Those of you that follow me on Twitter, or have clicked on the World-Rank.in link down the side of this blog, may be aware of a very strange little website that has been tracking me as I’ve been running all over South Manchester this summer. I did not sign up to it, I have never contacted anyone who runs it, and I have never spoke to anyone else who has even heard of it. But it exists, and it is watching me.

I first noticed them around six months ago when I got back from a run and received a mention on Twitter saying “@Seeph Congrats! Your RunKeeper Rank has been updated! world-rank.in/rank/Seeph #WorldRankin“. Now if you’ve used Twitter at all for any length of time, you’ll be aware of the amount of spam you get sent, and the golden rule with any spam is NEVER CLICK ON THE LINK. If you do, you’ll lose everything. Your house, your savings, your family. You’ll end up with a Russian bride living in the kitchen and a bathroom full of thousands of bottles of knocked off viagra. But this looked a bit different. So against my better judgement, I clicked on it, and was taken to a website that I think probably made me feel even worse. Someone was stalking me. My each and every run that I had logged using RunKeeper was listed on here, and I had been ranked along with thousands and thousands of other (possibly unsuspecting) runners.

Looking into them a bit more, I found out that they’re based in Tokyo and they have a mission statement to “make people all over the world excited and healthy through world-wide friendly competition”. They hope their website will “provide opportunities to meet people all over the world who like fitness or sports”. I’m not sure I want to meet anyone else like me to be honest. Someone who devotes all their time to running, to talking about running, or to avoiding activities that will act as a detriment to running. Such as, you know, going out, socialising, drinking, being a human being. We’re a pretty boring bunch, but World Rankin wants to bring us all together. Their mission statement continues, “this site is not only for competition, but making friends and cheering them up like the Olympics”. I literally have no idea what that is trying to say.

What I do know though, is that the website has been crawling over Twitter for some time, looking for anyone posting their RunKeeper activity, and then pulling it into their site and ranking it alongside everyone else. The mileage counters run month by month, so as you can see from my page, at the time of writing I have no data because I’ve not done any running yet in October. And I’m not likely to be doing too much now apart from the obvious attempt at 26.2 miles next weekend. Most of my training is finished now; Jeff has given me a few gentle, off road runs over the next week, but there’s no more heavy stuff from now until the big day. No more sprints, no more tempo runs, no more 20 mile slogs. Just a few light jogs, probably along the River Mersey and Chorlton Water Park. And then the little matter of 26.2 miles.

September though has been a long, hard slog. 189.9 miles in total, pretty much the distance from my flat in Manchester to my hometown of Biggleswade. The biggest week was a frankly ridiculous 53.9 miles; more than two marathons. Writing this over four months ago, I was proud that I’d done a marathon distance over the course of six runs, in twelve days. Three weeks ago I covered more than twice that distance in less than half the time. It’s weird how perceptions change.

World Rankin have appreciated my efforts too. I took a screengrab of the page yesterday as it was the end of the month, and I’m quite proud to say that I was ranked 23rd out of 15,634 runners.

I don’t think I ever made it into the top 20, and stupidly I didn’t check how far I was off the top spot before the stats were reset forever. But still, 23rd, thanks to my little legs propelling me over 189.95 miles. Quite an achievement I think, and hopefully it has all set me up for an even bigger achievement: successfully completing the Liverpool Marathon 2011 a week tomorrow.