The Barking Wedge

Well, it’s probably no surprise that we are moving into tier 3 from Wednesday. This means that the rule of six applies for informal outdoor activities. HOWEVER, there is an exemption for organised outdoor sport and physical activity, as long as we are covid secure. So, our track sessions and training sessions at Hainault can continue. But we must follow the rule of six before and afterwards. Hopefully, with the vaccine rolling out, we won’t have to be ultra-disciplined for too much longer.


As promised, here are the official minutes from the December Committee meeting. If there is anything you think the Committee should be discussing (within reason) please let me know.

Track Tuesday

Thanks to Rory for organising last week’s track session – 5 x 1k certainly blew away the cobwebs. We just had to take care with the heavy frost. Also, thanks to Jason (and his son the co-producer!) for the wonderful video acknowledging everyone who received votes in this year’s Member’s Cup competition. I was very proud to win the Cup, but Jason’s video showed very clearly that a club isn’t about one person but all its members.

Captain Rob’s evil twin will be in charge of the main session this week: 12 x 300m with 100m recovery. I will be taking the warm-up so at least that will be gentle (mwah hah hah!).

The tracksters voted to continue with sessions throughout December, so lots of opportunities to burn off those extra Christmas calories, unless Everyone Active decides to close down the track.

Planned BRR activities

Note: any socialising before and after these organised events must be in groups of six or less.

20 December – Pre-Christmas hills at Hainault. Starting at 9.30am by the Global Café. The usual warm-up then 10 reps of the hill by the car park or until the last runner finishes. Fast up and recover down.

23 December – 11:00 informal handicap in Barking Park. Tea outside the café afterwards, weather permitting.

25 December – the DEFINITELY NOT Christmas park run. 9.30am in Barking Park. So everyone can run, please record your own time. If you let me know your time afterwards, I will pull them all together. Oh, and try and wear something festive (or maybe run with a mince pie in each hand).

BRR in action

It was the inaugural Barking Park 3K on the 12th. Eleven plucky Road Runners took part – some had only come to the park for a gentle jog and found themselves roped into a race (hello Joyce and Joe!). The 3k distance is quite challenging; too long for a sprint but too short to get into a complacent trot. Best strategy is to go hard and hang on! Finishing times were:

Position Name Time
1 Jack 10:17
2 Joe 11:44
3 Owen 11:54
4 Ron 13:11
5 Belinda 14:34
6 Jason 15:25
7 Joyce 16:37
8 Dennis 18:38
9 Rob 19:47
10 Greg 19:57
11 Micky B 22:42

I loved the Covid-secure photo of us. As Dennis said, we looked like a flock of geese preparing to take flight, which happened totally by accident. The V formation that geese fly in is called a ‘wedge’ so I hereby name our pose ‘The Barking Wedge’.

It was nice to have a socially-distanced cuppa and chat afterwards, and to meet some non-BRR friends that we haven’t seen for a while. We are planning to have more 3k races in the new year and there may be a trophy, so watch this space.

The miserable weather didn’t dampen the spirits of those who took part in the annual Xmas Royal Parks Run on the 13th, a 7.5-mile(ish) social run through St. James’s Park, Green Park, Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens. Highlights were running past Buckingham Palace, the foreign embassies, Kensington Palace and the Albert Memorial. Oh, and the tea afterwards, of course (I think there’s a theme emerging here). Wonderful to be mentioned online by Jo Pavey too.

We had a double at Barking (not)parkrun this week, with Ron and Belinda achieving the highest male and female age gradings of 76.50% and 69.61% respectively. BRR times were Ron 22:33, Belinda 23:48 (also posted for Virtual Park Runners making Belinda second-placed female), Jason 26:01, Helen 28:52, Alison 35:15, Greg 36:48.  Good to see Mrs Li and Belinda’s family also out there giving it there all.

The Perfect (late) Christmas Present

In the past, you could only get a Chingford League mug if you ran every race in a season. This year you can buy one, and they are certainly things of beauty. What better way to remember those gentle undulations at Hog Hill? Stick a pair of (new) socks in the top and you have the idea gift; your non-running partner/relative/friend will thank you forever. Unfortunately, they will only be available for collection after Christmas, but they are worth the wait. Details here – hope you can read them:

Diet advice

Some diet advice from Les:

Q. How do you burn 1,000 calories? A. Leave your dinner in the oven.

Boom boom!

More seriously, here’s a recipe for you to give your breakfast a Christmas makeover, courtesy of Quaker Oats. Being an unhealthy so-and-so, I’d bung in something sweet like honey, maple syrup, or golden syrup, a few tablespoons of oil, then stick the mixture in a low temperature oven for 10 minutes or so to turn it into some nice, crunchy granola. Yummy.

Simple moves for stronger and more injury-resistant joints

The knees, hips and the lower back are the areas that take the brunt of the impact when we run. All our joints have cartilage on the surfaces of the bones – it’s slippery to allow glide under load, as well as to absorb impact. The knee takes so much load it has evolved a secondary chunk of cartilage, the menisci, to further absorb force, which can be up to five times a person’s body weight when running reasonably quickly. Meanwhile, the bones in the feet and shin are where bone stress is felt most.

The joint and bone tissues adapt to the forces you put through them, so the more you walk and exercise, the stronger the structures are. Likewise, the less you do, the less structured and strong these tissues become. But it takes bone and joint tissues several months to adapt – far slower than it takes muscles. So, if you increase your running or training load too quickly, they can become overloaded and you increase your risk of joint issues, as well as bone-stress injuries (as borne out by my stress fracture).

Try these moves two or three times a week to strengthen the key running joints and bones. At all times, listen to your body and allow recovery time between sessions and runs. Give yourself time and build up slowly.

Move #01: Inner quad bend (for knees)

Your inner thigh muscle helps maintain the position of the kneecap. It works primarily between 0 and 30 degrees of your knee bend – the angle you land at when you run. To activate it, stand on one leg with your heel on a book or fitness step, with your toes on the floor and the other leg behind you. Bend slowly to 30 degrees, kneecap in line with your toes, then slowly straighten. Build up to three sets of 25 reps. Add weight when this move becomes easy.

And finally…

It seems you can’t go to Barking Park these days without bumping into a Barking Road Runner. Cheekily, some other clubs think it is OK to run in our park. Anyone would think it was a public space. So, in tribute to the late Barbara Windsor, I’d like to say to Dagenham 88 and Ilford AC ‘GET AAAHT OF MY PARK!”

Andiamo a correre! (Let’s go running!)


BRR Chair


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