Howdie Road Runners,
The Prime Minister may have extended the deadline for coming out of lockdown, and parkrun’s return may have been delayed yet again, but it doesn’t seem to be stopping any of you from getting out there and competing. If, like me, you’re starting to get confused about what is and isn’t allowed, here’s the latest version of the England Athletics Covid-19 Roadmap for Athletics and Running Roadmap.
Athletics in the News
I don’t know if football will be coming home (I’m not holding my breath) but the Commonwealth Games will be coming to Britain next year (28 July – 8 August) and we should be able to win some events there.
Athletics Weekly has reported that preparations are going well, with work on the £72 million refurbishment of the Alexander Stadium ahead of schedule. Birmingham Council, who are overseeing the project, hope that the Games can create an athletics legacy for the city, rather than a white elephant. Leader of the Council, Ian Ward, said: ‘This stadium here in Birmingham will become the national stadium for athletics and become by far and away the best athletics venue in the whole of the country… I expect to see major national and international events long into the future. We’re talking to a number of organisations about future use of the stadium for 365 days of the year and Birmingham University will be the anchor tenants to ensure that it does not become a white elephant and can become an asset to the city long into the future.’
Lucky Birmingham for having a Council that seems committed to athletics. Fingers crossed that everything works out as they plan.
BRR in Action
Handicap #04 last week at a wet and rainy Barking Park was won by Emma Botterill with a personal best time of 28:29, 2nd was Daniel Plawiak with John Lang in 3rd. Altogether six runners set new Personal Bests. After four races Joyce Golder leads the series from Jason Li and Daniel Plawiak. Race #05 is scheduled for July the 1st.
Ron Vialls and Emma Botterill competed in the Victoria Park 10k on Sunday, finishing in 48:11 and 1:00:13 respectively. With the runners starting one at a time every two seconds, and a packed park despite the very unseasonal weather, very respectable times were run by both Emma and Ron.
Alison Fryatt, Joyce Golder, James Lowndes, and Rob Courtier took part in the Phoenix P24 longest day challenge which involved running a mile every hour on the hour for 24 hours.
Last but definitely not least Gabriele Grimaldi, Cristina Cooper and Trevor Cooper competed in the Chelmondeley Castle Triathlon. Gabriele finished in first place in his elite race after swimming 1500m, cycling 44k and running 10k.
It was like Groundhog Day at Barking (not)parkrun with Ron Vialls first across the virtual line again, in 22:52, and Jason second in 25:51. Emma Botterill set a fantastic new PB of 28:17. Alison Fryatt finished in 32:45. Watch out Jason, Mrs Li is catching you up: Leigh Li set a new PB of 33:55.
Well done to Rory Burr who was third overall at Virtual Park Run this week in 23:37.
7.00pm, Tuesday 22 June – speed development, Jim Peter’s Track. Jack has offered to take the session, as part of his LIRF (Leader in Running Fitness) so please come along willing to work hard!
7.30pm, 23 June – EERR Midsummer 5k. The second race in the ELVIS series. We have 13 members participating. Remember to get their on time to collect your bib number and note that the organisers will not be providing water, so please bring your own.
8.00pm, Friday 25 June – John Clarke Memorial Fell Race. The only Category A fell race in Essex or within the M25. 1,000 feet of climb within three miles. £3 entry fee on the night includes a free beer or glass of wine in the Orion Harriers club house for all finishers afterwards. To ensure the race is covid-secure, we are asked to register via the Spond app. Download the app on your phone, register and enter the group code BDWVI when asked.
7.00pm, Thursday 1 July – Handicap #05. Barking Park
7.00pm, Thursday 8 July – Handicap #06. Barking Park
09:30 – 10:30am, Saturday 10 July – Essex Cross Country 10k Series. The next race in this series, at Thorndon Country Park. Details at: https://www.theraceorganiser.com/e/essex-cross-country-10k-series-2962#rc4604
7.00pm, Thursday 15 July – Handicap #07. Barking Park
7.30pm, 28 July – Ilford Athletics Club Newman Hilly 5. A trail 5-miler through Hainault Forest. Note the new date. Details and sign-up at https://www.entrycentral.com/newmanhilly5
09:30 – 10:30am, Saturday 14 August – Essex Cross Country 10k Series. At Hadleigh Country Park. Details at: https://www.theraceorganiser.com/e/essex-cross-country-10k-series-2962#rc4604
9.30am, 22 August – Clacton 10k/Half. Information and entry at https://www.nice-work.org.uk/races/clacton-half.
09:30 – 10:30am, Saturday 11 September – Essex Cross Country 10k Series. Weald Country Park. Details at: https://www.theraceorganiser.com/e/essex-cross-country-10k-series-2962#rc4604
8.30am onwards, Sunday 12 September – Havering Mind Half Marathon & 10K. Some members have entries carried forward from last year, but places are still available. All in a good cause. Details at https://www.theraceorganiser.com/e/havering-mind-half-marathon-3001.
11.00am, Sunday, 19 September – Stansted 10k. Some of us entered this two years ago! Details at http://www.stansted10k.org.uk/
Running Heroes – Dave Bedford
A live one this week! The wild man of athletics who trained hard and partied harder, Dave Bedford was born in London in 1949. His talent for running was obvious early on, with his early career focusing on cross country races. In 1970 he won both the Southern Senior (9 miles, 45:50) and Junior (6 miles, 32:12) Cross-Country Championships at Parliament Hill on the same day, with only 20 minutes between the two races.
Bedford went on to win a number of races in the Seventies, setting a number of records including a new European record (13:22.2) in the 5,000m at the British International Games 5000m, Edinburgh, in 1971, a new UK and Commonwealth record (5:03:02) at the WAAA Championships Invitation 2000m in 1972, and a new world record (27:30:8) at the AAA Championships 10,000m in 1973.
However, despite holding on to his 10k world record for a large part of the 1970s, like a number of British running heroes Bedford failed to translate this success to major tournaments. Before the 1972 Munich Olympics, having encouraged viewers to “gather the family around the TV set and watch me win the 10,000 metres gold medal for Great Britain,” Bedford faded to sixth. Some blamed his race tactics, which involved going out fast, leaving him with nothing in the tank for a sprint finish. Injuries – particularly to his hamstrings – would hamper the latter part of his career, the result, many believe, of his high-mileage training. Here’s a sample of his winter training plan:
Monday: am 8 miles. Lunch: 6 miles. pm 16 miles steady.
Tuesday: am 8 miles. Lunch: 6 miles. pm 14 miles inc 30x200m hill and fartlek.
Wednesday: am 8 miles. Lunch: 6 miles. pm 16 miles inc 5 x 1M efforts.
Thursday: am 8 miles. Lunch: 6 miles. pm 12x400m (62) with 200m recovery, 12x300m (47) with 100m recovery, 12x200m (32) with 100m recovery.
Friday: am 8 miles. Lunch: 6 miles. pm 8 miles steady.
Saturday: am 15 miles. Afternoon: (watching QPR – quite a strain!). pm 10 miles steady.
Sunday: am 20-25 miles. pm: 5-10M on country.
Most of running on road. Approx weekly mileage: 200
When asked if he did any weight training, Bedford replied ‘Lifting pints is the nearest I get to this’.
Dave Bedford was a sporting maverick, loved by the public and loathed by the establishment. Having been made team captain of the English team at the prestigious Cross-Country World Championships in Düsseldorf, Bedford made headlines when he and six of his team mates spent a night in jail following an altercation with a bar owner. “It was a misunderstanding, of course,” Bedford later told The Independent, “but I was never captain again.”
Later, in 1981, at the end of a long night’s drinking in a Luton nightclub, Bedford took a bet that he couldn’t run the inaugural London Marathon the next day. On his way home, Bedford fortified himself with a tasty curry and a few hours later rolled up at the start line. He did complete the race, but not without throwing up the curry halfway round. Bedford said ‘I was in nightclubs at the time and I was pissed out of my mind, with no sleep and a curry inside me which I’d eaten at 5am and later deposited during the race on Westminster Bridge. But when I did it again 10 years later I ran quite a respectable 3hr 3min.”
His antics certainly did nothing to damage the reputation of the event and, in 1989, Bedford began working with the London Marathon in 1989, soon becoming its race director. His knowledge of the sport, notable charm and larger-than-life personality were key components in the race becoming a global phenomenon.
Bedford was probably slightly less popular with the directory enquiries service 118 118. When their adverts appeared featuring two moustachioed runners in 1970s-style vests and Bedford’s trademark red socks, he took legal action against the company for using his image without his permission. Ofcom rejected 118 118’s claim that the advert characters were based on a generic 1970’s runner and agreed the adverts were in breach of the Advertising Standards Code but stopped short of banning them, on the basis that they hadn’t financially damaged Bedford. Perhaps, in a strange way, the 118 118 adverts helped to cement the image of Bedford in his heyday in people’s minds.
Asked by the Independent in 2011 to reflect on his career, Bedford said ‘I had a marvellous time. What was wrong with being young, good at sport and having a laugh?” Who can argue with that?
Cracker Corner – the birthday edition
In honour of birthday boy, Jason Li.
Q: What happens when no one comes to your birthday party? A: You can have your cake and eat it too.
Patient: “Doctor, I get heartburn every time I eat birthday cake.”. Doctor: “Next time, take off the candles.”.
Q: What do you give a 900-pound gorilla for his birthday? A: I don’t know, but you’d better hope he likes it!
Q. Why couldn’t the pony sing happy birthday? A. She was feeling a little hoarse.
Q. What birthday present is guaranteed to make anyone’s face light up? A. A light bulb.
Running 11 of our Phoenix P24 Challenge miles in Barking Park provided plenty of opportunity to ponder the many concrete squares that are being put in place in the park and their potential purpose. As the squares each have a ‘B’ painted on the path in front of them, the logical answer is that they are sites for new bins, but maybe they are intended for something else: beehives, bars, bollards, belisha beacons, bogs. Or perhaps its bazookas and bren guns. This is Barking, after all…