Posts Tagged ‘Twitter’

Picking Up My Number:

After the longest week of work ever, Lady Jog A Little and I took Friday afternoon off to travel to the London Marathon Expo to pick up my running number. As a local Londoner I was advised to go before Saturday as the queues become horrendous. Good advice. In 3 minutes I had my race number, race chip, marathon-foto registration and Sally had already begun shopping.

I, very foolishly, dived straight in to pick up my marathon survival pack from the Lucozade Sport stand (we were all given vouchers) and parted with my £8 to receive a ridiculous amount of goodies. Of course it weighed a ton (it all being liquid) and I ended up standing around while Sally tried on everything she saw.

Impossible is writing any higher...

Dotted around the Excel centre were big boards absolutely full of good luck messages for friends, family and loved ones. There was a huge feeling of camaraderie. Everyone there had a common goal, some looking very nervous and others who were taking a chance to stock up on some discounted running goodies from the stands, but all smiling and very eager.

What can you expect if you’re going? Pasta, lots of pasta. At the back of the room there was a Pasta Party in progress. Bring a bit of cash and you can attend and listen to a few presentations on the stage. There are also two opportunities to get a quick sports massage (one from Addidas and one from the students of Middlesex University). I did neither. I’m scared witless of damaging something before Sunday so I declined.

There are also loads of places to pick up marathon gadgets like GPS watches, shoe wallets, mp3 player holders and bum-bags so if you need any last minute accessories then this is the place to be. If you have to, you can also get almost any running trainer available, but obviously for after the marathon as you shouldn’t be trying anything new for race day.

For the charity runners among you there is a Justgiving stand, where you can enter a competition for a donation. The challenge, draw a picture of yourself and your Justgiving page (some examples here). Sally did mine while I had my photo taken with John and Jon from Justgiving. John played my video through his iPhone while Jon tweeted about it!

John and Jon

Sally did art A-level

So what do you get in the London Marathon Expo goodie bags? A can of London Pride (for the night after), a jar of cranberry juice, 2 sugar free sweets, foot cream, a granola bar, deodorant, some massage gel and a LOT of leaflets. Not bad when you couple it with the amount of goodies you can pick up on the day.

However, my advice is, if you have to go on Saturday then try and get round everything as fast as you can. There’s a lot to see and do but not a lot of places to sit down. Like every major shopping venue, the floors are rock hard and it’ll tire you out quickly (the last thing you want before the marathon when you should be resting)…

Pasta Party

This will be my last post before the marathon (tomorrow will be spent on the sofa doing as little as possible). I’d just like to say a MASSIVE thank you to everyone who has read and commented on this blog. I’ve enjoyed every minute of writing it and the tips, advice and encouragement I’ve received has been overwhelming. Please come back after the marathon and I’ll let you know how I got on.

For those that aren’t running, Adidas have a system that allows you to track the people you know as they go round using the timing chips attached to their shoes. Just enter their number in to this website. Mine is 41333.

To all those running on Sunday, if you spot me then please come and say hello. I admire anyone who has the determination to train for as many months as it takes to complete a marathon and I’d love to chat to you. I’ll have Sir Jog A Lot written on the back of my vest and will be in the Red area. If I don’t see you then the best of luck to you

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More news:

£2000 target reached.

Today my employer put my London Marathon sponsorship total over the £2000 mark (£100 over it actually) and I reached my allocated sponsorship for the MS Society. With 9 days left to go until my first marathon this gives me the opportunity to relax a little and to focus my efforts on getting ready for the big day.

Target reached

I’m well and truly tapering off for the big day and, if I’m honest, I feel a little lazy. This week I’ve only done two runs so far and will being running 25 minutes on Saturday with an easy 10k on Sunday. I feel like I’m slacking as every part of me wants to be getting as much training in as possible before the 26th. I constantly worry that I’m going to undo all my hard work by not exercising enough but getting enough rest before the marathon is crucial.

So, to keep my mind off running, I’ll fill you in on a little more news…

356

The number of miles I’ve clocked up since I started training. This has been calculated from the 3560 minutes I know I’ve run and estimating an average speed of 10-minute miles. Some people seem to think this is quite low but, considering I’m counting from the beginning of January, it equates to an average of more than 23 miles a week. Basically, bugger off, I’ve done loads.

211018

The number of pennies I’ve raised so far (using Justgiving) for the MS Society. This morning, BBC Breakfast and a Daily Mail columnist (who blatantly took a negative stance just to get her grumpy face on television) made poor old Anne-Marie Huby (MD of Justgiving) justify Justgiving to the public after claims that fundraising websites are a form of emotional blackmail. Considering JG has helped raise over £400,000,000 since the year 2000 and without it’s help I wouldn’t have even come close to raising £2k, I won’t exactly be losing any sleep at night.

3099

The number of hits this blog has had since it’s debut in January. The busiest day was 23rd March after the I won the Justgiving competition and this blog featured in the JG newsletter.

7

The number of pounds (lbs) I’ve lost in weight. This is after initially gaining 7 lbs so I’ve managed to shed a stone since then. This was achieved by simply cutting out my daily early morning croissant. They’re fatty little blighters. I’m now as streamlined and aerodynamic as I’ll ever be.

206

The number of Twitter followers I now have. Most are all supreme athletes, fundraisers, bloggers and nutcases but they all have had at least one thing useful to say and it’s been a great way to stay in touch with this wonderful running community across the country.

4:14:2

My estimated marathon time having used the Runner’s World Race Time Predictor. I entered my half-marathon time to come to that conclusion. If I enter the best time I’ve done a 10k in it reckons I can do it under 4 hours. I’ll be watching out for the Runner’s World pace makers on the day.

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The Justgiving Meet Up:

The Justgiving pre FLM meet upIf you write a blog for long enough you eventually come in to contact with people who share the same interests, are going through what you’re going through and have advice and tips of their own. Since starting this blog in January I’ve had a total of 34 comments posted after the articles I’ve written. Most of these are from people who are either running in the 2009 London Marathon or have completed a marathon before. A fair few of these have blogs of their own.

Last night Justgiving gave a few of us the chance to meet up before the big race day to share tips and advice on our marathon training and, more crucially, fundraising. It was at the RIBA in London, which is a 20 minute walk from the office so Sally and I went along.

On entry I was immediately recognised by three people. Sophie and Heather from Justgiving spotted me straight away as they were among those who chose the video as the winning entry for the Justgiving video competition. Sophie has been a big help so far during my fundraising, helping to get an extra £120 towards my sponsorship (£100 for the video win and £20 for the interview). The third was Dan Worth, a fellow blogger and a journalist who lives in the London area. He quickly became used to basking in my blogging fame as the paps spotted us…

@salleeann, @sirjogalot and @danworth

…I wasn’t recognised by anyone else.

We sat down to hear our four speakers.

  1. Monty Halls – conservationist, TV presenter and former Royal Marines officer.
    Monty’s a professional public speaker so obviously had the room engaged. It was a refreshing talk as, although he has an incredible base level of fitness, this is his first marathon and he’s new to the whole experience. Monty’s great advice is that your body has the potential to do a marathon but your mind is what can stop you. He says that if you decide to pull out then you’ll have the rest of your life to think about that decision (i.e. when you’re feeling better back home). He was more eloquent than that. When asked, what will he be eating the night before the race, his answer was, “My entry form…”
    .
  2. Sally Kettle – twice Atlantic rower (once with her Mum) and her running partner Vanessa Gale.
    Sally has run the marathon before and managed to complete it with an injury. Her advice is to enjoy it as much as possible. You could spend the whole run wishing it was over but when it’s finished you’ll miss the experience. She also, during her very passionate speech, gave a quick fundraising tip. People will struggle to give away their money unless they’re getting something back in return. So selling something dirt cheap (her example was a chocalte eclair) for a high price (she charged £1-per-sweet) is a great way to get some extra funds for her charity. Sally raised over £100,000 for her first row across the Atlantic.
    .
  3. Simon Foster – Justgiving’s top London fundraiser (a whacking £28,000 so far!).
    Simon has managed to raise so much for his charity (Teenage Cancer Trust) by having such a compelling story behind his fundraising. Read his Justgiving page to find out more but he had the room in complete silence while he was telling it and it was obviously a very tough story for him to tell. I checked his JG page today and I can spot at least 4 healthy donations from people that attended this event so it speaks for itself. As his fundraising grew, the more it took off. He organised a golf day and Ashley Cole donated his football boots, all fantastic ways to raise cash. He has, however, spent a fair few bob in reciprocal donations!

All in all a smashing event and the JG team were, of course, tweeting the whole thing as it went along. The night ended with a private screening of the award-winning Sir Jog A Lot video. I don’t want to float my own boat or anything but…'Howls' of laughter...

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Dabbling in PR:

After winning the Justgiving video competition, I thought that the story behind it would be of suitable interest to my local media. I’ve been trying to come with an angle other than you might know this guy, he’s running the marathon and this was it.

The first thing I did was to get the news desk email addresses of my local press, the Horncastle News and the Lincolnshire Echo. Easy, I work for a media contacts database for the PR industry, but finding them out really isn’t hard.

The second thing I did was to draft a press release (Justgiving have a sample press release on their hints and tips page). Personally, I’ve never written a press release before but I’ve seen a fair few examples. They MUST start with a catchy subject line so the busy journalist won’t just think SPAM and delete it without even reading it. Ergo…

“Local lad wins London Marathon video competition:”

Key points to include:

  • Who are you?
    James Barnard, an ex Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School pupil, now working in London…
  • Why are you running?
    James (24) is running the Flora London Marathon 2009 in April for his girlfriend’s sister, Katie, who suffers from multiple sclerosis.
  • Your story.
    …has won the Justgiving video competition. His entry, which hosts a round-up of blog posts so far at his London Marathon training blog, sirjogalot.com, wins a £100 donation to the MS Society…
  • Your quotes.
    “I’m very happy to have won the competition and the extra money towards my sponsorship target has really made a difference. I’m just glad that I didn’t make a fool of myself for nothing!”
  • A photo.
    This is a little trickier as journalists get thousands of emails every day, which clog up their inboxes. In my case I gave my contact details if they wanted one but you can just as easily host one on the internet using Flickr or Photobox and provide a link to it. This way they won’t have to download your high-res image in their email.
  • Include your charity URL.
    It’s easy to forget but make sure you enter your sponsorship page in as the readers will have no idea how to sponsor you

I might follow up with another email in a couple of days time if you haven’t heard anything back, chances are that they are too busy to respond. However, usually this means that they’ve seen your press release and deleted it. Don’t feel too disheartened. Journalists are always short of time, always on deadline and will discard most things that aren’t breaking news.

It can’t hurt to try. You might get lucky…

The Horncastle News

The circulation of the Horncastle News is 5,190. Not bad. You could try and get a celebrity tweeter to mention your page and get it in front of half-a-million viewers, but who’s counting?

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Print Your Vest:

My running vest has arrived back. A fellow blogger, Becki Ellsmore, tweeted up her services as a running-top printer a few weeks back. The price? A hell of a lot better than the official printing service offered up by the London Marathon website. Plus all of the proceeds go to the charity she’s running for, Save The Rhino International.

I’ve been told that having your name on the front of your shirt in the latter stages of the race is a hell of a boost. Having a stranger shout “Come on James, lets have a big finish!”, sounds smashing and I’m sure that it’ll help me get over the line. Look out for this vest on the day if you’ll be there. I’ve also printed Sir Jog A Lot on the back so you’ll know who’s passed you…

Garish? No...

This is the first real bit of blog-on-blog loving I’ve done really and I feel a little ashamed. This is because without the help of my fellow FLM bloggers I don’t think this blog would have been nearly as popular (achieving 1000 hits per month now). A special mention to Becki, Tom, Dan and Phil (who does a great round-up of marathon blogs on the weekend). I’m not that generous really though. Every one of the pages I’ve just linked to has a link back to my blog in it! Reciprocal.

There’s a great community out of runners out there so get your journalism hat on and get involved…

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