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Eventrac Facebook checklist

Quick fire questions:

How long should you spend on your Facebook presence?

At least 30 minutes a day

Do I need to be a social whizz?

Nope! everything can be done step by step, our team can advise you

Is my event too small for this to be worthwhile?

Of course not, whether you want to boost entries or use it as a platform to communicate key race information it will work for you

Where do I start with Facebook ads?

Facebook ads can be very powerful tools to grow your race entries into the 1000s, get in touch for a free consultation

How will this help you?

  • Establishes a professional look for your brand or event that gives an air of digital credibility to the races you organise
  • Helps potential participants easily find your entry forms and important links as well as contact you quickly and efficiently so you can convert them into paying entrants
  • Allows you to build a community of people that can engage together on Facebook which increases post event activity such as positive reviews and helps retention rate for future races allowing you to spend more time tapping into new markets
  • Explains how you can best utilise Facebook pages, events, groups, photo albums and in built page shops

The checklist

  1. Have you created your Facebook page and added all the important content: Once you have made your page you will want to fill out all the important information about your business and race(s) you will want to edit your page ‘about’ section to include your location, your contact details, and some blurb about your goal as an event organiser. Make sure you add a high quality logo as your profile picture and a cover photo or video that shows off an exciting moment from one of your events. You can then hop into your ‘photos’ and ‘videos’ tabs to upload all your race content, this will give entrants an idea of what is is like to be at one of your events and also let people that have taken part tag themselves and friends to remind them of the experience, making them more likely to come back!
  2. Can people message your page to ask for more information: Sometimes potential participants are unsure whether to enter and just need that helping hand or quick bit of advice to push them to make that next step. Using Facebook you can use the platforms ‘auto-response’ service to include a welcoming message to people that visit your page encouraging them that you are there to assist. These messages are available to edit under your page settings and are very useful in optimising your digital customer service experience. Make sure you reply quickly to any queries so that you can help convert any potential entrants and also answer any important questions to make race day run more smoothly.
  3. Does your race or races have a Facebook ‘event’: If not then WHY NOT, this is a must for your race. It is straightforward to create a Facebook event. Once done you can add your race info, images and share the event to help build interest, you will be able to see who has marked themselves as ‘going’ and who is ‘interested’ and you can use your partners and sponsors to share your event to help get this in front of more people. This is a quick win to help get people inviting friends and also getting your race in front of people local to your event that are actively looking for something to take part in. You can also use your Facebook event to help get key messages across to runners or also promote things such as competitions or post entry links within the event to convert those that have marked an interest in taking part. Everytime you post in this event, participants will receive a notification which is much more effective than posting from your page.
  1. Do you use the ‘groups’ ‘reviews’ ‘shop’ or ‘community’ tabs: Being active on Facebook for you is all about building a group on entrants that can talk to each other and achieve their goals and feel a part of something. Facebook is great for building that feeling through the use of these extra tabs that you can add to your page. Promoting post race reviews on your Facebook page is also key to helping improve your credibility and compete with other events. Be sure to also reply to any negative reviews so you can act quickly to resolve these issues and turn them into happy future participants! If you sell merch it is also worth setting up a Facebook shop, this acts as an extra revenue stream for your business and a quick way to get rid of those race tees you have been stacking up!
  2. Have you tried Facebook ads: If not and you want to grow your race you are missing out on this pool of entrants just waiting to see your event, whether your budget is £10 or £500 you can gain 100s through easy to set up targeted ads, give us a shout.

We’re here to help

If you have any questions or would like some help on maximising your Facebook you can contact matthew@eventrac.co.uk

Eventrac Opening for Entries

Don’t miss those extra keen runners, what are you waiting for?

Quick fire questions:

How long should you spend on your Race Listing on Eventrac?

As long as you want, it is fairly quick to set up your event but bear in mind that the more time you put into it the more value you will get out. It is worth adding course maps, videos, extra information and directions. This will make your entrants feel confident in the race you are putting on.

Do I need to be a tech whizz?

Nope! everything can be done step by step, our team can advise you. The Eventrac platform is built for ease of use and is optimised for Race Organisers who don’t want to spend their limited time being hands on with the admin behind managing entries.

Is my event too small for this to be worthwhile?

Of course not, an effective race listing can help your current entrants feel confident and committed to your events whilst also attracting new participants.

What to I get out of this?

The race experience for your entrant begins the moment they see your race listing and think about entering. If you provide content rich information this helps gain their trust and interest and helps you compete with similar events!

 

 

What to do

So this year’s race has just finished, what do you do? If your race went to plan and you are confident that you are going to go ahead for next year then open for entries ASAP! What are you waiting for? Once you have the permission and the basics confirmed such as a rough route, license and you are all go then there is no reason to hold back from accepting entries.

 

Entrants from this year may be keen to enter again and you want to capture them whilst they are still relishing their latest achievement taking part in your event. The moment you start gaining entries these are all people that will start talking about your race to their friends and family and they can utilise the Eventrac social sharing tool to help spread the word.

 

Opening your race up for entries a few months sooner can capture 20, 50, 100, or even 300+ entrants or more depending on how well you market your race’s USPs. Eventrac has a Email Marketing tool that is simple to use and you can communicate to your database – giving them the latest information about your route, medal, goody bags, sponsors or special offers that will help prompt them to sign up.

 

When you have more information about your race you can edit your Eventrac race listing and add in your course maps, videos, merchandise and more. The more time you spend optimising this the more chance there is that someone looking to enter your event will enter. You will want to make sure your website and race listing is accurate and looking at it’s best before you start looking at any paid marketing such as Facebook ads so that it gives you the best possible chance to convert that traffic into participants.

 

One trick you can do is to take advantage of the ‘new year’s resolution rush’ this is a great time to promote your race to people looking to enter their next big event for next year. Between the months of October – January you should be looking into pushing your new year’s message our on all your platforms to let everyone know why your race is the best new year’s challenge!

 

Finally, make sure you keep all your entry data secure and safe, this is what you will be using to market your race entries for years to come.

We’re here to help

If you have any questions or would like some help on maximising your Race Listing you can contact matthew@eventrac.co.uk

A MOment to reflect..

Mo Farah is amazing. After yet more successful medal winning competitions over past weeks we are all still in awe of him. He just keeps on going and impressing us all. I wanted to know more about the man, so I have been busy doing some research and thought I would share some of this in case you want a little slice of inspiration today.

So, who is Mo Farah and where did he come from?

He was born Mohamed Muktar Jama Farah on 23 March 1983 in Mogadishu, Somalia. He moved to Britain at the age of eight to join his father and has a twin brother by name Hassan Farah. He went to school in south London. Among those who saw potential in Mo, was a PE teach at Feltham Community College, Alan Watkinson. Farah was a natural athlete. Mo became the best javelin thrower in his school at that time. He started to compete in cross country events including the London Youth Games.  In 1996 at the age of 13, Farah represented his school in the English School Cross-Country championship and finished a creditable ninth. He went on to win five English school titles from that next year onwards. It was the start of what was to become a glittering career, littered with broken records and medals along the way. As we all know he didn’t look back and continued competing in events all over the world, winning along the way.

Farah competed in his first road competition in the ‘2009 Great South Run,’ held at Portsmouth.  I was there!  But I was a bit slower than Farah who won the 10 mile race with a time of 46:25!

We have Clair Balding to thank for the famous “Mobot” pose.*  We have all come to recognise and love this signature sign.

With sugar coated cereal for breakfast, pasta for lunch and grilled chicken for dinner – Mo’s diet is what you would expect for an athlete and his coach’s secret formula energy drink clearly helps.  Yes, you need the training and the fuel, but as we all know, the winning formula is never complete without drive, determination and dedication blended in.  Mo has tons of that and he is very resilient too.  He runs about 130 miles a week and has an exhausting training regime – here is an example of a typical week.**

Monday
AM: 10-mile recovery run (6:00min/mile pace)
PM: 6-mile recovery run
Tuesday
AM: 4-mile warm-up run; 8-12mile tempo run anywhere from 4:40 to 5:00min/mile pace (depending on altitude and terrain); 3-mile cool-down run
NOON: Strength and conditioning session (1 hour)
PM: 6-mile recovery run
Wednesday
AM: 12-mile recovery run, followed by a massage.
PM: 5-mile recovery run
Thursday
AM: 11-mile recovery run
PM: 5-mile recovery run
Friday
AM: 4-mile warm-up jog; 10x200m intervals (with 200m recovery jogs) on grass in 29 seconds each rep; 10x200m hill sprints at equal effort, walk back down to recover; 4-mile cool-down run.
NOON: Strength and conditioning session (1 hour)
PM: 4-miles easy
Saturday
AM: 11-mile recovery run, massage
PM: 6-mile recovery run
Sunday
AM: 22-27 miles, no slower than marathon race pace + 1 minute (for Mo, this means 5:40min/mile)

So what is going on for Mo now?  If you watched it, you would have seen that Mo Farah just missed out on a fifth major championships distance double in a row as he finished second in the 5,000m at the 2017 World Athletics Championships. The 34-year-old, who won the 10,000m gold medal, was swamped by his rivals in the final lap and Ethiopia’s Muktar Edris broke clear to win gold. Britain’s Farah kicked again to take silver at the London Stadium in his final major track championships.

Our four-time Olympic champion will finished his track career with a record of 10 golds and two silvers in major championships. He announced he will focus on marathons after his final track appearance on 24 August where he won a thrilling 5,000m in the final track race of his career at the Diamond League event in Zurich.

More recently, Mo was joined by up to 57,000 people who took to the streets in the Great North Run.  Success again for Mo who won this event for the fourth time in a row.  The four-times Olympic champion won the elite men’s race in one hour and six seconds.

*** “It’s been a long journey but it’s been incredible,” Farah told BBC Sport in a recent interview.  We know that you are incredible Mo Farah.  All of us here at Eventrac wish you the very best of luck for the future and thank you for all those wonderful “MO” moments that inspire us all to keep on running!   We will continue to follow you with interest.

Information taken from:-

*Boomsbeat.com

**BBC Good Food

***BBC Sport 

 

Carbohydrates – a simple or complex debate?

Carbs are a hotly debated topic – apart from the old wives tales and myths, the running & fitness magazines are full of dietary tips and hints and carbohydrates get a lot of exposure both positive and negative.  Carbs have had a bit of a bad press of late.   We have special diets and recipes telling us one thing then are faced with the array of tubes, packets and boxes on the supermarket shelves all telling us what is in our food in different ways.   There is so much information being thrown at us that it is no wonder we are all a bit confused.  Of course, then there are always those who will quote what they believe to be true or love to share what works for them – and why not – the sporting community might be competitive but we do look after our own!   One thing is for certain, what we eat can have a huge impact on our physical well-being.

As sports persons we need to know what we need and when we need it to perform our best every time we get active. We also want to have an easy life and not spend hours slaving in the kitchen preparing complicated meals when we are on the run or just back from one! The battle of carbohydrate versus protein is just another distraction that takes us off our course and leaves us wondering what we should take in to keep our fitness levels fine tuned.

So what exactly is a Carbohydrate?  If you remember your school days, there are simple carbs and complex carbs. Carbohydrates are one of three nutrients that form a large part of our diet found in food – the others being fat and protein. Hardly any foods contain only one nutrient and most are a combination of carbohydrates, fats and proteins in varying amounts. There are three different types of carbohydrates found in food: sugar, starch and fibre.

Sugar is found naturally in some foods, including fruit, honey, fruit juices, milk (lactose) and vegetables. Other forms of sugar can be added to food and drink such as confectionary, biscuits and soft drinks during manufacture, or we can add when cooking or baking at home.

Starch is actually made up of many sugar units comprised together and is found in foods that come from plants. Starchy foods, such as bread, rice, pasta and potatoes, provide a slow and steady release of energy throughout the day.

Fibre is the name given to the diverse range of compounds found in the cell walls of foods that come from plants. Good sources of fibre include vegetables with skins on, wholegrain bread, whole wheat pasta and pulses (beans and lentils).

Being a time poor veggie, I am particularly fond of ingredients that provide a one stop shop of a healthy balance of calories, carbs, protein, fibre and fat. I often turn to those that are readily available from my local supermarket such as Quinoa, Bulgar Wheat, Durum Wheat (Macaroni), Whole Barley, Coucous (I love the giant variety), and if you hunt you can also get those less well known ones such as Cassava, Sago, Millet, Taro and Buckwheat (which can be a nice alternative to rice).  All of these contain carbohydrates and can be used as the basis for some brilliant and mouth watering recipies that don’t take hours to prepare but will keep well in the fridge.

Jane Griffin, a Sports Dietitian and Nutrition Consultant in an article entitled “Mood Foods” says that “Carbs are good” (I’m liking this lady) Jane says “The glucose in our blood comes from carbohydrate-rich foods and the body really likes to keep a steady level of blood glucose at all times…. The main sources of simple carbohydrates are fruit and fruit juices, milk and milk products, honey and sugar. Sources of complex carbohydrates include bread, rice, pasta, potatoes, breakfast cereals, pulses and sweetcorn. Carbohydrates are the most important source of energy in the diet, being the primary energy source for exercising muscles, the brain and central nervous system.

Just eating sensibly and not over indulging is the best advice and the bottom line is that Carbs can be good and bad for you. You just need to choose your carbs carefully. Check out this article by Nicole Lana Lee  which I found interesting to read.  It dispels some of the carbohydrate myths and offers some sound advice.

Perhaps just keeping an open mind, a balance of dietary information, a healthy dose of common sense  and eating sensibly will be your recipe for success.

A useless piece of information – did you know that the first known use of the word Carbohydrate was in 1851! We’ve come a long way since then on both the sporting and the dietician front haven’t we.

Got an opinion or do you want to share some advice? We would love to hear from you on this debate – or perhaps you might like to share your favourite recipe.  Please send comments or articles through to info@eventrac.co.uk*.

 

 

*submitted articles will be subject to approvals and we cannot offer any guarantee we will publish

Hot tips for summer running

It’s not officially summer yet but the weather forecast for the next week or so is looking continually optimistic. We are all due to get a good dose of vitamin D it seems.  Wonderful.  It’s hotting up across the country – with predictions in some areas, of rising temperatures possibly getting above 30 degrees this weekend.  But this isn’t about forecasting the weather, its about making sure our runners make the most of it wisely and safely.

The heat is the most difficult element for runners to train in and the weather conditions can impact on performance in both the long-term and short-term.  During training or taking part in a race in the heat, your performance suffers for several reasons:-

Firstly, your overall body temperature increases. The higher your core body temperature, the worse you are going to feel.

Second, as soon as the body starts to heat up, blood is diverted to the skin, where cooling takes place through sweating and evaporation. Therefore, less blood is available to deliver oxygen to your working muscles. Less oxygen means you can’t run as fast or as hard and the effort to maintain or increase your pace dramatically increases.

Finally, you become more easily dehydrated in hot and humid conditions. When fluid levels drop, your body’s cooling methods, mainly the ability to sweat, erode and you have a harder time controlling your body temperature. This in turn causes the core body temperature to rise faster and that limits your performance.

So what can you do to help?

Choose the right running gear
Wear loose-fitting and light coloured clothing. Technical t-shirts that are designed to allow perspiration to pass through them and evaporate, may help to reduce core temperatures.

Protect yourself
Wear sunglasses, wear a loose-fitting hat or wear a visor. Apply sunscreen and a little bit of petroleum jelly (or specialist lubricating product) on the feet, under arms and in other sensitive areas help to prevent chaffing or blisters forming.

Get your timing right
Avoid running between noon and 3.00 pm when the sun is strongest. You will enjoy the fresher morning air quality if you go out early.

Pick the right route
Choose shady routes, avoiding hot roads. If you are lucky enough to run by the coast then the sea breeze will be cooling. Running by water or through the woods is also stimulating and can be refreshing.

Stay hydrated
Drinking 500ml of fluid two hours before a run is recommended – try water, a sports drink or diluted fruit juice – and another 150ml of fluid just before you run, you’ll have enough time for your body to clear what you don’t need before you set off. Getting the balance right before, during and after the run is important. It makes sense to carry some liquid with you – if you don’t like carrying a bottle you can get a running belt that accommodates bottles or wear a hydration back pack. It’s also best to avoid drinks with caffeine and alcohol before runs as they increase urine output which can make you even more dehydrated.  It just makes sense to be prepared.  See our “pure hydration blog

Pace yourself and know when to stop

Start your run at a pace that is slower than usual. It will take you longer to overheat. If you feel you are getting overly uncomfortable take a rest and go into some shade. Illness caused by heat exhaustion can be serious. If you experience headaches, confusion, loss of muscular control, flushes, clammy skin or upset stomach then this could be a sign that something is wrong. If you feel any of these then STOP.
All that said, there is nothing nicer than getting out for a long scenic run on a glorious day. It promises to be a great bank holiday here in the UK so get out and enjoy it if you can. We wish you happy and safe training and look forward to seeing your entries in some of our forth coming events.

Organisers Insight – Hermes Running

David Ross – Race Director – Hermes Running says “It was a great event at Bewl Water last weekend and I hope all the participants enjoyed the experience. The sunny weather and light breezes made the conditions ideal, and I want to say well done for conquering the challenging Bewl trails. There were some inspired times across all three of the respective race distances. The men’s half marathon was won by Patrick Burke who stormed home with a time of 1:20:00, with the leading lady Penny Brook also having had a cracking run to clinch her victory in a time of1:35:15. The men’s marathon winner Benjamin Parkes cruised to victory in a stellar time of2:52:32 and the ladies’ winner Lucy Hilton set a new CR time of 3:26:14 also having had a really inspirational race.

In the ultra marathon the men’s winner Peter Summers (Handy Cross Runners) was victorious and he also set a superb new CR winning the race in 4:51:19 with the ladies’ winner Ali Campbell (Clapham Chasers) storming to victory to cross the line setting a new CR time of5:43:25. Fantastic running performances from all these runners and a great set of results from all our male / female podium winners, and to everyone for achieving a great set of results and personal goals.

I also wanted to say a big thanks to my race sponsors, the Ultramarathon Running Store, Tailwind Nutrition, Chia Charge, High 5, Steigen Socks and Profeet. The marshals from both the 1254 (Godalming) Squadron Royal Air Force Cadets and 19th St.Matthews Scouts Group, my friends and supporters, Swift Chip Timing, The Response Group Medics, DW Sports Massage Therapists, Ultimate Sports Therapist, R & R Race Photography, River Pixels and the wonderful support staff at Bewl Water who were all fantastic. Your stellar efforts and valued support of the event were really appreciated. The R & R race photographs are just being tagged and will be attached to  participant email addresses, in the interim all the Bewl Water event race photo’s can be purchased here now for £4.95 each.

Congratulations too all the UK Comrades runners that ran Bewl as a long training run for the epic race taking place on 4th June. I will be there again this year running my 13th Comrades. If any of you decide to sign up for this in 2018 please drop me a line and I will willingly help you with any advice, information or training that you need as this is a wonderful event and a truly humbling race to do.

I know some of you have already signed up for my next event in the series, the North Downs Way races on 9th July so I look forward to seeing you there. Thanks to you all for your support of my events, keep up the inspired running and no matter what goals you set yourself make them challenging, and embrace the spirit that comes from within!
Carpe’ Diem always.”

Don’t forget that the Bewl Water events were just part of the Hermes Running Series and check out the next two events – The North Downs Way on 9th July – and The Thames Meander on 12th August and 4th November

Eventrac’s founder Aaron Bird says “it’s great to hear about all the events we promote. If you took part in Bewl or any other event you would like to showcase then please let us hear your own personal experiences for our blogspot. There are some brilliant events coming up to challenge and inspire. Go for it – we will be rooting for you”

Peter Thompson and the number 44

Now 44 could be your age (yes the 40s are the new 30s), your waist size (well perhaps you could be a little trimmer), your trainer size, or if in your 70s the year you were born (and yes there are plenty of 70 year olds still running) or it could be the number of cumulative miles you ran last week. According to Wikipedia the number 44 has significance in mathematics that go beyond it following 43 and preceeding 45 (the limit of my understanding), it’s the number of laps at the Belgian Grand Prix and a quick google even turns up a definition on an Australian Blog Site that the 44 is linked to Angels and Archangels “giving us inner strength” (and that is definitely something that we runners have oodles of). Ok there are loads more sporting significances. A mere number you may say so whats the point of this blog….

This week sees the announcement that 44 was a pretty significant number for awe-inspiring Peter Thompson, from Bournemouth, who has just completed 44 marathons in 44 days in 44 countries. That’s pretty amazing and Peter – we applaud you – the force was definitely with you on this one!

Peter began his challenge on 1 April in St Petersburg and finished in Dublin on Sunday. It must have been a logistical nightmare but Peter just took this in his stride and he even managed to do his washing on the way and raise funds for two worthy charities too, Livability Holton Lee and Mind.

A recent BBC article reports “He (Peter) hoped his challenge would “encourage others to be open about mental health and, if comfortable, share their own stories…” Between each marathon he had to move from one country to the next, in “a mixture of trains, planes, buses, taxis, cars and ferries”. He said it had been the “best thing and the hardest thing” he had ever done.
The 32-year-old has raised almost £18,000 for mental health charities – a wonderful result. Congratulations and well done Peter – a truly great 44 effort!

Now I am not really superstitious (although I will run round a ladder) but writing this blog has got me the hang of this numerology thinking lark and I will definitely keep the 4s in my mind when I next run a 4 miler in training, even if I don’t spot an Angel on the way. When I need to pull something out of the bag to keep my mind strong I’ll take anything offered to keep me focussed on the end goal! In her Australian blog spot, Intuitive Writer, Joanne Warmsley says that “The Number 44 carries the doubled vibrations of the number 4, making its energies and influences magnified. Number 4 resonates with the attributes of support and stability, establishing solid foundations for the self and others, willpower and effort, ability and worthiness, hard work and achieving success, wholeness and inner-wisdom.”

Perhaps there could be something in this after all – which is why we posted this at exactly 4.44 pm!

Pure Hydration

Continuing the theme of elements (last month focussing on “earth” – ie Mud Runs), today’s blog turns to water. When you think of water you think of living! After all we could not be without it. Running round it, swimming through it, skating across it, sailing or rowing over it – water offers boundless opportunity in all its forms and dare I say it in in the company of athletes, its not half bad with a bit of gin poured over it when frozen into cubes!

I woke up thirsty this morning with H20 definitely on my mind this a very timely blog! Last weekend Hermes Running held the Bewl Water Half, Full and Ultra Marathon. Bewl is one of a series of events organised by lead organiser David Ross throughout the year and the courses circuit the reservoir that spans across the Kent/East Sussex Border. A hidden gem hidden behind woodland just off the main A21 London to Hastings Road, Bewl is not just a pretty sight – it is the largest reservoir in south east England providing drinking water for catchments across East Sussex and Kent. A superb place to circum-navigate. The three routes take in forested areas, open countryside trails overlooking the lake and along quiet country rural roads with record numbers taking part this year, loyal followers who return year on year for their Bewl fix plus many newcomers – it is a great event and you even get a medal with a fish on it! But, if you missed the “jewel that is Bewl” then don’t throw in your towel yet, you can still soak up the atmosphere – check out this Youtube video and a date for your calendar is coming very soon.

To drip feed you with an additional spot of good news – Bewl is only part of the Hermes Series journey which continues to navigate close to water as the events unfold – turning upstream this time to Surrey to follow the course of the Thames. There are two 2017 dates to choose from either 12th August or 4th November and even better a new date is about to be set for March 2018. Each date offers the option of a half or full marathon. Why not put the kettle on and check out this superb video produced by Stephen Cousins of FilmMyRun. Taking part in the marathon event himself last year – he offers great insight into the route, the people he meets on the way and gives his own honest and personal experience. His film which lasts just over 9 minutes – gives a great flavour to whet the appetite and steer you towards entry for either the August or November event this year.

What do they say – you can take a horse to water but you can’t make him drink! Ok so that’s enough of the watery puns – I promise. Seriously though hyrdration before, during and after an event involving strenuous exercise is important. There is a so much written about the subject it can be confusing but according to Matt Fitzgerald – author and Training Intelligence Specialist “the exercise hydration advice is in fact to drink according to your thirst. As long as you keep an adequate supply of palatable drink accessible during your runs, you will naturally drink enough to optimize your performance if you just drink as often and as much as your thirst dictates”. There are plenty of water stations on all the Hermes routes – make sure you get what you need.
Check out all the events that Eventrac has to offer – both watery and on dry land – a real cocktail of experiences to have with on us…

Cheers!

Mud, Mud, Glorious Mud

This weekend Ashdown Primary School are holding their annual mud run and will be having lots of fun raising funds for the school PTA.  We wish the families and kids taking part well and hope they raise loads for their PTA.  This muddy experience has prompted me to look into the mud event phenomena.  Ashdown join a host of other event organisers who are turning to mud to challenge and entertain and a whole industry has sprung up in recent years. Mud is gaining ground!

Its not uncommon on a weekend to see exhausted people walking along the road covered head to toe in the brown stuff looking like they have been dragged behind a tractor on a rainy day!  The dirtier you get, it seems, the better you will feel and yes, this is exercise!

Crawling through tight muddy tunnels, wading across icy water, dodging electric wires and jumping over fire. This is not everyone’s idea of fun – but a multimillion-pound industry has grown on the back of increasing numbers of women and men doing just that.  A recent BBC article:  Mud, Sweat and Cheers,  gives some fantastic and seemingly incredulous examples around the world of mud and challenge runs that would make you feel dirty and exhausted just looking at the photos and leave the reader wondering  how on earth anyone makes it to the finish line alive!  (I quickly step in here and say don’t be alarmed – a primary school’s event will be very safe and they won’t be doing all of that!)

But what draws participants to these ultimate challenge events?  Perhaps lives have just become too clean and safe.  Perhaps there is a need to reconnect with the experiences of ancestors who had to endure extreme hardship just to survive. Perhaps these events are seen as the next level of endurance race.  Everyone may have a different reason to take part but once you do, what appears consistent is that you become well and truly embedded in the concept.

Spending time in mud is good for us too apparently.   A Telegraph article written (about children) last year by Linda Blair: Mind Healing the Psychology of Getting Dirty: tells us that parents should encourage children to get muddy.  It says that there are many advantages and cites “Spending time outside encourages the production of endorphins, our natural painkillers that trigger feelings of wellbeing and being outdoors helps set our biological clock and promotes more restful sleep”. Ashdown Primary may be leading the way here!

Well done if you have taken part your own mud challenge. We look forward to hearing how you do and good luck to all in the Ashdown Primary School event this weekend.

Useful links:

Obstacle Course Race Association is a governing body formed to ensure that this type of event is safe – check out http://www.ocrauk.org.uk.  “Train safe, Race safe.”

PHOTO by Steven L. Shepard, Presidio of Monterey Public Affairs

Blister busting!

Congratulations to all those 1000s of runners who took part in the London Marathon yesterday, whether elite, club or novice runners. It is truly an amazing event and a great race result for you but what about your other footfall result – how are your tootsies today? A bit sore – oh dear – or maybe you’ve been unlucky enough to get a blister or two down at the lower end of those over-used extremities after going the distance. Those of us who have been there on that particularly uncomfortable journey have huge empathy with what you are going through – the blister is truly the runners curse!

If that was your foot fall result yesterday (or at any other recent event you have taken part in over the weekend) then we are sorry to hear about this temporary setback. The good news is that a blister soon goes and perhaps the euphoria of your triumph yesterday may be masking any pain or you haven’t had to squeeze your toes back into the work shoes yet anyway. Time to analyse why you got the blister later – for now you just want it to go right? Ok so before you take any drastic action we suggest you do take some advice to avoid any nasty infection that might delay you getting back into the training for your next event.

There are loads of remedies that I’m told you can apply to blitz that blister – cider vinegar, Epsom Salts (ouch that stings), chamomile compresses, soaking in green tea (aaahh that’s so soothing), tea tree oil, vitamin E, aloe vera etc can all bring relief, particularly if you are into alternative therapies. The NHS website has some very sensible advice too and those special second skin blister patches will surely need to go down in history as one of the true wonders of the medical world.  I find they bring instant relief!  Just try everything and see what suits you. Of course then there is the other side effect for the long distance runner – black toe nail trauma – but I won’t go into that now as anyway it could be weeks before yours falls off anyway!

Seriously, it was a long day yesterday and your feet deserve some praise for all their hard effort – so give them some TLC for the next few days and then maybe go out and buy some new socks and shoes, and a jar of Vaseline too perhaps, to give them a treat before their next running outing. We hope to see you and your healthy feet at one of our events soon.

Well done from us all here at Eventrac!