This blog is one today. I started a year ago in order to consolidate some of the writing I was doing in various places around the ‘net. Suffice to say that’s happened. Or rather, I’ve ignored the other spaces and just write here instead.
My stats indicate I’m updating this space regularly enough (176 posts = twice a week) and getting a modest amount of comments (408 in total, about two per post). I have no idea what a good measure is for traffic but feedburner tells me I have about 100 subscribers to my RSS feed and 20 people subscribe via email. I was averaging about 30 unique visitors a day although lately (and especially since Sunday’s London Marathon) that’s jumped to circa 150-200 visitors a day all looking for information on this year’s Birmingham half-marathon. You’re all very welcome, do take a look around.
The top five posts that best represent what I hope this blog is about are below:
My Long Lost Family
On finding a whole new branch of my family. A podcast I made that I still struggle to listen to this without welling up. Some great Irish accents here.
Social Media’s Hidden Legacy
On Birmingham’s social media scene and what it says about the city.
Getting Birmingham Businesses Online
On what I do for work and how I’m trying to think it through.
Allotment Year One
On the stuff we grow in our allotment patch
Tour of Bournville
A series of posts on running with my clubmates at Bournville Harriers.
Thanks for all your contributions over the past year – Birmingham is a good place to be blogging in and about; a really strong sense of community. Hope you’ll stick with it as I enter year two.
(pic monroe’s dragonfly)
View Lunchtime run in a larger map
As I continue to plod my way through Edinburgh Marathon training I’ve taken to doing a bit of running at lunchtimes (now that I at last work somewhere with shower facilities). I thought it worth sharing the route with you as it’s a fantastic, popular, traffic-free run with a few interesting sights along the way.
The start could be from anywhere in the city centre or Jewellery Quarter but, as the map indicates, I start from the B1 building opposite Spring Hill library. I enter the canal near Summer Row and then proceed towards the National Indoor Arena. You could cross here and continue down the Birmingham and Worcester canal but better by far to head up the Birmingham Mainline canal, the M6 motorway of the West Midlands canal system.
I say that because it’s dead straight, very wide and with a towpath on both sides. And it’s full of lunchtime runners. Most just go up and down but I do a loop round the Soho loop. This runs at the back of the prison and then comes out again on the Mainline canal where you can head straight back to base. The straightness of the canal really lends itself to some short sprinting if you’re so inclined. There are several bridges so it’s worth trying to push hard between them and then recover to the next, repeating until you run out of bridges.
In total the run is just over 5 miles. It would make a pleasant enough walk as well. If anyone fancies coming along with me one lunchtime just ask.
On Saturday I presented my experience of being part of the Act on CO2 People Power campaign to a group of web development types who meet under the Multipack banner. The group have been meeting for about three years I think but recently have combined their informal meetings with a ‘Multipack Presents’ element. This month’s was called Going Green and I volunteered to talk about my experiences using a smart electricity meter and about what it felt like to be part of a PR campaign.
It was a fun hour with a nice bunch of people. They have beer and food! It was hosted at the rather nice studios of One Black Bear in Fazeley Studios.
My slides are below but if you need to hear what I was blabbing on about there’s a video also (bit dark though).
And I’m back.
As promised, I’ve now given my £40 to St Basils – happy to have you do the same if you wish. Although I do appreciate that giving up twitter is hardly some kind of great sacrifice so will understand if you’re not inclined to hand over a few pennies. It was generally harder than I realised though.
Oh and it is good to be back. I’ve been on so many ‘awesome runs’ and have been gagging to tell you all about them…
Presumably the city council will update their own site soon but it’s worth noting that this year’s Birmingham half-marathon on October 11th is also the world half-marathon championships. That means us casual Brummie runners will be racing with the world’s elite.
The IAAF page on the event is quite illuminating. From it you can glean that the elite women will start separately from the men at 9am with the men (and probably the rest of the field) starting at 9.30am. No word on whether the route will change but you do learn that top prize is $30,000 (puts my £30 to shame) and that “the payment of prize money is dependent upon the athletes clearing the usual anti-doping procedures.” I best leave my steroid-based asthma inhalers at home then.
The IAAF do a nice little descriptor of Brum: “This city has been the industrial heartland of the country; it is still important industrially but this has also made way for an increasingly high position in the service sector.” Yep – about sums it up. Of course I’m still hoping my prediction for Paula Radcliffe to run it as a warm-up for the New York marathon comes true but most of all I hope it’s as good a race this year as it was last time around.
(nice pic from Flickr by hartlandmartin. Note Bournville Harriers’ star female athlete Linda keeping those guys on their toes)