Witness the fitness!

September BRR Committee meeting

The September Committee meeting looked at membership, finances and arrangments for the Club’s Annual General Meeting (AGM). Like most clubs, BRR has lost a few members during the Covid crisis, but we have also gained a few new members. We now have 97 members, with a few further joiners expected. Club finances are still looking robust, despite the loss of membership fees and income from our August Bank Holiday race. The new option to pay track subs online has proved very popular. We will be writing out shortly with arrangements for the AGM, but you won’t be surprise to hear that we are not planning to have a face-to-face meeting in the current circumstances. We’re also waiting to see how the Covid situation develops before making arrangements for the presentation night (not that there’s much to present this year!)

The week’s news

It wasn’t a shock when the announcement came that the Havering Half was cancelled. Part of me understands why the organisers held out for as long as possible before taking the decision to cancel. Part of me feels for the poor runners who had to keep up their training until the last minute just in case the race went ahead. To be positive, HM training is not as all-consuming as marathon training, and it can only improve your overall fitness, so the training wasn’t wasted.

But BRR members have managed to do a lot of racing over the past week. Here is Greg’s round-up of the action:

“A busy period for for Barking Road Runners with a few real races and several virtual events to go for.

First up was a trial 5 mile run organised by Orion Harriers to test if there is a possibility of the Chingford League happening this year. Over a 100 runners competed on the course which had been laid out on broad trails to provide the most space for the competitors. The runners were separated in pens of 18, labelled A to F, with each runner knowing in advance what pen they would be in based on their average 5k times. Each pen were led to the start and set off with a gap of a few minutes before the next pen were brought to the start. The finish was a wide line as opposed to the normal narrow funnel at most races.

The general consensus was it worked well and there is the hope that some of the races could go ahead. The finishing times for the four BRR representatives were: Trevor Cooper 42:09, Andrew Gwilliam 44:16, Cristina Cooper 47:27 and Rob Courtier 58:12.

BRR held a Club Tad 5 race at Hainault Country Park on the 20th consisting of a small loop around the field and two longer laps for a just under 5 mile race with a staggered start for the runners. First place went to Martin Page, finishing in a time of 35:45. First Lady was Natalie Traylen in 40:35.

Representing BRR at the New Forest marathon on a tough course was Paul Withyman, who completed the race in a good (Good? Great!) time of 3:29:00.

Trevor Parkin set a 5k time of 48:45 at Stratford Olympic Park in his first race for six months, while Cristina set a new 40k PB of 1:21:45 at her bike time trial.

Debbie, Amanda and Paul Wyatt also made an excellent showing at the Dartford Bridge Aquathlon, with Debbie finishing first overall and Paul finishing second man in the 2k swim, 10k run event, and Amanda finishing third lady in the 1k swim and 6k run event”.

Thanks Greg. Of course, Chris and I did our bit last week too, scoffing record-breaking quantities of cream teas and pasties in Cornwall!

Track Tuesday

I missed last week’s track session but, judging from the comments on WhatsApp, Captain Rob’s evil twin made you all work very hard. The hill session on Thursday night doesn’t sound like it was any easier. Remember, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger…

The session for Tuesday 22nd September is the Predicta 5k. For those of you who haven’t done it before, this is how it works: you predict how long it will take you to run 5k on the track, then run it. The catch? You have to remove your watch and run ‘naked’. The winner of the £10 prize isn’t the fastest person, but the runner who best estimates their pace and finishes closest to their predicted time.

BRR dates for your diary

Wednesday 23rd September – informal handicap on the Barking parkrun course, starting at 11.00am. Tea in the park cafe afterwards.

Thursday 24th September – the last Thursday night hill session. Meet in the Lodge Avenue car park (opposite the Roundhouse Pub) for a 6.30pm start.

Saturday 26th September – Debbie’s online HIIT workout at 5.00pm. Just search for comradesincoaching on Instagram.

Sunday 27th September – social Club run at Hainault Forest, starting at 9.30am from the car park near the Global Café.

Barking (Not)parkrun

It’s looking increasingly unlikely that parkrun will start again in the UK by the end of October, as originally planned. So, it’s good to see some of you still recording your (not)parkrun times (I think some of you haven’t yet worked out how to log your times!).

Don’t just sit there on your ass…exercises for those who sit a lot

Humans were designed to move around a lot, whether hunting down our prey or foraging for food. But most of us these days have sedentary jobs, involving sitting in the same posture for hours on end. Research has linked excessive sitting with an elevated risk for health conditions such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Of course, that doesn’t mean you’ll get heart disease just because you have a desk job—but sitting isn’t doing your body any favours.

Sitting all day, especially with poor posture, can also impact us physically. Sitting for long periods of time makes your hip flexors tight, which causes the glutes (butt muscles) to lengthen to compensate. Over time, this compromises the ability of the gluteal muscles to activate properly. When your glutes can’t do their job, other muscles in your body have to work harder, which ultimately can overwork them, leading to poor body alignment and aches. Tight hip flexors also make it harder for your pelvis to rotate properly—inhibited mobility in this area can cause compression and pain in the lower back.

So, over the next few weeks we will be working on a series of exercises and stretches to counteract the effects of long periods of sitting.

Exercise 1: Dead Bug

This exercise focuses on the stabilizer muscles of the core such as the transverse abdominus. So much of posture starts with the core and this move gives you “feedback from the floor” on how to use these muscles properly so your body is aligned. It’s important to do this exercise slowly and under control to get the full benefit.

  • Lie on your back with your arms at shoulder level raised toward the ceiling. Bring your legs up into tabletop position (knees bent 90 degrees and stacked over your hips).
  • Slowly extend your right leg out straight, while simultaneously dropping your left arm straight over your head to the floor behind you. Keep both a few inches from the ground.
  • Bring your arm and leg back to the starting position.
  • Repeat on the other side, extending your left leg and your right arm. That’s one rep.
  • Continue alternating for 20 reps total.

And finally…

Thanks to the CNN website for the following story about Fauja Singh, the 108-year-old who some of us will know from his running exploits with Sikhs in the City:

“Growing up as a Sikh boy in South Texas, Simran Jeet Singh longed for books with characters who looked like him and his family. But each visit to a bookstore or library ended in disappointment. Fast forward about 30 years later, he went back to those same shelves in search of books that reflected his young daughters. But as it turns out, not much had changed.

So, he decided to write a children’s book that centred on a Sikh character — the book he never had.

That book is “Fauja Singh Keeps Going,” published by Penguin Random House. It tells the real-life story of Fauja Singh, a British Sikh centenarian who in 2011 became the oldest person believed to have run a marathon.

It’s the first children’s picture book by a major publisher to centre on a Sikh story, according to the author, and was produced by an all-South Asian team.

“Fauja Singh’s perseverance and resilience inspire me to this day, and they are exactly the values I want to instill in my own kids,” Singh wrote.

“I also believe that this book can help cultivate empathy for children of all backgrounds: if our kids can learn to see the humanity in those who seem most different from them, they will see the humanity in everyone they meet.”


Happy running


BRR Chair


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