Tonne Runner" by the end of the year.

All of which led me seamlessly to think about how far people are willing to travel for races. Parkruns are so ubiquitous these days that it's hard to imagine travelling far for a 5k, but people seem willing to justify travelling half way round the world for marathons. That's the feeling, but wouldn't it be nice to see that in graphical form, and in pretty colours? If you agree read on, otherwise please allow your mind to wander freely. Did you leave the gas on?

I looked at all the runners in 2011, and all the races they did, and the length of those races, and how far those runners travelled to get there, and how many times they swore at traffic lights on the way. It was completely exhausting, and I really must work out how to do that with a computer, rather than hiding in bushes. Anyway... here's the big graph:

Marathon runners crowfly a typical 71 miles to get to their races, but 10k runners go just over 13 miles on average, and for a 5k, it's 5.5 miles (down from 9 miles in 2007). Fetcheveryone is growing like Japanese knotweed - we have around 400 annual marathons listed in the Race Finder for 2011, compared with 220 back in 2007 - but there's been a decrease across the board in the distance travelled to get to races (the lines for 2008-2010 bear this out, but made the graph a bit messy). I'd like to think that it's because there are more races in general now, although I'm sure at least a few of you are attempting to save the planet, and more still are attempting to save money.

Site news - and it's been more "behind-the-scenes" stuff this week, working on improving page speed, and tinkering with a few usability improvements. Look out for some improvements to the training log in the next few weeks, Fetchpoint flowers, and maybe even a slightly more mobile-friendly version of the site.

A quick mention for The Outward Bound Trust who have charity London Marathon places available, because the nice lady who promotes them bribed us with some lovely Gore kit.

Finally, I'm pleased to tell you that Garmin have kindly offered to give away a Garmin Forerunner 110 every month to one lucky FetchPoint player. If you've never played before, it's a bit like a treasure hunt, but without the scurvy or the need to go "Arrrrrr". The area around your home gets sprinkled with coins, evil bugs, and other special markers to collect - it's a lot of fun, and will get you running in places you've never been before. Best of all, it's free - so register to play now.

Happy Running,
Fetch

*no, don't. It's a joke.

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