Howdie BRR,

The BRR Blog is one year old! There had previously been the odd posting on the BRR website, but it was the beginning of April 2020 when the weekly blog was launched to keep members in touch during the first lockdown. It was only expected to last for a few weeks; who knew then that the pandemic would still be causing us grief a year later? But I prefer to look back at all the positives that have been reported in the Blog over the past year, including:

  • Virtual Club events including the Club handicaps
  • Loads of solo challenges completed
  • Track and hill session at Mayesbrook Park – when allowed
  • Amazing performances at Barking (not)parkrun and Virtual Park Run
  • The BRR-only Phipps 5k on August Bank Holiday Monday and Tad 5’s at Hainault when we were able to meet in larger groups.
  • Debbie’s fitness sessions
  • The antics of Barking Urban Road Pedalers

I’m sure there’s plenty of other stuff I’ve forgotten. Definitely not the best year, and I know some of you have been shielding with loved ones so haven’t been able to join in the events, but it would have been a lot worse without the Club and wonderful Clubmates for support.

UK Athletics News

Some of you may remember that UK Athletics held a consultation recently about cross country competition and equality of opportunity for male and female participants. Having received nearly 10,000 responses, UKA have now published the main findings:

  • A majority of respondents showed a preference for separate male and female races to maintain value and exposure and quality of racing. Although some respondents felt that equity could be achieved through one mixed race, this was not a majority preference.
  • There was a difference in preference of distance between men and women, with the majority of women preferring 8k and men seeing 10k as the optimum racing distance.
  • More than half of respondents thought guidance from National Governing Bodies is important, but there was an even greater preference for competition providers at a local level to determine how best to deliver cross country competition most effectively.

UKA is now developing a strategy for cross country. You can find more about the consultation results and next steps here: Of course, the South Essex Cross Country League, which our Club competes in, has mixed races with all competitors running the same distance. This isn’t likely to change as a result of the consultation.

In other news, the GB marathon team qualifying event for the Tokyo Olympics a few weeks ago has caused some controversy. Charlotte Purdue, the fourth fastest GB female marathon runner of all time, who had a medical exemption from the qualifier, has been overlooked for the team. The chosen team is Steph Davies, Jess Piasecki, and Steph Twell. Purdue is now appealing the decision. Interestingly, the selectors don’t have to explain their decision publicly. Meanwhile, it was been revealed that men’s marathon winner, Chris Thompson, was wearing a pair of Nike Vaporfly Next% shoes, painted black, for the race. Something suspicious going on? No. Thompson is sponsored by ON, but they agreed he could wear the Nike shoes as long as he covered up the branding. ON is developing their own shoe with a carbon plate, like the Vaporfly, but the prototype is still in development. We can expect Thompson to be wearing the new ON shoes at the Olympics, always supposing it goes ahead, of course.

Scottish runner-turned-triathlete Beth Potter beat the 5K women’s road world record on Saturday at a race in Barrowford, about an hour north of Manchester, where she ran an amazing 14:41. Organizers of the race, which is called the Podium 5K, claim their course is the fastest in Great Britain. Potter bettered the previous world record of 14:43 (which Kenya’s Beatrice Chepkoech set in Monaco in February) by two seconds. Potter wore the new, carbon-plated, ASICS Metaspeed Sky shoes for her win. Unfortunately, Potter’s race didn’t meet the necessary standards (she arrived late for the women’s race so ran with the men instead), so it is an unofficial record. But it won’t have done her or her sponsors, Asics, reputation any harm.

Essex Road Running

Spotted on the Essex Road Running website. It’s an oldie but goody! Who can you recognise?

BRR in Action

It was virtual handicap #05 in the seven-race series and the return of the track this week for Barking Road Runners. Thirty runners submitted times for race #05 and 13 runners bettered their handicap. The top three places went to the women with Vicki Groves claiming her second race win. Sophie Wotton finished 2nd and Belinda Riches was 3rd. Martin Brooks finished 4th and James Lowndes 5th.

Martin Brooks with 477 points has leapfrogged Charlotte Owen’s 469 points to go back into 1st place with Belinda Riches on 452 points and Ron Vialls in 439 points in 3rd and 4th places respectively. Things could change significantly after race #06 in a fortnight’s time as runners’ worst time will be dropped as only best five count in the series.

Good news was the reopening of the track and it coincided with the end-of-the-month timed mile. Fastest on the night was Joe Stacey with a PB of 5:07, second quickest was Owen Wainhouse with 5:55. Quickest female was Charlotte Owen with 6:42. There were some good times recorded with several PBs.

In an actual real ‘live’ race, the Bridge duathlon at Gravesend Cyclopark, Cristina Cooper finished as 1st female competitor with a total time of 2:16:21 for a two runs and cycle. Cristina and Trevor both also completed virtual Ironman events on 1 April. Trevor completed the 7.5k swim, 20k cycle and 5k run in 1:27:20 and Cristina finished in 2:12:22.

Martin Page was first over the virtual line at Barking (not)parkrun again, in 20:08. Belinda Riches was 2nd in 22:12 and Ron Vialls was 3rd in 22:18, both new NPR Personal Bests. Also recording times for BRR were Jason Li (26:34, Rob Courtier (30:48), Alison Fryatt (32:14 – a NPR PB), and Greg (35:21).

Martin was second overall at Virtual parkrun on Saturday, finishing in a nice, round, 21:00. Belinda was 5th overall and first female finisher in 22:50, Rory Burr was 8th in 25:15 and Kresh Veerasamy was 45th in 39:15.

The final, combined, results of the Chingford League race on 5 April – another real, live, race – weren’t available at the time of going to press, but the provisional results had been published on Facebook. Splendid performances all round on an incredibly tough course – six big hills! The full report will be included in next week’s blog. 

Another One Bites the Dust – but the Phoenix rises

It’s been confirmed that the Horndon 10k won’t take place this year, some major races have dropped out of the diary, and a number of our regular races have yet to confirm if they will take place or not, but it seems very unlikely now that those in the first half of the summer (Braintree 5, Brentwood 10k) will happen.

Hatfield Broad Oak will be virtual for 2021. This year there will be a virtual 3-race series, each with a different medal:

On a – maybe – positive note, there is a meeting on 12 April to decide if the East London fiVes Interclub Series (ELVIS) can go ahead in some shape or form. A lot will be dependent on whether ELVIS clubs think they have time to organise their races, and whether landowners are happy to allow events to take place. We’ll let you know the decision as soon as we can.

Phoenix running, who organised the New Year challenge some of us took part in (run a mile every hour for 27 hours on New Year’s Eve/Day) are organising another challenge to celebrate the longest day of the year. For this one, you run a mile every hour for 24 consecutive hours, starting at 8.00am on 19 June and finishing with the final run at 7.00am on 20 June. Hopefully, this time, more of us will be able to do the runs together. Details at:

19 September – Guinness World Record attempt 10K (virtual).  Virtualrunners are holding an official world record attempt at the most virtual 10km /6.2 mi runs within 24 hours. There is free earlybird entry at the moment if you are happy with just a digital certificate to mark your achievement. It should make a good news story, whether or not the attempt is successful. More information and sign up here:

BRR Diary

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 as some of you do your long run on a Sunday morning. The St. Clare Hospice 10k on 11 April has sold out, so too late to sign up now if you haven’t already done so (fingers crossed it will go ahead).

7.00pm, Tuesday 6 April – track night. This week we will be doing ZigZags. What’s that, I hear you say? It’s (3 minutes fast, 3 minutes recovery jog, 2 minutes fast, 2 minutes recovery jog, 1 minute fast, 1 minute recovery jog) x 3 with 2 minutes static or walking recovery between each.

6.00pm, Thursday 8 April – Hill work in Mayesbrook Park. Meet at the car park in Lodge Avenue, opposite the Roundhouse pub. We’ll look to making the start time a bit later in future weeks, as the nights stay lighter for longer.

12 April to Midnight 17 April – Winter Handicap #06.

11.30am, Saturday 17 April – Chingford League relays at Central Park, Dagenham, RM10 7FJ. 4×2 mile multi terrain race. Further details TBC.  

19 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.

29 May to 6 June (virtual) – The Vitality 10k. It’s been confirmed that there will be no ‘real’ race this year, but you can still sign up for the virtual event to earn your medal and t-shirt. Entry is £19 and is open until 16:00 on Friday 28 May, but may close sooner if all places are filled before then. Details at

Running Shoe Trivia

Olympic Marathon hopeful Chris Thompson wears ON running shoes, but which famous sportsman is a ‘co-entrepreneur’ for the brand?

Answer at the bottom of the blog

Cracker Corner

There was knock at my front door and when I opened it there was a man three foot, three inches tall on the doorstep. I said ‘can I help you?’ and he replied ‘yes, I’m the meter man’.

I have a phobia of trampolines. I don’t know why, but they always make me jump…

Boom! Boom!

10 Reasons your Neck and Shoulders Hurt While Running

No. 5 – You pump your arms across your body

Yes, it’s the old ‘Is this the way to Amarillo?’ running-style. Moving your arms across your body can cause unnecessary strain in your neck and shoulders, as well as wasting a lot of energy. Try pulling your shoulders down and back, bend your arms at a 90-degree angle at your elbow, and continue pumping. The motion should be smooth, loose, and in control, with the movement coming from your shoulder rather than your elbow.

PS – did you know, Ronnie Corbett falling over in the video for ‘Is this the way to Amarillo?’ wasn’t staged? He, Peter Kay, and Michael Parkinson were all marching on treadmills and Ronnie Corbett fell off. When the director played back the video, they thought it was so funny, they decided to leave it in. Luckily Corbett wasn’t hurt and saw the funny side.

And finally…

If you happen to have won the £122 million EuroMillions jackpot last week, please spare a thought for Barking Road Runners. You wouldn’t even notice the odd couple of thousand pounds, but it would pay for a lot of track hire. Just an idea…

Happy Running



BRR Chair

Trivia answer: The famous sportsman who is co-entrepreneur for ON is Swiss tennis ace Roger Federer.

ON was established in January 2010 in the Swiss city of Zurich by three friends, Casper Copperti, David Alleman and Olivier Bernhard. Bernhard was a former three-time world duathlon champion and a multiple ironman winner. He began work with a Swiss engineer to develop a new type of running shoe, focusing on a soft landing followed by explosive take-offs – like running on clouds; the clouds in question being the pods on the bottom of the shoes. Impressed by the prototype, Alleman and Copperti came on board. The brand won an award for innovation in sport in February 2010 and the first shoes hit the shelves a few months later in July 2010.

ON shoes seem to be particularly good for triathlons: in 2013 Belgian Frederik Van Lierde won the Ironman World Championships wearing the On Cloudracer; in 2016, Nicola Sprig won silver in the Rio Olympics triathlon wearing ON; and, in 2018, Matt Hanson broke the Ironman World Record in ONs.





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