One of the team at Runr, Craig, recently got in touch with me to ask me to write a post about starting a running podcast. I have had the pleasure of having Craig on my show before. A couple of times in fact. I wanted to mention that first because it all ties in with my story below, which is how the Portsmouth Running Podcast came to be. The wonderful team at Runr are local to Portsmouth, runners themselves, and successfully managing one of the most recognisable running brands you see today. Craig shared his own running story with me on the podcast, which includes how Runr itself started (Episode 11). So in a way this all kind of loops back in some kind of circle.
This blog post expains how the Portsmouth Running Podcast was created. Perhaps it will help inspire anyone out there who is thinking of doing something similar. Do feel free to connect with me personally (@SouthCoastPiper) on social channels, or at the show itself on firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or want to find out more.
Before the pandemic struck, when driving into the office and back was a daily routine, I'd spend a lot of time in my car enjoying many of the fantastic running podcasts. I've always found podcasts to be my favourite and easiest way to absorb new information. As a passionate runner, I often find myself out running with really interesting and inspiring people, and over the years I've heard some remarkable stories on those runs. Running has a unique and almost magical way of enabling people to communicate more freely. We seem to lose the sometimes social awkwardness that is often experienced in rigid and stiller social environments. From this, I had an idea to start a podcast to capture and share these stories. And that was the unique factor of my show, to keep it local but also include surrounding areas because running has no fences. And also to hear stories from every runner no matter when they started or where they run in the pack. Everyone has an interesting story to tell.
How did I start a podcast?
Podcasts are a fantastic way to capture and share information. But how do you actually start one? I got asked this question a few months back from a local swimmer who wanted to take an idea about local sea swimmers to a podcast. There are a number of realtively simple tasks to do but often the technical jargon can become daunting. The good news is that there are so many services out there that make creating a podcast much simpler. They hide most of the complicated tasks, and do it all for you automatically. It is however a learning experience which does require you to have an understanding of how it pieces together. This post isn't about all that however. The best place to find out how to do that is YouTube and other blog pages and services that do that. The best place to start is to simply google "How to start a podcast?".
The ingredient you can't do without, is the idea. Once you have that, you had it all. It's the passion of the thing you are trying to create that makes it all come together. So it becomes a bit like gravity in the same way it helps us run down a hill. It always boils down to a running similarity to me :)
The equipment I needed was a microphone and a computer, and a chosen method to record and save the interviews remotely. This can be done over Skype, Zoom, Teams, Webex - these services all provide a free way to record meetings. That's it really. Once you have a recording, you upload it to your podcast website and people can start to subscribe and enjoy them. Like anything, that makes it sound almost magic. This can be a technical process, but as the task is repetitive over the course of the podcast lifetime, you become better and quicker at it, and start to understand how it works under the covers a bit more. It is no harder than uploading parkrun results, for anyone who may have done that.
Social media plays a really important part in getting your content to an audience. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram all have huge numbers of runners and running communities. I always write a post on these platforms whenever a show goes live so that people know it is there. Runners interact on these platforms and conversations happen from these. Some guests on my show have come to be due to these platforms so they are an important tool. Friends have also been amazing in helping with some of the finer detail too. A friend of mine created the logo and another shared the music from his band for the show introduction. There are always people around willing to help so don't be scared to ask. If you want to find out more about the above (boring) bit, please feel free to get in touch with me. I'm always happy to connect and help out.
What content can you find on the Portsmouth Running Podcast?
A year on, and 39 or so episodes or so later it is incredible the amount that has been captured on the show. You'll find running stories from all sorts of people, from runners in the area that are competing with transplants, to those who have run for Team GB and others who just run and race for the pure fun of it. If anything, my podcast highlights just how rich our communities are, not just for running, but generally. Everyone has something interesting to share in their experiences.
One of the many lovely people I've interviewed that I recall well, was my guest Debbie Pentland. Debbie is a runner and all year round swimmer in the area who injects the most positive, lively vibes into the area by just being out. I remember seeing Debbie for the first time at parkrun, in her fancy dress and bright colours and endless enery levels, and thinking "That is a role model. I want to be like Debbie!". Debbie was a guest on my show in Episode 4 and spoke about running with Lupus. I had no idea until we did the show that Debbie has published a book about it called "Mutiny in my Body: How Running has Saved my Life". This is the kind of rich content we have stored in our many shows. Portsmouth and the surrounding areas are just beaming with talented, creative and inspiring runners.
More recently I have also gained a co-host to help deliver more engaging running discussions at the start of each show. My co-host David Harvey is an incredible ultra runner and someone who I truly value as a friend. We have completely different tastes in music which keeps us entertained, but the passion we share for the sport itself is like glue for us and I can sit and listen to Dave for hours on a run. It was Dave who agreed for me to use one of his band songs for the intro music for the show.
On top of all of that good stuff, I've started incorporating a topical special guest onto each show. This ranges from physios, to shoe experts, to race directors all the way through to mindfulness experts. We keep them all running related and it gives everyone something to enjoy on each show.
Where can I find out more?
You can find my show on iTunes, Spotify and Google podcasts, and it can also be listened to and downloaded at portsmouthrunningpodcast.co.uk. We also have social media channels on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook where we post our shows out every two to three weeks. All shows are available to listen to. Just search for us at Portsmouth Running Podcast. I hope Dave and I can write up some more content for you via the team at Runr over the coming months. I usually end my show posts by wishing everyone good running, so in usual form, happy miles everyone! x