Glad to see the Ox likes selfies almost as much as Jason!

Howdie BRR

Gung Hei Fat Choi! Or Happy New Year! This year is the year of the Ox. I heard someone on the radio saying that their neighbours from Nepal had just had a baby but hadn’t decided on a name yet, so were calling it Little Ox. Made me think the baby was fortunate not to be born in the year of the Pig, Rat, or Snake, though I’m sure every year has some sort of luck connected to it. You’ll also be an Ox if you were born in 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, or 2009.

In Chinese culture, the Ox is a valued animal. Oxen are the hard workers in the background, intelligent and reliable, but never demanding praise. The Ox is the second of all zodiac animals. According to one myth, the Jade Emperor said the order would be decided by the order in which they arrived at his party. The Ox was about to be the first to arrive, but Rat tricked Ox into giving him a ride. Then, just as they arrived, Rat jumped down and landed ahead of Ox. Thus, Ox became the second animal. If you are an Ox, let that be a lesson to you in races!

 BRR in Action

The weather seriously impacted on the number of Barking (not)parkruns recorded last week. But it didn’t stop Martin Page being first across the virtual line once again, in 20:57 and it didn’t stop him getting a new PB and the highest age grading, 78.60%. That’s regional standard bordering on national standard. Well done Martin! Alison Fryatt (me!) finished in a more sedate 34:08.

Martin’s time bagged him third place at Virtual Park Run. Rory Burr also took part, finishing in 26:09.

Trevor Cooper competed in Virtual Ironman No.6, a 1.5k run, 20k cycle, and 5k run, finishing in 1:04:23, earning him 43rd place overall.

BRR activities

Due to the snowy weather last week, we decided to allow an extra week for people to complete their hour-long run. This means it now coincides with Winter Handicap No.2. It’s fine to combine both but, if so, you’ll need to get a screenshot of your watch showing your 5k time before going on to complete the hour (if you’re running like me at the moment there won’t be much difference). Remember to save all your virtual results on the newly renamed 5k Handicap/race results WhatsApp Group, so they don’t get lost amongst the general chit chat. If you’re not on WhatsApp, please contact me or Dennis by PM.

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.

8 February to noon 21 February – BRR One Hour Run – how far can you go in an hour? You can post in kilometres or miles and I will convert. Completers so far are Ron (7.13 miles), Gary H (6.47 miles), Jason (6.18 miles), and Nabeel (5.98 miles). I did seven. Oh no, wait a minute, that was Ks! I’ll try again during the week.

15 February to Midnight 20 February Winter – Handicap #02. Run 5k on the course of your choice between the Monday and Midnight Saturday. Post a photo of your result on the Winter Handicap thread. For fairness, your watch should read 3.1 miles or 5k (we know on the Barking parkrun course this may mean you have to run a little bit more than the official course, just to be sure).

22 February to Midnight 27 February – It’s the monthly timed mile.

Sound Familiar?

The March issue of Runner’s World magazine reports that seven of the last eight male London Marathon winners, and six of the last seven female winners, were Kenyans. A new study in the European Journal of Sport Science suggests that one of the reasons for their dominance is that the Kenyans do more tempo and short interval runs than their European counterparts. The suggested session to run like the Kenyans is 8-16 400-metre reps at 5k pace (8 out of 10 effort) with a minute recovery in between. Sounds pretty much like one of our favourite track sessions! Let’s hope we’ll be doing it again soon.

Cracker Corner

How can you find Will Smith in the snow? Follow the fresh prints.

Chris asked me to stop singing Wonderwall to him. I said ‘Maybe…’

Boom! Boom!

Brave or Bonkers?

The global pandemic has sapped the motivation of many athletes and runners. Like Norwegian runner Jonas Felde Sevaldrud, who said he was “really lacking inspiration, I couldn’t find it anywhere.” Then he discovered Christopher McDougall’s famous book ‘Born to Run’ about minimalist running. Sevaldrud was so inspired he decided to try running barefoot in the midst of the frigid Norwegian winter. It was a painful and bloody experience (not just because of running in the snow, but because he wasn’t used to barefoot running), but Sevadrud says it was worth it. He wound up setting a world record for a barefoot half marathon in the snow. He finished in 1:44:58, breaking the previous record of 2:16:34, set by ‘The Iceman’, Wim Hof, in 2007. To be fair to Wim Hof, apart from bare feet, Sevaldrud ran in long tights, a long-sleeved top and a beanie hat. Hof ran in nothing but a pair of shorts. Brrrrrr!

Running Shoe Trivia

We all know Nike is an American shoe brand, but where does the name Nike come from?

Answer at the bottom of the blog.

5 Stretches to Try After a Cold-Weather Workout

Stretch #03 – Reclined Spinal Twist

In Sanskrit, this pose is called “Supta Matsyendrasana” (SOOP-tah MAHT-see-en-DRAHS-uh-nuh). It’s named after an ancient yoga master, or “siddhi,” called Matseyendra. The name “Matseyendra” means “lord of the fishes;” so this pose is sometimes referred to as Reclined Lord of the Fishes Pose.

This is the lying down version of the seated twist we sometimes do after a track session. It offers many benefits, including: stretching the back muscles and glutes; lengthening, relaxing, and realigning the spine; and strengthening the abdominal muscles. You’ll also feel a stretch in your shoulders. But do be careful if you suffer from back problems. Always work within your own limits and abilities.


How to do it

  • Lie on your back with your legs in front of you and stretch your arms out to your sides.
  • Bring your right knee in toward your chest and then drop it over to the left-hand side.
  • Keep the right arm stretched out to the side and turn your head that way too. You can either keep your left arm stretched out, or use it to – gently – press your right knee towards the floor.
  • Hold for 30 seconds to 1 minute, then switch sides.

And finally…

Chris is very romantic. No flowers, jewellery, or sexy underwear for me on Valentine’s Day. I got a Covid antibodies test. To be fair, he also got me some chocolates. He really enjoyed them.

Happy Running



BRR Chair

Trivia answer: In Greek mythology, the Nike was a winged goddess associated with speed, strength and victory. For this reason, ancient Greek armies never went to battle without offering prayer or sacrifices to the Goddess. Nike was believed to fly about the battlefield conferring glory and victory on brave and pious warriors. She did this by crowning the victors with a laurel wreath or a palm branch. But she was not just associated with warfare; she was the goddess that ancient Greeks from all walks of life called upon when facing a struggle.

The image of the goddess Nike has been on Olympic medals since 1928. In addition to her image, the Olympic medal has the wreath of victory and a shield – symbols typically associated with Nike. Getting back to the sports brand, the Nike ‘swoosh’ logo, designed by Carolyn Davidson in 1971, is an abstract representation of the wing of the goddess.  Famously, she was only paid $35 for the design (roughly $220 in today’s terms).


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