fetcheveryone - Blog

17 May 2018

De doo doo doo... another one bites the dust...

2:24pm | 443 views | 13 Comments
The Race Finder has been converted to use OpenStreetMap:

Link (roll over me to see where I go)

Functionality should be pretty much identical. It's not the biggest consumer of map data by any means, but I'm cutting my teeth with some new code, and working up to tackling some of the more complex ones.

To answer a few more queries from yesterday:

Caching maps - it's not something that I think Google would want you to do - but I've discovered from playing around that there are a variety of tile servers out there. "Tiles" are the squares of map that load in, depending on your lat/lng, and your zoom level. From here on, I'm using something called OpenLayers, which allows you to specify any source for your map tiles, so it'll be infinitely easier to switch from one tile provider to another. OpenLayers seems to be pretty awesome - it lets you plop your routes and markers etc on top of any map image.

What counts as a map access? I've yet to find a definitive answer from Google - but I think that zooming around a map is all classed as one. It's the sort of thing that'll become clearer as I continue gardening. Will have to wait and see how much of a reduction todays change brings about.

Toodle-pip.
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Comments

  • Exciting!! :-)
    D2
    2:37pm, 17th May 2018
  • I'm finding this really interesting! Good luck Fetch! :-)
    1step2far
    2:53pm, 17th May 2018
  • OpenStreetMap looks lovely and has footpaths on it
    NDWDave
    3:14pm, 17th May 2018
  • Well done Fetch. OSM is absolutely fine with me :-)
    LazyDaisy
    3:59pm, 17th May 2018
  • I much prefer OSM to google.
    flanker
    4:07pm, 17th May 2018
  • OSM is much better, more detail and easier on the eye. Not only a money saving change for the site but an improvement in functionality.

    Keep up the good work Fetch!
    Rrunner
    5:03pm, 17th May 2018
  • I imagine your biggest consumer of map requests (but I might be way off) will be the routing. Every click on the map while "Follow Roads" is on is a call to Google's directions service, n'est-ce pas? And us Fetchies clicking around trying to build a route, dithering, undoing, redoing etc will be racking up a lot of requests each. There are alternative APIs out there, but I don't know if any are free :-/
    ishep
    5:45pm, 17th May 2018
  • Ooh... I see MapQuest's Open Directions API lets you do on-the-fly route dragging :D Still not free, though... Link (roll over me to see where I go)
    ishep
    5:50pm, 17th May 2018
  • Impressed as always with your work. Just listened to Marigold's interview on the mist recent Marathontalk episode and he mentioned how great Fetch was for training, lots of graphs etc. :-)
    .B.
    7:39pm, 17th May 2018
  • Thank you for your amazing work!
    I'm a huge OSM fan and glad you are using it more. It didn't have many local tracks when we first moved here, I loved the fact we could go out with our GPS and map them to make OSM better for everyone.
    Jenelopy
    10:26pm, 17th May 2018
  • Looks like checkpoints has too *snip*
    NDWDave
    3:10pm, 20th May 2018
  • I much prefer OSM. Keep going 😀👍
    Adorescience
    7:22am, 21st May 2018
  • Me too. I love the added detail of footpaths etc.
    NDWDave
    7:39am, 21st May 2018

Keep me in the loop!

16 May 2018

Invisible changes

4:37pm | 506 views | 12 Comments
This Google Maps price increase... firstly, you folks have been amazing. Thank you to everyone who has either set up a contribution, increased their contribution, or promised to do something. You are all very nice people :-)

It used to be that a developer could make 750,000 free requests per month to the maps server. The new charging model effectively reduces the free quota to about 28,000 per month - and beyond that, the charges are anything up to $14 per 1000 requests.

As a website, our typical usage is currently just under 200,000 requests per month - so if you take off our free allowance, and assume the worst-case cost, the cost per month rises from a very manageable zero, to just over $2400 per month. So much for the internet being free. If you've not donated to support Fetcheveryone purely for ideological reasons, I'd urge you to bear this in mind.

But that's based on our current usage - and so my job over the next three weeks is to reduce that usage by as much as possible. It's fascinating to think about how these tendrils have been wrapped around the internet, ready to apply the squeeze - and very satisfying to be able to prune them back. And hey, nice to get plenty of notice to deliver a major development project, right?

Today I've been looking at the geocoding aspect of our map usage. Geocoding is the process of turning a place name or postcode into a latitude or longitude. In other words, if you type 'Bristol' into our Race Finder, a bit of code works out the coordinates of Bristol, and shows you the relevant listings. We make about 9000 monthly requests to look up this sort of information. I've been looking at minimising this usage, by cobbling together some data of our own. If you search the listings, or use any of the "Jump to location" boxes on Fetchpoint, Conquercise, Routes etc, you shouldn't notice any difference in the way things work.

Do let me know if you spot any oddities, but today's work has hopefully sliced about $126 off our monthly bill :-)

*raises shears into the air*
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Comments

  • Wow around £100 a month saved, goodness this internet lark is expensive!
    D2
    4:44pm, 16th May 2018
  • Well done. That makes me a bit cross (the charging thing)
    LindsD
    5:08pm, 16th May 2018
  • Ian - I'm sure you know, but SW and app costs are sure to rise. Before I retired last year (from a fairly big SW co) the main drivers were moving customers (or all new customers) to a subscription basis and promoting freeware as a sales tool ... as per Gmap, free for a time (till you depend on it), then $$$ or £££ or whatever.

    Is there any feasible way of caching the key maps - eg conquersize UK first level ?
    Or delay the inevitable with switch to other map providers?
    Or if we do succumb to Google pressure, make sure all of us know how much our use is really costing - and accepting that the days of a 'few ads covering the costs' may be over?
    Or (devious mind at work) - if individually we register with Gmap, can you call with our name, and we each get 28k per month free? Or some variation?
    um
    5:12pm, 16th May 2018
  • Wow, I hope your shears are very sharp and you manage a lot more pruning.
    Elsie Too
    5:33pm, 16th May 2018
  • oh, um's idea seems good, is that workable? I don't mind.
    Wriggling Snake
    6:05pm, 16th May 2018
  • Thanks Fetch for working so hard to keep our costs down, and for keeping us informed when changes are made. .... it’s part of what makes the site feel so personal.
    DocMoye
    6:05pm, 16th May 2018
  • I'm not sure what counts as one map access but I'm sure i use twice as much as i want. Plot a route - show home area map, then type in the place i really want to start. If that place shares a name with somewhere bigger or in the USA try to guess the right name for the place i want.
    Moving the cq map around i only have to breathe for laptop or phone to decide i want to zoom to one zone.
    When i do want to look at one zone on my phone i can move the map up but not down. To get it back down i have to search for the zone again.
    Hth
    ChrisHB
    6:24pm, 16th May 2018
  • Thanks Fetch - this blog certainly is food for thought on how we use the mapping features around the site.
    Seratonin
    8:13pm, 16th May 2018
  • Good work! Is making the default map OSM an option? Then users could toggle to google maps if desired, kind of the opposite to what we currently have. I regularly "waste" a fair few google maps calls because every map I load is in google maps, but I often switch to OSM anyway.
    Jenelopy
    11:20pm, 16th May 2018
  • Agree with what Doc says. (And with Seratonin too)
    BaronessBL
    9:53am, 17th May 2018
  • Top pruning! Decorate :-) G
    HappyG(rrr)
    10:36am, 17th May 2018
  • Very interesting to hear how some of the free Google things aren't free for users of sites like this. Well done on the pruning.
    Garfield
    1:57pm, 17th May 2018

Keep me in the loop!

10 May 2018

Silverstone 10k

Yesterday I did a little blog that said I was going to this race, but portraying it as more of a hurdle to be overcome so I could continue festering over my Abingdon training. But it turned out to be a really enjoyable race.

I picked up Elsie Too (running) and Silver Shadow (supporting), and after a few traffic nerves, we got there with about half an hour to go before the race. A trip to the loo, then off to collect numbers. We had no safety pins at all, but managed to blag four from some other runners, and managed to find four more by looking around the floor near where everyone had been pinning them on :-) Talk about under-prepared :-)

It's a nice race for catching up with people, and we bumped into quite a few Fetchies as we shuffled our way to the track for the start. There were pacing balloons every five minutes, which hopefully helped with starting position for a lot of new runners (I was told a story as we waited, about someone who started right at the front in a previous year, with headphones on, didn't hear the hooter, and got flattened!). I stood between the 50 and 55 minute pacers, with a view (made up on the spot) to stay between the two, and then gradually try to reel in the 50 minute guy.

We're off! And the first few hundred metres feel quite congested, and I'm just behind the 50 minute man. It looks like he's already collecting a throng of interested runners, who are fanning out across the course like geese flying south for the winter. I feel like I'm penned in a bit, and having to do quite short strides in order to avoid bumping into the geese. New plan - get round this guy, and try to stay ahead of him - so I do that by veering off the racing line where it's a bit quieter.

Things open up a bit now. I see at least three people retying shoe laces in the first kilometre. There's a tribe of kids all looking for high fives, and I make a note to remember to do that on the second lap.

I've settled into a bit of a rhythm now, through 2k in a pace that will get me the sub-50 I would be very happy with. I'm passed by stotty, who says a quick hello. A lady who is having stitch problems decides to take a walk right in front of me, but I manage to swerve and swear quietly at the same time (sorry, hope your race went well). There are some very fast chair athletes who whizz past, and some very impressive 'upright' chairs (by which I mean, they look like normal wheelchairs, not the aerodynamic racing ones) who are giving it the full-strength-beans treatment. Awesome.

At some point, I catch up with stotty, and I grunt something at him, and we fall into a bit of an unspoken alliance. Mrs Jigs is trackside, and gives me a nice shout :-)

Through the 5k marker, and all the crowds, in about 24 minutes. I spot Silver Shadow, Lakes and Mrs Lycra Hurricane, who all give me a boost. Blimey, 24 minutes - can I hold on to this?

Stotty and me are still in a road train, and we keep pushing on. The kids all get a high five this time - about ten in a row :-) The course has some undulations - but really quite gentle - and the downhills seem to come just at the right moment. At 7k, the sums are starting to get reassuring for a sub-50, and with one mile to go, I could happily have slowed down, but I try to keep pushing. There are some narrower gated bits to go through in this part of the race, and they do take away a bit of the rhythm, but things are still feeling good.

In the last mile of most races, I usually end up screaming at myself and anyone else who will listen. It's my thing. There's a bloke who has had a few walk breaks up ahead, and I yell at him that there's only a quarter of a mile left. I see Mrs Jigs, and share some primordial roars with her (she's surprisingly good at it!). The finish looms, and suddenly I'm yelling like a thing possessed. Walking man is showing signs of slowing up, so I bark at him again, and he sprints off like a stunned horse. Some poor bloke in a Wolf Runner top also gets the treatment, and I chase him to the line. I finish with a big grin on my face, and a lot of giggling to myself :-) There are handshakes at the finish line :-) I am really, really pleased with my splits: Link (roll over me to see where I go)

Shortly after, Elsie Too gets to the finish (I'll let her tell her story), and we all reunite, and I say hello to a bunch more Fetchies - Tony W, Welshie Maverick, wshippin, stotty again, Clare1976, Lycra Hurricane, Mrs Jigs, and a new Fetchie who Mrs Jigs has assimilated... - I'm doing that list thing that always results in accidentally forgetting someone :-/ But it was lovely to see everyone!

It's a bit on the chilly side, so we make our way to the car for chocolate milk (thanks to my lovely Katie for reminding me to take that) from my would-be sponsor Frijj. It's about an hour to drive home, and the euphoria is slowly taken over by tiredness, but still with a nice dose of happy at its core. A thoroughly recommendable race, and a bargain at about £12 for club runners.

Right then... back to that marathon training plan :-)
Click here to suggest this blog for today's highlights.

Comments

  • Awesome! You're on fire, this marathon plan is clearly suiting you.
    I'd love to get down for a Silverstone race. I really enjoyed running there the year I paced the half in your place.
    Velociraptor
    10:40am, 10th May 2018
  • Yessss, fantastic racing, pacing and roaring! Great to see you. Perfect solid foundations for marathon training... x
    clare1976
    10:52am, 10th May 2018
  • You're not on the results list? Or do you have a special race day name? Nice pacing, good signs for Abingdon!
    larkim
    10:54am, 10th May 2018
  • Boom 😄😄😄
    DocMoye
    10:58am, 10th May 2018
  • I can't get into the results page :-( All I get is "Forbidden You do not have permission to access this document"
    Thanks so much for the lift - it was a great evening.
    Elsie Too
    11:23am, 10th May 2018
  • This is working for me - Link (roll over me to see where I go)
    larkim
    11:39am, 10th May 2018
  • Edit - found you on the list!
    larkim
    11:43am, 10th May 2018
  • Great stuff - well done! This actually came up on my FB memories yesterday, from 2012 when I ran what is still my 10k PB and will almost certainly always remain so now. Great course for fast times - these days it always seem to clash with my club's Midweek League season, so I haven't done it for quite a while.
    Schnecke
    12:06pm, 10th May 2018
  • great grouping on the mile splits, would have been even faster if you had managed to keep to the racing line!
    iaincr
    12:09pm, 10th May 2018
  • Nicely done, sir.
    Wine Legs
    12:54pm, 10th May 2018
  • Superb! Great result and impressive splits!
    Sigh
    1:16pm, 10th May 2018
  • Well run!
    LindsD
    1:19pm, 10th May 2018
  • Great running and loving the roaring encouragement/abuse later on!;-)
    Garfield
    1:22pm, 10th May 2018
  • Excellent! You remind me that I could do with a good 10k in my plan.
    Cog Noscensme AHA
    1:37pm, 10th May 2018
  • You were still buzzing after, I think I surprised myself with the roaring :-)
    Mrs Jigs (Luverlylegs)
    1:51pm, 10th May 2018
  • Good effort mate. Shouting makes you faster by the way. Well known elite athletes race psychology thing. Fo shu.:-) G
    HappyG(rrr)
    2:56pm, 10th May 2018
  • Awesome running and roaring :-)
    Corrah
    9:45pm, 10th May 2018
  • Glad you enjoyed the 10k...but wot no cake from our refreshments stall...chocolate milk!!!!??? We were baking vegan flapjack for days to feed you all!!! ;-)
    c-mac
    11:17pm, 10th May 2018
  • I didn't have any money with me, and didn't know there was a Fetchie at the stall, otherwise I would have been straight over. Soz.
    fetcheveryone
    11:19pm, 10th May 2018
  • Awesome stuff, well done!

    But, it's a bit early to start training for Abo isn't it?? Please tell me it is! I've got a 24hr race to train for, complete, recover from and a family holiday to squeeze in first! :-O
    StuH
    11:35pm, 10th May 2018
  • Good stuff, and a nice race to do. It has really expanded since I did it last. I don't mean that the 10k had got further, but it if feel like that to my body haha!
    Lycra Hurricane
    7:00am, 11th May 2018
  • Well done :-)
    Lisrun
    11:33am, 11th May 2018

Keep me in the loop!

09 May 2018

Three year throwback

4:47pm | 208 views | Abingdon Marathon | 5 Comments
Just stumbled on my old videos from when I was training for VMLM 2015 :-) Here's the link, in case anyone would like to see:

Link (roll over me to see where I go)

I'm off to run Silverstone 10k now - which a few months back was gonna be a real test of where my 10k pace was. And now it's just something to get done before I carry on Abingdon training :-)
Click here to suggest this blog for today's highlights.

Comments

  • Good luck!
    Sigh
    4:55pm, 9th May 2018
  • See you soon :-)
    Elsie Too
    5:12pm, 9th May 2018
  • Have a great race :-) Hug everyone :-)
    Velociraptor
    5:20pm, 9th May 2018
  • Enjoy being a racing car 🏎
    Diogenes
    5:34pm, 9th May 2018
  • I hope you did the mandatory Vroom noises round the bends?
    flanker
    12:24am, 10th May 2018

Keep me in the loop!

08 May 2018

Why your support makes the difference

12:24pm | 627 views | 22 Comments
Last week I received an email from Google, stating that they were updating their charging model for Google Maps, and that there was every likelihood that Fetcheveryone's current usage level would incur charges when that change takes place in June.

This in itself is not an insurmountable hurdle - I'll do what I can to minimise the cost to us by making more use of other mapping software like OpenStreetMap, and looking at ways in which I can reduce any unnecessary map usage on our part.

But it's a useful example of one of the increasing costs (and time consuming tasks for that matter) involved in operating a website. And even if there were absolutely no other expenses, I would still have to pay for a web server, software, company fees, taxes and earn enough money to look after my family.

The new GDPR laws have provided an additional squeeze, reducing the size of email lists we've collected over the past 15 years, making it harder to generate advertising revenue from organisations that want to speak to people like Fetchies.

GDPR make a lot of sense, even to me as someone who has benefited from sending email on behalf of events, products etc. It's all very well having a huge email list, but if the people on that list either get frustrated by, ignore or simply don't see the things we send out, then what's the point?

Asking people to tick a box to receive messages, rather than sending them *unless* they have unticked one might seem like a small difference, but it means that those who *do* are genuinely interested in what Fetcheveryone has to offer. So although in some ways it's made things tougher, it's also brought more focus.

We're also up against companies that have invested millions of dollars of venture capital to capture the focus of runners. For their long term survival, they need to make good on that investment at some point, just as Google are perhaps doing after a decade of offering Google Maps for free (until it's become something that the internet relies on). If independent websites start to disappear through lack of funding whilst the big bucks make all the noise, the long-term picture sees those bigger companies gain control of that market, just as energy companies and broadband suppliers seem able to increase their prices year after year. I can see that asking you for your donations is essentially asking you to provide that same return for Fetcheveryone - but not enough to repay millions of dollars - just enough to keep the site running, my Marmite jar full, and to help us secure our corner of the internet for many years to come.

Since we regained our independence, I've always been clear in my mind that the ideal situation is a symbiotic relationship between me and you, Fetchies without any reliance on external support or influence. Minimising our reliance on advertising and ensuring we cover our costs really does mean that I can devote all my time to making the website as useful as possible. Its success has come about because of your feedback, helping me to refine rough edges, inspiring new features and tools, and sometimes just reassuring me that what we have here is of enormous value to a lot of people. So if you think we could or should be better, tell me, and I'll do my best to make it happen. Big or small, an improvement for you is an improvement for everyone.

It is still entirely your choice whether to support the site or not. The average donation from the people who do support the site is about £3.50 per month, or about £42 per year. Most supporters do this with a standing order (which, unlike a direct debit, is entirely within your control - I can't increase it, or change it at all), but you can also make a one-off or regular contribution via Paypal.

Here's some information on how you can donate if you don't already do so:

Link (roll over me to see where I go)

Thank you :-)
Click here to suggest this blog for today's highlights.

Comments

  • Happy to pay a (very) minimal contribution per month for a (very) fabulous corner of the internet to continue to exist, flourish and keep winning gongs! :-) G
    HappyG(rrr)
    12:41pm, 8th May 2018
  • My actual favourite corner of the internet
    smoke free
    1:00pm, 8th May 2018
  • I much prefer OSM and would be happy if that were the only map option available on Fetch.

    Also - as someone in the fortunate position to be able to donate - I also increased my standing order this year, not by much, as Fetch must feel the same inflationary pressures as everyone else, but cannot just increase the amount as other, bigger companies do.

    Just a thought.
    Sigh
    1:42pm, 8th May 2018
  • Money well spent :-) Awwwwwwwwww!
    LindsD
    1:47pm, 8th May 2018
  • "I would willingly sell my house and all its contents to fund Fetcheveryone" - but I can't make the cat homeless. This site is definitely worth an increase to the very small contribution I currently make ;-)
    Schnecke
    2:08pm, 8th May 2018
  • ^^^What Linds said, and standing order upped a little!
    LazyDaisy
    2:14pm, 8th May 2018
  • I didn't realise Paypal took a cut - will do change to SO now!
    DoricQuine
    2:16pm, 8th May 2018
  • Senior moment!!! I don't pay by Paypal!
    DoricQuine
    2:23pm, 8th May 2018
  • I have to admit that when I got my yearly payrise at work I did think that I should up my fetch contribution but haven't done it yet. Will do now.
    Elsie Too
    2:37pm, 8th May 2018
  • Running or not Fetch is my go to web site. My contribution is worth it for Fellrunning's blog alone!
    ThorntonRunner
    3:11pm, 8th May 2018
  • Ah, go on then. On one condition. You do not use my money to buy Marmite. Ok? ;-)
    Nessie
    3:28pm, 8th May 2018
  • I love fetch and have done since the moment I joined 10 years ago. Have increased my subs a little. Still less than a running magazine and far more diverse.
    1step2far
    3:31pm, 8th May 2018
  • Keep on keeping on.
    mikep
    3:33pm, 8th May 2018
  • There are many things that I pay a lot more for but get a lot less return. And where else can you feel that your feedback is genuinely wanted and considered.
    Thanks Fetch and may your marmite jar be filled to overflowing ( though that could get messy)
    DocMoye
    3:48pm, 8th May 2018
  • Worth every penny. Thanks Fetch Awwwwwwwwww!
    TeeBee
    6:16pm, 8th May 2018
  • Aaahhh, we all Awwwwwwwwww! Fetch. :-)
    alpenrose
    8:14pm, 8th May 2018
  • After pressing "remind me in a month" for ages I've finally set up a monthly contribution 😃 Cheers Fetch!
    mattglen_
    9:11pm, 8th May 2018
  • Fetch is great value for money and doesn't feel like Facebook for runners/cyclists/swimmers like "other" sites.
    Rrunner
    10:07pm, 8th May 2018
  • It's a brilliant website.
    Columba
    10:42pm, 8th May 2018
  • I'm glad I finally got round to setting up a standing order. I owe this site a lot and is the least I can do.
    The Terminator
    12:55pm, 9th May 2018
  • This is my link to the running community, I'd be alone and out of the loop without it. Worth every penny. 👍
    postieboy
    4:54pm, 9th May 2018
  • I judge according to what I'd have to pay to get the same level of analysis from the like of Strava Premium, but it's really so much more than that.
    Velociraptor
    5:23pm, 9th May 2018

Keep me in the loop!

04 May 2018

Some high mileage Fetchies

5:39pm | 507 views | 23 Comments
Just had a look at some numbers:

119 Fetchies have logged over 20,000 miles.

813 have logged over 10,000 miles.

2375 have reached 5,000 miles :-)

My evil corporate head wonders if folks would shell out for some sort of momento. My normal head is pleased that my corporate head doesn’t extend far beyond the phrase “shelling out”, and just likes looking at the table :-)

Any thoughts? It implies more effort on your part than any “virtual event” medal I’ve ever seen.
Click here to suggest this blog for today's highlights.

Comments

  • I'm happy with an unlockable badge :-)
    Velociraptor
    5:40pm, 4th May 2018
  • Unlockable badge does it for me too.
    DocMoye
    5:51pm, 4th May 2018
  • Virtual badges are fun and cost effective :-)
    Fenland Flier
    6:41pm, 4th May 2018
  • I'm perfectly happy with the virtual badges too.
    jabberknit
    6:44pm, 4th May 2018
  • I want a mahoosive medal
    (Not really, a virtual badge/nothing at all is fine with me)
    stuart little
    6:52pm, 4th May 2018
  • As above...^ :-)
    Ness
    6:52pm, 4th May 2018
  • I think the suggestion is for folks to have the option to purchase a Fetch-themed memento for reaching the milestones - similar to the 'virtual runner' challenges where you pay £12 for some tacky bling, then provide evidence that you've run around the block, then said bling gets sent to you.

    If this is the incorrect conclusion, please ignore!

    If it is the right one; well then, it would have to be something more special than bling; one of those perspex blocks (like the Running Awards, only lighter/cheaper) only Fetch themed, stating the Fetch person's name and the achievement, would be cool (and would look great on a mantelpiece / windowledge / shelf / NDW Dave's drawer of awards :-) ) Link (roll over me to see where I go)

    Happy to stick to the online-only badges though :-)
    Sigh
    6:59pm, 4th May 2018
  • Happy with virtual badges!
    westmoors
    7:26pm, 4th May 2018
  • I'd like virtual badges to come a bit more often: AIUI I'm likely to die before I get my next one, and it's years since the last.
    ChrisHB
    7:33pm, 4th May 2018
  • Just checked; on 2,918 miles, next badge is Chicago (3,950 miles), so *only* another 1,032 miles to go :-)
    Sigh
    7:43pm, 4th May 2018
  • Just joined the 10,000 mile club this week.

    Already got various mementos to go with my huge pile of worn out running shoes, but could be tempted if it were something a bit unusual.
    mole_thing
    8:38pm, 4th May 2018
  • mug ?
    fraggle
    9:34pm, 4th May 2018
  • Makes me think that perhaps I should log some legacy kilometres, from before I joined the wonderful world of Fetch 8-)
    Oranj
    9:44pm, 4th May 2018
  • Actually, where does it say how many miles we've recorded on Fetch? I added mine up on a spreadsheet.
    ChrisHB
    10:00pm, 4th May 2018
  • On your user profile Chris.
    fetcheveryone
    10:22pm, 4th May 2018
  • I would go for a fetch themed momento.
    Wriggling Snake
    10:29pm, 4th May 2018
  • I'm not bothered about anything physical thanks. I don't know if you were thinking like Sigh said about about selling something as a revenue thing (though given the low numberss that wouldn't make much sense?) but if it's genuinely to recognise / celebrate the achievements of those who have reached it, what about a wee article? Your writings on this site are one of the best things (I often think would be great if you did more "articles"). So just do a "piece" on the person reaching the milestone (with their permission). A bit of a story about how they got there, why, is mileage good etc. a pic (possibly mashed up virtual hand shake pic wth your good self etc.) And or a video or audio interview etc.

    You could then post that wider (with permission) to promote the site. Basically, use the mileage (and other achievements logged via this site) to promote FE to the world via good journalism? :-) G
    HappyG(rrr)
    9:51am, 5th May 2018
  • I like Happy G's suggestion. I am a sucker for a memento though - I wouldn't mind a hoodie or shirt with the badge on :-)
    Autumnleaves
    10:47am, 5th May 2018
  • I'm with AL - that's a really good suggestion from the Happy one :-) but I'd also be proud to wear a "I've logged 5000 miles on Fetcheveryone.com" T-shirt.
    Rosehip
    11:15am, 5th May 2018
  • Or a cloak that flies behind you in the wind like Batman ;-)
    Serendippily
    12:07pm, 5th May 2018
  • A car would be nice. Don’t mind what colour.
    iPLOD
    4:34pm, 5th May 2018
  • You know what? I would have loved a Fetch medal when I passed 5000 miles. I would have loved a Fetch medal when I passed 10000 miles. And I would have paid.

    I don't like virtual. I want Fetch friends I can talk to and look in the eyes. Cayke (not virtual) I can share with them. I would cherish a Fetch medal. And I got two of those three today when we passed our 200th parkrun.
    Watford Wobble
    10:09pm, 5th May 2018
  • Late to this - but no thanks; PBs are the 'reward' for all the mileage (for me, anyway).
    paul the builder
    1:20pm, 7th May 2018

Keep me in the loop!

04 May 2018

dryrobe winner

9:27am | 289 views | 21 Comments
I was talking to Katie after our swim on Wednesday, and she was wondering when I was going to pick a winner for our dryrobe competition. I asked her who she thought would be a good winner (despite the fact that it's picked at random), and she suggested Elsie Too. I agreed that would be nice, because we know how hard Elsie has been working on getting stuck in to regular swimming (she goes to the same pool as us on Wednesdays). I pointed out that she'd recently won a book, and that it might look suspicious if she went on to win the dryrobe. But then I recalled a previous competition where someone won something twice in a row, and actually receiving a compliment for adhering to the random process.

That must have been at least five, possibly ten years ago.

It couldn't happen again, right? There are 115 entrants, which means one chance in 115.

Yes it could. Here's a screenshot (I've blurred out the database table name, because I don't want anyone knowing those):



*The circled bit is the user ID

Congratulations Elsie, and a big thank you to everyone else for joining in. I hope that seeing the swimming times for your fellow Fetchies give you something to aim at.
Click here to suggest this blog for today's highlights.

Comments

  • WOW :-) That's it - decision made - I will be at the lake at 7am tomorrow morning :-) :-) :-) :-)

    I am so happy about this, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you.
    Elsie Too
    9:31am, 4th May 2018
  • Excellent outcome! I'm only a little tiny bit disappointed. A worthy winner.
    LindsD
    9:34am, 4th May 2018
  • FIX! 😀
    Diogenes
    9:35am, 4th May 2018
  • I also approve of the true randomness (as a statistician!). The story of 'Apple random' is famous - people complaining of on random occasionally getting the same song twice (as can happen randomly) meaning they had to change it it 'looks random' by imposing some rules to make it less random!
    boyband6666
    9:36am, 4th May 2018
  • "order by rand()" - That's how I do campaign selections!
    Binks
    9:38am, 4th May 2018
  • I really must remember to do that book review - then I'm going to pass the book to another Fetchie. I don't think I'll be doing the same with the dry robe!
    Elsie Too
    9:40am, 4th May 2018
  • kismet!
    Maz Heeps
    9:41am, 4th May 2018
  • Well deserved. Even if it was random :-)
    Velociraptor
    9:50am, 4th May 2018
  • Nice one, well deserved :-)
    JenLov
    10:04am, 4th May 2018
  • well done - love my dryrobe
    Old Croc
    10:24am, 4th May 2018
  • I was pleased to find out about the dryrobe as it gave me an excellent idea for a birthday present!
    D2
    10:24am, 4th May 2018
  • The all powerful gods of randomness are awesome
    DocMoye
    10:42am, 4th May 2018
  • Fab. Random means that coincidences will happen. I kinda love this Universe we happen to live in! :-) G
    HappyG(rrr)
    10:51am, 4th May 2018
  • Excellent result :-)
    HellsBells
    11:33am, 4th May 2018
  • Excellent result, keep warm Elsie Too :-)
    ferret
    11:56am, 4th May 2018
  • (That was a smiley face on my comment that didn't render properly - I was joking :-) )
    Diogenes
    12:37pm, 4th May 2018
  • Excellent news :-)
    Fizz :-)
    12:52pm, 4th May 2018
  • I was wondering where I'd come in this competition - and then I remembered - I haven't done any swimming! Good result Elsie. :-)
    McGoohan
    1:55pm, 4th May 2018
  • Fix !!! ;-) I didn't enter the competition so , for clarification, this comment is a joke :-)
    bigleggy
    2:03pm, 4th May 2018
  • Congrats Elsie:-) I am happy to win another CLS trip.. just saying :-)
    .B.
    4:16pm, 4th May 2018
  • An excellent result.
    Helegant
    4:17pm, 4th May 2018

Keep me in the loop!

30 Apr 2018

Interviewing Tom Williams

11:06am | 2526 views | 62 Comments
There's been a lot of action on our parkrun thread following the publication of the annual parkrun report.

Our thread:
Link (roll over me to see where I go)

The parkrun annual report:
Link (roll over me to see where I go)

Tom Williams (parkrun Chief Operating Officer) has dropped in, and has offered to provide more detail on the annual report, and to address any concerns and questions we might have as Fetchies.

I've suggested that we do this as an 'interview', with questions posed by you lot, dear Fetchies - I'll be in touch with Tom to arrange that, and all indications are that he's up for it. So do please leave a comment on this blog if you'd like me to ask Tom/parkrun a question on your behalf, and I'll try to coalesce these into some form of coherent interview that will hopefully clear up a few concerns.

Thanks!
Click here to suggest this blog for today's highlights.

Comments

  • Do you think parkrun does enough to communicate to the large numbers of runners who participate and volunteer not because of great social goals or aspirations, but because they like running and want to promote running, rather than joyful volunteering or walking 3 miles a week?
    larkim
    11:19am, 30th Apr 2018
  • Great question larkim. For me, I would like to know two things:
    - Do they realise that the central messages are inconsistent with the local parkrun experience
    and
    - The central messages if applied locally are likely to alienate many people

    I go to parkrun because I want to run fast. I volunteer because I know they need my help and I appreciate others volunteering when I go with my aim to run fast.
    Bazoaxe
    12:17pm, 30th Apr 2018
  • With the drive to greater inclusivity what is being done to encourage and include those who want to keep parkrun as a running event?or those who like to run fast. Why should participants not be encouraged to volunteer 'to give something back' If parkrun wants to become a community as the report suggests then one of the hallmarks of a strong and thriving community is accountability and sacrifice for the greater good of the rest of the community rather than only participating at a level that works for your own personal benefit & 'joy'.
    Jovi Runner
    12:41pm, 30th Apr 2018
  • I would like to know why they don't have the same milestone t shirts for volunteers. If they value volunteers as much as runners they should be treated equally in this respect. It gives the impression that runners are more important, in my opinion.
    mrs shanksi
    12:45pm, 30th Apr 2018
  • It seems that since I have been parkrunning they make an extra effort once every few months to really wind up the established runners, removing the points table, retrospectively changing tail runner to tail walker, no more pacing events because the fitbit bibs had to be destroyed, removing results from the journalist report, discouraging volunteering, etc.

    So for my question, are parkrun's frequent attempts to get rid of the established runners ideological, or is it a pragmatic solution to the milestone t-shirt crisis?
    Mark​​
    1:17pm, 30th Apr 2018
  • I quote from the Annual Report: 'So often we hear negative terminology around volunteering, even from prominent members of the volunteering sector, with comments such as “giving up their time”, “doing their bit”, or “giving something back”.
    I can almost hear the sigh of disapproval. Would it not be beneficial to parkrun's goal of 'a happier, healthier planet' if people were encouraged to volunteer precisely so they *do* 'give something back'? Why denigrate as 'negative terminology' motives which are surely positive and which will be found among a huge number of your volunteers?
    LazyDaisy
    1:52pm, 30th Apr 2018
  • Wow, I've just been on the thread and I'm enormously saddened by it.
    Maclennane
    1:56pm, 30th Apr 2018
  • 1) kudos to Tom (& Ian) for setting this up ... and whoever nudged Tom to look & join in ...
    2) what is it in the forum that Tom finds "inaccurate or misguided".
    um
    2:04pm, 30th Apr 2018
  • Hi Tom. I think parkrun is a wonderful phenomenon and have been involved from 2008 when I ran my first parkrun in England and helped Richard L (a Fetchie!) set up the first parkruns in Scotland. However, you will acknowledge, I'm sure, that parkrun has changed and evolved over that time. From your 2017 report it is clear that the priority is on increasing participation from those who are least active and most excluded in society. This is entirely laudable. But what do you think the impact will be on those who could have become much better runners through the encouragement of performance at a higher level, through parkrun, who no longer see parkrun as encouraging these higher performances? And whose role do you think it is, to encourage these runners to develop themselves and run faster? Parents, schools, youth groups, council gyms, private gyms, running clubs, councils, national sporting bodies, national government? Previously parkrun was doing a great job here. Is there a concern that this middle level are now being neglected? And has the effect of that on national fitness levels and improvement in health outcomes been calculated? Thanks Tom. Regards, G.
    HappyG(rrr)
    2:24pm, 30th Apr 2018
  • Hi Tom. Thanks for taking the time to talk to us! What do you think is the biggest challenge facing parkrun?
    Pothunter
    2:33pm, 30th Apr 2018
  • Related to HappyG(rrr)'s questions, if parkrun is to be peoples' first step towards a more active lifestyle then should parkrun do more to signpost people towards what ever they feel the second step should be?
    Mark​​
    2:36pm, 30th Apr 2018
  • Which is his favourite cheese?
    RuthB2
    2:54pm, 30th Apr 2018
  • Is the change in emphasis in order to align to the charitable objects of Parkrun Global Ltd, as stated in its' registration? Link (roll over me to see where I go)
    Sigh
    3:03pm, 30th Apr 2018
  • To lighten the 'heavy' questions. Why did you decide to use a lowercase letter 'p' and whose idea was it?
    Watford Wobble
    3:17pm, 30th Apr 2018
  • Can you give Tom the questions in advance, so that he has time to pen a succinct answer to each one? Otherwise, if MT is anything to go by, we'll have 5 minutes of an irrelevant preamble before he even gets to the question.
    Tikka
    3:27pm, 30th Apr 2018
  • Q 1 - If for some reason you had no choice but to issue the final ever issued barcode to one participant, and you had to choose between someone who's stated intention it was to walk parkrun every week in about an hour or so, or someone who's stated intention it was to run parkrun every week in about 20 minutes or so, who would you give the barcode to? (And "that situation wouldn't arise" isn't an acceptable answer!)
    Q 2 - if you had six months of perfect training to run just one parkrun, which parkrun would you run at and what would your time be?
    larkim
    3:36pm, 30th Apr 2018
  • Newbie here. As context - I’ve been an avid parkrunner for the past few years and a semi regular volunteer.

    My take is that parkrun should be, has been, and to a large extent still is, an inclusive running event which has huge benefit to individuals and societies. However, the rhetoric from parkrun has noticeably shifted towards ‘participation’ and away from running (e.g. the recent ‘walk, jog, run’ mantra – remind anyone else of Teresa May’s ‘strong and stable leadership’? :-) )

    So my question for Tom - which of the following does parkun HQ aspire for each event to be?
    a) A running event with an emphasis on inclusivity
    b) A community event in which many people run

    Although similar, there IS an important distinction between the two.

    As a runner, I’d obviously prefer answer A. I’d also argue that to remove running as the central concept of each event, you lose the platform upon which social and individual benefits can be realized – shifting too far towards being a community event may actually harm participation & social impact rather than help it!

    All that said, I love parkrun and have no doubt that I will continue to do so :-)

    TomFoote
    4:07pm, 30th Apr 2018
  • With hindsight, was the change to ‘tail walker’ a mistake? I’ve heard nothing good said about it, and have heard many slower runners be offended you it; when you are last but trying your best to run it’s insulting to be labelled a walker by association. Wouldn’t ‘backmarker’, ‘sweep’, or even just ‘tail’ be far better terminology?
    flanker
    5:49pm, 30th Apr 2018
  • Thanks all, these look great ... although I'm afraid if I'm agreeing to answer everything and anything, then you lot will need to accept my five minutes of irrelevant preamble ;-)

    Seriously though, do keep the questions coming... this isn't the sort of thing I'd normally do, but I think the Fetch community is brilliant and I have masses of respect for Ian. Nothing off limits.
    parkruntom
    7:57pm, 30th Apr 2018
  • 1. How do you feel about the fact that many people on the parkrun thread, EDs, RDs, core team and regular parkrunners, no longer read the communications from HQ and feel that they are not relevant to them or their local event?
    2. If a sentence starts with the word 'parkrun', should it have a small or a large 'p'?

    Thank you for this.
    LindsD
    8:19pm, 30th Apr 2018
  • “Masses of respect for Ian” :-) I know that feeling.
    KatieB
    8:24pm, 30th Apr 2018
  • why has windsor great park not got a run?
    kev-eats-owt
    8:36pm, 30th Apr 2018
  • Tom - like a lot of folks, I take exception to the piece written by Jaz Bangerh ("The Joy of Volunteering"). It's not always a "joy", and it's not negative to describe it as "giving something back" or "doing their bit." Sure, there have been weeks when I've volunteered for my own personal gain - but there have been many more weeks when I've decided to not run but volunteer instead, following an appeal for volunteers.

    Then I read the ridiculous statement that volunteering is, apparently, "every
    bit as beneficial a form of physical activity as walking, jogging, or running" - well no, this is just not true. Standing still for an hour on timekeeping in sub-zero temperatures when you have circulation problems is NOT beneficial, believe me!

    Then I look at the latest results from my home parkrun, and see that one runner (picked at random) has completed 156 parkruns and has NEVER volunteered. That is plainly wrong and there is nothing I see from the organisation that will persuade his sort to volunteer; telling them that it's a "joy" will just not wash. So the next time I see a desperate cry for volunteers, I'll keep my hand down and wait for some of these selfish runners to make an effort - fair? After all, had I never volunteered, I'd be on a similar number to that, not at 102 runs and 51 volunteering.
    Sigh
    8:45pm, 30th Apr 2018
  • I'm not sure mine is a question yet, but I have been totally alienated from volunteering, due to people from the non running part of parkrun coming in and basically saying that parkrun is all about inclusion and that basically we're no longer allowed to encourage people to go faster. I know more than one person who has been similarly alienated from volunteering. I actually do kind of get the joy of volunteering as even stood in the freezing cold I still always enjoyed volunteering. So I guess my question is what are you planning to do to get alienated people back involved in volunteering?
    bonners
    9:02pm, 30th Apr 2018
  • Next questionish, with your rebranding of the tail runner, have you also realised the affect this has had on volunteers? I know some people who have stopped due to the amount of time it now takes to volunteer, when the tail walker quite often is 10 to 15 minutes behind the last runner having had a gentle stroll round. Do you not see that this is stopping people volunteering?
    bonners
    9:07pm, 30th Apr 2018
  • ANY NEWS ON DORCHESTER?
    larkim
    9:08pm, 30th Apr 2018
  • Next question, about time. Surely we should be putting the emphasis on getting people to be the best they can be? It is a subtle thing, but I get the fact that you're proud of the overall times are getting slower, but even so, shouldn't we be encouraging someone who walks round in 60 mins, to perhaps try for 59 mins? The actual time is irrelevant, but we should be encouraging people to be the best they can?
    bonners
    9:12pm, 30th Apr 2018
  • Last one, t-shirts, if you can't deliver on your commitment, surely it is better to just front up and say no more tshirts? I just can't see how they can be sustainable with the ever increasing numbers, unless they are paid for by ever increasing and overt sponsorship.

    As things stand, I do still want my t-shirt, but would understand if you turned round and said t-shirts are finished.
    bonners
    9:18pm, 30th Apr 2018
  • Having been involved in parkrun for 10 years now it’s interesting to see how it continues to change, with not all being for the good. The opportunity to be part of the parkrun HQ team through the advertising of jobs is fantastic for those that wish to seek to be part of parkrun on a formal basis. I don’t believe this was always the case. So my question is - was the job of Chief Executive Officer ever made public or was it filled through an ‘old boys network’? Noting that Nick Pearson was working for parkrun partner Sweatshop before abruptly leaving then appearing as CEO for parkrun after 6 months.
    sLickster
    9:39pm, 30th Apr 2018
  • What Bonners said - all 3 questions. I'm happy to give up 45 mins or so of my time to volunteer. I do 1 in 10, but an hour and half or more I'm afraid is too much. Surely pr should be actively supporting Couch to 5k, with pr as the goal.
    CStar
    9:43pm, 30th Apr 2018
  • "Irrelevant preamble" was a bit cruel. Well done Tom for taking that on the chin and rolling with it! Surely at worst it's "a few minutes of wide-ranging discursion..." that sometimes occurs before, or even during, an topic?!? ;-) ;-) Well done Fetch and Tom for setting this interaction up. Masses of respect for Ian here too! :-) G
    HappyG(rrr)
    7:00am, 1st May 2018
  • I work with numbers and find these statements contradict each other:

    "This is now reflected in our mission statement: a healthier and happier planet"

    "The average finish time at 5k parkruns in the UK gets slower every year"

    If parkrun is making people healthier then they will, on average, run faster and not slower. I love parkrun but am starting to feel that the word fast (and even run) is becoming a dirty word to use. Yes, more participation is great but let's do it properly. If increased participation is the aim let's use participation figures and not finish times.
    philip_m_jones
    7:20am, 1st May 2018
  • Thanks for doing this Tom. Through all of the differences of opinion in these questions and the thread that prompted you to make your offer, I detect a universal passion for parkrun which I hope is clear to you too. The basic questions all seem to be around how the focus on 'new participation at the back of the field', worthy though that unquestionably is, has seemed to neglect those who have contributed for a significant period or for whom encouraging progression/improvement is equally important. I hope you can find means both to acknowledge those concerns and propose ways to re-establish a more balanced approach. I won't muddy the waters further on topics already raised but will presume to suggest that broader communications with greater context will help.

    My question though - I fully supported the initiative to offer parkrun as part of offender rehabilitation programmes in prison but note that the Black Combe parkrun has disappeared from the website. Are you able to elaborate on the reason behind this?
    CumbriAndy
    8:56am, 1st May 2018
  • Kudos to Tom for taking questions.

    “parkrun has given joggers the divine right to hog the racing line, which is a shame as it is a fantastic event but has ruined 5k racing.” (Link (roll over me to see where I go)

    1) How do you feel about the comments in the article related to parkrun?

    2) Do you think that the growth of parkrun has resulted in a reduction in the number of non-parkrun 5k road races (UKA licensed events) and/or participants in them?

    3) If this is the case then what impact do you think this has had on UK running at a club level?

    It certainly seems harder to find a 5k now, my club used to run a 5k series which they stopped doing around the time that parkrun took hold in the area. I can understand why people wouldn't want to pay for a 5k when you can "race" for free every Saturday morning.

    Afraid I don't have the stats and I can't find an easy way to interrogate Run Britain for the numbers, maybe Fetch can help with his vast quantities of data? You might be able to demonstrate that the stats don't support this theory, potentially the opposite.
    Dowse
    9:55am, 1st May 2018
  • I think "runners" and people who want to go for a fast time at parkrun should just get on with their running like everyone else. So what if parkrun has developed a higher goal as a means to get inactive people moving? Why would that stop anyone trying for a PB if that's what they want? It doesn't. Really, people who whine about parkrun emphasising inclusion for non-runners should maybe just go and PAY TO RACE SOMEWHERE ELSE.
    What actually worries me more about parkrun, is if there were a possibility it could cease to exist due to lack of funding. parkrun relies completely on sponsors, grants and donations. With sponsors, they must surely require a return on their investment and see a gain in sales through association with parkrun. As far as t-shirt suppliers are concerned we have seen Nike, Adidas and Tribe Sports come and go, perhaps realising it is too much cost for not enough gain. So questions:
    How can parkrun fund the cost of producing t-shirts in house?
    Is free forever really sustainable when it comes to t-shirts?
    Could people who are regular parkrunners be encouraged to support their local parkrun more through volunteering, fundraising or a voluntary donation when they claim their next t-shirt? What stops this last one (apart from Paul vetoing it?).
    Could local parkrun sponsorship help to fund parkruns - similar to the council getting local businesses to sponsor gardening of roundabouts or other public spaces?
    Groundhog
    10:34am, 1st May 2018
  • What was the purpose of the Run Report? Who are its intended audience?
    larkim
    10:37am, 1st May 2018
  • My worry about parkrun is that some parkruns are getting too big for the parks that host them and there is only a finite number of parks that are suitable. Is there any plan in place to cope with this side of increasing numbers?
    becca7
    12:09pm, 1st May 2018
  • What do you think is the biggest threat to parkrun's existence?
    Gym_Bunny
    12:27pm, 1st May 2018
  • What is the most significant mistake / learning experience you've made / had at parkrun?
    Gym_Bunny
    12:28pm, 1st May 2018
  • Will a parkrunner ever be born who can run faster than a cheetah?
    Gym_Bunny
    12:29pm, 1st May 2018
  • How short are short shorts?
    Gym_Bunny
    12:29pm, 1st May 2018
  • Firstly, on a positive note, I have to say I love parkrun, and my family and I get a great deal out of it, both from runnng and volunteering. One of the many things we enjoy is the tourist community (seperate in some ways from official parkrun) based from the most events table. Is there any chance of getting junior events to count on this table to further spread the inclusivity that is so much the parkrun way?
    Tim.CCR
    2:27pm, 1st May 2018
  • If we are honest and take off our rose tinted parkrun specs I think that many of us would acknowledge that some venues are now reaching a saturation point. I would like to ask if HQ have similar concerns and what steps and measures HQ are putting into place to address this, or are they, like many of us, staying silent and hoping that there wont be any serious incidents or it will just go away.
    BexleyKev
    3:03pm, 1st May 2018
  • Looking to the future is great but let's not lose sight of what has been. So, I would ask what HQ can do to get that parkrun history across - globally, nationally and locally and put the focus on a community ( that includes fast, slow, young, old ) working together and supporting each other rather than being selective and focusing too much on one 'group' ( its not all about cake or being happy clappy but lets see some messages that capture the variety of participant rather than focusing on one aspect ).
    BexleyKev
    3:04pm, 1st May 2018
  • Thank you Tom, I think this will be fascinating.
    Do you ever collect any stats on the number of people who go to one parkrun and never go back?Is it a "thing"?(this was prompted by a debate on the thread)

    Also very interested in Dowse's question about potential demise of 5k events..what are the stats to support or deny this(For myself, Ive only ever done a few race for lifes and ony two other 5ks that were not parkrun. In fact, if you had told me 10 years ago that id have completed 308 parkruns, Id have died laughing. The marathons will always win though)
    plodding hippo
    4:51pm, 1st May 2018
  • My main concern with parkrun at present is sheer number of runners at certain events and how that balances with keeping on board with communities at each of those venues. Although there are certain venues that tick along with relatively low/medium numbers (say 100-300) consistently, week after week, there are certain locations that appear to be at bursting point. Two that spring to mind nearish to me are Wimbledon Common and Nonsuch.

    When I first ran Nonsuch, it had around 300 participants. When I looked at last Saturday’s run, it had nearly 800. Wimbledon Common regularly gets over 500 on what is a pretty narrow course for a lot of the route. On a recent run there, I started fairly near the front but had to run at a pretty slow pace for the first 1.5km. It seems that no matter how many new events start up, and there are lots in the SW London and neighbouring counties, numbers keep on increasing.

    I have always thought the biggest problem parkrun will encounter is numbers at events increasing beyond ‘capacity’. parkrun relies an awful lot on not p!ssing off the communities in which the events sit. So as soon as there are too many people on paths, people parking inconsiderately (tickets are regularly issued by Police at Bushy) then issues will get raised to the property owners. That to me is the biggest challenge going forward.

    Is there anything parkrun can practically do to alleviate this?
    surreystrider™
    9:27pm, 1st May 2018
  • Thank you Tom. Becca & BexleyKev's questions address my main question about parkruns becoming too big. I don't mean this question to be as negative as it sounds but often when organisations grow very rapidly they reach 'saturation point.' At some point I guess parkrun will have got as big as it can - do you see perhaps over the next ten years a situation where some parkruns will have run their course (no pun intended) and close (perhaps this has even happened already and I'm just not aware)... will that be acceptable progression or would you wish every parkrun to continue even if some weeks there were more volunteers than runners (or not enough volunteers to even allow times to be recorded.)
    BaronessBL
    9:34pm, 1st May 2018
  • for me parkrun is part of my every Saturday (well most of them) to be honest, the changes over the years have no affected me, and volunteer by pacing when its our clubs turn. My question is why keep tinkering with a model that seems to work, and remember that not everyone is always going to be happy whatever decisions are made. PS really miss the points table, it wasn't always the speedy ones that won.... its the regulars.... #loveparkrun #saturdaysisparkrun
    RFJ
    10:38pm, 1st May 2018
  • The biggest success of parkrun as I see it has been in the youth participation. The number of genuinely speedy kids, and competition on points, places, and times, is amazing. It is probably going to feed through in to elite times in years to come, but most importantly creates good habits for a lifetime (which then pass on to their families as they have them). Not only in exercise, but in self-esteem (girls especially), the value of hard work/self improvement, and more. I'd rather see parkrun add 100 11-14 year old girls who want to run, than 1000 M50-54s for the difference it will make to the world.

    How do you maintain that attraction the youngsters who want to run, with the seeming increased focus on getting more people out there? Charlie Spedding's book made an excellent point that kids are put off running if it is something where all they see of it is their parents doing it badly. As he said he used to see whippets competing over 10ks locally, now all the coverage on the TV is of overweight people chugging round the marathon. He described running as a sport that had been 'hijacked by charities and fat people' which is a simplification, but you can understand what he means.

    There are so many worthy things parkrun does, it is how to keep that speed and 'cool' part to it such that it remains something that attracts youth. I only read the report as it was signposted by Fetch, but it is a concern that nothing in there talks about improving that side of things, whereas a lot is devoted to expanding numbers. I didn't realise the points table was gone for example but that's a shame. I usually finish top 10, but was way way down the table as I go maybe every month or two. The points table was headed by those who got their tiems faster, and did it regularly. The sub-17 list is great to see, but that really is the only thing I can think of that encourages fast running (and it is a single arbitrary marker - sub 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 25 might be nice to see)
    boyband6666
    8:41am, 2nd May 2018
  • Referring back to my earlier comment here’s a (probably crazy) idea to deal with those parkruns that are ‘at capacity’. Stage two runs, one at 8.00. Anyone trying to do both only get a time for the first run. That way you don’t end up getting the same attendance, potentially for both. The 8.00 run would possibly be the less crowded one so may attract the speedier folk.

    Or would this just encourage even more runners.

    Obviously this has other impacts such as more volunteers needed, approval from venue landlords, technology changes, etc, but maybe worth a thought at least.
    surreystrider™
    8:48am, 2nd May 2018
  • "Walk, jog, run, volunteer" "Runners & volunteers are equal" "Volunteers are referred to as parkrunners in the same way as walkers, joggers and runners are."
    The V25 badge on results tables etc has gone some way to HQ actually doing that, & is a good first step.

    When will further Volunteer milestone badges, not t-shirts, appear? (eg V50, V75 / V50, V100)
    If not, why not?
    option_Richard
    11:33am, 2nd May 2018
  • "In 2017, there were 64,888 instances of people taking more than 50 minutes to complete a 5k parkrun - an increase of 88% on the previous year."

    Are new parkrunners that are taking over 50minutes being tracked to see if they continue with parkrun, & become regular parkrunners? What do the numbers look like, eg how many are still active in 2018, how many did more than say 5 parkruns, etc.
    option_Richard
    11:56am, 2nd May 2018
  • Instead of 50 / 100 t shirts, can we have a bag of chips instead?
    ♣BelleVueRacer♣ of Beartown
    8:38pm, 2nd May 2018
  • Perhaps volunteers could be offered lapel badges for 50, 75 and 100 volunteers. In terms of getting more people active and involved might parkrun consider supporting run leaders to organise couch to 5k groups. I have coached two groups of beginners through to their first parkrun. Support to do so in terms of financial help for coaching qualifications or completion rewards for their first parkrun (certificate, badge, medal) would be good.
    Silvershadow
    10:11pm, 2nd May 2018
  • Historically parkrun promoted organic growth only. With the stated aim to increase events & numbers is there a risk of getting just too big and venues becoming too crowded?
    Jovi Runner
    2:44pm, 3rd May 2018
  • About 1% of all parkrun performances are slower than 50 minutes (64,888 out of about 6.12m). So why does it feel that every newsletter, bulletin, piece of promotional literature focuses on those individuals, rather than the 99% of performances that are faster than that?
    larkim
    3:02pm, 3rd May 2018
  • Running as beneficial a physical activity as running? Seriously? In that case why not include volunteering numbers with runs for milestones? I want my 250 t shirt for my 190 runs + 70 volunteering. Also could you publish the report in a more easily readable format next time? Thanks.
    Dibble
    8:36am, 4th May 2018
  • Lol Dibble - think you mean "volunteering"!
    larkim
    10:55am, 4th May 2018
  • Oops! Yes!
    Dibble
    11:20am, 4th May 2018
  • May be too late, but... what do you see the full role of tail walker as being- is there any safety aspect to it? Particularly- if you have a tail walker who is perhaps 10 minutes behind the next person ahead and not physically capable of providing any assistance should a situation arise, is this a concern?
    Metro_Nome
    9:06pm, 5th May 2018
  • Realised I'd not actually got round to asking any questions :-O.

    A lot of people seem to have tried parkrun and decided it is not for them. Around 30% of all recorded parkrunners have only ever run once; only around 35% have run more than five times.

    Is this something which is a concern to parkrun?
    Have parkrun done any research into why people don't return?
    If so, what did they find out?

    ---------------------

    parkrun have an aim to increasingly encourage walkers to events. However, it appears that in the UK, success in this is extremely limited. Walking participation in events is in general, still at a very low level; at some events, more or less non-existent. Having a quick skim over events worldwide, it appears that, with the exception of South Africa, this is also the case in other countries.

    Have parkrun identified why, despite their encouragement, walking participation is still so low?
    Do parkrun still have an expectation that (South Africa excepted, which has its own particular circumstances) the proportion of walkers at events will increase significantly in the near future?
    Dvorak
    11:41pm, 9th May 2018
  • Thanks everyone, really appreciate you taking the time to write down your questions and concerns. I'll drop Ian a line today re setting up a conversation and would hope that we would be able to publish it somewhere on here within the next few weeks.
    parkruntom
    8:52am, 14th May 2018

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25 Apr 2018

Swimming Caps!

4:25pm | 555 views | 17 Comments
This afternoon, I've been designing a swimming cap - and I've just placed an order :-)

Yesterday, Katie sent an fmail out to everyone in the swimming group, to see who was interested - so if you've not replied to that yet, then do that soon if you'd like one. If you *didn't* get an fmail from Katie, you can leave a comment here if you'd like one. They'll be on sale for about £8 (inc P&P).

Here it is - it's rather violent, but hopefully very visible :-)

Click here to suggest this blog for today's highlights.

Comments

  • I Awwwwwwwwww! it. Very much :-)
    LindsD
    4:27pm, 25th Apr 2018
  • Violent is a good word, but shouldn't get lost in it
    snogard
    4:27pm, 25th Apr 2018
  • I shoild think that will stand out in the lake ;-)
    LazyDaisy
    4:51pm, 25th Apr 2018
  • Add me to the list for one please
    DW~
    4:52pm, 25th Apr 2018
  • One for me please!
    Happy Cat
    5:00pm, 25th Apr 2018
  • Are they silicone or latex
    Recoil
    5:07pm, 25th Apr 2018
  • Ignore me, I read the Fmail :-)
    Recoil
    5:08pm, 25th Apr 2018
  • Awwwwwwwwww! - please add me to the list :-)
    Rosehip
    5:11pm, 25th Apr 2018
  • Love it
    Elsie Too
    6:36pm, 25th Apr 2018
  • Are they silicone?
    jacdaw
    6:44pm, 25th Apr 2018
  • Yes
    fetcheveryone
    7:01pm, 25th Apr 2018
  • It's covered in Fishy, fishy, fishy fish! Who went wherever I did go.! :-) :-) I love it Awwwwwwwwww!
    Carpathius
    9:25pm, 25th Apr 2018
  • I’d like one
    K8
    9:39pm, 25th Apr 2018
  • FishEveryone! :-)
    Angus Clydesdale
    10:05pm, 25th Apr 2018
  • it's time to play the music... Ace design
    Derby Tup
    6:21am, 26th Apr 2018
  • FishEveryone! Fishy, fishy, fishy fish! Who went wherever I did go. :-) G
    HappyG(rrr)
    9:20am, 26th Apr 2018
  • My last swim cap disintegrated it was that old so looking forward to a nice shiny new one.
    Jovi Runner
    2:45pm, 3rd May 2018

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25 Apr 2018

#finishformatt

1:15pm | 190 views | 6 Comments
Our parkrun core team (Bedford) have agreed that we'll take our runners on an optional 0.6 mile detour from the briefing point to the start this week, our 3.7 mile run as a show of support for the family of Matt Campbell. It's a sad story - and over the years I've seen various incidents where runners have had very serious issues and near-misses at events.

If you show your support in some way this week, good for you. We're all human, all with a start, a middle and an end - stuff like this can happen at any time and for any reason, and being a runner doesn't change that. And so we shouldn't shy away from lacing up our shoes and taking on whatever challenges lies ahead of us - that's my take on how to honour everyone we lose along the way.

His Justgiving page: Link (roll over me to see where I go)
Click here to suggest this blog for today's highlights.

Comments

  • We're doing something at Great Denham this week too. Probably an extra loop for people that want to at the end of the run.
    Silvershadow
    1:18pm, 25th Apr 2018
  • Well put.
    WA
    2:03pm, 25th Apr 2018
  • I think I made my donation almost in gratitude for "there but for the grace of God..." etc. I know there's statistically one death per 100,000 marathon runners and so it's going to happen in every 2 or 3 races but any death is tragic and a young, fit, talented and by all accounts very decent man strikes a chord, doesn't it? Anyway, anything that raises awareness, recognises effort, donates to a great charity like Brathay Trust and keeps him in the memory and supports continuing running seems like an appropriate tribute. Thanks Fetch, G
    HappyG(rrr)
    2:04pm, 25th Apr 2018
  • Good sentiments well expressed
    DocMoye
    2:27pm, 25th Apr 2018
  • We're adding on to the end in Leamington.
    JJ Flash
    3:27pm, 25th Apr 2018
  • Did mine this morning. My eldest son is the same age as Matt was, I was thinking of his family during my run.
    Schnecke
    12:57pm, 26th Apr 2018

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