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Run, Cycle, Swim: An interview with Founder of Fetcheveryone, Ian Williams

If you are a runner, cyclist or swimmer you are likely already an avid user of Fetcheveryone, and a keen member of its thriving and supportive community. Or perhaps you’re thinking of getting into running, cycling or swimming, but don’t know where to start – Fetcheveryone could be a helpful way to get you started on your journey.

In this post we catch up with founder of Fetcheveryone, Ian Williams to chat about the platform and everything sport.

What is Fetcheveryone and what inspired you to start it?

Ian Williams, Founder of Fetcheveryone

It’s a website where people can log their training, find events, plan routes, chat to people, get advice, play games and a lot more. I launched it in 2004 when I started running. I’m a web developer, and all the tools available at the time were pretty rubbish. It was pretty basic to begin with – but the early users were great at giving me feedback, and it soon became a really useful tool. It’s completely free to use, with no ‘premium’ paywall – instead it’s funded by voluntary donations from our community.

What are the benefits of Fetcheveryone for runners/swimmers/cyclists?

From a training perspective, it’s really useful to be able to look back at what you’ve achieved – so our training log is a core part. If you’ve done a bunch of 10k races, and there’s one coming up, one of our tools lets you compare the training you did before each one. It can highlight how your approach changes over time e.g. is speedwork the key to your success, or is it the number of longer runs? And you’re surrounded by a community who all understand what drives you to do crazy things – so you get a lot of support and motivation too.

What has Fetcheveryone taught you?

Everything really. Right from the start, I’ve been shown the importance of connecting on a human level with people who use the site. Too many companies out there either completely fail to do this, or try to manufacture it. There’s a common vibe of ‘Fetch-ness’ within the community, and everyone arrived for the same reason. But everyone has a different story. So I guess I’ve also learned not to judge people too quickly, and to try and understand how those different life perspectives fit together under our roof. 

Why do you feel community is important in sport?

If you read the blogs that our users write, you’ll see so much more about peoples’ lives than their training stats show. And likewise in our forum – there’s plenty of training chat, but there are dozens of threads about non-exercise subjects.  The sport is what brings us together, but it is the other stuff that forges friendships. So I think the question is upside down. Sport is important for communities, because it gives us a reason to get together.

Why do you run/cycle/swim?

I used to play cricket, and joined a gym at the end of the season with the goal of being able to hit the ball further. The induction included the treadmill, and I never really looked back. For years, my goals became the pursuit of PB’s – but now I mostly just go at it for the buzz, and to keep the lard at bay. This summer, I hope to cycle from my home in Bedford to my family in Wales – so that’s keeping me occupied!

What has been most helpful for you in becoming a better runner/swimmer/cyclist?

I’m not sure I’m much better now than I used to be – certainly not in terms of speed or endurance. But I try to make sure I focus on the other benefits – like the head space it gives me, and the chance to explore new places. One of my favourite things to do on a bike ride is collect squares for our Conquercise game – which means I have to find new routes every time I ride.

What are some of the trends you’re seeing amongst the running, swimming and/or cycling community?

There are definitely more events these days that go beyond simply “go from A to B as quick as you can”. For example, James Adams’ Bingo Race is a great example of a cruel format that plays with the minds of its competitors. And I’m seeing more GPS-based games now, that people can play anywhere at any time. We have half a dozen such games on Fetcheveryone – the most recent being Rundle (collect digits from the map to guess the secret number). A lot of people see Pokemon Go as the instigator of this kind of thinking, but we had GPS games on Fetcheveryone way before that!

What would you say to anyone considering getting into running, swimming or cycling?

DO IT! And don’t worry about how far you can go or how fast, or how many breaks you need, or what anyone else is doing. To be successful, it needs to become a habit – which means it’s better to go easy on yourself, because that’s sustainable. Once you get to the point when you are used to sticking your kit on, and looking forward to it… then you can think about improvements. But heck, even then – do you need to?

What’s your top tip for runners/swimmers/cyclists?

It’s hard to come up with something for everyone, but I guess the thing to look out for is finding a flow. I read a Human Kinetics book about this once (Running Flow). Essentially, all three sports are about repeating one action, over and over. And there’s a state of mind you can slip into, where it feels like you could do that thing forever. Relax, and remember how lucky you are to be able to do this.

What does the future hold for Fetcheveryone?

In terms of site functionality, I tend not to think much beyond whatever I’ve got scribbled on my notepad. Usually those are ideas or questions that come to me whilst I’m not at my desk (e.g. what happens to my cycling cadence on hills?) – and then I try to turn these into tools for everyone to use. There’s so much on the site now, so my recent focus has been on trying to make sure it’s easy for new joiners to get up to speed.

Ready to start your journey with Fetcheveryone?

Thank you Ian for taking the time to share your story with us. Making fitness accessible and fun for all is so important, and that’s why at Human Kinetics we are proud to collaborate with Fetcheveryone.

If you’d like to give Fetcheveryone a try, take a look at their website on the link below.

This entry was posted in: Fitness & Health


Human Kinetics is the world's leading information provider on physical activity and health. This blog is operated by the European division of Human Kinetics, based in Leeds in the United Kingdom. In this blog we aim to bring you our latest products, news on our existing products and articles and information on health, exercise, fitness, PE, nutrition and much, much more.

1 Comment

  1. Chris Walton says

    Top interview, not that I’m biased in any way but it’s a terrific friendly site with lots of help, advice and stats galore.

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