We had an interesting discussion on WhatsApp about Club places for the Virgin Money London Marathon (VMLM). Perhaps WhatsApp isn’t the best place to post about a topic that it is quite complex, so I thought I’d explain the issue in a bit more detail here, for those who are interested (if not, you can skip over this bit).
Section 17(e) of the Club Rules say that points for a place in a particular year’s marathon shall be totaled from points earned for the following:
- the cross-country season that finished in the preceding calendar year; and
- the ELVIS, Grand Prix, and Chingford League races taking place during the preceding calendar year; and
- in the case of all other points, during the period of twelve months ending on 31st October in the preceding calendar year.
Only ten of an expected 24 eligible races took place before Covid wrecked the season (shout if you think I’ve missed anything):
- 17 November – Hadleigh
- 29 November – Hadleigh
- 12 January – One Tree Hill
- 8 February – Hainault Forest
- 18 January – Hackney Marshes
- 1 February – Victoria Park
- 7 March – Wanstead Relays
- 24 October – Epping
- 6 December – Hog Hill
- 15 March – Dartford Half
For the 2021 VMLM, the Club has been told we will not get any water station places, so we are only expecting to have the one place we get based on our UK Athletics membership. So, applying the Club rule above, the person who earned the highest number of points from the ten races plus any volunteering points, and who meets the other eligibility criteria, should get that place. If there is a draw, the names would go into a hat.
The question I posed on WhatsApp was around what should happen for the 2022 VMLM. At the moment, we have only two eligible races in the Club calendar: the two Chingford League races in April (Hog Hill and the relay at Central Park). There was no cross country at all, and it looks like the ELVIS competition won’t go ahead, or with only a limited number of races at best. We also haven’t decided what to do about the Grand Prix competition, as per Nikki’s WhatsApp post.
Like this year, we may only get one place for 2022, or we may get some water station places too. But how should we allocate the place(s) in this strange season? Possible options are:
- The default position: apply the Club rules, and base the allocation on whoever gets the highest number of marathon points from any eligible races that take place, plus water station and other volunteering points. If there is a draw, the names would go into a hat. What would folk think was a sufficient number of races on which to allocate the place(s)?;
- If the number of eligible races that take place is felt to be insufficient, put the names of anyone who has earned points – either from running or volunteering – straight into a hat. This is the scenario that I was envisaging in my WhatsApp post, if we only have a handful of races; or
- Rollover marathon points awarded in 2019-20 for whoever doesn’t get the 2021 place, and add them to any points earned this year; basically smashing 2019-20 and 2020-21 together. As above, there would be a draw if two or more runners tied on the highest points. The main concern would be if races are over-subscribed and folk want to participate but can’t.
- Wait and see – we may be able to get a lot more races in the diary if the route map out of Covid continues to go well. The downside is lack of uncertainty; the longer we leave it, the more chance of diary clashes.
I’m sure there are probably other options I haven’t thought of. For any option, we would want to stick to the other eligibility criteria as set out in the Club rules (available on the website in the ‘About Us’ section) as much as possible, while taking account of the unusual circumstances we find ourselves in. At the end of the day, the BRR Committee will have to make a decision, but we would welcome any views before the next meeting (12 April). We can only hope that things are back to normal for the following year so the issue won’t arise again.
Hainault Forest Restoration Project
Work is due to begin this year on the restoration of Hainault Forest. The project is being jointly led by Redbridge Council and the Woodland Trust, so hopefully the ancient woodland, once a hunting ground for Henry VIII, will be protected. The plans include: demolishing the asbestos-riddled changing room block on Foxburrow Road (just along from where we usually park); renovating the old farm buildings to create a new visitor hub; and restocking the farm with animals that once would have been grazed on the land. You can watch a short video about the project here: https://visionrcl.org.uk/parks-outdoor-spaces/hainault-forest-project/
Olympic Marathon Time Trial
The time trial for GB marathon places in the Tokyo Olympics took place last Friday. There has been a lot of publicity about Chris Thompson coming first in 2:10:52, at the age of 39. He joins Ben Connor and Cullum Hawkins, who had already achieved the qualifying time, in the men’s team. Stephanie Davis was the only female to finish inside the women’s qualifying time, completing the race in 2:27:16; not bad for someone who has only been running seriously for a few years. The other places in the women’s team have yet to be decided. The full results can be found by clicking here.
BRR in Action
We had some fabulous distances for last week’s Fabulous Thirty 30-minute challenge, though we all seemed to have trouble switching off our watches at exactly thirty minutes – except Trevor ‘fast fingers’ Cooper, that is!
The man with the flying feet, Martin Page, took first place with a very impressive 4.54 miles. Belinda Riches and Ron Vialls continued their rivalry with Belinda edging out Ron this time round with 3.96 miles to Ron’s 3.91 miles. 4th and 5th positions were filled by Trevor Cooper and Nehal Patel with 3.80 and 3.70 miles respectively. Next came Gary Harford 3.41 and 2nd placed female Joyce Golder in 3.36. Trevor Parkin entering his first Virtual race for BRR completed 2.0 miles. Well done to everyone who participated.
Martin Page really is on form. He broke the 20-minute barrier to finish Barking (not)parkrun in 19:49, and age-graded score of 83.10%. Surely there must be some national masters’ competitions that Martin should be competing in? Ron Vialls was second in 22:45 and Belinda Riches was third in 24:45. Also running were Jason Li (26:31), Rob Courtier (30:45), Alison Fryatt (33:30) and Greg Adams (35:00). Full results here: https://www.parkrun.org.uk/barking/results/notparkrun/?date=2021-03-28
Martin was first at Virtual Park Run in 19:50 (they must round their times differently to parkrun). Rory Burr also showed good form, finishing tenth overall in 25:23.
It was disappointing, but not surprising, last week when Pitsea Running Club announced that they were unable to go ahead with the planned Crown to Crown 5K race on Good Friday, due to Covid restrictions. And Horndon-on-the-Hill has also fallen by the wayside for 2021. Let’s hope that’s the last cancellations we hear of. But there are still plenty of activities to keep you busy:
- 29 March to Midnight 3 April – Winter Handicap #05. Usual rules apply: your watch must show 5.0k, you must measure elapsed time, not running time, and you must post your results to the WhatsApp thread by Midnight on Saturday.
- Tuesday 30 March – Track night. It’s the mile time trial. After the mile it will be 300s with 100 recovery. Remember, although we are now allowed to meet, we are still required to follow social distancing rules. If you can’t make it to track, you can run your mile and post your result on the results WhatsApp thread, by Midnight Saturday, please, for inclusion in next week’s blog and B&D Post article.
- Monday 5 April, 12.15pm – Hog Hill 5k. If you want to take part, please let me have your name, date of birth, and your 5k time (as a whole number) by Noon Wednesday 31st March.
- 5 April to Noon 11 April – Age-Graded 10k. You’ve done the age-graded 5, now let’s see how you get on over 6.2 miles. I’m allowing half a day extra to post your result as some of you do your long run on a Sunday morning.
- Sunday 11 April – St. Clare Hospice 10k. If you’re doing the age-graded 10k and fancy a ‘real race’, why not sign up for this charity event? More details here: https://stclarehospice.org.uk/event/stclare10k2021/. Thanks to Martin Page for flagging this race – I’m doing it but might finish a little way behind Martin…
- 12 April to Midnight 17 April – Winter Handicap #06.
- Thursday 15 April, 6.00pm – Hill work in Mayesbrook Park. Meet at the car park in Lodge Avenue, opposite the Round House pub.
- 18 April to Midnight 24 April – The Furious 15. How far can you run in 15 minutes? There’ll be an opportunity to run at track, if you really want to go for it.
- 26 April to Midnight 1 May – Winter Handicap #07.
- 7.30pm, Wednesday 12 May – Crown to Crown.
- 22/23 May Great Baddow Virtual 10. There is a charge to enter this race, but the proceeds go to charity. Nearer the time, we might look and see if we can run together. Watch this space.
- 31 May (real) OR 29 May to 6 June (virtual) – The Vitality 10k.
Running Shoe Trivia
We discovered last week that the Hoka One One brand was developed by two guys who used to work for Salomon. But what’s the story behind Salomon?
Answer at the bottom of the blog
What type of lizard tells jokes? A stand-up chameleon.
I got a workman in to re-varnish my porch. He did a terrible job – he’ll never darken my door again.
10 Reasons your Neck and Shoulders Hurt While Running
No. 4 – You shrug your shoulders
Slouching when you run isn’t good, but neither is shrugging your shoulders up towards your ears. While running with a slight shrug of your shoulders may not feel uncomfortable at first (you might not even know you’re doing it), it can cause tension and tightness in your neck if you run that way for a long distance or time. As you up your mileage, neck and shoulder pain may start to creep in. The fix? Just drop your shoulder blades down your back a little more with each breath and be conscious of making those adjustments throughout your run. Shaking your arms out every now and then can help.
Would you believe it?
My faithful Adidas Zoom Trail Running shoes have finally given up the ghost, after several cross-country races and numerous runs at Hainault. Since 20 January 2019 I’ve run 62 activities in them, clocking up 535.3k. I thought I’d compare their stats with the previous pair of the same shoes and found that, from 14 November 2016 – January 2019, I’d run 61 activities in them and clocked up 531.5k. In other words, both pairs had lasted virtually the same length of time, completed nearly the same number of activities, and ran almost the same distance. Do you think they have a built-in self-destruct button? Anyway, a good excuse to buy a new pair of trail shoes, as if a runner needs an excuse!
Trivia answer: The Salomon family started out making skiing equipment in the town of Annecy, in the French Alps, in 1947. After many years building that market, in 1979 they launched the first Salomon Alpine boot, subsequently moving into the manufacture of trail running shoes. Their shoes are favoured by Kilian Jornet, the Spanish professional sky runner, trail runner, ski mountaineer and long-distance runner. Jornet is a six-time champion of the long-distance running Skyrunner World Series and has won several ultramarathons including the Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc, the Western States Endurance Run, and the Hardrock Hundred Mile Endurance Run. Unfortunately, Jornet’s success is probably down to innate talent rather than just his shoes!
Salomon is now part of Amer Sports, owned since 2019 by the Chinese group Anta Sports, which also owns the Wilson, Suunto and Arc’teryx brands.