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Running in the News

The UK Athletics consultation on whether women should run the same distance as men in cross country has proved very controversial. Paula Radcliffe and Laura Muir were among a number of high-profile British runners who have heavily criticised UKA’s decision to launch the consultation. In a strongly-worded statement released a few weeks ago, the group said they are “saddened by the suggestion that our past performances are viewed as somehow lacking, simply because we raced shorter distances than men”. UKA chief executive, Joanna Coates, responded by saying “It absolutely does not diminish the results and performances of those incredible female athletes. I just don’t agree with that at all and that’s never been what we’re trying to do with this”.

World Athletics equalised 10k distances for both genders at the 2017 World Cross Country Championships and Scottish Athletics followed suit. The South Essex Cross Country League, which we’re part of, has always had a single race for both genders, so it’s been a bit surprising how emotive the issue is for some people.

Perhaps the answer is to have two different distances and let people compete in the distance that suits them best, like we do for track races; after all, the fact that some people run marathons doesn’t take anything away from the people who can run a super-fast 100 metres. What do you think?

In other news, Alistair Brownlee hopes to become the first man to complete an ironman triathlon in less than seven hours. At the moment the best time for a full ironman distance – a 2.4-mile swim, 112‑mile cycle and 26.2-mile run – is seven hours and 35 minutes, set by the German Jan Frodeno in 2016.

Brownlee hopes to use technology to break the record, like Eliud Kipchoge did for the marathon. “It would be impossible under normal conditions,” says Brownlee, “But like with the sub two-hour marathon, we are choosing the boundaries. We will have special HUUB wetsuits that will be thicker than permitted under ironman rules, and provide more buoyancy and make us faster. While on the bike, we will draft off pacers like in the Tour de France. As the bike is over 112 miles, that’s the obvious place to find the time.” Brownlee plans to make the record attempt in the spring 2022 – something to watch out for. I wonder if Brownlee will face the same criticism as Kipchoge that the use of high tech and drafters to break a record is not quite the done thing.

BRR activities

We’ve got two more virtual events lined up for you: the 5k handicap and the one-hour challenge. PLEASE NOTE THE DATE CHANGE FOR THE HOUR RUN. I thought it might be a bit difficult for some of you to fit both of them into the same week, so it has been moved a week later (if you have already ran your hour when you read this, let me know). 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 these are ‘proper’ races you will need to post a screenshot of your watch or whatever running app you use. Once again, we will try for a B&D Post article, so photos of your lovely, smiling, faces too please.

w/c 1 February – Winter Virtual Handicap. Run 5k on the course of your choice between the Monday and Saturday. Dennis has posted details of people’s handicaps and Nikki has set up a new WhatsApp Group for you to post your results, so they don’t get lost (shout if you don’t use WhatsApp!). Good to see some of you already posting your times – no hanging around. As this is not the main handicap competition of the year, we are looking at bottles of wine (or a non-alcoholic alternative) for the series winners.

w/c 8 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 – as always – do follow Covid guidelines. I’m sure Dennis won’t mind if you post your result to the new Winter Handicap WhatsApp group, just this once.

w/c 15 February – Winter Handicap #02.

w/c 22 February – end-of-the-month timed mile.

Every Tuesday @ 5.00pm until track reopens – Debbie’s fitness session on Instagram (search ComradesinCoaching). Check the BRR WhatsApp Group on the day in case of any changes.

BRR in Action

Well done to everyone who took part in the end-of the-month mile time trial. Here are the times:

James Lowndes has completed an amazing 31-day running streak, running every day in January, in support of Red January. In total, he notched 243.3miles in 34 hours and 9 minutes. Also doing Red January, Faye Spooner is on day 89 of a crazy running streak, but ‘only’ (her word, not mine) clocked 179 miles in January.

Martin Page was first across the virtual line again at Barking (not)parkrun in 21:26, earning him a new NPR PB, and also the highest age grading of the week: 76:83%. Natalie Traylen was second in 24:54. Belinda got the highest women’s age grading of 66%. Alison Fryatt and Jenni Birch also ran for BRR.

Martin’s Saturday time of 22:05 earned him 8th place at Virtual Park Run. Belinda finished in 25:06, Rory Burr in 25:28, Alison in 33:41, and Kresh Veerasamy in 40:08.

Alison’s Cracker Corner

I looked out the window yesterday and saw a Jam Roly Poly, a Spotted Dick and an Apple Pie.

The street was desserted.

I’m going to sell my vacuum cleaner – it’s just gathering dust.

Boom! Boom!

[These jokes are from Tony Blackburn’s Sounds of the Sixties on Radio. I think the jokes have been around since the sixties…].

Birthday Boys

I spotted that we have three birthdays in a row over the next week or so:

  • 7 February – Trevor Parkin
  • 8 February – Trevor Cooper
  • 9 February – Richard Quye

Ray Shaw, who some of you will know, has his birthday on the 13th. Happy birthday, boys!

Running Bingo

I’ve signed up for the runr Miles for Mind Winter Edition, with the aim of running at least 50 miles during February. To keep it interesting, there is a bingo card with 16 ‘fun’ tasks to tick off, which you might like to try too. I’ll have a go at some of them but running in fancy dress by myself might be a bit much. How many could you do? What would be the best local landmark to run to in your area? Feel free to have a go, too.

Five Stretches to Try After a Cold-Weather Workout

We’re starting a new exercise and stretching series this week and, in the winter, what better to look at than stretches to do after a run in the cold. After running, in any weather, it is important to make sure you incorporate a proper cool down, followed by stretching to decrease tightening in the muscles (I know there are still some unbelievers out there…). On extremely chilly days, take your stretching indoors, especially if cold-weather joint pain is a big issue for you, or if you suffer from poor circulation.

Stretch #01 – Down Dog to Runner’s Lunge

This stretch combines the downward facing Dog yoga move with a lunge, so you get the benefit of stretching and strengthening all-in-one. T make it even more stretching(!) you can start each rep in a plank position before pushing back into the downward facing dog. Your body will thank you for it, honestly.

  • Start in Downward Facing Dog, with your hands shoulder-width apart, butt lifted back and toward the ceiling, legs straight, arms extended, back flat, and your head in between your arms.
  • Bring your right foot forward outside your right hand. Your right knee should be bent in a deep runner’s lunge (making sure it doesn’t go beyond your toes). Briefly hold that position before bringing your right foot back and transitioning back into a Downward Facing Dog. This is 1 rep.
  • Continue, alternating bringing your left and right leg forward, for one minute.

And finally…

Much as I love it, I have a strange phenomenon with my Garmin Forerunner 35. I like my watch to display the 24-hour clock. It helps me to know whether it’s day or night (no, not really, I haven’t got quite that bad yet. It’s just my preference). But the Garmin keeps changing it to the 12-hour clock. I change it back to 24 hours, Garmin changes it to 12 hours, I change it again, and then Garmin changes it again. It’s like a battle of wills and, at the moment, Gamin is winning. Does anyone else have strange things like this happening with their watch, or am I being singled out for special treatment?

Happy Running



BRR Chair


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