Say ‘Hello 2021’ and wave goodbye 2020!

Reasons to be Cheerful, 1, 2, 3 (and 4 and 5 and 6…)

Thank you to everyone who posted their reasons to be cheerful. I’m glad some of you mentioned spending time with your family; I thought all those months home-schooling might have proved rather stressful for those of you with kids. I know spending 24/7 with my big kid (Chris) has been a bit challenging at times. Your responses are below, and I hope they get a nod from your fellow BRR members’ faces too. Some of them gave me a bit of a lump in my throat…

  • Running, Reading, TigerKing, Strictly.
  • Having such great Clubmates in BRR.
  • Got a dog. Passed my driving test. Running has been consistent. Family is all well so far. Had time to do DIY.
  • Track sessions, early parkruns of 2020, less time commuting more time running.
  • My Mum calling CoVid ‘Cobi’ since March. I have not corrected her because it makes me smile every single time.
  • Reading the club’s blogs! Spending more time with the family because of lockdowns. Seeing BRR clubmates whilst out running.
  • Debbie’s HIIT sessions, keeping us going during the various lockdowns
  • Video calls with family, games played with family, recognising people when running, getting to spend more time with family, running, funny memes, phone calls with family, spending time with children.
  • Being a volunteer while furloughed. Time at home with the kids during the summer.
  • Having Barking Park and Hainault Forest on our doorsteps.
  • Going to Cyprus on my own for a week in August 2020, cutting my hair short, entering stepping competitions, colouring my hair platinum, visiting my children’s 94 yr old great grandmother (all Covid secure), having great work mates, going into London when the city is in lockdown for essential working, drinking prosecco, my health and fitness, my children, a new puppy, yoga, practising mindfulness, my family, getting my glasses fixed for free when the arm fell off, the kids and I wearing matching Christmas pjs for the first time.
  • Les’s jokes!
  • Being able to go on holiday before lockdown. Being healthy. Exploring open spaces
  • Getting my bike out of the shed again when Boris shut the gyms!!!!
  • Orange BRR hats.
  • 1, When I finally got rid of a long-term cough. 2, Meeting up and training with BRR. 3, Debbie’s Classes. 4, Staying with my sister in Ramsgate, 5, Seeing my Brother for the first time in about two years or so. 6, Meeting up with Keith, Eve, and little Archie who lived with me for 5 years, Archie’s first 5 years of his life. 6. Able to keep running.
  • Leo my running buddy. Paul my other half who has tried to keep me busy and entertained. My boys for keeping me young. Small opportunities in seeing friends.
  • Having time with my girls at home, during Lockdown 1. Time for picnics, games, and walking or cycle days out without having any time constraints for perhaps the first time in my working life.
  • Cake, more Cake and some Cake [naughty! – Alison]
  • Running, my family, alcohol [very naughty!! – Alison]
  • Takeaway food, sleeping longer, skiing, buying a road bike, still having a job, first triathlon, open water swimming, keeping up with friends, summer picnics, hockey

I’m loving seeing your views. I’ll post another survey in a few weeks’ time.

BRR activities

England Athletics Virtual Road Relay Competition 2020/21. Thanks to Jack for flagging this virtual competition. It’s a free-to-enter competition to give runners and clubs from across the country the chance to compete against each other. The competition is open to all England Athletics registered runners aged 15+ and is across a 5-mile race distance. Mixed teams of eight (4 x men / 4 x women) are required to complete legs of five miles per runner. If there are more runners of either gender, the best four times will count. Round 1, the Qualifying Round is from Saturday 26 December 2020 – Sunday 10 January 2021, so there is still time to register and run for BRR. More details and sign-up for free at

BRR in action

The Witham Boxing Day 5, alongside the Crown to Crown, is a bit of a Boxing Day tradition for BRR so, as the races could take part in real life this year, I signed up for the Witham Virtual ‘Beat the Pudding’ 5. Unfortunately, I didn’t beat the pudding; he (apparently the pudding is a Male veteran 35+) finished in 39:51, while I was about 20 minutes behind him in 58:59. Who knew Christmas puddings were so light on their feet?

A group of Barking Road Runners saw 2021 in by completing the the Phoenix Virtual New Year Chaser. Starting at 10.00am on New Year’s Eve, the aim was to run one mile, on the hour every hour, tracking the New Year as it rolled out across the world, finishing at noon on New Year’s Day. That meant 27, separate, one-mile runs if you did the full event, with a minimum requirement of six consecutive miles. Some runners chose to stick to the same one-mile route for most of the event, while others kept motivated by running the miles across as many different routes as possible. But all the 27-milers completed the final mile in Barking Park, running in Tier 4 compliant ones or twos.

Freezing cold temperatures on the day added to the physical challenge of the race, but the mental challenge was toughest; it took every ounce of resolve to keep going out every hour when you are already tired, especially through the night. Andy Hiller completed six miles, due to work commitments. Nabeel Akram, Amanda Heslegrave, Cristina Cooper, Faye Spooner, Belinda Riches, Alison Fryatt and Rob Courtier ran the whole 27 miles. The team raised over £5,000 for charity (Orphans in Need, Alzheimer’s Research UK, Saint Francis Hospice, Postpals, Shelter and Richard House children’s hospice), so they had an extra incentive to keep going. Thanks also to everyone for their words of encouragement along the way.

Les’s Cracker Corner

Statistics show that 70 per cent of road accidents in Sweden are caused by a moose.

They really should take his driving licence away…

Boom! Boom!

Simple moves for stronger and more injury-resistant jointsMove #04: Hip Flexor Stretch

This is an old favourite, but are you doing it correctly? Or are your actually doing it at all? As runners we can become a bit complacent and neglect to stretch after exercise. Until we get injured, that is. It has to be worth investing a few minutes (and it really only has to be a few minutes) as insurance against injury.

How to do it: Kneel on the leg you will be stretching, with the other leg in front, and that knee at 90 degrees. Next, tuck your tummy in and your bum under you, before pushing forward into a stretch, which should be felt in the front of the hip of the kneeling leg. Hold this position for 30 seconds or so, then repeat on the other leg.

And finally…

Firstly, thank you to everyone who enquired whether I was able to get my new webcam up and running, despite the instructions being in Japanese. Remarkably, it was sold as ‘plug and play’ and it did just that, so the instructions weren’t needed after all (though I appreciated Jason’s helpful translation).

This week, I thought this helpful medical diagram might be of benefit to my fellow runners to warn them of the body parts that might be subject to chafing during a run (apologies for the – ahem – medical language). Both men and women can suffer from chafing and, if you think it hurts while you’re running, wait until you get home and into the shower (as I know to my cost after the New Year Chaser – ouch!). Moral of the story: invest in some anti-friction products and NEVER do a long race/run in new gear or kit you haven’t worn for a while.

Upwards and Onwards


BRR Chair


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