The (Mile) King of Wiltshire

Howdie BRR,

England Athletics has now confirmed that clubs, groups, coaching and competition can return outdoors from 29 March for both adults and children, in line with the UK Government’s roadmap for easing lockdown restrictions.

The ‘athletics and running roadmap’ infographic below shows what this means at each stage. All the dates are subject to the conditions in the Government’s roadmap being met as expected.

EA, runbritain and the larger road race organisers are in still conversation with Sport England and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport about a return to road racing. Until there is confirmation from DCMS they are still not able to give definite dates as to what type of races will be permitted at each stage. I’ve noticed a few races being postponed until until later in the year when they think we will be on the other side of the crisis – let’s hope they’re right.

Of course, the other good news is that we now have a date for the return of parkrun in England, all being well. Make sure you have Saturday 5 June in your diaries. Thank you to those of you who have volunteered to help out at Barking parkrun that day; I think it might be a busy one. We’re still waiting to see if parkrun HQ will be putting any special controls in place to improve Covid security. I’ll post details here and on the Barking parkrun Facebook page as soon as I here anything. In the meantime, make sure you know where your barcode is!

BRR in Action

Well done to all of you who completed the 1-mile time trial. Some great times, with Stuart Henderson – husband of illustrious former Club Captain Vikki – posting a spectacular 5:47, with Belinda Riches the fastest lady in 7:09, 25 seconds inside her previous time.  Altogether nine members managed to improve on their previous times this month with Jason Li having the biggest improvement of 57 seconds with a time of 7:34. Special mention to BRR stalwart Micky Ball who in the recent virtual events ran over 4 miles in the hour challenge, 39:00 minutes in the 5k handicap and a sub-12 minute mile all at the tender age of 78; an inspiration to all.

Hopefully the March timed mile will be back on the track, but happy for those who can’t make track to continue posting their times online.  

Not only do we have Barking Road Runners and Barking Urban Road Pedallers (with the subset Barking Urban Tricycling Team), but we now seem to have a Barking Fishing Club too. Les was evidently thrilled to catch a personal best pike last week. What an ugly beast – and the fish is nothing to write home about either (oh c’mon, I wasn’t the first person to say it!).

It was a BRR one-two at Barking (not)parkrun with Martin Page first over the line in a new NPR PB of 20:08 and Belinda Riches second over the line in 24:05. Rob Courtier finished in 31:19 and Alison brought up the rear in 33:58.

Martin P and Belinda both posted their NPR 5k times for Virtual Park Run, too, placing themselves near the top of the weekly table. Rory Burr was not far behind in 25:03, and Kresh finished in 38:44.

I finished my St. Francis Way virtual challenge, running or walking 502 miles in two months, following the old pilgrimage route from Florence to Rome, completing the Miles for Mind 50 mile in a month and Race Organiser Run February 100k challenges along the way. Now I need to decide which virtual challenge to do next. I’m torn between the 46-mile Giza Pyramids run and the Route 66 run – only 2,280 miles.

BRR Diary

Please post all your times on the 5k Handicap/Race Results thread on WhatsApp. The Race Results thread should only be used for…race results! Otherwise, it can be difficult to spot everyone’s results amongst all the posts. We love your banter (well, most of it) but please post it on the BRR Group WhatsApp thread.  Some of you are getting a bit premature with your runs – make sure you do your virtual race within the dates set out below and, remember for fairness, your watch/app needs to show the distance in question.

Every Tuesday @ 5.00pm until track reopens – Debbie’s fitness session on Instagram (search ComradesinCoaching). It can really make a difference to your running performance. Check the BRR WhatsApp Group on the day in case of any changes.

1 March to Midnight 6 March – Winter Handicap #03. Run 5k on the course of your choice between the Monday and Midnight Saturday.

1 March for 1 week – Debbie’s 10-minute abs workout. 5.00pm every day for seven days. Follow ComradesinCoaching on Instagram.

8 March to Midnight 13 March – The Age Grade 5. Run your best 5 miles and post it, along with your age. The winner is the person with the highest age graded score, not the fastest person. Don’t worry, you don’t have to calculate the age grading; I’ll do it, using the Runbundle app.

15 March to Midnight 20 March – Winter Handicap #04.

Running Form

There’s much debate on what constitutes good running form and whether it really matters. Distance running legend Haile Gebrselassie famously ran with one arm at a strange angle from when he used to run to and from school with his books under his arm, but it didn’t stop him breaking 27 world records on road and track, and the fluidity of his stride has been described as ‘poetry in motion’.

So, if what you’re doing works, why change? Well, I suppose it’s always worth trying something new to see if you can improve still further, as long as it doesn’t risk injury that is. it’s generally agreed that adopting certain good running habits can help you run further and faster and reduce your injury risk. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be looking at a some of the elements of good running form.

Stride Length

The most important thing is ensuring that your stride is not too long or too short. No, you don’t have to measure your stride with a tape measure, or spend ages interrogating your running cadence on your Garmin. But if your cadence is less than 160 strides per minute, or more than 180, you might want to consider whether you are over-or under-striding.

Many runners make the mistake of believing that longer strides – with the foot landing ahead of the knee – equate to better running, but over-striding can lead to unnecessary pounding which can cause sport-induced injuries and can also act as an unconscious brake.

On the contrary to over-striding, taking quick and short steps is instead more effective for the sake of a safe and solid run. This is not to say, however, that you should be taking baby steps, just shorter steps comparable to long strides. Too short a stride and you’ll be putting a lot of effort in to not get very far!

Rather than leaping forward, or tiptoeing along, think about directing force into the ground and behind you once your foot lands, to propel yourself forward.

Disagree? Let me know.

Tea for Two, and £1 for Tea

Please note that the Global Café at Hainault is no longer giving a discount to BRR members. I think they’re just so busy now that they don’t need to attract our custom. At £1 a cup of tea or coffee, it’s still good value.  

Cracker Corner

This week’s jokes are provided by Les and Martin P. Some have only just passed the official censor.

Les was running in Barking Park when he bumped into one of the ladies from Dagenham 88. She said if he went back to her place she’d show him a good time. He went and she did… 22 minutes for a 5k.

A man knocked on Les’s door collecting for the local swimming pool. Les gave him a cup of water…

Sad news from Martin Page. A close friend is in hospital after his wife made him a curry last week. Apparently, she mistook tulip bulbs for onions. Martin rang the hospital yesterday to see how his friend was and was told he should be out in the spring.

Boom! Boom!

Running Shoe Trivia

There’s an urban myth that Adidas stands for ‘All day I Dream About Sports’. But what is the true origin of the name?

Answer at the bottom of the blog

Survey – Your Worst Runs

A few weeks’ past, I asked about your best running presents. This week I want to know about your worst running experiences. It could be in a race or a training run, by yourself or with others. I’d like to think your horror stories will elicit sympathy from your fellow Club members but, knowing them, I expect they will just elicit mirth at your expense (schadenfreude, as they say in Germany).

Post your responses here:

5 Stretches to Try After a Cold-Weather Workout

Stretch #05 – Standing Hamstring Stretch

The last stretch in this series, and this week’s stretch is used by sportspeople the world over. Sometimes the simplest stretches are the best ones.

How to do it

  • Stand in a relaxed position with your hands at your sides, core engaged, and feet hip-width apart.
  • Step forward with your left foot, keeping your leg perfectly straight and flexing your foot so that only your heel rests on the floor. Bend your right knee slightly.
  • Hinge forward, bending at the hip. You should feel a stretch in your hamstring. If you don’t, lift your backside up a bit further.
  • Hold for 30 seconds to 1 minute, then switch sides.

 And finally…

Talking of worst race experiences, spare a thought for these runners whose moment of glory was turned into a moment of embarrassment. Everyone loves a good finish line celebration, but we love it even more when it goes wrong. So, with the return to racing hopefully not far off, perhaps it’s time to start practising how you’ll cross the finish line in style. Or maybe just wait until you’re safely across the line…

Happy Running



BRR Chair

Trivia answer: Adolf (Adi) Dassler began making sports shoes in his mum’s kitchen in Herzogenaurach, Germany after his return from World War I. In July 1924, his older brother Rudolf joined the business, which became “Dassler Brothers Shoe Factory”.

In 1936, Dassler persuaded US sprinter Jesse Owens to use his hand made spikes at the 1936 Olympics. Following Owens’ four gold medals, Dassler shoes quickly gained a reputation amongst sportspeople the world over, and sales reached 200,000 pairs of shoes every year just before World War II.

The Dassler factory was used for production of anti-tank weapons during the Second World War and was nearly destroyed in 1945 by US forces, but was spared when Adolf Dassler’s wife convinced the GIs that the company and its employees were only interested in manufacturing sports shoes. American occupying forces subsequently became major buyers of the Dassler brothers’ shoes.

In 1947 the two Dassler brothers fell out and the company split in two, with Adolf forming Adidas and his brother Rudolf forming rival sports brand first called Ruda then renamed Puma. They spent the rest of their lives in a bitter rivalry, each trying to steal a march on the other, like the brothers in the Twix advert!

Why the Three Stripes logo? Back in the 1940’s, a Finnish company named Karhu Sports manufactured footwear embellished with three stripes. Adolf Dassler liked the design and the way it looked on the sides of the shoes so much that he decided to buy it. As Karhu Sports was experiencing financial problems due to WWII, its owner eventually agreed to sell the trademark to the emblem for the equivalent of €1,600 and two bottles of whiskey.


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