The Run Net Community. This is a concept that is being talked about by a small but growing group of running enthusiasts and podcasters. At the nucleus is Steve Runner of the podcast Phedippidations. Already there is a Facebook group and a Google group. I think that the rather fuzzy concept is to encourage more potential bloggers, podcasters and videocasters to join in the quest to get even more people to join us on the road. You can find the embryonic website devoted to this by clicking on the title.

I suppose I should be all in favour, as I appear to be part of this social network. (As are you, by reading this sorry blog). I enjoy everything to do with running – as well as having a wider interest in track & field and the coaching thereof. I fell upon my Athletics Weekly and Runner’s World like an alchoholic seizes a can of strong cider, until the deliveries dried up here in the sunny south-east. I enjoy talking about the sport. I enjoy introducing others, young and old, to running and athletics. I enjoy reading running blogs and listening to running podcasts.

Some of them.

Those blogs listed on the left have a bit of quality about them and I enjoy reading the updates. There are others which I will make it my business to add. But there are many others that are very, very average, this one amongst them. And that is OK because most bloggers blog for their own enjoyment and are reasonably indifferent whether or not they get an audience. Some are outstanding and deserve a large readership.

Podcasts are different. No doubt podcasters enjoy producing their works but they are certainly unlikely to do so unless they think that they can attract listeners. I have listened with great enjoyment to virtually every episode of Phedippidations which rarely disappoints and then only where the producer drifts into areas in which I have no interest. A Mile With Me is a good English equivalent, laid back in delivery and usually holding the interest. But, in an effort to expand my listening habits I recently subscribed to another well regarded podcast. This consisted solely of spoken ‘submissions’ from miscellaneous runners – no editing, no pattern, no quality. I suppose one or two of the speakers were entertaining enough, but on the whole I’d heard enough to immediately unsubscribe.

So I am all for people blogging and podcasting about whatever they wish. But inviting everyone to do so is to inevitably drag the overall standards down. Or am I wrong, will it drive the standards up as more people learn how to use the new media? Overall I applaud the initiative and I’ll do my bit by highlighting quality productions that I come across. Because by definition there will be those that are good, many that are average and those that are of marginal interest at best.

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