Every summer the running club of which I am a member organises and stages a series of off-road/multi-terrain races in and around the picturesque North Staffordshire countryside. Our Summer Series is extremely popular and known for its venues, friendliness and its welcome to all ages and abilities.
For several years I ran in the races myself but more recently I have helped with the administration: signing on the runners, recording finishing positions and race times, processing the results.
Scrawled handwriting on the entry forms
My husband and I have processed the results for more than a decade. One of the most challenging tasks has been to read the scrawled handwriting on the entry forms, decipher names and dates of birth and enter them into our results calculation system. Over the years we became very familiar with some of the names which made it easier. Nevertheless a high proportion were best guesses and following publication of the results of the first race we would wait for the owner to email with corrections.
Neatly completed in block print or clear script
Today we have processed the entries collected at our first race which was held at Tittesworth Reservoir last Thursday. We noticed very quickly an astonishing improvement in the hand writing. Nearly all the forms were neatly completed in block print or clear script. Fewer than a handful needed careful scrutiny or a second opinion; only one or two missed out essential detail.
What has caused this amazing improvement in hand writing and accuracy of form filling among the runners of North Staffordshire, Derbyshire and Cheshire?
I have no idea, but it is tempting to think that as race series like ours are dwindling because there are fewer and fewer people who can spare time and effort to organise them the runners have done their bit to make it easier.
A small thing really but it saved us hours of time.
Thank you to all the runners, mums and dads and everyone else who filled in our entry forms last Thursday. Better writing made our job easier and quicker.