Marathon Thoughts

Bewl Water Marathon 2021. In the rain.

On Saturday morning I got out of bed and ran 26.2 miles around a lake in the pouring rain. In fact, it had rained so hard overnight that in many areas of the course you found yourself slipping sideways down the banks of the lake towards the water. At mile 2 I felt a slight ache in my ankle which I knew it was going to get worse – and it did. As I spent the next four hours negotiating various waves of pain, I would like to tell you that I spent a bit of that time wondering why I put myself through that kind of discomfort each year. But I didn’t. I just kept on putting one foot in front of the other, kept my head up, spoke to other people, made sure I was taking in the fluids and gels at the right time, examining the ground to stop myself tripping over, adjusting the layers I was carrying, breathing correctly, keeping my hat on to prevent sunburn, taking it off when I got too hot, putting it back on…

The point of me telling you this, I guess, is that, after something like 10 marathons, I think the key of having a really good run, is probably not to think too much about it when you’re doing it. It’s a very odd experience but you have to stop you’re mind from wandering otherwise, when you focus again, you can get quite overwhelmed by it all. How bonkers is that?

Another interesting thing I learnt this weekend is just how powerful your mind can be when you set yourself a clear goal. I met another runner who had a serious leg operation a year ago and was going to run the Boston Marathon in a few months. When I asked him a bit more about it, he said he’d already run 460 marathons and wanted to get to 500. 

When I got back to my car with my recently-won medal it all seemed to pale into insignificance. What an incredible achievement. I wonder if I could ever get to 50 marathons. Now, there’s a thought…

WANTED: Freelance Video Producer / Journalist @ Global (London)

The video desk at Global is looking for a self-motivated video editor / journalist from to help pitch, source, clear and edit videoclips for our radio brands, which include, Capital FM, Heart, LBC, Classic FM, Radio X, and Smooth.

The opportunity will see the ideal candidate working alongside the Group Video Editor to source and edit videos made up of news and viral video clips as well as celebrity and entertainment videos. 

You will already know the ins-and-outs of Reddit and Twitter advanced search, can dig up gems via the explore tab on Instagram, and will be able to spot a great video before any of our competitors. The ideal candidate will also have experience of verifying original sources, seeking permission for usage and Premiere Pro video editing skills. 

Other details:

  • Education to degree level
  • 1-2 years’ experience gained with an entertainment, lifestyle or news organisation.
  • Experience with sourcing viral video clips and clearing rights.
  • A flexible and willing approach to working under pressure and in a fast-paced environment.
  • Experience editing in Adobe Premiere.

Please email with your CV and covering letter. The position to start early May.

thinking about design thinking

This year I’ve had the opportunity to participate in a month-long introduction to Design Thinking with work and it’s been a really rewarding experience. There were about twenty of us in total and our focus during the course was to try and find solutions to some of the challenges faced by charities during this pandemic. 

I’m not going to repeat the methodology we used – you can read that elsewhere – but I just wanted to highlight two areas I found really useful. The first was just basic audience research: we were given a series of questions to ask friends/family/people-we’ve-never-really-actually-spoken- to-for-yonks-on-Facebook to find out a) if they donated at all and b) if their perception of charities or general donating behaviour had changed over the last year. We were also asked to note how animated people became when giving feedback on a certain topic and to explore why that might be.

The feedback I got was really varied but there were four main themes that resonated with our group – (a) a general scepticism about the actual impact bigger charities make; (b) an increased emphasis on ‘supporting local’; (c) people wanted very easy ways of donating and (d) people were looking for incentives to donate. Now, all of these points aren’t exactly rocket science but it was really powerful to collect all these opinions ‘direct from the source’ so we could really hear those emotive responses which you just can’t get via a survey.

Anyway, following this initial audience research we brainstormed a number of possible solutions then agreed as a group on a top three that we would take forward to the prototype stage, finally selecting one for our final ‘pitch.’ One of my ideas did not make it to the final round – and that was because it became very complex, very quickly.

I wanted crate a funny version of the Bear Grylls show on Netflix ‘You vs The Wild.‘ This has a basic story arc: you have to help Grylls to get from A-B and on the way there 4 or 5 ‘either/or’ decisions you have to make. I wanted to take this model and apply it to a ‘Make your own Charity promo video’ scenario – you would choose between a number of good and very bad decisions in the creation of your promo video. Instead of helping Bear Grylls, you would be helping a well-known funny celebrity personality who would be trying at all times, to get you to select one of the bad decisions. The point of the whole exercise would be that you’d something learn about the challenges charities have faced during the pandemic, the value a charity can bring to those in need PLUS it would all be hilarious resulting in a final video that could be shared on the socials.*

To be fair, even as i typed that paragraph I reminded myself that that even a simple ‘Choose A/Choose B’ format can quickly become complex, especially if you’re trying tick off a number of objectives in addition. I started to draft the script but then quickly realised I had to sketch out the whole scenario from beginning to end to make any sense of it. And when I started to do that, I realised I had to get feedback on the structure and the whole project in general – in short, I had to sketch a wireframe prototype, discuss with others, making quick amendments as I bounced from zoom call to zoom call. I think with more available time, I would have eventually refined the model into a decent state – but we had a hard deadline to hit so I had to ditch it.

Anyway, my key learn from the whole exercise was simply this: if you have an idea that you think could work, but as you discuss it, it starts to feel complex – sketch it out. The very act of a sketch invites feedback and suggestions for improvements. Confront the unforeseen challenges early in your project and that will save you a lot of time further down the line!

Also, I humbly salute anyone out there creating any kind of visual project – especially if you have to deal with people like me who say things like ‘hey, this would make a cool video, should be pretty easy to do, right?’

For that, you win all the gold stars.

*During this project I never actually said ‘this video will be hilarious’ simply because when people say ‘this will be hilarious’ you can guarantee it won’t be.