Well, it was scorchio last week. I hate to moan (no, really) but thirty-odd degrees is too hot for comfort, and especially for running. However, that didn’t stop the hardy folk at BRR from getting out there and doing their ‘thang’. Here is newshound Greg’s round-up of the highlights.

“Barking Road Runners’ virtual handicap No. 4 took centre stage this week for the Club and produced the fourth different winner of the series. Thirty-one competitors took part this week, 10 of whom beat their handicap, with Kevin Wotton coming out on top finishing 1 minute and 24 seconds inside his handicap time. 2nd place went to Micky Ball who bettered his handicap by 1:21 and Gopal Myilsamy finishing 3rd, 1:11 below his handicap.  The fastest run was by Gary Coombes who did his run in an impressive 17:41. Overall leader in the series is Nehal Patel with 365 points followed by Cristina Cooper 358 points and Jason Li 355 points. With the best 5 results of 7 to count there is still plenty of time for change and all are looking forward to race No. 5 in two weeks’ time.

BRR Captain Rob Courtier ran 10k at Hainault Country park for the Hilly Helmet Challenge for the Brain tumour support charity. The challenge was set up by Robin-Mark Schols in 2017 after having to wear a helmet every day for almost a year whilst waiting to have a titanium plate fitted to an infected part of his skull due to complications arising from a brain tumour. Mark, who is a keen runner, was asked by many people what it was like having to run in a helmet and he came up with the idea of the challenge to raise awareness and support for the charity. The event, which usually takes place in Wiltshire, was done virtually this year due to current restrictions. For the challenge all the runners have to wear a helmet. Rob was channeling the Chelsea Flower Show with his headwear.

Colin Jones continued with his ultra-running and is currently undertaking a virtual Lands End to John O’Groats run. The distance has to be completed by the end of September but Colin, who is pleased with his first week’s effort of 94 miles, says he hopes to complete the challenge within 10 weeks. Only 989 miles to go…

June Committee Meeting

Another virtual Committee meeting. It’s even harder than normal to keep your Committee members (Rob, Dennis, Nikki, Greg, Trevor and Cristina, and me) under control when you are meeting over Zoom. Usually at this time of year we would be focusing on how our various Club competitions are going, and on organising our own Club’s August Bank Holiday 5K race. This year, apart from our virtual handicap, most of our races have been postponed or cancelled, and it’s touch and go whether our race will go ahead.

Everyone Active, who manage the track, continue to be uncontactable so we don’t know when we will be able to book track nights but, in any event, they would be difficult to organise while the six-person limit remains in place. We hope to maybe arrange some sessions out in Mayesbrook Park shortly, if slightly larger groups are permitted to gather outdoors. In the meantime, please do continue to post on WhatsApp if you are looking for someone to run with.

We will make a decision on the Bank Holiday 5K at our next meeting on 13 July. We will also firm up details of 2020-21 membership fees – at present, England Athletics (EA) is saying that they expect athletes to pay their registration fees in full by the end of August and we would hope collect our own membership fees at the same time to save people making two online transactions (and save the Club from being charged for two transactions). We will be charging a reduced rate for our membership.

(Not) parkrun

(Not)parkrun is starting to take off. There were nine completers for Barking parkrun last week, of whom six were BRR (well done Nehal, Greg, Jason, Natalie, and Alison) but I know lots more of you did your 5k and could have recorded your time; perhaps some of you have done so for another parkrun. It’s a new week, so remember to record your time whatever your home parkrun. More info here https://support.parkrun.com/hc/en-us/articles/360009843618–not-parkrun-FAQs

And no more parkrun doubles

In case you haven’t seen the parkrun volunteers’ newsletter, parkrun HQ has announced that it will no longer be an option to do a parkrun double on New Year’s Day. HQ want to reduce pressure on volunteers and parkrun staff. It also seems that some parkruns have also had problems with landowners and the wider public due to the much greater than usual volumes of runners. Events are still allowed to host an additional parkrun on 1 January, at their usual start time i.e. 9.00am in England.

Hatfield Broad Oak (virtual) 10K

The Hatfield Broad Oak 10K is another BRR favourite that has decided to go virtual. From 9am on 10th July you will have 10 days to run, walk, saunter, skip or gallop your way along any 10K or 5K route you choose, and submit your time using a tracking app or GPS watch. It’s costs £20/21 but you get choice of a rather smart white, black or charcoal t-shirt and a medal, and any surplus split between the village school and NHS charities. https://www.letsdothis.com/gb/e/hatfield-broad-oak-10k-187849

If you’re gonna do it, do it right – The Plank

Here’s the second in our series of the correct way to do common exercises, and it’s our old friend, the plank. The plank is an effective exercise for developing your core strength around the spine, which will help with running, but bad form can hurt your shoulders and back. The common mistake is sagging at the hips or raising the bottom too high. Raised buttocks or a collapsing back are a sign of a weak core. To get the best results, always maintain perfect form. If you lose form during the exercise, it means your muscles are tiring. Stop and have a rest, then try again. You can build up how long you do the plank gradually, but holding it for too long can result in bad form. And you are unlikely to break the world record of 8 hours, 15 minutes and 15 seconds anyway. Not surprisingly, the chap who did it (George Hood, 62) was in ‘excruciating pain’ afterwards. Damn fool…

Target: stomach and back muscles

How to do the plank correctly:

  • Keep your legs straight and hips raised to create a straight and rigid line from head to toe.
  • Your shoulders should be directly above your elbows.
  • Keep your abs contracted during the exercise.
  • Don’t allow your lower back to sink.
  • Look down at the floor.
  • Keep breathing!

And finally…

Do make use of Debbie’s free HIIT sessions at 5.00pm on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday evening – just look for ComradesinCoaching on Instagram. Now you can even playback the sessions on another day or different time if you can’t join them live, or if you want to do them again. They really do make a difference to your fitness, as can be seen by looking at svelte Captain Rob – he’s solid muscle now.  I won’t mention his helmet.

Happy (and Safe) Running


BRR Chair


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