RaceRaves is Live!

As someone who wants to run all over the United States and (hopefully, eventually) the world, I am always researching new races.  However, it’s not always easy.  Though a plethora of blogs and articles exist about races, they don’t always include the information I want.  Even large events, like New York and Chicago, can sometimes be plagued by a glut of information that can be cumbersome to sift through.

That’s where RaceRaves comes in.

raceraves-screenshot-main-page

The site is the brainchild of Mike from Blisters, Cramps & Heaves and his wife Katie.  They set out to create a space where runners could outline all of their races, rate them on several key components, and supplement those reviews with their own blogposts, pictures and videos.  The ultimate goal is to have a community where runners can discover new races, meet like-minded individuals and keep track of their achievements in one cohesive space.

Top of Profile Page: the animal icon next to my name is one of five options (Turtle, Horse, Goat, Cheetah and Camel)

Top of Profile Page: the animal icon next to my name is one of five options (Turtle, Horse, Goat, Cheetah and Camel)

Mike and Katie reached out to me in May of this year to help with the site’s functionality, features and look.  It has been a pleasure for me to collaborate with them on the user experience and to brainstorm big ideas for the future (and as you might have guessed, my profile on the site is already robust).  That’s because the site’s usefulness and appeal depend entirely on people like you and me.  If you’re the type of runner that is always excited about a getaway race or simply someone looking for a fun 10k in your state, this is the kind of site that will help you learn more about those opportunities.

Further down your profile, the site organizes your races according to PR, Future and Past races.

Further down your profile, the site organizes your races according to PR, Future and Past races.

But first we need people to sign up and help make this the community it can be.  As bloggers, we depend on each other for feedback, insight and perspectives on the sport.  Wordpress and Blogspot are only as useful as the people that write on their platforms, penning opinions and stories.  Those of us who write about running do so for many reasons, but one of the most crucial is to tell the world about that new race that made us suffer a wonderful myriad of emotions from gun to tape.  And yet, in three months, as we’ve continued writing, that story may be hard to find, even for your most dedicated readers.  RaceRaves aims to keep all of those stories in one place.

Past races, ordered chronologically, with results and overall ratings

Past races, ordered chronologically, with results and overall ratings

I am very excited by this site and I want it to be successful.  With a thriving community of runners and writers alike, it could become a hub for 50-staters and casual runners alike.  Please check it out if you’re interested and spread the word to your own readers and social circles.  For more information on RaceRaves, please read Mike’s post and feel free to post any questions or comments about it here or on his site.

 

Races Only or New Material?

When I started this blog in November 2010 (though it technically started as a series of Facebook “Notes” in January of that year), I did so with the intention of keeping the material consistent: detailed race recaps, and little else.  I wanted to do that because that’s how I like my websites.  I like them for one reason and so I follow or visit them for that reason alone.  In fact, that’s how I am with most of the running blogs out there – I will rarely read or comment on a post that isn’t specifically related to a race because that’s what I care about.  I know that runners (maybe more than most) have layers to them – hang-ups, dreams, frustrations and desires – and they want the world to know about them.  Most of the time, these underlying currents fuel their mileage.

Call me an ogre, but I don’t always read those posts (and yes, I recognize the irony of writing this post in the first place).  However inspirational or poetic as these stories might be, I’m more drawn to tales of the struggle to get through a specific distance.  Very often these parallel battles make their way into the race-day narrative and that, I think, is the perfect balance.  For the purposes of my blog specifically, I felt like adding anything else besides race recaps would dilute the content.  As a fan of consistency, I like the idea that anyone following me knows that a post from me means a detailed story of a long distance race and little else.  So any anecdotes of my athletic origins or subtexts on running would be made manifest in races themselves.

However, a few months ago I broke that commitment by doing a product review for Motorola, mostly because I felt obligated to do so.  I felt like Jerry in the Seinfeld episode “the Soup” where he receives a free Armani suit from an annoying comedian and then spends the episode being guilted into buying him a “meal,” the exact definition of which is nebulous and therefore hilarious (“I gave you a free Armani suit and you give me soup?”).  Don’t get me wrong, if companies deem me enough of a Connector (to borrow a term from Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point) to send care packages full of running freebies, I will review them ‘till kingdom come.  Wait a minute, did I just sell out?

Anyway, I digress.

I’ve been successful at keeping this blog interesting by lining up a lot of races in a short period of time.  However, there will definitely come a time where I find myself with months between running events.  By no means do I assume that there’s a huge audience out there glued to their computers, waiting for my meandering recollections.  If two months go by and I don’t post a recap, literally nothing about anything changes.  So this is mostly just about me, wanting to write because I love writing.

That’s when I got the idea.  Perhaps my site can expand to other realms of the running universe, revolving always around reviewing something.  As it stands right now, I’m focusing strictly on races, the people that put them together and those I meet along the way.  But would it kill or damage the “point” of this project of mine by adding some book reviews?  I recognize that it’s a slippery slope.  It started with the MOTOACTV review, now I’m thinking of adding books, and soon I’ll decide to be a celebrity news aggregator, relegating my 50-states stories to a tiny footnote in the corner, where it will get lost or worse, forgotten.

That is not my intention.  As of this writing, I have averaged a mere 1.4 posts per month, which is hardly a productive (or proactive) endeavor.  With that tiny number in mind, I am thinking of increasing that average to a still meager 1.8 or, hell, let’s go crazy, 2 posts per month.  I would largely stick to books that talk directly to the sport of running long distances and how they helped or supplemented my race experiences.

But first, I’d like to know what you think.  Should dans-marathon.com stick to its guns and review only races?  Or should I garnish the experience with my thoughts on some running books?  I promise I won’t be insulted or offended if you say I should stick to just races.  After all, I mentioned my affinity for consistency earlier, so we’d see eye to eye in that regard.  But I’m sure I’ll get one or two thoughts on this (mostly because most posts where the author asks for comments, he/she usually ends with very few responses), so whatever you say might be the only opinion I get.  Watch your wording.

And now that I think about it, this post is largely aimed at the people I would affectionately call my “regular” readers.  That’s right, all four thousand of you.   After all, who else would reach the end of such a boring post?  Even I wouldn’t have even clicked on this if I were browsing through my reader.  Is this is what happens when everyone at work takes summer hours but me?

Ok, I’ll end this here as my mind is clearly falling apart.  I demand that you tell me your thoughts.