It is time to review the blog after another weird year. I did fewer blog posts over the year, less than two per month.Two other stats: referals came from Facebook at a 7:1 ratio over Twitter (compared to 5:1 last year). This surprised me, except that Twitter is one account, whereas I can post notifications in a number of FB Groups). Visitors came from 70 different countries, with USA and Ireland once again being distant second and third places behind the UK.
MOST VISITED PAGES
The third most visited page on the blog was actually one from Jan 5. It was the text of a review of ‘Fell and Mountain Running’, a book of Pete Hartley’s photos that I edited with Denise Park. The review can be read here: https://itsahill.wordpress.com/2021/01/05/athletics-weeklys-review-of-fell-and-mountain-running/ The book is still available here.
The second most visited page was one from later that January. It was a piece I wrote about the joys, and problems, of self-publishing a book – the very one mentioned above. It might give a few insights into DIY publishing to anyone wanting to go down that route. It can be read here: https://itsahill.wordpress.com/2021/01/12/self-publishing-it-aint-been-easy/
The most visited page was from January 2021, where I did a little gentle analysis of the completions from the previous year on the Bob Graham Round. It shows the continuing interest in the BGR since Kilian Jornet set the new record in 2018. It also gives some info on the male/female stats for the year. The post can be accessed here: https://itsahill.wordpress.com/2021/01/02/bgr-completions-2020-update/
MOST DOWNLOADED CONTENT
The most downloaded content was an article I wrote for the December 2020 issue of Cumbria magazine. It was some early thoughts on pioneering female fell runners, and is in fact a precursor to the book I am currently finalising the manuscript of. It can be accessed here [PDF file].
The second most popular content on the blog was an article I co-wrote with Steve Birkinshaw for The Fellrunner way back in 2018. It was a case study of four athletes who had suffered CFS [chronic fatigue syndrome] in varying degrees of seriousness, and how they came back from it, or didn’t. It can be accessed here [PDF file].
The third most downloaded piece was a profile of fell runner Hugh Symonds, again an article I wrote for The Fellrunner, way back in 2016 (so no idea why that was so popular, but it was downloaded 197 times). It can be accessed here [PDF file].
MY FAVOURITE POST
Finally, the blog post that is my favourite from the year is one from March 2021. It is my thoughts on the Sub 7 Sub 8 Triathlon Project, which aims to ‘smash through the 7 hour barrier for men and the 8 hour barrier for women’ for an Ironman distance triathlon. It is in a way a parallel idea to the Nike Sub-2 and Ineoes 1-59 projects (for the marathon), and is equally as artificial. The event was planned for Spring 2022, and as far as I know is still live. The blog can be read here: https://itsahill.wordpress.com/2021/03/02/sub-7-sub-8-triathlon-project/
NB: Most of my writing can be accessed through the links on the CV page on this blog: https://itsahill.wordpress.com/curriculum-vitae/.
Bob Wightman has released the figures for Bob Graham Round (BGR) registrations, completions, male/female split, direction of travel, etc. for 2021, which as always make interesting reading, and that I have commented on before. [eg https://itsahill.wordpress.com/2020/01/08/bgr-completions-2019-update/]
I have updated my spreadsheet, and the graphs of several aspects of the data, which are illustrated below with a couple of comments on each.
This first graph shows the data just for completions since 1971. The black line is the actual numbers completing, which was at its highest ever level in 2021, after a downturn in 2020 because of lockdowns. The red line is the trend line which is obviously up (after recovering from the Foot and Mouth blip of 2001) and the dashed blue line is the 6-year moving mean, also trending upwards.
More recently figures for registrations and completions have been published, allowing analysis of completion percentages. The graph below is of the last 10 years, showing upward trends in registrations and completions (these figures are for males and females combined), but interestingly NOT an increasing percentage actually completing. It invariably hovers either side of 50%. The next two graphs look at the male/female data.
The men’s data pretty much follows the pattern of the total data (there are still many more men than women involved). 2021 shows a rise in men’s registrations and completions for the year, with both being the highest ever. The completion rate of 51.87% for men is the third highest since I have been looking at this (the highest was 54.95% in 2019), although it is always hovering just above or below 50%.
The women’s completions, of 17 (red line) were the highest in this 10 year period, from a highest ever registrations number (40). The percentage line (green) is at the top of this graph as the numbers are higher than either the registrations or completions, and had previously shown an upward trend, but this year’s percentage of 42.5% completions bring that trend line down as it is again well under 50%, admittedly from a small sample size.
The original data, and much more (including gems like: the average age of successful contenders was 38 yrs 11 months) is available at the Bob Graham Club website.