Now we know why Dennis shaved his beard…
Running in the News
Did you all enjoy the European Indoor Athletics Championships, staged in the appropriately named Toruń in Poland? Great to see some of our athletes winning medals. GB and NI came third overall with 12 medals (2 gold, 4 silver, and 6 bronze). There has been some comment about the field not being as strong as it could have been, with some top European athletes sitting it out to focus on the Olympics in the summer. But you can only do your best in the field that’s there, and there was a lot to be positive about for our athletes.
Meanwhile, in Somalia, Mo Farah got his 2021 racing schedule off to a winning start after taking victory in the inaugural Djibouti International Half-Marathon on Friday. Running in a temperature of 28 degrees centigrade, he took the victory by just four seconds, clocking a time of 63:07. In second place was his training partner, Bashir Abdi, so perhaps Mo was happy to just to enjoy the company.
A few people have been asking about 2021-22 Club membership after receiving membership emails from England Athletics (EA). Belinda, our new Membership Secretary, will start organising membership renewals in April through the EA Portal, as we have done for the last couple of years. Annual Club membership will remain at £15, with an extra £15 (£30 in total) if you also want to be an EA member. EA has confirmed that existing EA membership will remain valid until 31 August, so don’t worry if you need your EA number to book a race before this year’s membership has been processed.
ELVIS has (possibly) left the Building…
Martin Clarke, the organiser of the East London fiVes Interclub Series (ELVIS) has emailed regarding this year’s competition. Usually, representatives of all the participating clubs would have met in February to agree the fixture list for the year. This year, EA are still seeking clarity on dates, numbers, and types of organised competition that will be permitted at the various stages of the Government’s roadmap out of the Covid restrictions, so it has been impossible to start planning with any certainty. Martin says “It seems that even as things stand at the moment, we stand to lose at least two or three of our earlier races. We also need to be mindful that the roadmap and easing measures are also continually subject to change especially with the advent of new variants”. When things become clearer, Martin will be asking for views from ELVIS clubs and will make a decision as to whether or not to go ahead with the competition this year. Of course, even if the series as a whole can’t go ahead, those races that usually fall later in the season – like ours on the August Bank Holiday – may still be able to take place. Fingers crossed.
To Warm-Up or Not to Warm-Up, that is the Question
It was interesting to see the discussion on WhatsApp on Saturday about warming up before a race. It’s true that, the time I had to jog/walk from Laindon Station to the Crown to Crown in order to make the start of the race, I got my best-ever finish time. It’s also true that, despite knowing that a warm-up will positively impact on my performance, I’m still naughty and don’t bother.
Warming up gives your muscles, bones, and joints a chance to loosen up; it gradually and gently brings up your heart rate; and makes it easier to get into the rhythm you want to sustain during the race. I’ve seen it suggested that your warm-up should be 10% of the distance of your race which sounds like a good rule of thumb, but it might be rather tough on ultra-runners. Another suggestion is that the shorter the race distance, the longer your warm-up should be, and vice versa. For most of us, a brisk 3-5 minute walk or jog, followed by some strides and dynamic stretches is fine. If you’re exhausted before the race even starts, you’ve probably warmed up too much!
BRR in Action
It was all about virtual handicap #03 this week. 31 runners entered and, of those, 18 managed to better their handicap times making their task a bit tougher next time. 1st place and 100 points in this race went to Dennis Spencer-Perkins, Ken Summerfield was 2nd for 99 points, and Debbie Coyle was 3rd earning herself 98 points.
Overall leader of the series after three races on 290 points is Martin Brooks, with previous leader Charlotte Owen dropping to 2nd on 288 points and Debbie Coyle 3rd with 280 points. With four races still to go and the best five results to count there is plenty of time left to challenge for top spot.
It was a BRR 1, 2, 3 at Barking (not)parkrun, with Martin Page first in 20:11, Ron Vialls second in 23:11, and Belinda Riches third in 23:13 (a new PB). Also running were Natalie Traylen (23:59); Jason Li (26:15); Robert Courtier (30:36); and Greg Adams (34:36).
Martin and Belinda’s times also earned them good placing at Virtual Park Run, with Martin finishing second overall Belinda Riches finishing as first woman and sixth overall. Rory Burr’s VPR time was 26:39 and Kresh Veerasamy finished in 39:12.
Well done to those of you who also did Debbie’s daily 10-minute abs sessions last week. The sessions are all saved on Instagram so you can give them a go (or do them again) whenever you want to.
As ever, please post all your time on the 5k Handicap/Race Results thread on WhatsApp. Remember, for fairness, your watch/app needs to show the distance in question, and make sure you do your virtual race within the dates set out below.
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 March to Midnight 13 March – The Age Grade 5. Run your best 5 miles on the course of your choice and post it, along with your age (not your full date of birth, just your age), on the Results thread. The winner is the person with the highest age graded score, not necessarily 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.
Tuesday 30 March – TRACK NIGHT! As it’s the last Tuesday in the month, it will be the one-mile time trial.
Running Shoe Trivia
We all recognise the Mizuno symbol, but what is it supposed to represent, and what is it called?
Answer at the bottom of the blog.
- My obese parrot died last week. To be honest, it was a weight off my shoulders.
- Someone stole some sand, cement, and water from in front of my house. I think I know who did it, but I’ve got no concrete evidence.
- I have to keep telling Chris to stop trying to paint black and white stripes on my back. I wish he’d stop badgering me…
Thank you to everyone who was brave enough to share their bad running experiences. I hope sharing the pain and anguish has been cathartic and will help you all to move on. If you are affected by any of the answers to this survey, a telephone support line is available. Deep breath and here we go:
- Probably running the first 11 miles of the London Marathon in 2 hours and then my knee giving way and limping the last 15 miles in 5 and half hours. Although, as they made a mess of the race, I at least get a free place this year.
- Benfleet 15. I was so cold, wet, and tired afterwards I could take off my muddy shoes and leggings so I just sat on the floor of the (old) ladies’ loos and cried.
- Falling over – countless times; being spat at whilst running by a man walking his dog who then proceeded to run with me and spit at me again; being in the toilet queue for the start of a half marathon, then starting it and running the wrong way for a mile – longest half marathon ever;
- Putting down my jacket whilst running in Barking Park, only for a dog to come up and wee on it.
- Travelling a long way to a race and realising I’d left my bib number at home. I bluffed it out and told the organisers it had never arrived.
- Falling down a rabbit hole in Hainault Forest. 6 weeks in a walking boot. And pain for 3 months afterwards.
- Lining up at Southend half, I noticed I had not put my chip on [oops!].
- I cycled to Hainault with my trail shoes in my bag on the back of the bike. Got to the Forest: one trail shoe! Luckily, I found the lost shoe on the cycle home.
- I was running by the lake in Barking park and a seagull dropped a chapatti on my head.
- Fell over crossing the road by a bus stop, it hurt (a lot) but was too embarrassed to accept help from person waiting at bus stop. Ribs hurt for weeks.
- Skin and blood loss – grazed knees, elbows.
- I stopped behind some bushes during the Brentwood Half to answer the call of nature. And sat on some brambles.
- Berlin Marathon, 20 miles out my stomach had turned and I needed the loo so badly, I saw a portaloo the other side of the fence, off line of route, I made it over the fence, and opened the door of the portaloo. The smell knocked me back, it was in such a bad, stinking, mucky shape. To keep it polite, I had to go, I added my curry looking load. Of course: no toilet paper, so the only thing I had was my pants, to make me half comfortable. I did leave them behind. Bonus – I did finish the race!
10 Reasons your Neck and Shoulders Hurt While Running
No. 1 – You clench your fists
If you’re clenching your hands or making a fist while you run, you create tension that travels through your forearm and upper arm and into the trapezius muscle (directly connected to your upper back and neck), which ultimately lands in your shoulder and neck. If your neck and shoulders hurt, the advice is to try letting your hands hang as if you’re holding an egg; you don’t want to crush the egg, and you also don’t want to drop the egg. If the egg cue doesn’t work, try visualizing a fist-full of crisps. Just don’t actually carry an egg or a handful of crisps with you while you run; that could get messy.
Back to the European Indoor Athletics Championships in Toruń. Was anyone else bemused to see that the mascot appeared to be a slice of toast? I spent ages trying to work out the relevance but until I discovered it was supposed to be in the shape of the local gingerbread named ‘Katarzynka’. Mariola Soczyńska, the Head of the local Sport and Recreation Department explained “We, the inhabitants of Toruń, certainly know, that we are best identified by Nicolaus Copernicus and gingerbreads, but when choosing the mascot we used the questionnaires and multiple consultations”. I guess a gingerbread makes a more fun-looking mascot than a 15th century astronomer.
Trivia answer: The Mizumo symbol is intended to represent a running bird and is called…the RunBird!
Prior to the RunBird, Mizuno had used a distinctive large “M” logo. But, due to trademark challenges and the feeling that the “M” was too similar to a competitor’s three stripe logo (I wonder who that could be…), it was deemed Mizuno needed a more modern symbol that embodied the company’s expansive view of sports. After a year of work by the Mizuno design team, and 180 rejected designs, the RunBird as we now know it began to take shape in late 1981.
Upon seeing the finished product for the first time, Masato Mizuno, then Chairman of the Mizuno Corporation, was delighted, stating “Birds called roadrunners exist. Our shoes now look like running birds.”
The RunBird logo isn’t just decorative. It is supposed to improve the fit of the shoes, prevent deformation, and increase the shoes’ durability.