(Most of) the team at Hog Hill.

Howdie Road Runners

You’ll be pleased to know that it is a shorter blog this week, with not so may meetings to write about. But there has still been a lot of activity over the weekend for Greg to feature in his news report. Plus we’ve got further information about the London Marathon water station, the official feedback from our ELVIS race, and info about this week’s track session.

Athletics in the news

Some of you may have seen the news last week about Burundi’s Francine Niyonsaba setting a new 2,000m world record at the Continental Tour Gold meeting in Zagreb. Her time of 5.21.56 seconds was two seconds faster than the previous record set by Genzebe Dibaba indoors in 2017, and also broke the outdoor record set by Ireland’s Sonia O’Sullivan in 1994.

Niyonsaba is a world and Olympic silver medal winner over 800m. But her new record is not without controversy. Why? Because she is among several athletes banned from competing between 400m and 1500m because of naturally high levels of testosterone.

Since she was banned from running shorter distances by the 2019 World Athletics ruling, she has gone on to excel at longer distances. Her world record run came a week after claiming victory over 5,000m in the Diamond League meeting in Zurich. At the Tokyo Olympics she finished fifth in the 10,000m final, but was disqualified from her 5,000m heat for a lane infringement. Later in the summer she became the fifth-fastest woman of all time over 3,000m.

For those of us who are keen to support inclusivity in sport (and surely that’s all of us?) her success poses a dilemma. There is no doubt that high levels of testosterone improve strength and leads to faster running, especially over shorter distances where strength is an advantage. That’s why, all other things being equal, men can run faster than women. Nobody wants to exclude any athlete from competing but, if athletes with very high levels of testosterone – and there seems to be several at the moment – compete against women with normal levels, is that an unfair advantage?  This is a debate that is going to run and run (pardon the pun).

BRR in Action

(Greg ‘the newshound’ Adams)

Another busy week for Barking Road Runners with plenty of the members competing in various events and distances, and the first race in this year’s Chingford League.


The Chingford League round 1 was the Hog Hill 5k, a tough race at the Redbridge Cycling Track. 


Women’s results:

Rosie Fforde 24:22, Rabea Begum 26:49, Isobel Pinedo Borobio 28:26, Alison Fryatt 32:21.

Men’s results:

Joe Stacey 17:49, Adrian Davison 22:35, Daniel Plawiak 23:53, Jason Li 27:24, Andrew Gwilliam 29:04, Martin Mason 29:29, Kresh Veerasamy 38:30, Micky Ball 43:06.


Trevor Parkin battled on to complete the Olympic Park 5k despite suffering illness. 

Ron Vialls competed in the Stansted 10k, finishing 3rd in his category with a time of 52:22, not bad as he thought it was a road race but after 3k it turned into a tough cross country run through ploughed fields.

Charlotte Owen and Trevor Cooper took part in the Swim Serpentine with Charlotte finishing 2nd in her Category.

Dennis Spencer-Perkins and Rob Courtier travelled to Musselburgh near Edinburgh for the Scotland Half Marathon finishing in times of 2:14:56 and 2:35:32 respectively. The scenic course ran along the East Lothian Golf Coast before finishing in the final furlong at Musselburgh Racecourse, Scotland’s oldest racecourse.

It didn’t make it into the B&D news story, but Lauren Garvey completed the Rutland Marathon in 4:47, a fantastic time for a race featuring 1,267 ft of ascent, around the scenic Rutland Water Reservoir.

BRR parkrunners this week


Barking Park

Jess Collett 22:14, Adrian Davison 22:31, Daniel Plawiak 23:57, Ricky Singh 24:59, Shuhel Khan 25:10, Kelly Drake-Tapscott 26:40, Andrew Hiller 27:37, Emma Paisley 28:15, Dawn Blake 32:18, Jenni Birch 40:27, Sally Bridge 40:29, Alan Murphy 48:29 and tail walker Ron Vialls 52:11.


California Country Park

Greg Adams 31:33.


Clacton Seafront

Barry Culling 27:08 and Nikki Cranmer  33:38.



Rory Burr 24:27.



Kevin Wotton 29:03.


Valentines Park

Andrew Gwilliam 45:29.

London Marathon Water Station – update #02

Only a few weeks to go until the London Marathon. We’ve now been informed our shift times for the water station: 8.00am until 3.15pm. As always, we will need some early birds to help us start putting out the tables and loading them up with water (muscles not compulsory but they help). Otherwise, as the roads will be difficult to get across once the first competitor crosses the start line, please try and get to the water station by the start of the shift time, or you may have trouble getting to us. The number of runners will start thinning down towards the end of the shift, so we will not need everyone for the full shift if you need to get away, but usually the volunteers are enjoying themselves so much they don’t want to leave.

I know some of you have some trepidations about the requirement to have a lateral flow test before attending. Many of you will have taken a test already. If you haven’t, it’s a bit uncomfortable but not difficult. London Marathon Events has produced a leaflet explaining what you need to do. You can access the leaflet via the registration portal https://londonmarathonevents.rosterfy.eu/portal or here: f4TqzfYW4fKBCxNnik1srPPm0pi8r0FLpAV23OhX.

More news next week about the roles that we will need to do on the day.

The Phipps (August Bank Holiday) 5k – Official Feedback

We all felt that our August Bank Holiday race had gone really well, but now we have official confirmation. Rob has received the England Athletics’ Event Adjudication Report which we passed with flying colours. The Report covered the course itself, risk assessment, set-up, first aid provision, marshals, signage, facilities, and the water station. No faults could be found (and, believe me, they look for faults), which is a great testament to all of you who helped with the race. Thank you.

BRR Diary

7.00pm, Tuesday 21 September – Speed Development, Jim Peter’s Stadium. Ilford AC had been in touch to ask if they could join our session as their track at Cricklefields might be closed. Some of you may remember that they let us use their track a few years ago when ours was out of action. They haven’t confirmed yet so, if they don’t attend, our session will be a straightforward (2 mins run, 1 min recovery) x 12. More straightforward than last week’s session, but no easier! Make sure you use some insect repellent, if you don’t want to be eaten alive.

6.30pm, Thursday 23 September – hill work at Mayesbrook Park. Meet in the car park opposite the Round House pub. Probably the last night of hill work in the park as we are losing the light (and the car park will be locked soon, too).

10.30am, Sunday 26 September – ELR Valentines 5k (and ELVIS). The last race in the ELVIS series. Entries close on Friday 24 September, or when all the places are gone, so sign up without delay if you want to take part: https://www.entrycentral.com/ValentinesPark5k

11.00am, Saturday 2 October – Central Park XC. Chingford League 02. Free entry for BRR members. Details to follow.

8.30am, Sunday 3 October – Virgin Money London Marathon. You already know if you are running or volunteering on the day. Good luck whichever it is!

11.00am, Sunday 14 November – Stebbing 10. A popular race amongst BRR members, which starts with a short Remembrance Day service by the war memorial in the centre of the village. There is usually a nice, poppy-themed, medal.  https://www.nice-work.org.uk/races/Stebbing10

10.00am, Sunday 16 January – the Benfleet 15. Let’s hope that Essex County Council allows this ever-popular race, now in its 31st year, to go ahead. Details here once entries open https://www.nice-work.org.uk/races/Benfleet-15/2022

10.00am, Sunday 20 March – Brentwood Half. The first BRR Grand Prix race for 2022. This race sells out quickly, so don’t delay entering if you want to take part. Enter at: https://www.brentwoodhalf.org/

(Re)Motivate Yourself

We all sometimes lose our running mojo. Perhaps you feel a bit flat after completing your ‘A’ race, perhaps the darker mornings and nights put you off donning your running shoes, or perhaps you’re just fed up doing the same old thing week after week. You need to mix things up and remotivate yourself. Over the next few weeks we’ll have some suggestions on how to do so.

#01 – Add a mixed workout into your run

Strength and conditioning will benefit your running, but it can be difficult to fit it into your normal routine. So why not include it as part of a running session? You might want to do the S&C bit in the park, where nobody will bat an eyelid, rather than doing it along Longbridge Road, unless you are an exhibitionist (in BRR? Never!). Here is a taster mixed-workout:

  • Run 3km;
  • Do 3 sets of: 25 push-ups, 35 sit ups, 25 arm dips (you can do this with a park bench or sitting on the floor and lowering yourself on your arms), resting 1 minute between each;
  • Do 3 sets of: 50-metre sprints, resting 2 minutes between each;
  • Do 3 sets of: 15 alternating lunges on each leg with 1 minute of plank afterwards and 1 minute of rest between;
  • Run 3km.

Running Hero – Sir Brendan Foster CBE

Starting his athletic life as a middle-distance champion, Brendan Foster is now best known as the father of the Great North Run.

Foster was born in January 1948 in Hebburn, County Durham. Educated at St Joseph’s RC Grammar School in Hebburn, the University of Sussex, and Carnegie College of Physical Education, Foster returned to St Joseph’s Grammar School as a chemistry teacher.

But Foster’s first love was running. In 1973 he broke the World Record for two miles at Crystal Palace with a time of 8:13.68. In 1974 he won a silver medal in the Commonwealth Games in Christchurch in a time of 13:14.6 behind Ben Jipcho before winning the European Championships 5,000m, beating Olympic champion Lasse Virén en-route to Gold in 13:17.2. Having built up a commanding lead before the final lap he ran it in a relatively sedate 62 seconds when the then world record was within his grasp. In the same year he broke the 3,000m World Record on his home track, Gateshead International Stadium, with a time of 7:35.1. His successes that year earned him the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award.

Rather shockingly, Foster claimed Britain its only track and field medal (bronze in the 10,000m in 7:35.1) at the 1976 Montreal Olympics. He came fifth in the 5,000m, despite finishing just 1.4 seconds behind the winner. Foster was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) that year, for his services to sport.

He established his personal best in the 10,000m with a time of 27:30.3 run at Crystal Palace on 23 June 1978, while also winning 10,000 m gold at the 1978 Commonwealth Games in Edmonton. But he could only secure fourth place in the 10,000m in the European Athletics Championships.

Foster’s final major race was the 1980 Moscow Olympics 10,000m final, where he finished eleventh, almost 40 seconds behind the winner. He retired from athletics soon after, and moved on to a media career. He worked for BBC Television, commentating and reporting on Athletics at every major event from 1983 until he retired in August 2017.

Today, Foster is perhaps best known for his involvement in the Great North Run. In 1977, he helped organise the “Gateshead Fun Run”, a pioneering running event and the forerunner of the GNR, which Foster founded in 1981. The race soon became one of the biggest half marathons in the world; in 2014, it became the first IAAF event to have been run by over one million competitors. Foster ran in the 2003 event for the first time in many years, after being challenged to do so by radio presenter Ray Stubbs.

Foster must be one of the most honoured athletes: he was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in 1976 for his services to sport. He was awarded the CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) in the 2008 for his services to sports broadcasting and sports. In 2010 he was inducted into the England Athletics Hall of Fame. Finally, he was awarded the Knight Bachelor of the Order of the British Empire in 2020 for his services to international and national sport and culture in north east England. But, as a proud Geordie, perhaps his finest moment was in December 2016 when he was given the Freedom of the City of Newcastle, the city’s highest honour.

Cracker Corner

I couldn’t work out my seatbelt this morning. Then it clicked.

Yesterday I went the extra mile. Chris missed our turn-off on the A12.

I’ve got a new job as part of a human chess board. This week I’m on knights.

And finally…

Being a bit of a stats geek, I not only capture all my runs on Garmin Connect, but I also write them down in a running diary (paper is more reliable than technology). This year I’ve been using The Complete Runner’s Day-by-Day Log 2021 Calendar, which is great. But I was slightly perturbed by the tip of the week:

‘Most snake bites result from mutual surprise. For prevention, stay on the trail, keep your dog on a leash, and wear long pants when temperatures rise to 80 degrees or higher in regions where serpents slither’.

Something makes me think that this advice wasn’t written with runners in Barking in mind…

Happy Running



BRR Chair


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