(The king of Richmond Castle)

Howdie Road Runners

A quieter week this week – for some of us – which is no bad thing. The attention of the BRR Committee (Alison, Rob, Nikki, Dee, Dennis, Belinda, and Greg, for those of you who don’t know) has turned towards the BRR Annual General Meeting (AGM), which is scheduled to take place on the evening of Thursday 28 October. More details below. As well as the election of the Committee for the year ahead, the AGM is where we discuss and vote on proposed changes to the Club rules, and also discuss other issues of interest to Club members. Unfortunately, this year’s AGM clashes with the school half term so I know some of you will be away. But, if you can make it, please do come along and have your say. It would be very helpful if you could have a lateral flow test beforehand, to keep your fellow Club members safe.

BRR in Action

(with thanks to Greg ‘the newshound’ Adams)

A quiet week for Barking Road Runners this week after last week’s London Marathon and Chingford League efforts with some well earned recovery time which was also needed by the 14 mile water station volunteers who put in a tremendous effort on the day.

(BRR at 14 mile water station, London Marathon)

After round 2 in the Chingford League BRR are well placed with the men and Women in 2nd and 3rd place respectively in Division 2 and the men’s B team 5th in the combined B team division. They are hoping to keep it going in round 3 on the 20th October at Lea Valley Velodrome.

Two members who did compete were Belinda Riches who took part in a 10k Tough Mudder run at Morden Park finishing the race in under an hour, and Ron Vialls who competed in the Richmond Castle 10k finishing in a time of 52:38. Ron also finished the Darlington South Park parkrun as 1st male in his category the day before.

BRR parkrunners this week

Barking Park 

Adrian Davison 21:57, Shuhel Khan 24:57 , Joyce Golder 25:08, Jason Li 25:44, Andrew Hiller 25:57, Robert Courtier 30:10, Kirsty Warwick-McDonagh 31:01, Les Jay 32:31, Nikki Cranmer 33:42, Dawn Blake 33:44, Micky Ball 37:22, Jenni Birch 45:21, Trevor Parkin 48:18.


Martin Page 24:52.

 Chalkwell Beach

Antony Leckerman 23:54.

Darlington South Park

Ron Vialls 23:05.

Harrow Lodge

Rory Burr 24:47.

Mount Edgecumbe

Joe Stacey 20:29

Valentines Park

Kevin Wotton 23:50.

(the motley crew of – mainly BRR – volunteers at Barking parkrun)

Members’ Cup 2021 and Club Charity

A reminder to vote for the member who you think has made the biggest contribution to the Club in the preceding year. The member that receives the most votes will receive a trophy.

Disappointingly, you cannot vote for yourself. Even more disappointingly, the same member can’t win the trophy two years in a row, so you can’t vote for me. In the event of a tie, all the members with the same winning score will be awarded a trophy (we once had a three-way tie, believe it or not).

You can find the link to vote here: https://forms.gle/33YHW5nQKdvjDn337.  Remember, remember, the vote closes on 5 November.

Dottie Dear’s Almanac for October: Garden Gnomes

(as interviewed by Dee Spencer-Perkins)

In case you thought Dottie was busy supergluing herself to the Queen’s highway as part of the Insulate Britain campaign, I’d like to reassure you that she is still safely in her treehouse in Hainault. Here’s her October almanac.

Apparently, Dottie had been really depressed by the Twirl of Brentwood incident (See Almanac for September), so much so that she had lost interest in her beloved Garden Gnomes, which had been languishing on their knee-high plinths since early September. Their fishing lines had gone all soggy and they were starting to look a bit straggly.  Even her specialist Gnomes didn’t give her the usual sense of pride including the MetroGnome (which would beat time to a jolly tune when you wound him up), the GastroGnome (tiny portions, big plates) and the oddly shaped GeGnome (two phosphate backbones – we had to Google it).

Dottie was so low that she hadn’t even noticed that one of her Gnomes had disappeared. She only realised this when she received a postcard from it, postmarked Pratt’s Bottom in Kent. The card was a bit terse, saying only that the Gnome was currently fine, but if she wanted to see it again a ransom of £50 was payable (in used notes), to be left in a bus shelter on the 247 bus route.

This got Dottie stressed out for a bit, but she did manage to give us some nuggets of advice for this month:

  • A good admin officer is worth his/her weight in paperclips.
  • Many a mickle maks a muckle.
  • Never stick a knife in a toaster when it is switched on.
  • Police officers rarely blink during TV interviews.

In the end, she got all philosophical about the relative value of possessions, ripped up the postcard and decided to donate all her gnomes to charity.  Bravo, Dottie!

(Ain’t you got no gnome to go to? No, I’m a gnome-ad!)

BRR Diary

7.00pm, Tuesday 12 October – Speed Development, Jim Peter’s Stadium. Some longer reps this week. After a warm-up, 4 x (4 mins with 1 min recovery), 3 x (3 mins with 1 min recovery), 2 x (2 mins with 1 min recovery), and 1 x (1 min with 1 min recovery). You should start the session at 10k race pace, speeding up to 5k race pace for the final minute. Cool down jog afterwards.

6.30pm, Thursday 14 October – hill work from the Jo Richardson School. We’ll be warming up by turning left from Gale Street into via Maplestead/Goresbrook Road. Then right into Lodge Avenue for some hills alongside the park before a cool-down run back to the School via Woodward Road. One hour maximum, and home in time for dinner.

7.30pm (women), 8,00pm (men) – Wednesday 20 October – Lee Valley Velopark 5k. Chingford League 03. Course map to be issued shortly. Free entry for BRR members. Deadline for new entries is Midnight 18th October – let me know. If you have previously run a race this season, please re-use your number (if you’ve lost it, please own up by the deadline). The cafe is open in the Velodrome, so please use it. Toilets, showers and lockers also available.

7.00pm for a 7.15pm start – Thursday 28 October – BRR AGM, Jo Richardson School, Gale Street. We’ll try and fit in a quick run beforehand.

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

Hot or Cold? That is the Question

If you suffer a sports injury, should you use hot or cold therapy?

Of course, when in doubt or in significant pain seek professional help. But minor sports injuries such as a sprain or strain of a muscle or ligament can be treated at home by following a self-care treatment plan involving the PRICE principles: protection, rest, ice, compression and elevation.

Cold therapy should be used as soon as possible after a new injury such as a sprain. This will help limit swelling around the injured area. Using an ice pack – or frozen peas! – for 20-30 mins will help. Repeat every two to three hours for the first two to three or 3 days. The ice pack should not touch the skin directly as this can cause a cold burn so wrap it in a tea towel or pillow case before applying to the injured area. And please don’t eat the peas after they have defrosted and refrozen (I remember eating a lot of keema peas after Chris bought a bag of peas to go on an injury I sustained in a race).

Heat therapy such as hot water bottles/heat rubs/sprays/patches which make the skin warm should only be used at least three days after injury. These help to increase blood flow to the injured area which in turn helps the healing process. Of course, many people use heat therapy before a race to warm up the muscles (ahh, the smell of Deep Heat lingering in the air…). But, as a topical treatment, it won’t have the same effect as a proper warm-up.

You may consider using an over-the-counter painkiller to help manage the pain, like paracetamol or ibuprofen tablets or gel. Please don’t do this to get through a race; the painkiller might mask the pain but you risk sustaining a more serious injury and non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen can put a strain on your internal organs which is best avoided.

As an alternative, consider using essential oils and massage, as both can help relieve muscular pain. Wintergreen oil contains an aspirin like chemical that is thought to help reduce pain and swelling. And Captain Rob swears by his magnesium spray. I’ve just invested in a Theragun Mini. The jury is still out on whether it relives muscle pain, but it’s interesting to see the wobbling flesh as it pummels me to within an inch of my life.

Running Hero – Roger Black

I was reminded of Roger Black after seeing him as a contestant on Richard Osman’s House of Games. At the end of the week, he came second overall against a stronger opponent, which is the story of his life…

Born in Gosport, Hampshire in 1996, Black was banned by his doctor father from taking part in athletics as a child due to a leaky heart valve, which was picked up at a school medical when he was 11. After a while, his father relented and allowed him to play football and rugby, but it was not until he was 18 years old that he joined an athletics club. The following year he won the European Junior Championships 400m in a time of 45.43.

Progressing to the senior ranks, Black won the 400m at the Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh in 45.57, and then at the European Championships in Stuttgart, winning in a time of 44.59, his first British Record. He was also part of the gold medal winning 4 × 400m men’s’ relay team at both events.

Unfortunately, his next three seasons were wiped out through illness and injuries and he only just made the relay team for the 1987 World Championships in Rome, where the GB team won the silver medal. But he was back in 1990 in time to retain his European Championship title, and anchor the GB team to victory.

His 1991 season got off to a good start until he faced a newcomer called Michael Johnson. Black won silver to Antonio Pettigrew in the World Championships. Pettigrew admitted taking performance enhancing drugs, although he claimed this was only later in his career. Black and the GB team had better luck in the relay race, where their combined winning time of 2:57.53 set a new British and European record.

His greatest individual achievement in track and field was at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. He skipped his annual heart check that year through fear of being told he couldn’t run. In the end he finished in second place in the 400m behind Michael Johnson.

Black was in the GB 4 × 400m team at the World Championships in Athens in 1997, which originally saw the USA beat GB by 0.18 seconds in a thrilling finale. Years later, in 2010, the US team was stripped of the gold medal after Pettigrew admitted drug-taking and gold was awarded to Britain instead. Asked later how it felt to be awarded the medal he said

“It didn’t mean anything to me. I haven’t even got it. It is sitting in Birmingham somewhere. You can’t get the moment back. The medal doesn’t change my life now – it would have been great then. It was worse for the other three because I had already won a World Championships relay, which they hadn’t. As an athlete you train to win, you train for the moment, that is what it is for. A medal several years later doesn’t make any difference to that”.

After 1997, partly due to injuries, Black never fully rediscovered this form, and he subsequently retired from the sport in 1998 after failing to be selected for the 1998 European Championships.

He ran the London Marathon in 2000 three hours, 45 minutes but decided that was the first and last time, due to the strain put on his heart. He was a Team GB 2012 ambassador, providing mentoring for the GB Team, along with people like Steve Redgrave, Sally Gunnell, Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean. He now works as a motivational speaker.

Cracker Corner  

I went to the doctor for a check-up.

The doctor said “don’t eat anything fatty”

I said “like bacon and burgers?”

He said “no fatty, don’t eat anything!”

Boom! Boom!

And finally…

Back in the summer we pondered the appearance of a number of concrete squares beside the paths in Barking Park. By a process of elimination (and the hint of a large ‘B’ painted in front of each square) we concluded that they must be footings for new waste bins. Since then, similar concrete squares have begun to appear in Central Park, Dagenham. But still no sign of the bins. We’ve all heard of the petrol shortages, gas shortages, and even abattoir shortages. Who knew that there was also a world shortage of bins? What shall we blame? Brexit or Covid…

Happy Running



BRR Chair


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