… Thanks To Your Support

This month, this column’s not about running. It’s about me and it’s about iRunFar.

Life can be tough. Yes, it still can be tough even if it’s first-world tough or you-don’t-have-cancer tough. The various more-run-of-the-mill levels of tough, are still tough. Accepting that, I’ve been going through a tough spell the past few months. Some of that is life-situation related and some of that’s running related, but a good deal of it is iRunFar-related. What appears to many as living the dream, is non-stop, exhausting, often stressful work.* Any in-the-moment work stress is complimented and sometimes dwarfed by the stress of keeping iRunFar afloat from month to month.** With this in mind, I carried a near perfect storm of stress, negativity, and, perhaps, fatalism with me to this year’s Western States.

And that’s where so many of you come in. Yes, it was a long, hot, stressful week in California. That’s expected. That’s accepted. But, then, there were more than a dozen volunteers who gifted their day to iRunFar and to the broader ultrarunning community by helping us report on the race. While that’s thankfully become the norm on big race days, it’s never taken for granted and it’s always an uplifting sign.

What caught me completely by surprise was the overwhelming level of support that came from those following the race. Honestly.

To begin, it was stunning how many folks followed the race with rapt attention, and that implicit support of the hard efforts of our team is gratifying.

What’s more, the level of explicit support race followers shared on Twitter, on Facebook, on iRunFar, and in person was unmatched. While it might seem trivial, hearing that you value what we do means a great deal. It is a wind at our backs propelling us along. It is the rising tide that buoys our spirits. It also helps reassure us that we’re doing alright in providing A, B, C, D, E, F, and G, even if a few vocally complain about us not providing X, Y, and Z. Thanks for that.

On top of that, I was blown away by the more than 100 followers and race fans who stepped up and donated quite a meaningful amount of financial support to iRunFar. To ballpark the support, it equalled about half a normal month’s operating costs for iRunFar. While a small number of folks have long donated in support of our race coverage, this was completely unexpected, amazingly helpful, and exceedingly well timed.

While acknowledging it probably came from my fatalistic side, I admittedly had urges to throw in towel. To give up the fight these past few months. Now, I’ll still never know more than a few months in advance how much longer I can continue iRunFar.com as what it is today, but your support the past fortnight has me fired up to push onwards and upwards. IRunFar goes on, thanks to your support.

Happy trails,
Bryon

* Maintaining a professional, diversified, independent, yet still grassroots news outlet means I am simulanteously the tech guy, the writer guy, the ad-sales guy, the on-site-all-dayweek race-coverage-guy, the accountant, and more. If I’m somewhere awesome, it’s ten times more likely that I’m on my laptop than a trail.

** It may come as a surprise to our readers, but it is a regular challenge to garner enough support via advertising, race-coverage sponsorships, and other marketing partnerships to cover the website’s modest budget.

How to Support iRunFar

I wasn’t going to include a donation link in this article, as my sincere intent was to think you, iRunFar’s readers and followers, for that you’ve already done to keep iRunFar going! But, since folks have asked, here’s a link to how you can directly support iRunFar. Options include a one-time donation, a recurring monthly donation, and making purchases through affiliate links on iRunFar. Thanks again!

There are 38 comments

  1. Jeff

    Bryon

    Repost the link to donate as I for one will be making a donation. I truly enjoy the race coverage and other content that iRunFar provides. I would think with this candid article, many others will be motivated to donate as well.

    Thanks.

  2. Brian

    Bryon – your dedication to create such an amazing website does not go unnoticed. Happy to chip in to help this great thing going.

  3. Rich

    I know you have both one-time & monthly donation options, but have you considered Patreon? I’m thinking along the lines of $1 a month with little or no added benefits – simply a convenient way to thank and help irunfar continue to do what it does + a $5 a month option that get’s you added extras such as unedited bonus video extras from interviews races etc… possibly the odd Patreon-only article. Just a thought! Thanks for all you do Bryon & Meghan! :)

    1. Bryon Powell

      Hey Rich,
      Thanks for the Patreon suggestion. I think I heard about it from a photographer back in January, but hadn’t looked at it since then. It looks like a very active platform these days.

      In starting to look at some of the outlets on there, two common perks seem to be (1) seeing content first and (2) additional exclusive content. Each has some issues. First, I don’t think I’d want to delay content, as I’ve always wanted iRunFar to be free and open to all. Second, with us already running at full bore, creating addition content seems impossible, at least with any regularity. Any other ideas for “perks”? I’m all ears!

  4. Kyle

    Bryon,

    As someone who doesn’t have the means to race, volunteer at or visit the races you cover, I really appreciate you, your news and your crew. I am always excited to see what you have on the site. I can immerse myself in the ultra world even from a drilling rig in North Dakota. Please keep the stoke (and a nap)!

    1. Bryon Powell

      Kyle,
      I’m stoked that we can keep you inspired at your drilling rig in North Dakota. Hopefully, you can escape to some of the awesome running locales in the state from time to time!

  5. Joel

    I should have donated a LONG time ago, but better late than never. If you’re like me, been coming to the site for years, but have just never thought about donating toward it (and have the means to) then please support the IrunFar team – they are so invaluable to this sport.

  6. Annika

    I am grateful for your work and follow race reports. I try to use the amazon link to buy my books so you get something. Even if it is small.

  7. Anna

    I was thrilled to see an option for donations during your WS coverage and was happy to lend a donation as I enjoy your hard efforts. The amount of work it must take to keep operations running (seemingly smoothly to the outside world) is admirable. I also second the recommendation to set up an account on Patreon, I’ve found several running sources I benefit from on there and was able to donate as well. I know it’s not always about money, but a little extra goes a long way and I’m sure there are other like-minded people who are happy to support grassroots efforts. Cheers!

  8. Sebas B

    I just sent the donation I should have made such a long time ago. Here in France we have tons of trail races every week-end and a fair amount of specialized media but there is nothing I enjoy on a daily basis and for race coverage as much as Irunfar ! I would really miss you if you had to stop and it’s too easy to take what you do for granted. So keep it up Bryon, Meghan and Irunfar, you’re the best !

  9. Doug K

    thank you Bryon, I have derived immense enjoyment from irunfar coverage, interviews, and general enthusiastic support of trail running. Wish I could make an ongoing donation but it’s not in my financial stars at the moment ;-(

  10. SDA

    Byron, thanks for sharing and thanks for the reminder. We sometimes forget that irunfar can’t sustain itself and we all benefit from your labor of love. Happy to contribute and wishing you well in every way.

  11. Emerson Thoreau

    You’ve done a good job with the site and no doubt have learned a TON and established life-long connections and friendships. That’s a win. Do not fear moving on. You have a law degree. Understand, there are MANY different ways to practice law where one is not grinding all the time, where on can help people, where one can work on interesting if not fascinating projects, and where one can make good money — and still have time to train. Good luck.

  12. Derek

    Any way to get Irunfar hats shirts…. I love the website and logo. I would be happy to help support the site for a hat!

    1. Bryon Powell

      Derek,
      We’ll have some shirts for sale in the next two weeks. :-)

      We’ve got some hats with our old logo on it, that we used to sell. Happy to sell one of those to you. Otherwise, I’m sure we’ll get some with the new logo if folks pick up the shirts.

      1. Derek

        Sign me up for a pre-order of both a men’s and woman’s shirt. I’ll take a vintage hat as well! Great site, how much do I owe you?

  13. David

    I really think Patreon could be a good idea for several reasons:

    1) Bonus content could motivate people to donate monthly.

    2) Transparency: Bryon can set a specific goal to keep irunfar afloat. Personally I would be way more motivated to donate monthly , if I would know how much money is really needed. And you don’t have this mindset “I am sure tons of other people donate – so they do not need my contribution”

    3) Small monthly donations like 1-3 $ might be easier for some folks to commit.

    What do you think?

    1. Joel

      I think the Transparency point is huge, especially if the financial state of the business is one of the leading risk factors for sinking it.

      Whether it’s critical now or down the road, Bryon should feel comfortable sharing the minimum critical funds needed to keep things operational. If readers are presented with the simple choice of donate toward X amount goal or risk losing IrunFar all together I’d like to think a lot of folks would step up to help.

      At the same time, I hope that sponsors are doing everything they can to support IrunFar as well. I’m sure many of them are doing their part, but I think they have a lot to lose if IrunFar ceases to exist.

      1. Anna

        I agree, Joel. I also would like to add that the sense of universality is critical to grassroots success (i.e., we are all in this together); transparency with operating costs is completely appropriate in this situation for readers and sponsors alike. I’m happy and thrilled to donate, but it can be hard to know what to give when something specific isn’t stated. And there is ZERO shame in being upfront about it on Bryon’s end, I think it’s being realistic and helpful to supporters. I’d be bummed if this outlet didn’t exist! It essentially is how I found out about ultra running in the first place…

      2. Bryon Powell

        Hey Joel,
        Is iRunFar is at the cusp in the coming months (autumn and winter are tougher), I’ll put out targets as needed.

        iRunFar would not exist without corporate support. Period. I’m beyond thankful that some brands are willing to do this. That said, it’s a very small number of brands. I’ll never shame a brand for not supporting iRunFar, but I’m likely to create a place on iRunFar to acknowledge those companies that do support iRunFar. In fact, that’s likely what my column will be about next month. In the meantime, I’ll keep reaching out to a few key brands in hopes that they’ll support iRunFar. Frankly, if they don’t step up, there won’t be an iRunFar in the longterm. (Sadly, there’s also a trend toward companies pushing for “sponsored content,” advertorials, paid or quid pro quo reviews, and the like. I’ll shut the site down before ever going down those paths.)

    2. Bryon Powell

      1. My issue with bonus content or a paywall or anything like that is I’ve always wanted to make iRunFar 100% accessible. Do I publish a post-race interview that’s only accessible to Patreon members? Do I save our “best” articles for that group? I’ve not really seen how this is implemented by other Patreon users.

      Also, creating “additional” content on a regular basis seems like a stretch given we’re already bumping up against our maximum workload nearly all the time. It’s one reason we’ve never had a “newsletter” with unique content.

      The above’s not to shoot down the idea, but more a call for more thoughts and what folks might find valuable. :-)

      2. This is a tough one… and I’m not sure exactly why. In part, because some folks will inevitably attack us for X or Y. It’s a vulnerable position with some (small number of) vicious people out there. While the vast majority of our costs are soft costs (salaries of two employees, paying writers, monthly communications/infrastructure costs), would it be helpful to lay out costs/goals for new equipment we feel we need (one of my iPhones is 3+ years old, such that it won’t pair with my camera and some key apps don’t update; our two laptops are 3 & 5 years old with the oldest unable to run some necessary programs; our sat modem just died) or the cost of us covering a race where we have limited or no support?

      3. I do have a monthly donation system set up in PayPal, but have the lowest amount set at $5. I know that’s more than many can afford, but a monthly $1 donation is actually $0.67 after fees, such that one $10 donation a year provides iRunFar with more support. It looks like Patreon might be slightly better in its fee structure for small monthly payments.

      Thanks for the great thoughts.

      1. Rich

        As far as your first issue, I do understand your concern and I too fundamentally prefer content to be free and accessible, and as such even if you try the Patreon route (which I believe you should indeed try) I would hope to the casual irunfar reader they wouldn’t notice any difference. Specifically as a rough example, I could foresee the usual post-race video interview on the website, but also a short bonus video on Patreon where you could perhaps ask a bonus question or 2 which Patreon subscribers have suggested in comments (in advance of the planned interview). Saving your ‘best’ articles for Patreon users? No! But again, if you could find the time, perhaps you could write your own monthly article for Patreon? It would seem more fitting to me to have more personal content on Patreon, rather than for example the big Walmsley interview or something! IMHO here are many, many you could add bonus material that wouldn’t detract from the main site… I’m sure other people could suggest other ideas though!

        As for the 2nd point, I’m not personally that obsessed about transparency that I wanna know how much you pay your other employees, but yeah as you suggested, it might be quite cool to set out goals for equipment etc… if people see the benefit (for example better video, or sound because of new equipment they have helped contribute towards) they are more inclined to help I believe.

      2. Joel

        I should have clarified better on the transparency item (and in hindsight “transparency” may have been a poor word choice )… I did NOT intend to imply IrunFar would publish an itemized budget for everyone to scrutinize – like Bryon noted that’s just asking for trouble. I’m comfortable giving my money to IrunFar without that level of accountability/transparency because I think their strong (maybe too strong) work ethic is well documented, and I don’t get the impression they’re out there flaunting the latest and most expensive equipment.

        What I meant is that IrunFar would communicate that on average it requires X amount in total (monthly or annually) to keep everyone and everything well taken care of. Understandably there are additional needs related to equipment updates…etc. that could be worked into that lump number, or if that’s an area where you wanted to be more granular you could call out special items/expenses you needed support for.

        Once its clear that IrunFar has a monthly goal of X, if there was a way for the public to track where support was at relative to that target in real time, folks could contribute more intentionally seeing that need.

        1. David

          Yeah exactly – sorry English is not my native language so transparency might have been the wrong word. But like Joel wrote – I think it would be great to have a feeling what the amount is that irunfar needs and how much was already donated.

  14. Andy

    It’s funny you say you’re more likely to be on your laptop than the trail, because I was just recently noticing how ironic it is that your icon photo shows you — who dedicates his life to the coverage of running wild through natural landscapes — holding an electronic device!

    I’ve donated in lumps the past and have a current small monthly donation active, but will try to do more. Worth every penny … even if it does have to be viewed on an electronic device :)

  15. Pete

    All of the elites interviewed on iRunFar are very careful to be wearing gear with their main sponsor’s name on it, in large letters, during the interviews. The brand is getting recognition and eyeball time in addition to the athlete but how much is IRF benefiting, other than a video hit? I hope elites that are associated with non-IRF supporting brands take the message back to their sponsors that IRF is the dominant channel for a lot us to stay in touch with the sport. Brand-sourced cheerleading video material has little interest to me. If some elite sponsors don’t think this is important, having interviewees wear only neutral clothing would be an interesting experiment.

  16. Jackie Lai

    What about a GoFundMe page with specific fundraising goals such as 2 laptops, a sat modem, 2 phones, etc. Worth a try. My son’s robotics team raised $10,000 quite easily that way.

  17. Anna

    My takeaway from the conversations on this thread is that many readers are interested in helping as appropriate and possible. What a great community you have built on this site!

  18. David Leeke

    Bryon,
    ‘Relentless Forward Progress’ was and has been The go-to book, seeing me through 3, 100 mile races (including this years Western States). It was the book that linked me to irunfar.com, over fives years ago.
    Your works and writings continue to help and inspire me and others.
    Thank you for all you do

  19. Brad Guthrie

    Bryon,
    Thanks so much for your honesty. For many of us, I think it is the “kick in the butt” we need to understand how spoiled we are by iRunfar’s efforts, and to realize we need to support it if we want to continue to be spoiled.

    Brad G

  20. Stephen

    Think about this runners: If you were to going for a run in a park that required an entrance fee, would you pay it or “run in” for free. I always pay. Why? Because there are people maintaining those trails for you. They are cleaning the restrooms and offering security. All for your benefit. To me, IRunFar.com is just like that.
    Bryon, Meghan others have given us great articles and more comprehensive race coverage than any other ultrarunning site on the planet! I want them to have the tools to do the job right. I will be donating again.

    Thanks Guys!

  21. Simone

    I think the work that you do is brilliant. Inspired my the honesty of your articles, I have started a small monthly donation. I regularly buy running magazines but your content is far superior. So I’m going to ditch one of the mags and am sending the money your way!

    From (not so) sunny England.

    1. Bryon Powell

      Simone, Thanks so much for support iRunFar like you would a magazine. Yes, we cover a lot of races, but we also hope to provide a magazine’s mix of articles throughout the year.

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