Howdie BRR,

We’re living in topsy turvy times at the moment; in Liverpool there are nightclubs reopening and music festivals, in Sheffield the Snooker final had a full crowd, but the news has come through that the Crown to Crown on 12 May can’t go ahead due to covid restrictions. The difference is that the events in Liverpool and Sheffield have all been pilot events to see if it is safe for mass-participation activities to start up again. Those involved have to take a lateral flow test the day before and provide evidence of a negative result before being allowed in. They then have to take a PCR test afterwards and submit their results through test and trace. Some running events are also part of the pilot. So, no Crown to Crown this month but, hopefully, following the pilot events, the Government will decide it’s safe to relax the rules in time for the June race.

We’ve got a few guest contributors this week (thanks to Cristina and Dee), as well as the normal race report from our ace Club Reporter, Greg. Very happy to receive any articles you’d like to include (within reason) – just send me a PM.

BRR in Action

The results of the Winter Virtual Handicap will be covered in next week’s blog. In the meantime…

Summer’s coming and real live racing is beginning to return for BRR members. Martin Page, Cristina and Trevor Cooper competed in the Gravesend floodlit 10k series race No. 1 at Gravesend Cyclopark with both Martin Page and Cristina finishing first in their respective categories, with Martin running in a time of 42:13 and Cristina in 53:42. Trevor finished in 49:32. Elsewhere, Jack Nixon took part in the Snetterton 10k posting a very impressive 35:03.

Also, this week was the monthly timed mile and, as usual, there were some very good times posted including 5:00 run by Joe Stacey and 5:05 by James Lowndes. Both times were substantial Personal Bests by the athletes, who are now targeting sub 5:00 runs in the near future.

Faye Spooner participated in the Two Castles Half Marathon, a trail race following a circular route around the villages near both Hedingham and Clare Castles. Ken Summerfield took part in the Regent’s Park 10k, finishing in 1:24:49.

Martin Page was back in first place at Barking (not)parkrun, finishing in a new PB of 19:27. Ron Vialls was second across the virtual line in 22:12, another NPR PB, Belinda Riches was third in 23:57 and Jason Li was fourth in 26:01. Alison Fryatt finished in 33:04 to make up the numbers.

We had two participants in the Virtual Park Run on Saturday. Rory Burr finished in 24:45 (5th overall) and Kresh Veerasamy finished in 40:01 (41st overall).

Race Report – Gravesend Floodlit Series  – Cristina Cooper

With a mixed offering of 5k and 10k, The Gravesend Floodlit run series used to be a Club favourite in previous years. Due to COVID cancellations, this year’s race series has been moved from winter to spring/summer, thus rendering the floodlights unnecessary.

The tarmac course’s undulating nature will offer just enough of a challenge whilst still allowing for some fast times. The organisers have allowed for a flexible starting time as suitable to participants between 6 – 7:30pm. Thus, whilst sharing the run experience with others, you might not know where exactly on the course someone is (i.e. depending on which lap they are) or what distance they are doing.

Whilst it can feel a bit lonely, it is nice to be sharing the course with other club runners.

The series can be used as a great training opportunity for marathon speedwork, as part of a schedule to complete your first 5K or 10K – perfect too for those just looking for a timed, measured run on a weekday night. You can even do both if you wish!

Very well organised, ample car parking (costs about £1.50) and toilets and, if you are lucky with the traffic, just 30 minutes from Barking. The series is a good bridge to the normality of physical events. More information at:

 BRR Diary

7.00pm, Tuesday 4 May – speed development session, Jim Peter’s Track. This week it’s ones and twos, or twos and ones to be more accurate: (2 minutes fast, 1 minute recovery, 1 minute fast, 1 minute recovery) x 8. The 2-minutes should be just faster than 5k pace, the fast minute should be a bit quicker than that. You can either walk or jog the recovery sections, depending how good you feel/how much you want to push. Whole session 40 minutes plus warm-up, cool-down and stretches.

6.45pm, Thursday 6 May – fartlek in Mayesbrook Park. Meet in the car park opposite the Roundhouse Pub, Lodge Avenue. We’re doing 5 x 4 minutes off 3 minutes jog recovery, followed by a fast mile, 45 minutes in total.

9:30-10:30, 8 May – Race Organiser Essex Cross Country 10k, Hylands Park.  Quite a few of us have now entered this race, though we might be in different, covid-secure, waves based on our expected finish time. This race is now waiting list only, but there are four other races in the series. More details at:

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

9.00am, 5 June – parkrun, various locations. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that adult parkrun can recommence as planned.

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

19 September – Guinness World Record attempt 10K

Dottie Dear’s Almanac: May

Back by popular demand, Dee Spencer-Perkins has been chatting again to our very own eco-warrior, Dottie Dear…

Bit of an alarm this month as we nearly lost the interview with Dottie due to a misunderstanding about an acronym. We had thought we were getting on well with her – so well that we could risk a merry quip. However, when we suggested that she was now our CHIS she thought that this was something to do with Gorgonzola or Stinking Bishop and took offence. (Dottie does have a telly in her tree house but doesn’t watch Line of Duty so, unfortunately, she didn’t get the allusion to Covert Human Intelligence Source.)

Anyway, we got over this with a bottle of Prosecco and a Lemon Drizzle Cake, and she came down the rope ladder again to share her precious nuggets of advice exclusively for BRR members. This is what she said this month:

  • Never try to roll uphill.
  • Don’t pick up a tennis ball that’s been dropped by a Labrador.
  • A slice of carrot cake does not count as one of your 5-a-Day.
  • People talking in groups will drift backwards at the rate of about 2 to 3 yards an hour.

Although we were very grateful to get this interview, we were a bit miffed when she scurried back up her ladder shouting ‘TTFN’ over her shoulder. Fair enough, Dottie. It must be a generation thing…

Running Poll

This month’s Runner’s World magazine shared the results of their poll on the effect that running chat has on non-running friends and family. So I thought we could see how the answers of BRR members compare with Runner’s World readers. There I only one question, so the poll should take you seconds to complete@

Running Shoe Trivia

Which running shoe company actually started by making sports clothing rather than shoes?

Answer at the bottom of the blog.

Cracker Corner – the wasp edition

I had a wasps’ nest under the eaves of my roof so I went to B&Q to buy some wasp spray. I found a can and asked the assistant on the helpdesk if it was good for wasps?

He answered “No, it kills them.”

God’s plan to use wasps to pollinate flowers didn’t work out…so he had to resort to Plan Bee.

Les walked into a pet shop and asked to buy a wasp. The shop owner said “I’m sorry sir, we don’t sell wasps”.

“That’s funny” Les replied “You have one in the window”.

The world’s foremost authority on wasps was walking down the street when he saw an old vinyl record in the window of a shop, “Wasp noises from around the world”. Intrigued, he went into the shop and asked if he could listen to it. “Certainly,” said the shop assistant and popped it onto an ancient turntable. After listening to the first track for a while, the expert was a bit confused:

“I don’t recognise any of these noises, and I’m the world’s foremost authority on wasps!”

The assistant peered at the label of the record and said…

“Oh, I’m terribly sorry. I had it on the bee side”

Boom! Boom!

10 Reasons your Neck and Shoulders Hurt While Running

No. 9 – You’re dehydrated

Dehydration can cause cramping all over, including your neck and shoulders,” says Wickham. While there are other neuromuscular reasons why you might experience a muscle cramp, remembering to hydrate in the one- to five-hour period before you head out for a run should help to prevent it. It’s particularly important to hydrate before a morning run; your body will naturally wake up dehydrated, so going for a run before you’ve had enough to drink means trouble. Sorry, beer, wine, and spirits don’t count!

And finally…

I was pleased to see, in the June issue of Runner’s World, that comedian and columnist Paul Tonkinson’s favourite home workout move is also mine: the brush and balance. While brushing your teeth, stand on one foot for a minute, then change to the other foot for a further minute. This exercise works your core and improves your balance, very important as running is basically hopping from one leg to the other. Tonkinson warns that, if at any time you find you are on neither foot, you are jumping. Never jump with a toothbrush in your mouth: health and safety…

Happy Running



BRR Chair


Trivia answer: Under Armour (UA) was launched by the unfortunately named Kevin Plank in 1996. As a 23-year-old former captain of the University of Maryland Football team, Plank had noticed that compression shorts stayed dry during practice, and decided to develop a range of clothing made out of sweat-wicking fabric, starting with the ‘shorty top’.

One year after launching the company he’d gone through $20,000 in savings, racked up $60,000 in credit card debt, and was broke. But then came his lucky break, with first one, then two dozen NFL teams buying his kit. At the end of his second year, he had sold $100,000 in product.

In 1999 UA provided kit for the Oliver Stone film ‘Any Given Sunday’ starring Jamie Foxx and Al Pacino. This, alongside UA’s first advert, helped boost sales by $750,000. In 2006, UA moved into making footwear, starting by making American football shoes before launching its first running shoes in 2009.

In 2015, UA bought the fitness apps Endomondo, MyFitnessPal and MapMyRun. This allowed them to start making ‘smart shoes’ with built in technology to collect running data and provide training plans tailored to the needs of the shoe wearer.

Any why is Under Armour called Under Armour? Plank told his brother he was going to call his new company Body Armour but his brother misheard him and thought he said Under Armour. The name stuck.


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