Howdie Road Runners
Well, after about 12 years running, I’ve finally finished first female in a race! We won’t mention that the 10k field at the Sikhs in the City Dawn to Dusk was very small; it still felt like an achievement, especially with painful DOMs after my fell running exploits at Chingford Mount on Friday. I’ve always said, you have to be in it to win it. I’ve also always encouraged people to enter small, local races, especially those organised by local running clubs. Not only are you helping to support those clubs, but you also have a better change of placing!
The Sikhs in the City race is wonderfully friendly. As well as a 10k, there are Half, Marathon, and Ultra races. As the race is run on the Fauja Singh training course, which is just over 2k long, you get plenty of chance to see your fellow runners as you go round, and I had nice chats with some of the runners doing longer distances, many of whom seem more interested in notching up another race than finish positions. There is a refuelling station so you can keep hydrated and nourished as you go, and tea/coffee and plentiful samosas at the end – who could ask for anything more?
Athletics in the News
The British athletics squad for Tokyo will be named on Tuesday but, for the first time since 2004, Mo Farah will not be in it.
Is it the end of an era? I know Farah has been tainted by his association with Alberto Salazar and the Oregon Project, but he inspired me to run when I was just starting out. I’m sure we all cheered ourselves hoarse when he won the 5k and 10k at the 2012 Olympics, and then won gold again in 2016, so I was sad that he failed to reach the qualifying time to defend his 10k title in Tokyo this summer.
Farah needed to clock 27 minutes, 28 seconds in the British Athletics Championships on Friday to make himself available for selection, but ‘only’ achieved 27:47.04, despite winning the race. Does this mean that, at 38 years old, his time as an elite sportsman is over and he should bow out gracefully? Or was it that the field just didn’t support his running the qualifying time? He was on target pace until halfway but then quickly began to run out of partners. By the 6km mark he was on his own, basically running a solo time trial. Even the supportive crowd couldn’t help him maintain his pace and, by the 8k mark, he was 10 seconds off pace, and slowed by another 10 seconds by the end of the race.
After the race, Farah said “I’ve been lucky enough to have had the long career I’ve had. I’m very grateful but that’s all I had today.” Asked if Friday marked the end of his track career, he said: “It’s a tough one. If I can’t compete with the best, I’m not just going there to finish in a final. Tonight shows it’s not good enough.”
His coach was more positive, and hinted that Farah’s running career wasn’t over yet. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.
BRR in Action
ELVIS race series No. 02 was a 5k event hosted by East End Road Runners at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, near the Velodrome, on Wednesday. Ten BRR members participated in this round with Trevor Cooper first finisher for the Club in 22:02 others runners were Nehal Patel 23:27, Jason Li 25:42, Nabeel Akram 27:59, Alain Cooper 28:38, Alison Fryatt 31:04, Dennis Spencer-Perkins 31:54, Les Jay 32:26, Robert Courtier 35:51 and Kresh Veerasamy 36:39.
Two days later Alison Fryatt 53:42 and Nabeel Akram 49: 53 took part in the 25th Orion Harriers John Clarke Memorial fell run, the only Class A fell race within the M25, with over 900 foot of ascent in 3 miles. It was a very tough course, not helped by a downpour of rain immediately before the start which made the course through Epping Forest particularly treacherous..
The weekend was the Sikhs in The City Dawn to Dusk race day where several BRR runners competed in the 10k race. In her third race of the week Alison Fryatt finished 1st female with a time of 1:06:47. Ron Vialls finished 6th with a time of 54:47 despite the hindrance of an injured leg. Also running for BRR were Rob Courtier 1:14:00 and Chris Anastasi 1:38:00
In the Milton Keynes Marathon Jack Nixon finished in 7th place in the excellent time of 2:41:28, which is a qualifying time for the British Master Male 35+ team.
It was a BRR one-two at Barking (not)parkrun this week, with Belinda Riches first over the virtual line in 24:36, and Jason second in 25:42. Alison Fryatt made up the trio of BRR participants, finishing in a new (not) parkrun PB of 31:05.
7.00pm, Tuesday 28 June – speed development, Jim Peter’s Track. It’s timed mile time again, followed by some shorter reps. I know some of you will be hanging on to watch the end of the England game (masochists), so the mile will start a bit later than usual – do still come along; you can either celebrate England’s success, or vent your frustration, with a fast mile. For those of us that are there, we’ll do some gentle warm-up to prepare.
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. Thorndon Park this time. My holiday in Cyprus has been cancelled but, looking on the bright side, I can now do this race! Details at: https://www.theraceorganiser.com/e/essex-cross-country-10k-series-2962#rc4604
7.00pm, Thursday 15 July – Handicap #07. Barking Park
10.00am, Saturday 17 July – Orion Forest Five #01. Race one in the popular three race series. You can sign up for the series for £18 (EA) or £25 (non-EA). Otherwise it’s £10/£12 per race. https://www.entrycentral.com/forestfive
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. Love hills? You’ll love this? Details at: https://www.theraceorganiser.com/e/essex-cross-country-10k-series-2962#rc4604
10.00am, Saturday 21 August – Orion Forest Five #02 (and ELVIS). https://www.entrycentral.com/forestfiverace2
9.30am, 22 August – Clacton 10k/Half. Information and entry at https://www.nice-work.org.uk/races/clacton-half.
10.00am, Saturday 4 September – Orion Forest Five #03. https://www.entrycentral.com/forestfiverace3
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. Details at https://www.theraceorganiser.com/e/havering-mind-half-marathon-3001.
11.00am, Sunday, 19 September – Stansted 10k. A carry-over from the 2020 Grand Prix season that was not to be. The race starts in Stansted Mountfichet and is described as having a ‘beautiful, challenging route, across normally inaccessible private land’. Sounds fun. £12 in advance/£15 on the day. Details and sign-up at http://www.stansted10k.org.uk/
We’ve all suffered from it, usually a day or so after a hard run or other tough exercise session: Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, or DOMS. It’s caused by microscopic damage to the muscle fibres, which occurs when you force your muscles to work harder than they are used to, or use muscle groups that you don’t often reach in your regular workout.
Microscopic muscle tears are a normal part of building muscle strength and stamina, as the muscle repairs stronger than it was before. But any changes should be gradual to allow muscles to adapt; if it’s excessive and you’re getting DOMS all the time then you may be overdoing it, and risking real injury.
What do the experts recommend when you’re suffering from DOMS?
- Stay hydrated. Because muscles are made up of a high percentage of water, even mild dehydration can make your DOMS worse.
- Eating some protein and carbs after a hard exercise session can help. Protein helps to rebuild muscle and carbohydrate replaces muscle glycogen depleted during exercise.
- Don’t push through it. Ease back and do some gentler exercise. This could either be an easy, recovery run, or a different sort of exercise that uses the injured muscles less.
- Get some decent sleep. Your body repairs when you’re asleep.
What about things like compression clothing, foam rolling, sports massage, or ice baths? Some athletes swear by them, but the jury’s out. However, if any of these options work for you, then do it!
Running Heroes – Stamata Revithi
“Who on earth is that?” I hear you say. She was – almost – the first woman to compete at marathon distance at the Olympic Games.
Born in Syros in 1860, Stamata Revithi was 30 years old and was walking to Athens with a 17-month-old child in search of work when she met a fellow traveller, who responded to her request for alms by suggesting that she run in the marathon at the at the first modern Olympics in 1896.
Revithi, who had enjoyed long distance running as a child, presented herself to the Olympics organising committee, and was rebuffed. The Baron of Coubertin, the founding patriarch of the modern Olympic committee, said “a female Olympian would be impractical, uninteresting, inaesthetic and incorrect. The Olympic Games should be reserved for men. A woman’s role should above all be to crown the champions”.
Revithi travelled to the village of Marathon nonetheless, where her cause was taken up by the press. On the morning of the marathon, Revithi took up her place outside the church among the group of male competitors and awaited the blessing of the local priest. But the priest refused her his blessing as she was not an ‘official athlete’ and the men started without her.
Local officials told her that a team of American women would compete a week later, and she should wait for them. When it became clear that they would not materialise, Revithi ran the entire marathon distance alone. She gathered multiple signatures from village inhabitants to declare her departure time of 8.30am. At 1.30pm she arrived at the entrance to the Panathinaiko Stadium, Athens, documentary evidence in her pocket. Her shoes were falling apart when she finished. But she was refused entry.
Asked about her time, she is supposed to have said that she would have run the distance in under three hours if she had not stopped at various shops on the way to buy oranges.
After her marathon run, history lost track of Stamata Revithi. But isn’t it shocking to think that it wasn’t until the 1967 Boston Marathon that a woman would officially be allowed to run, albeit only because she entered under her surname and initials so officials thought she was a man. And it wasn’t until 1984 that a women’s marathon was held at the Olympic Games.
Cracker Corner – the weather edition
Q. What does a cloud wear under his raincoat? A. Thunderwear.
Q. What did the tornado say to the sports car? A. Want to go for a spin?
Watch out when it rains cats and dogs. You might step in a poodle.
Q. What’s a tornado’s favourite game? A. Twister.
Q. What do you call a grizzly bear caught in the rain? A. A drizzly bear.
When Julius Caesar first invaded Britain in 55BC he encountered a type of weather he had never seen before. As the frozen rain fell, he asked “what is this weather?!”
The commander replied “Hail, Caesar”.
Caesar replied “Hail! Now, what is this?”
You’ll remember a few weeks ago I was complaining about websites that ask you to confirm that you are not a robot, and make you click on lots of images of things like traffic lights or cross-walks (zebra crossings to you and me) before you can access them? Well, I think this one takes the biscuit…