Thursday, 3 January 2008

No music on Parish Walk videos

Happy new year.

I intended to write on the blog on New Year's day but I ended up spending far more time than I had intended filming and editing the New Year's Day Fell Race at St Johns. (I also started writing it yesterday but failed to complete it)

There were around 15 Parish Walk finishers in the record field of 70 at St Johns. Its one of the success stories of Manx Athletics that the fell race has reached such heights.

For many years there was a handicap cross country race on New Years Day at Nobles Park. Before the start of the Douglas Fireman's races (later also the Ramsey Firemans, Peel Commissioners, Ramsey Park Runs and Southern 10km) it was quite a novelty to enter a handicap race. In the late 70s, the fun element increased further when the New Years Day race became a fancy dress event and when it moved to a road race from the then Manx AC headquarters in Drinkwater Street, it became little more than a pub crawl.

The return of serious running on New Years Day came in the late 80s when the Manx Fell Runners promoted the Carraghan Fell Race. They realised that not everyone's lives evolved around alcohol and that even some that did were glad to have a reason to shake off their hangover. The fields were quite encouraging.

It was around 1993 or so (if Ian Callister is reading this he may correct me) that the dates of the Carraghan and St Johns Fell Races were swapped and the New Year's Day event has got bigger nearly every year.

Not only was there a big field this year but there was a high quality of runner. Manx born Lloyd Taggart smashed the record as did his partner Jackie Lee.

The event was even featured on the BBC website at

As I mentioned, there were lots of Parish Walk finishers in the event and this clip features Stan Sille crossing the river.

You may notice some idiot standing in the river with a video camera. Well that is me ensuring that I had two camera angles of runners crossing the river, the other being my trusty 1995 Sharp on a tripod in a fixed position.

Making videos of races is something I had considered doing but only really started last March and I already have 54 films on my channel with over 19,000 video views already. It is far more time consuming that publishing photos (although probably still easier than researching old race results). It is very demanding on the computer resources and after the recent Glen Lough cross country I vowed to give them up. I had spent over two hours sorting the clips and editing ready to publish a film when the new package that I was using crashed and I lost all of my work. It took me almost as long to republish.

After spending hours on these films most are viewed around 200 times before slipping into the archives. Compare this with the most popular video on my channel with almost 2500 hits so far. I went to take photos of the Parish Walk at Braddan and my wife Marie went with me. As the walkers climbed through the estate from the TT access road and thrust one of my digital cameras (not even a proper video camera) into her hand and said "press that". The 59 second clip (the most that can be taken on that camera) was published within half an hour of the action and the rawness is a feature. "What do I do when I want to turn it off" is the first thing you hear and the lack of an answer from me is because I am aware that the microphone is on!

So there is no point in trying to be fancy with my Parish Walk videos. This year I hope to be publishing remotely from the back of the van so I shall just put a few basic clips on - no editing and no new music.

Nigel Armstrong was given similar lack of warning that he was required to film on New Year's Day. A couple of minutes before the runners were due to descend I thrust my SLR camera into his hand with the instruction "just keep pressing that button". His photo is the first to be published on the BBC site!

Despite these novices achieving the most success I am busy charging up the batteries for five cameras to take with me to the Lancashire Cross Country Championships tomorrow. But it will probably be the person I lend one of them to take some pictures who will get the best results.

Photos at on Saturday evening. Videos sometime on Sunday...and there will be music whether you want it or not!

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