So, chatting to the GM at the park, he’s probably almost as upset as I am. They’ve been so supportive of the event for the past five years.
We’ve agreed that, so long as the pandemic is over, we are absolutely welcome back on the third weekend of November 2021.
So that’s a starting point.
I need a few days off, I’ve also just had to do a last minute escape from France this weekend – found out about the quarantine just after I’d finished online on Thursday night, and I’m absolutely poggered after a non stop drive up from Kent.
Pleased to confirm that once again, we’ll be running under a permit issued by the Association of Running Clubs, which gives £10million of liability insurance and assures you that the organisation of the event meets certain guaranteed standards.
It is therefore absolutely acceptable for the majority of multi-marathon clubs, including the UK 100 Marathon Club.
I’ve put a lot of research into this decision, and we’ve decided to provide a fully chip-timed event this November. This will relieve pressure on me on race day, and provide an even more polished experience for everyone taking part.
There has been a significant thought process which has gone into this decision, as it is adding to the overall costs, but as with the addition of professional medical support last year, I’m happy that the Maravan has taken off and it’s no longer a completely homebrew event with just me, some friends from Northern Lincolnshire and the 100 Marathon Club running laps of a caravan park, and that it has rightly turned into one of the most exciting running weekends of the year in our little part of the world.
I’ve looked at several timing options, but speaking to Matt at Timing Monkey really sealed the deal for me. The Maravan is unique and needed a genuinely bespoke timing arrangement putting in place. Matt has experience in multisport timing, lapped events and multi-day events, so when he told me what he could do for our lapped multi-day festival I didn’t need to think twice. We’ve also discussed the various measures that we may need to take with regard to social distancing, and we can formalise the arrangement we have had in the past whereby run-walkers can begin before the masses, therefore making the event even more inclusive.
So if you’ve never thought to try a marathon before, maybe give the Maravan a go. If you need it, you can potentially have almost the entire daylight hours available to complete the distance this year.
I’ve paid the deposit, confirmed the dates, and now we just need entries.
To that extent, having a professional in will let me increase the entry limits very slightly – not so much that we’ll lose the intimacy of our little event, but enough to give more people the chance to take part – so I’ve increased the numbers for the relay back up to last year’s entry level, 35, and I can make ten or so extra spaces available for each of the other events if we need.
I do need to order the medals by the end of August, though, so any entries between that date, and the end of October, when I need to confirm entry numbers to Timing Monkey will come at a small premium (as the medals cost more to produce after August)
Therefore, we’d suggest that you get entries in sooner rather than later, remembering that, if you can’t run, you can transfer your entry for free to another runner up until the end of October as part of our fair runners policy.
As part of my preparations for November, I’m having to look at whether there is a way that I can implement a method by which small groups or individuals can set off at the same time.
We’ve always had wave starts at Maravan but usually of a more informal nature, where the run-walkers have been able to start when they are ready. It’s always worked, so far at least, but it’s really difficult to time, especially in poor weather, when both the traditional paper and pen method, and the more modern app method both struggle.
I’m looking at possibly needing to implement a more formal wave starting method this year if social distancing is still required, and as such, I’m having to make decisions now that have an effect on the cost to me of organising the event.
I’m almost 100% certain that I’ll use professional timers this year for all events for both days, with timing chips and the cost that that incurs. The advantage to me is that I can relax slightly more on race day without having to panic about times and counting runners.
This does come at a cost, however, but I’m hoping to be able to recoup some of that additional cost with the ability to handle more entries, and especially more relay and half marathon entries – which I really struggle timing.
It would help me, though, as I have to pay a deposit up front, if you’re thinking of entering, if you could do it soon. Remember that you can transfer your entry for free, to another runner, or switch to another event, right up until the end of October.
I’m deliberately not sitting on my hands doing nothing, and I’m still planning on having a Maravan in November unless Boris bans it.
The current situation is that I have only one significant expense which needs to be covered by me well in advance of race day, which is medals.
Having mopped up the overspend from last year (late decisions to provide professional medical cover and live timing), I’m on my way to being able to cover the costs of medals as well, which is fantastic news.
To make it a bit less of a gamble on my part, I’ll reuse the mould from this year, but do a different colour, but I need to decide on whether to put the year on the ribbons or use an alternative method to signify the year. Remember that there’s never been any profit in this event, so I bankroll any shortfall myself.
In an ideal world, I’d have gone and placed an order at Docks Beers nice and early as well, to give support to this wonderful local company, but with the weather having been like it has been recently I’m not completely sure I’d have kept it out of my mouth.
Day 1 of the Maravan is now at 15, so for those of you who wait for an event to cross that magic threshold, get your entries in now.
I have plans to deal with social distancing if it is required in November, but obviously, they’ll come at cost to me, so I’d rather wait and see what I need to do. Obviously, everyone’s safety is paramount, so I’ll do whatever it takes to put on a safe event.
This year, if everything goes to plan, I’ll be using the “Webscorer” app to count laps and time.
Apart from Sue and I not having a soggy piece of paper on a clipboard to read and try to count laps on, there are three big advantages to using this app.
The first is that lap times are recorded. Which gives you more data, which is good. I’m not going to guarantee the accuracy of the first lap, as we’re still learning the software, plus we’re both involved in the relay.
The second is that the software automagically creates results files for me, saving me the administrative burden of having to type them up, and meaning that you can have results on the day. This allows me additional beer time on Saturday evening.
I’m genuinely excited about the third big advantage, though, which is live timing. This means that you, or anyone who wants to follow you, can see which laps all the runners are on and see how you are progressing. This is super handy if they’re coming to cheer you on. It also means that you’ll be able to find out your time within seconds of crossing the line. Of course, I’ll hopefully still be able to cheer you in with a time in the traditional fashion.
There’s also a pair of start lists on that site just now, but I’ve made amendments on the live data on the tablet, so it might not be right. It might be worth your while looking, though, to see if I’ve missed you out, especially if you’ve been involved in a swap recently.