Friday, May 22, 2015

Call for Help - RaceRaves

If you're one for details like me, you may have noticed a few extras have appeared on this site in the last week or so.  Or ... if you're not one for details, here's a hit: look to your right.

Still don't know?!  Need another hint?!

Psssttt ... see these guys?

Ah, now you see it!  I finally got around to adding my InkNBurn ambassador badge.  PLUS - I added a link to RaceRaves

Yeah, yeah.  I know.  InkNBurn is old hat by now.  You know all about it, and are already shopping there, right?!  (RIGHT?!  LOL!)  But I'm betting you're wondering what RaceRaves is, right? 

Well, glad you asked!!

Let's start by oversimplifying: RaceRaves, to me, is kind of like the Yelp of races.  You can go there, look up a race, see who else has done it in the past, and see how it's rated.  And like Yelp, you can also see photos that people have uploaded.  But, unlike Yelp (which is what makes this site so much better), it also allows you to see which bloggers have run those races; and if they chose to link up, it will give you access to the blog recap they did for that race as well.

In my opinion, RaceRaves is a hugely useful tool.  Not only does it mean I don't have to spend hours picking through Google results to find race recaps, RaceRaves gives me an immediate snap shot of a race and what it might be like ... without having to read 3-4 blogs about it first.

For an example of how the site works, let's take a look at a race I'm dreaming of doing ... maybe in 2016 - Bay to Breakers. 

Ready?!  OK!  Let's give it a shot.


First, we go to the web page:

We key in "Bay to Breakers" and click on what auto-populates:

That brings us here:

So, as you can see, this race is a 12K on paved road, is located in San Francisco (per the handy map on the right), and for the last few years it's been mostly a sunny and comfortably cool race at 50-60 degrees.

Unfortunately, this race currently has only one user review.  (More on this in a bit.)  FYI - if it would have had more than one review, RaceRaves would have averaged everyone's reviews  to create the "overall" rating at the top of the page.  But, that being said, let's focus on where the one review for this race came from.

The reviewer for this race is "Margs", who is a repeat runner of this race. They didn't post a blog link in this review, but they did rate the 2013 occurrence of this race as follows: 3 sneakers for difficulty, 5 sneakers for scenery, 4 sneakers for production and 4 sneakers for swag.  It also appears, based on the "photo" link just under the map to the right, that Margs has uploaded a photo for this race.  Let's check it out!

Hm.  Nice costume, Margs.  I think you and I should hang out.

While Margs doesn't have a blog post tied to this review, since I DO like their photo, that brings me to the next functionality of RaceRaves: runner networking. 

If I wanted to, I could set up my own profile and then choose to "follow" Margs - you know, to see what other races they review in the future, etc.  Or I could click on their profile to learn more about them, etc. 

That being said, since I've done enough stalking of Margs but still want to talk about profiles before I send you off to go check out the RaceRaves website, how about we just move on and look at my profile as an example?

As you can see, the basics of a profile are an image, a location and blog info (if provided), and a few other little snippets. 

You can also choose what I consider to be your running spirit animal.  Choices include:

For my profile, since I'm not particularly fast, I chose camel.  I dunno why.  I guess it seemed random enough at the time.  But now, I just realized there's a definition to the animals.  So, since I hate eating on course and usually drink very little at aid stations, I guess I still agree with the choice:

Beyond the short summary on the profile, if you scroll down, you can see additional race info, PR details, etc.  (These aren't really accurate for me, since I don't have all my races in here, and my PRs are far better thank what's posted, but I digress.)

You can also see all the reviews a person has posted.  Apparently I have done far too many, as mine fell off the bottom when I tried to do a screen shot.

And gee, what do you know?!  Scrolling all the way down to the bottom of my profile, I found I have a follower!!

Internet stalking at it's finest.  LOL!  (Rather than talk you through what it means to have followers and all that, since it's very similar to the "friending" concept on Facebook or LinkedIn, I'm just going to skip that topic.)


So let's see.  I covered the basics of how to search a race and what goes into a profile on the site. 

Hm.  Well, really that's enough to just turn you loose and let you explore.  And technically, it's really all I've done so far on the site myself, so why keep babbling on?

Oh!  That's right.  One last thing.

Above, I mentioned how there was only one review for the Bay to Breakers race.  Which funnels into why I'm writing this whole blog.  Essentially, I'm making a call for help.

RaceRaves is awesome.  The staff there is incredibly friendly, and every time I reach out to them to add a race or make an adjustment to their website, they reply back immediately.  Like, seriously, within a matter of a few hours.

And you know how much I love to support businesses that deserve it.

So, before I sign off for today, my request is this: 

     (1) Go to RaceRaves
     (2) Set up a profile
     (3) Contribute good content

Really, that's it.  That's all I ask.  And please - review as many races as your little heart desires.  I can't wait to see how big RaceRaves' library can get!!

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