Good morning all
I hope everyone has just about dried out from yesterday, and those achy legs you’ve woken up with this morning feel like they were well earned ?
I’m hoping that you’re all alert enough this morning to do some reading, as I’ll apologise in advance that this email is going to be a long. I’ve purposely made it all in text rather than pics, so at least if you’re at work today reading this, you can make it look like you’re working in case your boss walks past your desk, rather than being side tracked reading a race email 😉
In this email I’ll cover the following:
How fast you went and how you looked doing it
Feedback request & tweaks for 2018
Extra Medals and shirts
Going forward and the 2018 raceHow fast you went and how you looked doing it
I get that this is the most important thing for you all that raced yesterday, so I’ll get this bit out the way first.
You can find the full results here :
And you can find your photos from the day here :
If you have photo’s from the race you want to share, not just from the official photographer, but your own too, please share them to our Facebook page as we’d love to see them – www.facebook.com/newswindonhalf
Feedback request & tweaks for 2018
This is the race for you all, the racers.
I actually saw very little of the race yesterday, and for us to continue to grow and for this race to be perfect for everyone, we need you all that were out battling on the course yesterday to let us know what you loved and what you didn’t.
This was our first stab at a Town Centre Half Marathon, and it appears we did a decent job of it from the feedback I’ve had from competitors so far, but need to understand all the little details and the things you liked and didn’t
I’ll be the first person to put my hand in the air and admit there were teething problems in year one, and things that in following years will be much easier to get out earlier in terms of information and packs, as well as a few learning points for next year that only really became apparent yesterday as the race was running – Namely, a bigger finishing area running out into Canal Walk, Some directional arrows to the Bag collection, and a longer goody bag/medal collection area that can get people through more efficiently, better spaced bottle drops after the bins and few other slightly less obvious tweaks such as getting a park and ride in place, which we can easily sort in time for next year.
I’ll talk about the traffic issues later in this mail, but am confident we can address those too.
If you do one thing after this email, please just let me know what you thought as this is your race, and we’d love you to come back and bring all your friends too, as that’s the only way this race can reach it’s true potential and survive.
We partnered up with 15 Local Charities for this year’s race, and each of the charities were given 5 completely free slots. Hopefully, you all enjoyed the atmosphere stations they had out on the course yesterday too
I know that a big chunk of you used your own slots to raise money for various other charities too, and we’d love to keep a running total of what people have raised and for which charity, as this information is great leverage for us to be able to go to the wider public in Swindon as well as the Council and various other bodies to get the support from them we need.
If you did run for a charity yesterday, please can you let me know which one and how much you’ve raised, or are expecting to raise, and we’ll compile a spreadsheet and keep a running total.
It might also be that we see a pattern of many people running for the same charity, and we can try and bring them into the race next year for some free slots in exchange for an atmosphere station like we did with the 15x 2017 partner charities.
Extra Medals and shirts.
As you might imagine, we have a lot of medals and shirts left over from yesterday.
For you guys/girls that finished, you have family and partners etc that have been as much a part of your journey to this race as you have, and I’m sure you’d like to be able to recognise them putting up with you moaning about your training or the early morning runs by getting them a medal too.
We also have a load of shirts left over, which we’re happy to dish out.
In order to try and help promote our local park run, which does so much to introduce people to running, we’ll be at the Park Run in Lydiard Park this Saturday morning with boxes of shirts and medals which are free to take.
It’s not fair to hand out extra medals to random people that didn’t race, so if you want another medal, please bring your current one with you to show you did finish, and we’ll happily give you another
The shirts are free for anyone to take.
As Im sure many of you have seen and heard, traffic conditions yesterday were less than ideal, and created quite a few problems on the course.
This was down to many different things, and all of the those various issues have some level of countermeasure that can be put in place for next year’s race.
We genuinely believed that we had notified enough people of the race, that the wider public of Swindon would minimise road travel during the race yesterday, and that although traffic would be busy, we never saw the level of congestion and anger it caused coming in a million years.
Over the last few months, we’ve been in the paper around 8 times, we’ve been on both Heart FM and BBC wiltshire multiple times with references to the closures and the date, and we put up 93 ‘Advance Warning’ Yellow signs around the course around 2-3 weeks out to let people know the roads would be closed for somewhere between 2-4 hours depending on how early in the course it was. However, it just wasn’t enough, and we’ve learnt from this to change the way we notify next year.
There’s some tweaks to the planning we can make, and few slight changes to the course, that will make a small difference to the runners, but a massive difference to the flow of traffic (one example being hopefully having use of the Service road over the bridge behind the outlet rather than running over the road into the bus gate on Rodbourne road)
We did have unforeseen problems on the course, and a handful of our Police officers on the junctions that were managing traffic were dragged away on an emergency, and we recognise that although this is something largely out of our control, we need a better contingency in case this happens again.
I’ve given an apology to the people of Swindon that were so vocal in complaining though both the radio and newspaper, and we’re truly sorry for any of you that were caught up getting out of the town after the race or had spectators or family/friends caught up in it too.
It’s all a learning curve for us, and please be rest assured that we’ll be better in this area next year.
We’re not traffic management experts, and contracted in a private company for this purpose. They were sold to us as the best of the best, but there’s a lot of areas that can improve, and we definitely recognise this.
We’ve always wanted this race to be the event that is not only amazing for runners, but is welcomed in by the locals too, and although there was a massive amount of support on the course from the majority of local residents, which I hope you all saw yesterday, there’s a very vocal minority that were certainly less than happy.
To give some perspective, which has been lost in the myriad of social media posts, we closed the roads for just a few hours on one Sunday afternoon of the year. I’ve spoken with the organisers of Bath, Reading etc and many of the other large scale town/city centre events, and they have all said that people just get used to it coming, and plan their journeys according, much like the people do in Fairford/Down Ampney etc at the time of the airshow.
Would can do more to notify them, and we’ll make sure we do in future years, and again, we’re sorry for any anger or delay caused.
Going forward and the 2018 race
We always went into this with a multi year plan, and we do hope that the race can grow and grow as year’s go on and we can cement it into the running calendar like other local races such as Bath, Reading and Bristol have. Not least as we’ve funded this with our own money.
However, we need you all, as the running community to really get behind the race and push it forward.
I’ve no doubt that some of the local councillors and MP’s, the race Sponsor and Police will have inundated with emails from the wider public that don’t want a race in Swindon town centre as it detracts from their right to drive around on a Sunday, so in order to add some balance, please can you all let them know how much you enjoyed it, and that Swindon needs something like this to put it on the map.
Our town centre is, unfortunately, not used to it’s full potential, and on any normal Sunday afternoon would be almost entirely empty of shoppers or people seeing the wider Swindon area. Yesterday, the town centre was buzzing and the local shops had people queuing out the doors. We attracted something like 6,000 people into the town centre yesterday, and had 1000’s more come out their houses to support the runners around the course. Wood street and Old town were amazing from what I’ve seen on videos and people’s photo’s, and I’d really like the town to recognise this rather than just focussing on the vocal minority. The only way the Town will recognise this is if you, the runners, let them know, please let our sponsors, the MP’s and councillors and the Police know how much you liked and valued the race.
Of course, this race also needs more sponsorship to move forward, so if you have local companies that want to benefit from the race, please get in touch as we have so many different ways in which we can work together.
You may have hated it, and its your prerogative to let them know that too, but we sincerely hope we delivered something that’s starting to look exactly like the large scale running event the town needs to get bring exposure to the area, get people up off their sofa’s and running, and to give the runners, clubs and charities something that will benefit them all
Next year’s race will have a date set in the coming months and entries will open on January 1st
That’s it for my ramblings for this year’s event, but please let me know what you thought of the race and what you want to see in year’s to come.
Hopefully you’ve all managed to stay away during my mails, and we look forward to seeing even more of you next year
Graeme, Leigh and the Swindon Half team