Well, now up to six of us can meet and run together, while still keeping two metres apart, but still no sign of larger gathering being allowed, so no track nights or racing for the time being. I’m not sure many of us would facing being on a crowded start line at the moment anyway. But still plenty to do to keep ourselves occupied, with virtual events taking place left, right and centre. Here’s Greg’s round-up of the races:

Virtual Races

Plenty of Virtual racing this week for BRR including Round 2 of the Club handicap, Chelmsford AC’s virtual mile, virtual half marathons and iron man challenges.

This year’s virtual 5k handicap series is proving very popular with 36 competitors for the second race. After adjustments for those who bettered their time in round one, this week’s winner was Gopal Myilsamy who bettered his handicap by 1:46 followed by Alison Fryatt -1:41 and Mick Moohan -1:40. Only six seconds separated the first three. In total sixteen runners finished inside their handicap time and will be cut for race number 3 in two weeks’ time. Currently Alison Fryatt sits at the top of the table (it won’t last! – Alison) with 198 points, followed by Colin Jones 194, and Nehal Patel 190.

Chelmsford AC organised a virtual mile challenge for teams and individuals with BRR entering a women’s team which finished fourth overall in their category (V40+). The team consisted of Vicky Cooper 6:19:6, Debbie Coyle 6:32, Maxine Brown 7:00, Belinda Riches 7:07, Cristina Cooper 7:31, and Alison Fryatt 8:59. Several men also competed in the various individual sections. They were Paul Withyman 5:52, Trevor Cooper 6:20, James Hall 6:54, Jason Li 7:58 and Robert Courtier 9:19.

As well as the mile and handicap races, Trevor and Cristina Cooper competed in another Virtual Ironman, Debbie Coyle continued delivering her HIIT sessions via Zoom and Instagram and Alison Fryatt took on a variety of challenges in May. 

In Alison’s own words “Today I did a Virtual Half Marathon (2.24), and boy, was it hot! This ticked off a lot of virtual challenges I’d entered for May, including Miles for Mind, the ‘do what you can do’ NHS challenge, the VE Day 75 (raising money for armed forces charity SSAFA), and the Hackney Half, raising money for Homerton Hospital (where I was going for a foot injury before all this started). I have run every day in May and notched up 177.41k/110.24 Miles. Now for a rest” 

Congratulations to other finishers of the Virtual Half: Belinda Riches (1.56), James Hall (1.59), Gopal Myilsamy (2.18) and Trevor Parkin (3.57) and anyone who we’ve missed who also did the race.

The ISORUNCLUB virtual 10 miler

As posted by Rob on the BRR WhatsApp group, the ISORUNCLUB (no, me neither) is organizing a virtual ten miler at 10.00am on Saturday 20th June – the idea is that everyone runs together but apart. You’ll even be emailed a bib number to wear. It’s free to enter but they are looking for donations to Mind and the Eden Project. Ten miles is an unusual distance and a few members have already signed up to take the challenge. Details and registration here: https://www.isorunclub.com/

NHS Active Challenge

A few months ago, a number of us took part in the Strava April NHS Active challenge, which encouraged athletes to stay active for at least 10 minutes a day for 12 days. More than 130,000 members of the international Strava community took part, of which 74% were runners. You’ll be pleased to know that the challenge raised over £440,000 for the NHS.

Fitness Test

This week’s fitness test is of core strength. A strong core – the muscles in your abdominals, back, and glutes – gives you stability, power and endurance. If your core muscles can’t support your pelvis it will drop which causes your hips, knees, and ankles to lose their alignment. This means your muscles will fatigue faster than they otherwise would, and can result in injuries.

The test – get in a low plank position, resting on your toes and your elbows and forearms. Your body should be in a straight line from your head down to ankles – pull your belly button in, don’t let your hips rise up or sink and KEEP BREATHING. Time how long you can maintain perfect form:

Two minutes or more – Great

90 seconds to two minutes – Good

Less than 90 seconds – Fair

You can improve your core strength by joining in Debbie’s Instagram HIIT sessions – thanks to the training, I can now hold a plank for two minutes (30 seconds was my max before). If you can’t join in the HIIT, try floor exercises such as sit-ups, crunches, Russian twists and – of course – the good old plank itself. If I can improve with a little practice, anyone can.

Virtual Training Plan

Apologies for not posting the virtual training plan last week; my colleague who drafts the plan was inexplicably too busy with work – he needs to get his priorities right! Anyway, if anyone but me has been following the plan, I’m sure you kept yourself busy for a week.  

The focus for this week is foot strike – which is very important for reducing injuries. The main thing is not to ‘over stride’, where you go beyond your optimal stride length, creating additional shock up the leg and risking injury to knees and hips. The key is to keep the forward lean and build up cadence – e.g. foot turnover – rather than pace, aiming to get your foot landing below you. You can find more details and a good YouTube video here . The training plan is here.

And finally…

If anyone knows what was going on in this photo, please let me know. On second thoughts, please don’t, I have a sensitive disposition.

Happy running


BRR Chair


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