summertime, and the living is easy…

Howdie BRR,

You probably saw in the news at the weekend that there was a test event for the Tokyo Olympics at the city’s pristine, new, National Stadium in preparation for the main spectacle. About 1,600 athletes, organisers, and media got an early look at what the Games will be like when they kick off on July 23. There was a full day of 100-meter heats, hammer throws and pole vaulting to make sure the Omega clocks, jumbo displays and robots on the field were working as they should. But the main purpose of the test was to see if the event can be run safely in Japan, while ere Covid infection levels are still high across some parts of the world.

Perhaps as we’d expect in Japan, everything ran smoothly although there were vastly fewer people in attendance than will be there for the Games itself. Overseas spectators will not be allowed to attend the Games but more than 60,000 athletes, coaches, national team staff, media and other essential workers from more than 200 countries will still converge on Tokyo.

Not everyone in Japan is pleased the event is going ahead: opinion polls have shown the majority of Japanese voters want the games postponed or canceled.

Meanwhile, closer to home, parkrun HQ has asked landowners to confirm by 21 May that they are content for adult parkrun to restart on 5 June. Unless the majority say ‘yes’ its likely that parkrun won’t restart, to avoid the risk of overcrowding at those parkruns that have had the go-ahead. At the moment, the response rate has been disappointingly low.

Our non-running friends and family had better hope that parkrun get’s the go-ahead. If there’s one thing worse than a runner rhapsodising about their run, it’s a disgruntled runner who’s been prevented from running!

Real Handicap Returns

The summer handicap competition will be ‘real’ races in Barking Park, with trophies awarded to the top three. Your best five results from the seven races will count towards the final result. You can pay £5 to the Club for seven races (the BRR account number is 42026724, sort code 40-03-33 (use ref: HC)) or £1 on the night with £10 to the winner. Dates for the first four races are:

  • 20 May
  • 27 May
  • 10 June
  • 17 June

The remaining three dates will be announced after the final dates for this year’s ELVIS competition are confirmed. Please arrive before 7.00pm for the race start. Handicaps have been calculated where possible using the average of your best two results from the recent winter virtual series or recent results. Greg will post details of handicap times shortly. If you haven’t got a handicap, your first race will be used to set your handicap time.

BRR in Action

Hylands Country park was the destination for several BRR runners this weekend for a tough, cold, wet and windy 10k cross country race. Martin Page was first home for BRR despite taking a heavy tumble with a time of 48:15. Next came Joyce Golder in 58:33 followed by Mick Davison 1:03:24 , Gary Harford 1:04:07, Dennis Spencer-Perkins 1:04:24, Martin Mason finishing 2nd in his age category with a time of 1:05:23, Alison Fryatt 1:09:26,  Les Jay 1:12:39 and Rob  Courtier 1:15:31.

In Handicap #07, the final race in the winter virtual handicap series, five runners beat their handicap with Stuart Henderson in a time of 19:07 taking first place, 2nd place went to Martin Page 19:27, with Joyce Golder in 3rd with 26:37. The two other runners to beat their handicap were Ron Vialls and Gary Harford.

Overall winner of the series, counting the best 5 finishes out of seven races, was Dennis Spencer-Perkins with 487 points narrowly beating Sophie Wotton (485 points) into 2nd with Martin Page (479 points) finishing 3rd.

Four Barking Road Runners took part in (not)parkrun last week. Fastest was Rory Burr in 27:17 (Harrow Lodge NPR), followed by new member Bobbi Shaughnessy in 27:45, Greg Adams in 34:12, and Alison Fryatt in 33:42 (all at Barking NPR).

Rory Burr’s 27:17 5k earned him 18th place at Virtual Park Run on Saturday. Kresh Veerasamy was in 38th place, finishing in 38:10.

Race Report – Hylands Park 10k Cross Country

Nine of us (plus Chris as a supporter and Irene Mason sensibly keeping dry in the car!) took part in the Hylands Park XC race on Saturday, part of the Race Organiser Essex Cross Country 10k series.

Hylands Estate is grade II* listed public park encompassing 574 acres of historic parkland. It is near Chelmsford, so pretty easy to get to (if you have a car – the trains weren’t running) and parking was free, which partially made up for the £15/£17 entry fee.

Due to Covid-19 restrictions we had to complete an online health declaration before arriving, though I’m not sure anyone checked to ensure that we had done so. We were also supposed to scan the NHS Covid QR code, but nobody flagged it up on the day. The start was phased, with different 15-minute timeslots depending on your predicted finish time. However, due to the poor weather, they allowed us to start as soon as we were ready, with runners being set off in pairs to avoid overcrowding.

The two-lap course was well marked throughout, with marshals at key places so no chance of getting lost. The terrain was mixed encompassing grass, woodland, and paths. The woodland sections were a bit treacherous, with a rutted surface sitting under a layer of slippery mud but the bluebells made up for it. There were one or two places where the path was quite narrow and I stepped aside to let faster runners, who were on their second lap, fly past me. The grassy sections skirted a lake and were a bit heavy going although there was only one spot of deep mud where you could have lost a shoe if they weren’t laced tightly. We also ran twice past Hylands House, a white neo-classical villa.

There was bottled water and a wedge-shaped medal at the finish; if you complete all the races the medals will form a circle. There was a café nearby for a welcome, if pricey, hot drink. It would have been nice to have better weather but it was great to be out racing cross country again – and even better once it was finished!

There are four more races in the series, on the second Saturday of each month up to September. More details at:

BRR Diary

7.00pm, Tuesday 11 May – speed development, Jim Peter’s Track. This week’s session is short and sharp pyramids: (30 secs, 60 secs, 90 secs, 90 secs, 60 secs, 30 secs) x 3. You get 30 secs recovery between each rep, and 2 mins between each block. Total time 29 mins and 30 secs.

6.45pm, Thursday 13 May – Mayesbrook Park. It’s hill work this week. Start by the car park in Lodge Avenue, opposite the Roundhouse pub.

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

9.00am, 5 June – parkrun, various locations. We’re still waiting for the go-ahead for parkrun to start at Barking Park.

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

22 August – Clacton 10k/Half. The Club has run this once before. A nice jaunt along the seafront, with support from holiday-makers in their beach huts on the way, although the pier never seems to get any closer! We’ll probably have lunch in the Greek restaurant afterwards, as we did last time. Information and entry at Unfortunately, it clashes with the re-arranged Vitality Big Half, for folks who have entered that.

Running Poll

Oh dear. Last week’s poll asked what effect our running chat had on our nearest and dearest, based on a similar poll in the June edition of Runner’s World magazine. It appears that it doesn’t go down to well, with nobody saying that their friends and family are in raptures when we talk running to them. In fact, the majority of them run for the hills (which is great strength training, of course!). In comparison, of the nearest and dearest of Runner’s World readers, 3% are in raptures, 71% humour them; and only 26% run from the hills.

Running Shoe Trivia

Which trail shoe brand started by making clogs but is now renowned for its mountain running shoes (and no, it’s not a Dutch brand)?

Answer at the bottom of the blog.

Cracker Corner – Breaking News

  • A ship carrying red paint has collided with a ship carrying purple paint in the English Channel. Both crews have been marooned.
  • The world’s tongue twisting champion was in court today. The Judge told him to expect a tough sentence.
  • After a series of crimes in the Glasgow area, Chief Inspector McTavish has announced that he is looking for a man with one eye. If he doesn’t find him, he’s going to use both eyes.
  • A juggernaut of onions has shed its load all over the M1. Motorists are advised to find a hard shoulder to cry on.
  • It was revealed in a government survey published today that the Prime Minister is doing the work of two men: Laurel and Hardy.

It’s Goodnight from me; and it’s Goodnight from him. Goodnight.

10 Reasons your Neck and Shoulders Hurt While Running

No. 10 – You’re stressed

When you’re stressed, your body can’t deal with the aches and pain that it might normally be used to dealing with. A study by Tel Aviv University, published in the journal Pain (yes, really), found that psychological stress reduces your ability to withstand physical pain. That means that stress can amplify the aches and pains you’re already feeling. And it can be a vicious circle: running in a slumped position when you feel down can trigger the release of more stress hormones.

However, as many of us know, running can also be a stress reliever. If that’s you, go ahead and run but try and keep your head and gaze lifted and your gaze for optimal mental and physical results. But if you’re stressed out and running just sounds like another chore on your to-do list, try something like yoga or Pilates, or just go for a walk somewhere green and leafy, instead.

This is the last in this series – look out for a new series next week.

And finally…

We often debate whether BRR is a running club that drinks or a drinking club that runs. I can now confirm that it is a running club that drinks…tea! After Saturday’s cross-country race, it was two large cups of tea in Hylands Park, then a quick drive to Writtle for two more large cups of tea at the Tiptree Jam tearooms next to Writtle College. You can guess what I spent the afternoon doing…

Happy Running



BRR Chair

Trivia answer: the clog-making shoe brand is La Sportiva.

It was founded in 1928 by Narciso Delladio in Italy. He started his business by manufacturing boots and clogs for farmers and lumberjacks. In World War II he made mountaineering boots for the Italian Army. The brand name La Sportiva was introduced in the 1950s, when the company started making ski boots. From there it branched into mountain running shoes.

Moving on, in the late ’70s, Lorenzo Delladio, a keen motorsport fan, took the old, slick, tyres from Alfa Romeo 33 sports cars and used them to develop new soles for the La Sportiva mountain running shoes. This involved cutting out the soles from the tyre tread with shears, then gluing them to the bottom of the shoes. There was only one problem: racing car tyres have to be heated to reach maximum performance. To get the tyre-based shoes to work at their best, the soles had to rubbed really vigorously until they heated up, when they would provide exceptional grip – for a few minutes at least!

Rather than classifying its shoes by whether the are neutral, support, cushioned etc, La Sportiva classifies its shoes by the distance they are designed to be run in: short distance, mid-long distance and ultra-long distance.


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