It's been a fortnight since my last post, and in that time I've come to realise a couple of things.
1) This could have more people taking part than I first thought or ever expected.
2) The concept of further 'mile challenges' or even races in various places could have legs. That is a bad, unintended pun.
I have also made the now regulation Facebook event as promised at the end of my last post. Thanks to the wonders of being locked out of accessing Facebook at work I cannot post the link to it right now, but if you want to find it a search for 'Arethusa Mile' should give you the return you want. It's not the most common name for an event. Just thank your lucky stars I didn't call it the 'John Smith Mile'.
I invited my Facebook running friends to the event, and being an open event to all means others have seen it, which is just what I intended and I've been taken aback by the idea actually attracting friendly strangers with positive responses.
The logistics for this mile could become a little more complicated if the numbers wanting to turn up keep increasing, but I think the numbers will stay manageable if I'm sensible with my forecasting. No entry fee and no prizes means that people can do this on a whim, which means the numbers turning up could be anyone's guess - and to let you know how many people have responded to my request to e-mail me with their predicted time... not very many at all! Either they aren't reading my posts or just not bothering to contact me just yet.
What this does cause me to do is start to draw up the possibility of closing the event out to people who don't let me know they are wanting to come. The run is just under 3 weeks away so plenty of time to let me know. I'd personally like to be able to deliver a somewhat organised mile challenge rather than having to deal with people at the last minute who've turned up on the day. The more I think about it, the more sensible I believe this to be. I'll think over this further in the coming week.
I've tweeted about it via the Bushy parkrun Twitter account, Marathon Talk have now mentioned it twice on their latest podcasts, it's on Facebook as detailed and Paul Sinton-Hewitt (parkrun CEO) has posted it on the parkrun Facebook wall. What I have noticed is that Facebook as a medium for inviting people to these kind of events seems to be the most successful way of doing things - mostly because of it's saturation in our lives now and it's enormous use as a form of online diary for many.
I still need to run a test event, ideally the week before on Wednesday 3rd August at the same time (7:30pm) to see what the park is like at that time of the evening. I have a couple of offers for this, and if you'd also like to help pilot the run, please let me know at email@example.com.
Other ideas I've noted are the possibility of recording this event with various forms of media. Photographers are welcome of course. I'd like to record some audio to send to Marathon Talk if it is useable and anyone with a video camera would be well received too. A pipe dream would be a video recording of the runners going round the road being filmed by a moving camera alongside them. Akin to the Tour De France motorbikes or an athletics track with those 4 wheel buggies they have. Hopefully you get my gist.
Ultimately timing the run is my biggest concern. The fundamentals are that the runners want to know what time they run a mile in. They need a mile distance to cover and a means to time it - be it their own watch or a person responsible for doing so. This timing and recording of times responsibility I believe to be my central role to all this, alongside gathering runners together at the same time and place.
I've already gone to the lengths of getting a timing app for my smartphone - this gives multiple times immediately and on screen - very neat. This is one way of doing it, but I have additional/back up timing means as well. And of course if you are coming and have an iPhone or Android capable smartphone, I'd of course appreciate any offers of additional timekeepers armed with these devices with a stopwatch app loaded.
So far the times coming in from people who have let me know their estimates are relatively wide ranging. Certainly enough to have a couple of waves and to get the best condition and group for you to run your fastest mile in. All I can hope for is that this persistent rain we've been having decides to scarper come August 10th.