32 Years of AURA magazines now online
Back in October 2017, I came up with the idea to capture the history of AURA by digitising all of the association’s newsletters published between 1986 and 2017. Elizabeth Bennett introduced me to Kevin Cassidy who was kind enough to send his collection with me, and the work to scan the magazines began in earnest with the first few completed and put online within a week. I ran into some challenges with the scanner I’d been using at work, so after some research, the committee agreed to fund the purchase of a specialised “overhead” scanning unit (a Fujitsu SV600). This allowed scanning the magazines two pages at a time without removing the staples, and included software that was meant to remove distortions. I resumed scanning, and things went well initially, before I became frustrated by some minor imperfections that the unit couldn’t deal with. This led to several months of going crazy while I tried a different methods, such as holding down the edges of the pages with my thumb (and subsequently trying to remove my thumb from each scan!) and then purchasing a few different types of glass to hold the pages flat. In the end, I experimented again with the scanner at work, and came up with a system that allowed me to scan the magazines in relatively quick time.
After scanning, the pages had to be split (double-sided A3, so four A4 pages to separate for each scan), re-ordered, and then run through an optimisation process to clean up the scanned text, straighten the images and make the text searchable (OCR). It took me a while to find the right software for the job, but eventually I bought 12 month subscriptions for Sejda (for the splitting and re-ordering) and Adobe Acrobat DC for the cleanup and OCR. As I refined the process, it was taking under five minutes to scan each magazine, and around ten minutes for the post-processing.
The end result: 126 magazines in PDF format which members can now read here (or access via the top menu by selecting Members -> Ultramag).
So, where to next? Well, first of all, I need to re-staple the magazines and return them to Kevin! Then, I’d like to create an online index of all content in the magazines, to make it easy for members to locate specific articles. For instance, if you’re about to run a race such as Kuranda to Port Douglas, there are six race reports published between 2011-2017 that provide some insight into the course; the idea is to make it easy to locate those. Then, I plan to start extracting the many race results from these magazines and get them published to the DUV website (and subsequently, to our own results database). I’ve already had one person offer to assist with this, which is much appreciated.
If you like history, then hopefully you’ll enjoy reading through these magazines as much as I am. If you’re wondering where to start, then check out the “30 years of Ultramag” article, written by Kevin Cassidy, in the March 2016 edition!
2018 World 100km Championships
Our 100km representative team will be travelling shortly to the 2018 World 100km Championships. We wish them well! A huge thanks to Gary Mullins who, as team manager, has been liaising with the IAU to ensure travel and accommodation arrangements are in place. The full starting list for this event is available here.
If you’ve not done so already, please have a read of the athlete profiles that Kate has included in our last few newsletters:
- Tia Jones (Captain)
- Larissa Tichon
- Tash Fraser
- Dion Finocchiaro
- Corrina Black
- Darryl Hill
- Barbara Fieberg
- Brendan Davies (Captain)
- Margie Hadley
- Emilie Tan
- Barry Keem
- Gary Mullins
- Barry Keem
- Francesco Ciancio
2018 IAU Asian 24 Hour Championships
AURA is very pleased to be able to announce the Australian 24 Hour Team to compete at the IAU Asian 24 Hour Championships in Taiwan on 1 & 2 December. Congratulations to all the athletes selected.
- Nicole Kew
- Nikki Wynd (Captain)
- Tia Jones
- Sharon Scholz
- Donna Urquhart
- John Yoon
- Stephen Redfern
- Matthew Eckford
- Ewan Horsburgh (Captain)
- Mick Thwaites
Points Comp Update
I’ve published the interim points competition results with all events through to last weekend (19th August), except for Three Marathons in Three Days. Please take a look and let me know if you spot any errors. You can click on your name to see your individual results, or on an event to see how you placed amongst other AURA members. Other than volunteer points (which we’ll deal with at the end of the year), I’m hoping it’s fairly accurate!
AUSTRALIAN CHAMPIONSHIPS 2019 HOSTING APPLICATIONS
AURA event organisers please note that applications to host AURA Australian Championships in 2019 are now open and close on Friday 7 September.. Please apply online by completing the form here.
As well, If you have not done so already, please complete your AURA listing application for 2019 here. It’s an easy five minute process and will ensure you are on the AURA 2019 calendar.
AURA SELECTION COMMITTEE APPLICATIONS SOUGHT
AURA is seeking formal applications from AURA members wishing to join the AURA Selection Committee. The Selection Committee is responsible for the selection of athletes to attend international ultra running events representing Australia. We have two positions available and they are for a two year term.
The positions would suit those with an intimate knowledge of Australian ultra running events and athletes, as well as experience in either coaching elite ultra running athletes and / or competing at an elite level themselves.
Please email your formal application to firstname.lastname@example.org outlining your experience and the strengths you see yourself bringing to the role. Applications close Friday 7 September.
Cancellation of the 24H World Championships at Irdning, Austria
The IAU have announced that the planned 2019 24H World Championships at Irdning, Austria, have been cancelled. Very disappointment news for those who had this event in their sights, and a solemn reminder of the high costs involved in hosting championships at this level. Below is a snippet of a post from the event organisers, taken from this Facebook post:
“Today is not a easy day for us. Heavy heart we must announce that we have withdrawn from the event of the 24 h run world cup in 2019 and dissolved the corresponding contract with the iau. Unfortunately, both in the economy and in the field of public hand, the x75 does not have the importance we expect. Significantly reduced sponsors contributions and low grants from land styria and bund leave a budget gap in the six-digit area. To this gap, which we would have to cover as an organizer with our private wealth, there is still the lack of support by the Austrian government, which has made both the search for sponsors and the public funding of public funds.”
IAU Congress on 7th September in Croatia
The IAU are hosting their annual congress on 7th September in Croatia, which will include a vote on three positions made vacant in the IAU Executive Council. Australia’s Robert Boyce, currently the IAU Treasurer, has nominated for the position of VP, and Nadeem Khan, current VP is one of two nominees for the vacant President role. For more information, see the IAU’s announcement here.