I hope you’re looking back at 2017 fondly and that you’ve got some great running plans in store for 2018!
We’re wrapping up an amazing 2017 here at iRunFar. Our readership was huge, our community increasingly supportive, our articles as amazing and informative as ever, and, while I’m not sure how it’s possible, our race coverage got even better. Sweet!
With the new year on the horizon, we’ve sat down and taken a look ahead. Once again, we’re committed to bringing you a multitude of insightful articles and the world’s best race coverage in 2018. We’ve also found a way to make all our lives—yours and ours—better in 2018. How you ask? With Patreon! With what?
We’re glad you asked. In general, Patreon is a platform built to help people like you support creative endeavors like ours with monthly pledges. More personally, we see it as a way for iRunFar’s biggest fans to interact with us more closely. You might already be familiar with Patreon from The Ginger Runner, Ultrarunner Podcast, Sage Canaday, Mountain Outpost, or any one of the thousands of creators that use Patreon.
Should you support iRunFar on Patreon beyond the $1 per month level (even that helps!), you’ll get additional insight and information about what iRunFar is up to over on our Patreon page. Does that mean we’re putting up a paywall or giving early access to iRunFar’s articles or interviews? Heck no! Everything we do on here on the website will remain free and equally available to everyone. What we’ll offer on Patreon is something extra of the sort we don’t often share on the website or our social-media channels. It’ll be more personal, more behind the scenes, more informal.
So how will we improve things for you in 2018? By giving you far more inside access to what’s going on behind the scenes at iRunFar. Through the years, Meghan and I have tended to remove ourselves and our adventures from iRunFar as we’ve professionalized the website. On Patreon, we’ll have the perfect platform to give our most interested followers an ongoing look behind the scenes to see who and what iRunFar is. Patronage-based opportunities will include access to a patron-only update feed on Patreon, your name on iRunFar’s online Wall of Fame, your inclusion in a monthly group hangout, your questions answered during that hangout, personalized snail mail, and one-on-one video chats or real-life adventures. At the same time, Patreon also gives you an easy way to continually support something you already deeply value: everything we already do at iRunFar. You can join us here.
On our end, Patreon will help us to create a more predictable income stream, help us build a financial buffer for iRunFar, help our efforts become more personally sustainable, and help us continue to update and upgrade our equipment. Keeping iRunFar running is no easy feat. (Jump below for more details on our situation.)
If you value what iRunFar’s done in the past and hope to make iRunFar an even bigger success in 2018, please consider becoming a patron who supports us as we wrap up this year and move on to the next. (If you’d like to catch up in supporting iRunFar or otherwise prefer to make a one-time donation, that’s also an option.) We are so grateful for you.
Happy trails (and holidays),
Bryon and Meghan of iRunFar
N.B. A few of you already support us monthly on PayPal. (Thanks!) That’s still an option or you can join us on Patreon and before canceling your monthly donation on PayPal. For numerous reasons, we’re unable to make that switch for you. Many thanks for your support either way!
Ps. This is our first go at Patreon and we’ve surely got room to improve. If you’re interested in supporting us, but there’s a friction point or something else that makes you hesitate to pledge or you feel there’s something that we could improve on Patreon that would make you more likely to pledge, please contact us and share your thoughts!
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What iRunFar Does
On an ongoing basis, we provide:
- More than a magazine’s worth of articles each and every month delivered every weekday. Think of every Monday’s This Week in Running column; more than six years of AJW’s Taproom every week; fresh perspectives from Dakota Jones and Joe Grant every month; science-based insight from Joe Uhan, Tracy Høeg, and Corrine Malcolm; in-depth, unbiased gear reviews; and so much more!
- An amazing, insightful, civil community in iRunFar’s comments. Need examples? From just this past month, check out Mike Morton’s deep comment on burnout, the slew of comments on the recent pregnancy and distance running article, and the spirited yet civil discussion around AJW’s Ultrarunners of the Year choices.
- The world’s best, most in-depth race coverage from roughly a dozen events around the world each year. Western States, Hardrock, UTMB, and the TNF 50 Mile… those were just a few of the standout events we spared no effort to cover in 2017.
We do all this without any pop-up ads, advertorials, or any spammy stuff. At the same time, we keep everything on iRunFar and all of our race coverage completely free.
Why We Need Your Support
We need your support, and thought you might want to know a few more details on why.
From the moment I left my “real job” to this very moment, iRunFar has been a bootstrap operation. There’s often been just enough to squeak by, and, on the rare occasion there’s been something extra, it’s gone to buy new equipment, to cover an extra race, or to otherwise enhance what we share with you.
A few years in, Meghan Hicks became iRunFar’s second full-time employee and we developed a collection of dedicated columnists. Today, our team publishes roughly 500 in-depth, unbiased, as-many-words-as-it-takes articles and cover a dozen or more races in person each and every year.
Through the years, we’ve tried various ways to fund iRunFar’s mission. In recent years, advertising and other brand partnerships have been our primary sources of funding. However, we currently face two significant issues in relying on brands for the vast majority of our financial support. First, the exit of a single large brand partner could be a death blow to iRunFar; indeed, it nearly was in 2017. Second, more broadly, brands are increasingly exiting the online-advertising space, while others demand quid-pro-quo of marketing money for editorial content such as reviews, interviews, or advertorials. We’ll never go for that even though it cuts into our support. That’s why we’re reaching out to you.
We Need to Make iRunFar Sustainable
As noted above, this was an amazing year for iRunFar as a media outlet. Despite this, 2017 was tougher financially and emotionally than other recent years. The financial aspect was the most acute and led to many of the other challenges we faced. And, yet, this is an easily solved situation. Here’s where you and Patreon come in. You can make iRunFar sustainable and insure that we continue sharing the trail and ultra worlds with you for years to come.
How We’ll Use Your Support
- Equipment Refresh. While we continue to invest in new electronic equipment every year, we’re in need of refreshing some of our well-worn gear, as well. At the moment, we specifically need a new laptop and satellite modem before we dive into our 2018 race-coverage season. Update 12/27/17 — More than 100 of you have already become patrons, so we’ve earmarked the funds to buy a new laptop early next year. Thanks!
- Enhanced Financial Stability for iRunFar. iRunFar has always made ends meet, but there’ve been some close calls. Having a community of patrons supporting us monthly would both increase financial predictability and, hopefully, allow iRunFar to build a small financial cushion to help us weather any unforeseen circumstances.
- Us. Meghan and I are both about to enter the Masters age group having spent our combined 13-years working full-time at iRunFar paying ourselves as if we’re 20 years younger. We’re grateful that we’ve eked out an existence, but this is not sustainable. It’s time that the two of us meet our actual financial needs rather than continue pretending they don’t exist. Update 1/2/18 — With the help of more than 300 of you, to start the new year we’ve been able to give Meghan a raise to more reasonably meet her modest needs. Thanks!
- And Then What…? The above are our base needs for sustainability. Rest assured, we’ve got some great ideas on where we can take iRunFar if enough of you get behind us. In due time, we hope to evolve, improve, and expand as appropriate, and, as a Patreon contributor, you’ll have a front row seat for everything that’s yet to come!