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Club Question


Running Questions

How do I tie on the shoe tag?

Using only the two holes means less stress on the tag, and it will last longer.

What is my tag number?

Firstly, there are two numbers - the 12 digit hexadecimal code imbedded in the tag (you can forget all about this one, it's for timing system use only) and secondly the simple number written on the tag.   From now onwards, that number you have now will be the number you have forever, and if you remember it, all the better.  You can use the number for quick look up of results.

So what happens when you lose/break the chip?  When you get a new chip the imbedded code will be switched, but not your tag number.

Don't know what your number is?  Click your name - your number shows in the URL above.

Where did the name come from?

Wobbly Bob Barker will tell you that the Feral part of the name came from a discussion about hunting with crossbows. The discussion took place in the back garden of a house that backed onto Scenic Hill. As it happened, a jogger ran past while the discussion raged, and was therefore included in the list of feral species to be hunted.

For many years, Feral was the title bestowed on those who went on the team bus to Sydney for the City to Surf. As times changed and incorporation was needed for insurance and all that uninteresting stuff, the title of Feral was included in the official name of the club.

The "tri 'ards" part of the name came from Jacqui Hallam. At the time of incorporation, Jacqui was preparing to represent Australia as a junior in the World Triathlon Championships and labelled herself as a "try hard". In feral style, this was shortened to "tri 'ards" so we could all empathise with her.  By the way, she did later win a Silver medal in Triathlon at the Commonwealth Games in Auckland.

How Did the Feral Running Man Logo come about?

Wobbly Bob Barker will tell you….a jogger ran past while the discussion raged, and was therefore included in the list of feral species to be hunted.  Wobbly went on to say, "the concept of a Feral Jogger was further developed over a few refreshments where both of us bounced off each other suggesting what he would like (parties, refreshments, a beer in the bath after a run, etc..), what he would not like (training, it being too hot, too cold, too wet, too windy, runs that were too hilly, etc..), what he would have low tolerances to (pain and exercising, etc..), and, what he would not be seen dead in (megatrendoid running gear).

Much of what is written around the front of our City2Surf Feral Man was what was suggested in our discussion.  A Feral Jogger was someone who no longer took the sport too seriously and just ran for fun!!

That night, having perhaps another refreshment with my dinner, I decided to draw a caricature of my mate as a feral jogger, based on our 'afternoon discussion'. This became Feral Man, and has remained more or less unchanged from the original drawing.  Some years later, it became apparent to those running the City2Surf that fellow runners only really saw the back of our t-shirts and so I drew a rear view version of Feral Man to go on the City2Surf t-shirts.”

How do these little chippy thingys work?

Tracker Johnson has done very delicate surgery on one of our chips and the result can be seen.

And it works like this:

The orange box has a battery inside which sends power to the mat. The mat has two loops. Loop number one sends out exploratory signals – "anybody out there?" You run across the mat (a bit early sometimes, hey!). When you cross the mat, the copper coil in your tag gets really excited by the signals and powers up the chip which cries out "It's me!   It's me, and this is my number!" Loop number two in the mat says "Okay, calm down, I hear you" and then passes your number back into the orange box. The orange box sends that number and the current time onto the USB stick for later reading, and also sends it to the RaceTec timing program if the laptop is connected.

An example of a chip reading


Chip number 0580015dad4e crossed the mat on the 26th Sept 2009 at the time of 16:28 and 56 seconds.

Later on the same day


the same runner crossed the line at 17:07 and 46 seconds.

This happens very quickly. With 80 runners we get about 1500 readings on the day. So that is averaging ten readings per person per pass of the mat. Only the first one is used by the software.

The signal carries up to about adult knee height, and also a little sideways of the mat, so standing beside it even if you are not on it can give a reading. To be safe, stay at least a metre away, otherwise you get a case of the "too many Wills".

Any chip above knee height won't get a reading, so no cartwheels, no child on shoulders, no pole vaulting, etc

There are no moving parts to your chip so it should last a long time.

There are 500 million unique numbers put out by IPICO – you are one unique runner in that 500 million.

Why do the results tell me I have no time?

No time in the results?  The times are missing from the raw data which comes from the mats.

To avoid disappointment, make doubly sure you cross the mats.  Avoid running the edge.  Linger a little if safe and listen for the beeps.  If unsure, go back and make it beep again.  Check your tag.  Any minor crack can cause it to fail.  Read the FAQ at the top for advice on how to make your tag last longer.

"Not yet started"   You have been entered for the run but there are no readings for you.   Did you run?  Did you leave your tag at home?  Is your tag damaged?  Was the wrong person entered on the tablet?

"Started and Running"   You are entered, but a start or finish time is missing.  Is your tag damaged?  Did you dnf but not tell us?  Did you miss the mat in the wild excitement of the sprint finish?

"Pre-race Withdrawal"   You entered and told us before the start that you would not be running.

"Withdrawn during race"   You started, but did not finish, and thanks for telling us.  This means we did not have to send a search party out looking for you.

"Disqualified"    See below.

What happens at the Joggers' Dinner?

The Joggers' Dinner is THE social event for the year. In true Feral style, it is not a Black Tie event.

The dinner is presentation night.  It is always the Friday after the Saturday before the Melbourne Cup.  The dinner marks the end of the jogging year and is a time for celebration and contemplation of the year that was. Trophies and certificates are awarded.

You bring along your family, food, drinks and plates and flatware.  Bring along a dessert or salad to share.  There are BBQ's available to cook on and tables and chairs will be provided.

Many tall tales are told on the night and it is a chance for your loved ones to meet your jogging friends.

The new jogging year starts the following day and it is considered bad form to miss the run because of illness.

Guidelines for Start Times

# If you run faster, your start time increases.

# A later start time is a badge of honour, not a penalty.

The aim of the handicapping is to have all runners finishing together, which of course never happens as everyone varies week to week in ability and motivation.  But we have been close at times.   It is this "coming together" near the finish line which is such a motivator.

Resist the temptation to be intimidated by your start time, it is simply a reflection of how well you are running.   It is a reflection of the best time you have run recently.

Of course no one can run their best time every week, so everyone thinks they have a hard handicap, and so they do.   Everyone has a hard handicap every week - simply run your own race and don't be psyched out.

Priority in the Handicappers Integrated Sympathy Scale (HISS) goes to newcomers (always welcome and treated tenderly for a few weeks) and to regular runners producing honest times each week.

We do not have 'bed-cam' or 'doc-cam' or 'beach cam' to investigate each runner's injuries, illness, mood swings, holidays, family visits or lack of recent training, and we never believe verbal claims.   If you are suffering from any of these temporary ailments then expect to finish 'back of the pack' until your fitness is up again.   We all get our share of last placings.

If you run fast, your start time increases.   Advancing age or permanent and terminal injuries and illness have been known to reduce start times downward.

With hundreds of names on the start list and only fifty weeks in a year and only five competitions, the odds of winning are not good so instead make sure you enjoy the running.

Note: if you wish to run with a friend who has a different start time, there is no penalty for starting after your listed start time, just don't start before.

What happens in wet weather?  Do we still run?

Wet weather!  In Griffith?   Are you having me on?   Well okay, it has been known in the past to have rained on a Saturday, so we do have a plan … just in case.   But we always run!!

Decisions on wet weather course are based on two issues ... safety for runners and caring for the Hill.

If it rains while you are out on the hill, then just enjoy the mud running.    But run carefully to avoid slipping and falling.

If it rains enough before the run to make the course dangerous then we have a wet weather alternative which is the Lake Wyangan bike track.   If you don't find us at the tower, go to the cul de sac on Wyangan Avenue at the edge of town.   The run is out and back.   Short course turnaround is Druitt Rd total 3.2km.   Long course turnaround is Southlake Drive at Pelican Shores total 6.4km.   LOOK and GIVE WAY at all road crossings.

When do we decide which venue? 

As early as possible, and that could be days before in really wet weather, or maybe as late as heading to the run if a wayward thunderstorm hits.  We will give website or Facebook notice if we can, but otherwise you need to head off five minutes earlier ... if you don't find us at one venue, try the other.

Note : On days of Catastrophic Fire Danger (see https://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/fire-information/fdr-and-tobans) we will also head to the bike track.

How do you overtake on narrow tracks?

You've noticed that we run off road, haven't you? That's part of the fun and the joy of running with us. We try to pick the best tracks for each course, but, inevitably, we find ourselves congested on single track.

Overtaking etiquette is like the rules of the road. It is up to the overtaker to decide when and where they think is best to overtake. We don't want people suddenly sidestepping into an overtaker's path, nor do we want slower runners feeling as if they have to step aside for faster runners.

It's fine if you want to call out to indicate a safe area, or that you are overtaking on a particular side. But we don't want the person in front to have to look behind while travelling forward, nor thinking about your race instead of theirs.

The best thing to do, especially at the start of the Arsova Competition when we wander down Adam's Track, is to settle in, use that time as a warm up and put the foot down when you do hit the firetrail. It's an issue that we all face and is taken into consideration in planning start times.

And you can keep in mind that every plant you tread on makes the track wider. I'm not going into whether that is a good thing or a bad thing. Perhaps you just take the time to look at the flowers along the way!

What's wrong with wearing earphones?

We make no secret about not liking runners wearing earphones. It's a safety thing. It's important that you can hear other runners (and directions) - especially on the narrow tracks. We have 100+ runners and, sometimes, long stretches of single track - we all our runners want to be safe. You need to be able to hear runners coming from behind you and you need to know which way they will pass you. You need to hear if someone is calling you for safety or direction.  You need to hear helpers directions at crossings.  You can't do that if your ears are full of technology and sound.

Any race or event you do outside of town will stipulate the same rule. Do what you want when you run on your own, but we want you to play by the rules.

What's a Feral Postcard?

Feral Postcards are reports from 'away' events undertaken by Ferals. Anyone can submit one - just use the email address at the bottom of any page that says Contact Us. And, you know, it's like a real postcard that you send when you are on holidays. It's got a photo and a few words and makes us all want to be there. Some are longer than others and the length depends on your literary qualities. Just remember that you want to share your excitement and achievements. Oh! and one more thing ... we never publish your postcard until after you return from your trip - that's what happens in real life, isn't it?

How to get rid of a stitch

We all suffer from them from time to time and there seems to be no real conclusion about the cause. But there is a simple way to get rid of one. I was taught this simple technique by Melinda Gainsford Taylor's coach. And it works every time.

If you get a stitch, keep running. But change your posture. Bend your body forward from the hips - not the waist, but the hips. You can't get much of a lean because you think you'll fall forward. But stick your bum out a bit and you'll get close to the right position.

I sometimes wonder if it works because I'm thinking about my new posture and taking my mind off the stitch. But I don't really care. I've found that it works almost immediately and I can get on with the job of enjoying being out on the hill with my friends.

Disq? Me? How does that happen?

Not the best outcome for your running effort but this does happen sometimes. Your timing chip records when you cross the mat at the start of the race. The computer knows what your handicap is. So it knows when you have left early and you get a Disq next to your name.

Or did you miss the compulsory water stop?  Or did you short cut?  Or did you enter for the Long and run the Short?

Need to know more about handicaps?

Tell me about the Heat Guidelines, please

It's no surprise to anyone who has lived in Griffith for even a short amount of time that it gets pretty hot in Summer. And running in really hot weather isn't good for anyone. There are a few things you can do to help yourself, and there are things that we do to help you.

In the Summer School holidays, our runs are social and the distance depends on the conditions on the day. If it's hot, we'll go short and if it's cooler we'll run further. And we often put a water stop in somewhere along the way.

Once the competitions start again in February, there are things that we do to make running safer for you. We have a set of Club Guidelines developed by our hardworking committee. These have been developed from policy guidelines from Sports Medicine Australia. You may want to read their Hot Weather Guidelines, Heat Policy and Beat the Heat documents for yourself.

Remember, it's not just about temperature. Humidity plays a big part in how you will feel while you are running. When conditions are extreme, you will find that no juniors will be allowed on the long course, no newbies on the long course and you will be encouraged to take it easy and make SENSIBLE decisions about what you do. We WANT you to come back again, OK?

And you want to know what those extreme temperatures are? Get the latest temperature and humidity observations from the Bureau of Meteorology and then look at this table.

Want to know even more?  Go here!

What do I do if I don't finish?

There are all sorts of reasons for not finishing a race. You may have got lost, you may have decided that the long course was not the right decision ... whatever. If this happens to you, you need to tell us that this has happened. If you don't, we don't always know. We realise that there is temptation there, but you want to do the ethical thing, don't you? Of course you do! That is what being Feral is all about. We need to know what happened to you so that we can make the adjustments to our systems. Your help in this is appreciated.

How do I nominate someone for life membership?

There are some people in our club who do things that make your running experience more enjoyable. Some of them have been doing it quietly, or not so, for years. Perhaps you think they need to be recognised for their altruism by making them life members. There's a form you can use.  Go to the membership page and log in.  It is a Word document which you can edit directly and print, or you can print a blank and fill in by hand.  Nominations have to be received by the committee two months before the AGM.

What about our Hall of Fame?

Our Hall of Fame recognises the "legends" of our club, those who live and breathe being a Feral, those who have reached major milestones and those who have done some pretty special things in their time with the club.  If you wish to nominate a Feral for Hall of Fame, there is no form to complete, simply send your info to the committee, addressing the criteria in the Policy.

Can you fix my time from a few weeks ago?

The answer is no, and here's why.  Our super dooper IT system is timing system, pointscore, WardleWaddle, racecount, membership database, website, email ... all in one.   It is built as 'keep your hands away from the cogs' to make it safe and reliable despite the best efforts of users to break it.  So there is very little manual override.  Individual times / placings / points cannot be editted but if we know soon enough we can rerun the entire race results and repost them to the website, and all the counts are recalculated.

If you notice a timing problem, especially if it is our fault, tell us ASAP.  Once we have set up for the next week it becomes impractical to rebuild the previous race.  Start times have changed, membership has changed, tags have changed ... quite a nightmare to go backwards.  Contact us asap.

I finished ahead of her!

Now hang on a bit maaate!  There are a few things here.  First, we can split people down to thousandths of seconds, but that's not very friendly is it.  This is not the World Champs.   We have the setting as "nearest second, allow equal placings" ... yeah that sounds much more suitable to a friendly club like ours.  Second, did you put your best foot forward?  You only have a timing tag on one shoe ... which shoe hit the line first?  Third, we have no intention of putting judges, either live or video, on the line to decide close finishes.

Who writes that guff in the paper?

In no particular order thanks to Elio, Anthony, Belli, Glenn, Heff, Neil, Julie, Teresa, Johanna, Brendon, Ron, Janet, Wendy, Di, Tara, Bob, John and others who have all contributed to having the Joggers name regularly in the media.  It helps our profile.  It lets everyone around town know that we are still plugging away and that they are welcome to join.  Thanks guys.  And apologies if your name should be here and isn't.