Santa Claus is coming to town…

Favourite Running Presents

Thank you to everyone who responded to the survey on favourite running gifts. Here’s your responses. A Garmin seems to be a highly-valued gift, followed by various items of running clobber.

  • I love my Garmin Forerunner 35 watch, a present to myself. Nice and simple and gives me all the data I need.
  • A lovely woolly neon hat with a built-in head torch. Not ideal for the night runs in the Spitfire Scramble as the beam isn’t adjustable, but perfect for the mean streets of Barking and Dagenham.
  • My family rewarded me completing first ever 10k race with a Garmin watch. For my 50th they bought me a treadmill and medal holder quoting “Do or Do Not, There is No Try!” (Have noticed missus is on that treadmill a lot tho!) 😆
  • The Holy Grail… oh and a lovely Rain Jacket.
  • Salomon hydration vest.
  • Vapourflys next %.
  • A free pair of trainers from parkrun. 😀
  • Garmin Fenix.
  • Pre GPS watch this was the only way I got distance and time [I remember running with a stopwatch round my neck when I first started running – Alison].
  • Running hairband that you can connect to your phone/other music device. Much better than trying to keep earphones in my ears.
  • Neon leopard leggings! 🤩😄❤️🧡💛💚💙💜

BRR activities

w/c 25 January – BRR Timed Mile – the end-of the-month time trial. Happy for you to do the mile as part of a longer run, if that’s easier for you. PM or email your time to me ( – make sure you include your full name, so I know who you are. You can run anytime between the Monday and Saturday during the week, then post your result by Midnight on Saturday to be included in the results. As this isn’t a formal race, there is no need to send a screenshot of your time – you’re only cheating yourself if you don’t give your genuine result! Hopefully we can get an article in the B&D Post, so please try and post an after-run photo of yourself (sweaty and exhausted, or fresh and ready to do it all again; your choice).

Tuesday 26 January – Debbie’s exercise class, on Instagram (search comradesincoaching) at 5.00pm. You’ll also find recording of previous sessions. If you can’t make the session, feel free to do it another day at your convenience.

Don’t forget to put next week’s activities in your diaries (assuming you’re not otherwise busy, of course…)

w/c 1 February – BRR One Hour Run – how far can you go in an hour? Winner is the person who posts the longest run. You can run any route you like but do follow the Covid guidelines valid at the time of your run.

w/c 1 February – Virtual handicap. Run 5k on the course of your choice between the Monday and Saturday. Handicaps based on your best time from last year’s competition will be applied (or your best parkrun time in the last year or so, if you didn’t compete in the handicap).

BRR in Action

Thanks to Debbie for holding a fitness session on Tuesday even though she is obviously still suffering the after-effects of Covid. That said, she still seemed to work us just as hard as usual!

Well done to Martin Page who was overall fourth at Virtual Park Run in 22:28, and to Belinda Riches who was first female and seventh overall in 24:17. Other runners were Rory Burr in 25:27, Alison Fryatt in 32:53, and Kresh Veerasamy in 41:49 (10th, 36th and 49th place respectively).

Martin and Belinda’s times earned them first and second place at Barking (not)parkrun, and the best age-grades of the week (73.35% and 68.22%). My time earned me tenth place, with Greg Adams also completing his virtual 5k in 38:40 and Jenni Birch in 40:23.

Les’s Cracker Corner

What’s pink and hard in the morning?

The Financial Times crossword.

Boom! Boom!

[This joke just about passed the official censor i.e. me]

A bit of history

There was an interesting article about Barking history by local-boy Billy Bragg in the Guardian, including a great photo of the lake in Barking Park. Read it here. I’ve been trying to work out where the photo was taken from, but I think the park has changed a bit since then.

(photo courtesy of Billy Bragg – I’m sure he wouldn’t mind it being used by Barking’s premier running club)

Keeping Your Running Fresh During Lockdown #03

One of the joys of doing real races is going to different places and seeing different scenery. It can be difficult to maintain motivation during lockdown if you just keep pounding the same roads, at the same pace, every time you go for a run. Here’s some tips, courtesy of Tribe Sports, for mixing things up and maintaining your interest in running during these difficult times.

Run every street in your local area. That’s right, every single street – within reason. You don’t have to run every street in Barking and Dagenham, or whichever area you call home – keep it local and responsible! But running in your local area (or maybe a very short drive away from your normal routes) could give you a new perspective on where you live, opening up routes you may never have considered before. You may even discover some hidden gems along the way that you never knew existed. [I’ve [I’ve tried running every single path in Barking Park. It’s surprisingly difficult not to miss any – Alison].

Include some interval training – if you need to step off the pathway to allow someone to pass safely, use the opportunity to do some on the spot interval training – whether it’s sprinting on the spot, some quick star jumps, squats, or even just a few lunges, keeping moving will keep your heart rate up and make it easier to get back into your stride. Of course, you may look a bit daft, but who cares?

Run your usual route backwards – well, that should be in reverse. Sounds simple, but you’ll be surprised by how different your usual route looks when you’re running it the other way. Changes in the terrain also mean you target different muscle groups, making you stronger and less prone to injury.

Mix up your playlist – if you listen to music while you run, just changing what you’re listening to is enough to refresh your running route. Swapping your usual trance tracks for something more mellow could change the entire feel of your run [I like a mixture of fast and slow tracks, so I get some changes of pace – Alison]. Just remember to be aware of your surroundings, especially if you’re running in the dark.

Collect landmarks – Make a list of ten local landmarks – parks, schools, churches etc, even pillar boxes, and try different ways of linking eight of them together. This is a bit like the parkrun-a-word challenge that some of us were doing last year. You are so busy following your route and finding your landmarks, you forget about how tired you feel.

Simple moves for stronger and more injury-resistant joints

Move #07: Controlled hops with a resistance band

The last in this series of exercises, and another one to strengthen your core. Hopping is also a form of plyometrics – a type of exercise that uses speed and force of different movements to build muscle power. Plyometrics training can improve your physical performance and ability to do different activities. To be honest, this exercise looks like a good way of having an accident, so please be careful. If you tie your resistance band around a door handle, make sure it’s not a door that someone is likely to open while you are exercising; the Club denies all responsibility if you face-plant or fall flat on your back!

How to do it:

  • Stand with a resistance band around one knee, the other end fixed to a secure point.
  • Rise onto the tiptoes of the same foot, keeping the hip level and holding the non-weight-bearing hip high.
  • Do small hops; keep the hip high and stable. Make the hops bigger as your control improves.
  • Do three sets of 15-20 reps on each side.

And finally…

I saw this face mask in last Friday’s Metro (I picked up a couple of copies to stuff in my running shoes after Hainault). What a great idea, if it works. Now they just have to design masks for those people who walk down the street with their masks under their chin while smoking a fag or eating fried a takeaway…

Happy Running



BRR Chair


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