Howdie BRR,

Barking and Dagenham Junior parkrun has been back for two weeks now, and some of us went along on Sunday to volunteer and then, afterwards, have some defibrillator/resuscitation training (thanks to Kresh for organising it with one of his fellow scout leaders who is also a first responder for the Ambulance Service). Supporting the 4-10-year-olds was very inspiring. The fastest kid ran the two-lap, 2k, course in 9:53, the slowest kid completed it in 20:10, but they all enjoyed it, from the one who turned up late and finished third, to the one who told his Mum ‘I was out of breath by the first cone’ but went on to finish the whole run. When parkrun returns on 5 June (fingers crossed) do volunteer every now and then; running parkrun is fun, but I’d forgotten how much enjoyment you get out of volunteering at parkrun and supporting others.

BRR in Action

Ultrarunner Colin Jones completed another epic virtual challenge this month. 1,596 miles across the virtual Alps in 56 days (that’s an average of 28.5 miles a day) which earned him third place and a nice big bronze medal.

Furious 15 this week for BRR or ‘how far can you run in 15 minutes?’ Many of the runners described this one as the toughest yet as there was no respite.

It was as a good result for the veterans with Martin Page running 2.7 miles and Ron Vialls 2.06 miles taking first and second places respectively. First female was Belinda Riches who ran 1.94 miles with Joyce Golder running 1.81 miles 2nd.

Joe Stacey made his Barking (not)parkrun debut and finished first over the line in 17:04, pushing Martin Page into second place with 20:34. Belinda Riches completed the BRR top three in 24:17. Also rans were Greg Adams in 31:53 and Alison Fryatt in 34:27.

Rory Burr had virtual company at Virtual Park Run on Saturday. Rory finished in 25:26 (10th overall) and Belinda’s 24:17 earned her first female and 7th overall.

BRR Diary

26 April to Midnight 1 May – Winter Handicap #07. Last chance to record a time for this H/C competition. Remember to post a photo of your ‘time elapsed’ on the results WhatsApp thread by Midnight on Saturday.

7.00pm, Tuesday 27 April – Track night. It’s the last Tuesday of the month and that can mean only one thing – it’s timed mile time! Please record your own result on your watch (and time those without a sports watch) and I’ll write them all down and publish them online. Knock out some 300s with 100 recovery afterwards or free time to do your own ‘thang’. Just watch out for the people who are still completing their mile. If you can’t make it to track, post your mile time on WhatsApp and I’ll add it to the results for next week’s blog.

6.45pm, Thursday 29 April – Mayesbrook Park hill work. Meet in the car park opposite the Roundhouse Pub, Lodge Avenue.

9:30-10:30, Saturday 8 May – Race Organiser Essex Cross Country 10k, Hylands Park.  Starting in waves to be Covid secure. Missing cross-country? Why not give this a go? Details at: Just a bit pricier than our normal cross country at £15 for UKA-registered, £17 for others.

7.30pm, Wednesday 12 May – Crown to Crown. Still no word that this has been cancelled, so let’s hope it goes ahead. No frills 5k run, mostly on trail but with a stretch on tarmac. Starts and finishes behind the Crown pub (Geddit?), Westley Heights Country Park Car Park,  High Road, Langdon Hills, Basildon, SS16 6HU.

22/23 May Great Baddow Virtual 10. There is a charge to enter this race, but the proceeds go to charity.

29 May to 6 June (virtual) – The Vitality 10k.

8.00am, Saturday 19th June – the longest day 24-hour challenge. Run a mile on the hour every consecutive hour for 24 hours. Details here:

27 June – Sikhs in the City Sunlight Dawn ’til Dusk races. Choice of distance from 10k though to ultramarathon. The longer races start at 8:04am, the 10k starts at 11:00am. Details at

4.00pm, Friday 6th August – Chelmsford Athletics Miles of Miles Festival. For all you speedsters out there, why not pit yourself against the best in the East of England? Details at

19 September – Guinness World Record attempt 10K. It’s free at the moment if you don’t bother with the medal. Details at

It’s a BUG’s Life

This week we have gardening advice from Barking Urban Gardeners – BUGs for short:

Tip #01 – Be very careful when planting very spikey plants or, better still, wear glasses or goggles. Safety first!

Tip #02 – if you’re planting out and end up with a handful of something soft and moist, despite there being a drought for the past month, go inside immediately and wash your hands thoroughly – it’s probably cat poo. Ugh!

Running Shoe Trivia

One for Jason Li this week: which running shoe brand began by making arch supports based on chickens’ feet?

Answer at the bottom of the blog

Cracker Corner

  • My neighbour is replacing my roof for free. I offered to pay him but he says it’s on the house.
  • Whatever you do, always give 100 per cent. Unless you’re a blood donor.
  • I saw some male wigs on sale for “1 each. It’s a small-price toupee.

Boom! Boom! Thanks to Rob for the last two jokes. I think…

10 Reasons your Neck and Shoulders Hurt While Running

No. 8 – You aren’t stretching properly

Before and after you run, you should be stretching your neck, shoulders, and back, in addition to your lower body. Before you head out, do a dynamic upper-body warm-up, such as follows: Nod your head forward and back on a count of four, then rotate your neck left and right for a count of four. Then, swing your arms forward and back, and side to side. “Before you head out for a run roll your neck and shoulders, and swing your arms to activate both the muscles and joints. Then, after the run, do some more shoulder rolls and static stretching that targets the muscles that hurt the most.

And finally…

This was a ruff race for the human runners involved. During the Grizzly Invitational high school track meet in Utah earlier this month an unusual competitor took to the track to compete. A dog got away from their owner in the stands during the event and began heading towards Logan High senior runner Gracie Laney, who had a significant lead in the second heat of the girls’ 4×200 relay.

Despite Laney’s comfortable lead against her fellow humans, the dog, named Holly, beat her to the finish line, almost tripping Laney in the process. Interviewed by the Salt Lake Tribune, Laney described the experience:

“I’d say probably about the 50-meters mark, I could feel something coming up on me, and I thought it was a person. I thought it was the runner. And then I kind of realized that it was really small. After watching the video, I thought, ‘Holy cow, that dog is so fast.’ So I thought it was kind of funny I got beat by a dog.”

Gracey Laney was awarded first place Holly the dog was given a participation prize. Holly declined a post-race interview, saying she was dog-tired (groan). Here’s the link to the video:

Happy Running



BRR Chair


Trivia answer: The running shoe brand is New Balance. It was founded as the New Balance Arch Support Company in 1906 by William J. Riley, an Irish immigrant, who migrated to Boston, Massachusetts. It is believed that Riley was inspired to produce his first product after watching chickens strut around his backyard. Fascinated by how the chickens balanced so perfectly on their three-pronged feet, Riley designed a flexible arch support with three support points.

In 1927, Riley hired a salesman named Arthur Hall, who eventually became a partner in New Balance Arch Support Company in 1934. The business continued to focus on selling arch supports to workers whose jobs required them to stand up for long periods of time until it was sold to Hall’s daughter, Eleanor, and her husband, Paul Kidd in 1956.

By 1960, New Balance arch supports had become very popular among budding athletes, some of whom approached the brand asking for tailored running shoes. This inspired Eleanor and Paul Kidd to design the first New Balance shoe, the Trackster. Released in 1961 and initially manufactured at home by the Kidds, the Trackster was the world’s first running shoe with a rippled sole for traction. New Balance also offered the shoe in a variety of widths to accommodate all athletes.

The Trackster was soon adopted as a track and cross-country shoe by schools and colleges around Massachusetts but New Balance had still to hit the wider market. The company remained a small operation, run by six people who manufactured, packed, and posted the shoes to mail-order customers until, on the day of the 1972 Boston Marathon, New Balance was purchased by the brand’s current chairman, Jim Davis.

As running boomed in the 1970s and 80s, New Balance released more and more running shoes each year. They started to use unique model numbers rather than names for their shoes. The number defined the type of shoe, the activity it was designed for and whether the shoe was built for stability, or speed.

In 1976, New Balance launched the 320, the first New Balance shoe to feature the ‘N’ logo, and was voted the number one running shoe on the market by Runner’s World magazine. The success of the 320 marked New Balance’s global breakthrough.

Today, New Balance is a multinational corporation. Its headquarters are still in Boston although manufacturing now takes place across the world, including the UK. Some New Balance shoeboxes have a chicken printed inside the lid as a nod to the brand’s founder, William J. Riley, who formulated his first arch supports based on chickens’ feet.


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