Latest posts by Tarantula

1 to 10 of 17

Talkback: Interview: Hugh Brasher

Posted: 05/10/2015 at 10:08

"his father’s legacy is in safe hands"

If Chris saw what has become of Sweatshop he'd turn in his grave.  Shame on Hugh.

VLM - 12th rejection today in 12 ballot entries...

Posted: 27/09/2013 at 12:51

Thanks Stephen, that's really interesting.

I wish VLM did release the stats.

I assume the reason for the long delay between entering the ballot and getting the result is that they need to get GFA applications in and deferral places and charity entries etc, so they know how many places they have to allocate.  In contrast, the Great North Run announce the results a few days after the ballot closes for entries.

I'd be interested to know what the evidence is for the shaping you describe?  Phrases like "it is generally accepted" (in the passive voice) alway make me question the received wisdom.

For obvious reasons I think it would be far fairer to shape the outcomes to favour those who have entered unsuccessfully a number of times (like the OP).  One simple and transparent way I've seen suggested would be "multiple entries" for those who have entered multiple times.  If it's your second year you get two chances of winning, or twice as much probability of winning as a first timer, and so on.  It resets if you miss a year or get a place.  I realise they can't honour the five year rule any more, but this would help make things fairer.

Incidentally, it turns out I got a place this year!  My second year of trying (and bequeathing, although there was no mention of whether I got my place from the raffle or not).  A lot of friends were disappointed, so I know I'm exceedingly fortunate and I'm also very chuffed , if a little apprehensive!

VLM - 12th rejection today in 12 ballot entries...

Posted: 26/09/2013 at 16:37

Apologies to anyone who is already intimate with stats or for any mistakes in th above.

VLM - 12th rejection today in 12 ballot entries...

Posted: 26/09/2013 at 16:28

Boring probability lesson, while I wait to go home and check todays post.*

Lets imagine the odds for each entry are 1 in 5 (as is commonly suggested).

On your first entry the calculation is simple.

1 in 5 = 0.2 or a 20% chance.

On your second entry you don't add your "20%"s together to give 40% (because that would guarantee a place after 5 entries which is wrong).  And you don't multiply the 0.2 values (because that would lower the probability which is wrong).  We multiply probabilities when we want the probability of x and y happening.  0.2 * 0.2 gives the probability of getting a place in year 1 and in year 2 (4%).  Instead you can think about it like this.  What are the odds of not getting a place in year 1 and not getting a place in year 2? 4/5 * 4/5 = 16/25 = 64% . So the odds of getting a place at least once in either of the two years of entry are the opposite of that, 36% (because the probability of getting a place plus not getting a place has to add up to 100%).

So after 1 entry your chance of getting a place is: 1-(4/5)=0.2=20%

After 2 entries: 1-(4/5*4/5)=36%

After 3 entries: 1-(4/5*4/5*4/5)=49%

4 entries: 59%

5 entries: 67%

6 entries: 74%

7 entries: 79%

8 entries: 83%

9 entries: 87%

10 entries: 89%

So (again, assuming it is about 1 in 5 each time) after 10 entries, the chance that you were successful at least once is 89%.  After 12 entries you had a 93% chance of being successful at least once, or a 7% chance of STILL not getting a place, about 1 in 15.

But of course you're never guaranteed a place even after 100 entries.  And, perhaps confusingly, even after 9 fails (or 99 fails), the chance on the 10th time (or the 100th time) is still 1 in 5 or 20% (like Sussex Runner NLR says).  The unlikely thing has already happened by then (as Keith says).

* although I bequeathed so I'll probably have to wait a bit longer...

You know these women only running event things ...is there a particular reason

Posted: 25/05/2013 at 11:40
Taxi Driver wrote (see)

33riggins -- Did you have anyone particular in mind? 

It certainly gives that impression, and I'm even wondering if it's a snide pop at me following my admittedly overlong and arguably opinionated waffle.

But I've certainly never done a 6 hour marathon so I guess not.

You know these women only running event things ...is there a particular reason

Posted: 24/05/2013 at 13:29

(continued due to some limit being hit?)

I don't understand why it might be OK to discriminate based on (either) gender any more than it would be to discriminate based on race.

And consider a man who has lost a daughter to cancer.  The UK's biggest cancer charity is holding one of the events of is biggest highest profile series in his home town.  His grandaughters, who have lost their mum want to take part and they'd love him to join in.  But he can't because he's a man.  Would you tell him to go and start his own men-only race if he feels so strongly?  Or tell him he can marshal if he wants to.  Because that's what CRUK would tell him.  And it might not matter much to you but it's important to him.

You know these women only running event things ...is there a particular reason

Posted: 24/05/2013 at 13:08

Interesting thread (and I know it's a bit old but here's my (very long) two penneth anyway).

As my starting point, I think it's useful to acknowledge Cancer Research UK's stated reason for keeping RfL women-only.  Apparently they've done "research" which indicates they would have fewer participants if they allowed men to take part.  As I understand it, this means they asked some previous participants and the majority said they'd prefer it to stay women-only, and that's good enough for CRUK.

If my understanding of their research is correct this seems shortsighted to me - they would need to also survey potential participants (many of whom are currently excluded).  If considering whether to turn a carpark into a playground would you just ask the drivers who use it at the moment, and make a decision based on their views?

Of course the fact that many women, in their survey and on this thread, have been quite clear that they found RfL a non-intimidating event.  Without that they may never have taken part, and in some cases it encouraged them to start running elsewhere.  This is positive and shouldn't be ignored.

But I think that rather than concentrating on the restriction of gender it's more useful to consider the focus of the event. 

 - Is it a race where everyone wants to win, or at least concentrates on their position? 

 - Is it a slightly less competitive event which still focuses on getting a good time, or beating a PB (like parkrun)? 

 - Or is it completely non-competitive, a purely charity event where time doesn't matter at all; the important thing is to finish, hopefully raise some money and awareness, and perhaps serve as a kind of tribute to a friend or family member who has been affected by whatever it is the charity is about?

Despite often being called "races", many mass participation events these days are a combination of the above, with internationally famous atheletes at the front, and one-time charity "runners" in fancy-dress at the back and everything in-between.  

I would suggest that the important thing for RfL to ensure it remains non-intimidating, is that the focus stays non-competitive.  It's about charity, cameraderie and having fun, none of which are exclusive to either gender. 

Notably RfL is about all kinds of cancer, but I would point to the example of the MoonWalk which is specifically for breast cancer.  Of course men can also get breast cancer, but MoonWalk has been marketed as a "girl's night out".  Their "thing" is that everyone wears a bra.  They are very clear that there is no focus on going fast, no prizes, and in fact, no running.  And yet, they are happy to allow men to take part - apparently men are about 1% of the participants.  And I have to ask whether a small percentage of male participants dressed like this guy:


 ...would really ruin the entire event for all the women involved?  Because if not, to object for the sake of is just unreasonable.

So is any of this important?  And if so, why? Aren't there bigger things to worry about?

Well I don't buy the idea that because there are bigger issues we can ignore the smaller ones, should we only ever care about one thing at at a time? 

I don't buy the idea that if you are raising money for charity you can behave how you like because it's for the greater good. 

I don't understand why it might be OK to discriminate based on (either) gender any more than it would b

VLM 2014 Ballot is it usually after midnight it opens or 2am. 3am etc?

Posted: 29/04/2013 at 12:45
Screamapillar wrote (see)
wiggly worm wrote (see)

 It does increase your chances slightly if you bequeath. I missed out on the main ballot this year but got in on another draw for an extra 1000 places for those who had bequeathed the entry fee.

Very slight, your chances are about 42-1

Not sure how you're doing the maths on that one.  The odds of getting a place in the initial ballot are n/m where

n=number of ballot places available

m=number of people who entered the ballot

A thread here suggests that m=125000 entrants and n is roughly 25000 places.  I assume that n will vary depending on how many GFA applications they have, and various other factors (club places?), hence the (extended) delay in telling people if they've got a place.  Either way the suggested 1:5 or 1:6 chance of getting a place seems to be accepted?

Moving on to bequeathing, or entering the draw.  Here the odds are x/y , where x=1000 (the organisers have plainly stated there are 1000 draw places) , and y is the number of people who actually bequeathed (minus any who got a place in the ballot).  your 42-1 suggests you think that y is 42000; you think a third of the ballot entrants bequeathed?  That seems unlikely to me.  I think a lot of people are willing to enter the ballot - if you lose at least it doesn't cost you anything.  But bequeathing means a significant risk of not only not getting a place but losing the £35 for nothing as well (although of course it does go to charity).  Oh yeah, there's the jacket, but who wants a cheap VLM jacket if they don't even get to do the race?

wiggly worm wrote (see)

 It does increase your chances slightly if you bequeath. I missed out on the main ballot this year but got in on another draw for an extra 1000 places for those who had bequeathed the entry fee.

Good to hear from someone who did get a draw place.  There has been asuggestion that bequeathing makes it less likely to get a ballot place, which would be hugely unfair.  Has anyone bequeathed and still got a ballot place (instead of a secondary draw place)?

Shame it's not more transparent.   They should release all the figures.

Running Clubs

Posted: 15/01/2013 at 16:51

Hi there.

Regarding Sweatshop, last week was a record - new year's resolutions I guess - 101 runners!  If you know the shop you can probably imagine that's quite a crowd.

There are two Tuesday night runs, 5k and 4-5 miles - the mixed units still niggle me - both starting at 7pm after meeting at 6:45ish.  Pacewise, people tend to go at what they're comfortable with so the crowd does split up but with that many runners there are always people to run alongside and chat to. 

The routes are described (in a slightly haphazard way) at the briefing, but there's always a back marker who is happy to go at the pace of the slowest runner, so if anyone does find themselves unsure of directions the advice is to wait.  Some people are very much beginner-runners, especially on the 5k route, so it's quite accessible.

Some of the usual routes are on here: https://maps.google.co.uk/maps/user?uid=214477322717381135786&hl=en&gl=uk&ptab=2

By all means come down when that achilles is better, and if you register and do 5 of them you get a t-shirt!



Running Clubs

Posted: 15/01/2013 at 16:04

As alehouse said, it depends on your area, but as well as that I would suggest that other considerations might be how "serious" a runner you consider yourself to be, your budget, and how important it is to be in an affiliated club.

As a suggestion you might like to look at the parkrun results for a given week and see which clubs are popular in the results - try Heaton Park parkrun for North Manchester or South Manchester parkrun for, well, you get the idea.  Also there are other parkruns if you're further out.  Better still come along to a parkrun!

So for South Manchester, http://www.parkrun.org.uk/southmanchester/results/latestresults/ .  I'm a bit biased as I've found the Chorlton Runners to be a friendly bunch with a good variety of people training for different races at all levels.  The club isn't affiliated (although they are looking at getting affiliated), but they welcome anyone who wants to join in and there's no membership fee, so just turn up and run.

I also run with the Sweatshop group from the Arndale, which again is friendly, free and well attended.

Just google for more details of either.


1 to 10 of 17

Discussions started by Tarantula

Talkback: Interview: Hugh Brasher

"his father’s legacy is in safe hands" If Chris saw what has become of Sweatshop he'd turn in his grave.  Shame on Hugh. 
Replies: 2    Views: 372
Last Post: 05/10/2015 at 12:05
1 returned