We get loads of questions about who we are and what we do. Many people think this is our full-time job, but its far from it. All of us work outside of Ultra168 and we do this just for fun… but for some more detailed information, we’ve prepared some Q&As below to give you more of an idea about who we are and what we’re about. If you still have any questions, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Who is Ultra168?
Ultra168 was set up after Darrel, Andrew and Terry embarked on their first grand adventure to record the fastest time across the entire length of the GNW. They wanted somewhere to record this trip, and Ultra168 was born as a team of mates who simply enjoyed running together. The team has expanded to include Dan and Marcus over the last year, and Terry has now decided to take a break from running to pursue other challenges which we will hear about down the track. Above all we are four mates who enjoy running together.
Why was the Ultra168 website set-up?
Once the first adventure over the GNW was completed, we realised there was an opportunity to talk more about the ultra-running scene in Australia. We felt there was no single resource for runners to read and consult, so Ultra168 the website was born. Our goal is to provide runners of all abilities with information and advice, as well as news and information about ultra-running across the board, from trails to road to mountain running and everything in between! We are primarily Australian focused, but we do cover the international scene not only as competitors but as well as crew, pacers and media to report and bring the races live back to Australia. We want Ultra168 to be recognised as one of the world’s leading ultra-running websites and the go-to resource for ultra-athletes.
What kind of things do you cover?
As far as the website is concerned, we cover ultra-marathon previews and at times, wrap-up reports – we won’t write about the course (unless it has mega-elevation and some craziness!). Our focus is mainly on the gun runners, both male and female – unless of course there are ordinary people doing extraordinary things. Along with this, we do mainly gear reviews as well as offer tips and advice on training and running ultra-distances.
We also have a Facebook page, which is used predominantly for news and short snippets of information that we think are interesting. We may also highlight races that are shorter than ultra-distance on the Facebook page and provide information about them and their entry. At times, we may even post things that are nothing to do with running, but are things that we find ‘ultra-cool’.
The thing to remember is that we’re primary bloggers and our time is limited. We’re not a full-time website, nor do we have time to feature every single ultra/trail race or product in Australia, or indeed globally. Our decision-making process as to what we cover is based on a number of things:
- How easily information about the race or event is available – if you don’t have a competitor list, then it’s a bit hard for us to preview your race!
- How popular the race is – for example if two races are on the same weekend and one has 1,000 people running and the other 30 – it’s quite obvious where our time will be spent. Even if yours is the only race on, if the numbers are low and there are no gun runners, then the chances of us covering it are very low. It’s not that we don’t think it’s not interesting, we just don’t think our readers will be interested.
- Is it ultra in distance? Strange as it may seem, but the clue to what we cover is in the title 🙂
- Can we get access to lead runners?
- As far as product is concerned, if we think it’s shit, we won’t write about it – it’s a waste of our time. The product must also generally be available in Australia and above all, appeal to our readers – They love new and exciting gear, so make sure it rocks and we’ll review it.
- And above all, we welcome just dealing with nice people who make life easy. If you’re pushy and not forthcoming with information, then we’re not really going to be inclined to cover your race or product.
Why the name Ultra168?
Ultra 168 the name was the brainchild of Darrel. There are 168 hours in a week, and it’s how you make use of those 168 hours. Our philosophy is that there are no excuses when it comes to running, hence there is always time in the week to run, be it at 1am or 1pm. We also believe in balanced lifestyles too, where family and ‘real work’ need to be accounted for. At the end of the day of, it’s only running, but there will always be time to run if you want to.
Is Ultra168 your full time job?
All members of Ultra168 have jobs outside of Ultra168, and we essentially do this all for the love of it. No-one (or indeed any company) pays us a salary to write and maintain the website and it is all done outside of working hours. We have all invested a large amount of our own personal time into developing the website as we are passionate not only about running, but about growing the sport in Australia and getting Australian runners recognition on the world stage.
Do you intend to make it your full-time job?
For the moment, Ultra168 will continue to be run in conjunction with our ‘real jobs’.
Is Ultra168 a commercially driven business?
Ultra168 is not a revenue-earning website and is not commercially driven. Since our operation began in June 2010, Ultra168 has not received any outside financial assistance for operating the website. Ultra168 is a loss-making venture and all costs associated with the upkeep of the website and any outlays for sponsorship that we undertake (e.g. 6ft Track Beer Bet) are all paid for out of our own back pockets. Each member of Ultra168 has ‘day-jobs’ which we use to fund the website and further its development. If this situation were to ever change, we would make this very clear and transparent to our readers.
Additionally we have no financial or commercial interest in our sponsors businesses either.
You have relationships with some companies, what does that mean and what do they entail?
Currently Ultra168 athletes (Dan, Darrel, Marcus and Andrew) are Footpoint athletes. There are a number of reasons we decided to partner with them:
- We believe in supporting local stores
- It means we are not aligned to any brand
- We can get our hands on some of the latest gear to test and review for our readers
What this means is that from time to time, Footpoint will supply Ultra168 with gear to review. When we’re finished with this gear, it is either returned or given away through competitions we run. Sometimes, if we’re unable to ‘re-use’ it we will keep it. However we make it very clear when we received gear from Footpoint and when we actually source and buy gear ourselves. This can often be the case as Australia is very often one of the last countries to get new gear, so we personally spend money to get hold of gear we think it’s important for our readers to know about.
Ultra168 was formerly part of the Hammer athletes programme, however we decided to not take part this year as we wanted to remain free of brand association where possible. Andrew however does have his own personal contracts with Salomon and Sydney Altitude training Centre. In light of this, Andrew does not write any reviews for Salomon or SAT to ensure there is no bias, and the vast majority of this is done by Marcus and Dan. It’s important to note that no other member of Ultra168 has any contractual relationship with Salomon or indeed any other brand.
Do you get gear for free?
As part of our relationship with Footpoint, we do from time to time get sent gear to trial and review. Where possible we will send the gear back, however we will always state on all of our reviews if we receive this gear and whether it was given to us by the companies. Sometimes we cannot send the gear back (due to hygiene reasons e.g. compression shorts reviews). We do not believe in hiding this from our readers as it’s important for them to decide if what we’re saying is believable and honest.
Are you paid to write reviews for the companies you work with?
This is a huge no-no and totally against everything we believe in. It is extremely important for us to let people know that we are not paid to write reviews by any company that sends us gear. Even if the item of gear is sent to us, we decide what we do or do not write. The only question we ask ourselves is whether or not we believe that the item is of interest to our readers and will they benefit from it. Getting paid to write a review goes against all of the rules we set for ourselves around remaining open, honest and impartial. If we have received the item of gear for free to review, we will always make that known on our reviews so that the reader is totally clear about it and can make their own informed decisions.
More often than not, members of Ultra168 have gone out and bought the gear ourselves so that we can write reviews for our readership.
Who pays for your website?
The members of Ultra168 pay for all expenses with regards to the website, which includes running costs and any sponsorship opportunities that we decide to get involved with e.g. The 6ft Track Beer Bet. We currently do not make any revenue from the website and all time is invested by us outside of our normal working jobs.
What about the adverts we see on the website?
The adverts that currently run on Ultra168 are something we do not have control over. Our website is run on WordPress.com, which is a free platform. To fund WordPress, adverts appear on the blogs that run on their platform to help pay for the service. Ultra168 does not gain any revenue from these adverts.
Will Ultra168 run adverts in the future?
It’s something that we have considered and are in the process of looking at. However, we are firmly of the belief that if we do run advertising that they are products and services that would benefit our readers. We are not going to simply take cash for anything to appear on our website. It goes against our philosophy.