Howdie Road Runners

The main event this week is the BRR 2021 Annual General Meeting (AGM). You may remember that the AGM didn’t take place in 2020 due to Covid restrictions, so we are very keen for it to happen this year. The AGM is where the Committee is voted in for the coming year, where members get to vote on proposed changes to the Club rules, and where we can discuss other issues of importance to the Club. Of course, we will be following whatever Covid restrictions are in place, and ask that you don’t attend if you or someone close to you has Covid symptoms or have tested positive for Covid. We would be grateful if you could take a lateral flow test before attending (if you took part in the London Marathon, either as a runner or a volunteer, you will know the drill).

The Club’s annual report for 2020-21, incorporating the Treasurer’s Report, can be found here: BRR ANNUAL REPORT AND ACCOUNTS 2020-21

The other papers for the AGM can be found here :

Members’ Cup 2021 and Club Charity

Time’s running out to vote for the member who you think has made the biggest contribution to the Club in the preceding year. Please vote, if you haven’t already done so – the more votes we get, the more meaningful the outcome. A reminder that you cannot vote for yourself and, as I won last year, you cannot vote for me.

You can find the link to vote here: The deadline is Midnight 5 November.

Athletics in the News

While Captain Rob, Dennis, Joyce and I were participating in the York 10 on 17 October, Scottish long-distance runner Eilish McColgan was smashing Paula Radcliffe’s British women’s record for 10 miles at the Great South Run in Portsmouth, shaving nearly half a minute off a record that has stood for more than a decade. Her time was 50.43. Those of us who volunteered on the Mile 14 water station at this year’s London Marathon will have seen McColgan drop out right in front of us, having paced Charlotte Purdue to that point. Must have been good training for her own race.

BRR in Action

(Courtesy of Greg ‘the newshound’ Adams)

Chingford League race No 03 for Barking Road Runners this week where they hoped to carry on their good start to the season. The race was a 5k at Lea Valley velodrome and attracted a large number of runners from all the competing teams. BRR put out a strong men’s team of 12 runners looking to continue their push for promotion to the 1st division. Each team consists of 6 runners so the first 6 BRR finishers would be the main team and from 7th to 12th would score for the B team.

Out of a total 221 runners in the men’s race Jack Nixon finished 3rd with an excellent time of 16:10. Jack was well backed up by Joe Stacey 17:34, Paul Withyman 19:00, Adrian Davison 21:53, Shuhel Khan 22:18 and John George 22:20. The B team representatives were Daniel Plawiak 24:56, Jason Li 26:25, Andrew Gwilliam 27:07, Dennis Spencer-Perkins 30:35, Rob Courtier 31:32 and Les Jay 32:32

Unfortunately for the ladies, a couple of late withdrawals left them with only three runners on the night. Rosie Fforde was first finisher for BRR with a time of 23:54. Isobel Pinedo Borobio 28:07 and Alison Fryatt 31:23 were BRR’s other runners.

Nehal Patel ran his first marathon at Newport in Wales and succeeded in his aim to finish in under 4 hours with a time of 3:59:13.

Kresh Veerasamy took part in the Beachy Head 10k finishing in a time of 1:22:25, a good time as the course had over 200 metres of elevation.


This week’s BRR parkrunners

Barking Park

Owen Wainhouse 21:07, Shuhel Khan 22:05(pb), James Hall 23:54, Ron Vialls 24:41, Belinda Riches 26:02, Andy Hiller 26:14, John Lang 26:15, Martin Brooks 26:53, Isobel Pinedo Borobio 27:31, Sally Bridge 28:26, Greg Adams 29:33, Rob Courtier 30:02, Alison Fryatt 31:43, Dawn Blake 31:44, Les Jay 32:39, Jenni Birch 37: 11, Micky Ball 37:16, and Alan Murphy 49:04.


Martin Page 23:22.

Chalkwell Beach

Antony Leckerman 21:45.


Kresh Veerasamy 33:29.

Harrow Lodge 

Rory Burr 25:47.

Valentines Park 

Kevin Wotton 23:14, Gary Harford 27:59, Paul Withyman 30:27, and Andrew Gwilliam 32:18.

Shop and Raise Money for BRR

Did you know that you could be raising free donations for Barking Road Runners every time you shop online with easyfundraising? It’s really simple – all you need to do is register using the link below. There are over 4,500 retailers including John Lewis & Partners, Argos, Uswitch, eBay, M&S, Just Eat, Now TV, Domino’s Pizza and Audible ready to give us a free donation every time you shop online via the easyfundraising app. If you prefer to shop on your PC, you can set up a donation reminder, which will ask you if you want to raise free funds every time you shop with a participating retailer. Register using this link and help BRR for free:

BRR Diary

As the start of the South Essex Cross Country League has been delayed until the spring, we will be holding our own, five race, internal Club XC competition over the winter. We will be incorporating the remaining two Chingford League XC races into the competition. The remaining races will be at Hainault and Hornchurch Country Park. Entry £2 per race. There will be trophies!

For the full BRR diary, see our TeamUp app (download the TeamUp app onto your phone, then enter the calendar key for Barking Road Runners when asked: ks67p21gt8p5gzdo66)

7.00pm, Tuesday 26 October – Speed Development, Jim Peter’s Stadium. As a change from the usual routine, there will be no timed mile. Instead, Debbie will be taking this week’s track session. Expect a very gentle workout (ha ha ha).

7.00pm for a 7.15pm start – Thursday 28 October – BRR AGM, Jo Richardson School, Gale Street. There will be a short road run beforehand, starting at 6.00pm.

Saturday 27 November, Time TBC (afternoon) – Chingford League Cross-Country 5 miler/BRR XC Competition 01. At Trent Park. Be prepared for hills, and mud if it has rained.

9.30am, Sunday 5 December – BRR Xmas parks run. Meeting at Matthew Parker Street (nearest tube Westminster/St. James’s Park). A social run of around six miles through St. James’s Park, Green Park and Hyde Park, with refreshments afterwards.

Various times, Sunday 12 December – Sikhs in the City 10k/HM/Marathon/Ultra. Woodford. Distances over 10k start at sunrise (8:04) and ultrarunners can keep going until sunset (15:45).

10.00am, Sunday 19 December – BRR XC 02. Venue to be confirmed (Hainault Forest or Hornchurch Country Park).

11.00am, Sunday 26 December – Crown to Crown 5k – Westley Heights Country Park, 1 Dry St, Langdon Hills, Basildon SS16 5LT. Still waiting for this race to be confirmed.

10.00am – Sunday 16 January – Benfleet 15. At Hadleigh Country Park. Enter if you dare!

A stitch in time…can ruin your race!

Most of us have had it at one time or another; one minute you’re running along happily, the next you have a sharp, stabbing pain in your side that can stop you dead in your tracks: the dreaded ‘stitch’.

There is still disagreement about what causes a stitch. One theory suggests that the diaphragm is not getting enough blood flow as exercise diverts blood to the limbs during exercise. This apparent lack of blood flow may cause a cramp or spasm within the diaphragm. Other theories are that a stitch is caused by fluid in the gut tugging on visceral (organs) ligaments, or that digestion, or the lack of digestion, causes a pull on the ligaments of the diaphragm.

Whichever theory is right, the question is, how do you prevent a stitch, or reduce the pain when you get one? Here are some suggestions:

1 Prepare for your run properly

A paper in the Sports Medicine journal suggested that all the usual, sensible preparation before a run can reduce the chance of a stitch e.g. making sure you are hydrated and avoiding eating in the hours before training.

2 Make your core as strong as your legs to avoid a stitch

It’s suggested that improving your core stability will reduce excessive movement in your trunk and stop your guts flopping around inside you. You can help to your abdominal region with just a couple of core workouts a week, each lasting 10-15 minutes. Include moves to strengthen your obliques such as side planks.

3 Breathe through pursed lips

A study in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise found that pursing your lips and taking huge breaths with increased lung volume alleviated a side stitch caused by running almost immediately. It’s not quite known why this is, but does it matter if it works?

4 Belt up

Another peculiar one. The same journal found that wearing a belt while running, and stopping and tightening it when the dreaded stitch hits, could alleviate a runner’s stitch within seconds. Probably looks less strange if you wear a running belt – nobody will think twice if you stop and tighten it.

5 Bend into the stitch

Standing tall, gently lean over to the painful side while bringing your arm up and over your head. Your movements should be deliberate and slow. Bending forward and touching your toes while tightening your abdominal muscles has also been found to relieve a stitch very swiftly.

6 Push it

Place the palm of your hand on the painful area, and press firmly but gently. Many find that this method helps to reduce the pain from a stitch.

How do you tackle a stitch? I’d love to know what works for you!

Running Hero – David Hemery

If you were around in the 1970s, you probably remember the programme Superstars, where sports people of the day competed over a range of different disciplines from running to gymnastics to rowing.  David Hemery won the first ever British Superstars competition in 1973 and went on to win again in 1976. But he made his name as one of Britain’s best ever hurdlers.

Hemery was born in Cirencester, Gloucestershire in 1944 but his father’s accounting work took the family to the United States, where he attended school and graduated from Boston University. He proceeded to move back and forth across the Atlantic during his training.

Hemery’s first International title came at the 1966 Commonwealth Games, where he won the 120 yd hurdles in 14.1 seconds, a title he retained four years later at the 1970 Commonwealth Games, although by then it had gone metric and become the 110m hurdles which he won in 13.8 seconds.

At the Mexico City Olympics in 1968, Hemery won the 400m hurdles in 48.12 seconds, setting a new world record, beating second-placed Gerhard Hennige from West Germany by almost a second. After Hemery crossed the line BBC commentator David Coleman exclaimed “Who cares who’s third – it doesn’t matter!”. You can watch the grainy film of the event here:

It was actually another Brit, John Sherwood, so we probably did care! Hemery’s performance in the Olympics helped him win the 1968 BBC Sports Personality of the Year.

In 1969, Hemery won a silver at the European Championships in the 110m hurdles, but missed the next European Championships in 1971 due to injury. At the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, Hemery defended his title but could only manage third place. He was also a member of the silver medal winning British 4 × 400m relay team, showing he wasn’t just good at hurdles. He retired from athletics soon afterwards, which left him free to participate in the professional Superstars contests and keep any prize money he won.

After his running career, Hemery worked as a coach in the United States and Great Britain. In 1969 he was made an MBE followed by a CBE in 2003. In 1998, he was elected as the first president of UK Athletics. In 2011 Hemery became the first Briton to be awarded the European Olympic Committee’s Laurel Award for services to sport.

Hemery Training Sessions

Although David Hemery’s event was the 400m hurdles, he believed in having a strong aerobic base and would regularly complete 10-mile training runs at a fraction under 6-minute mile pace.

Speaking of his winter training programme, he revealed: “Throughout the year there was a shift of emphasis. I started with lots of steady longer runs and some speed hills or sprinting up sand dunes, which were among my toughest training sessions, through to mostly fast race-pace work in the outdoor season. Most of the early track work totalled 2500-3000m, which could have been in the form of 30x100m, 10x300m, 6x400m or 3x800m.”

The number dropped as the pace was increased so, by the time of the racing season, Hemery would be running 3x400m or 3x2x300m, the latter with a bend walk in between, then two laps slow walk to make up approximately 10 minutes rest between sets.

“Each 300m had to be like the first, so 37.5 + 37.5 down to 36 + 36. That training session simulated holding pace in the second half of the 400m hurdles,” explains Hemery.

Aside from his sand dune winter training sessions, one other particular ‘killer’ training session a few weeks before a big race would consist of 500 yards over 12 hurdles. Being longer than his usual event, this was psychologically hard. He said:

“Compared with multiple hills and particularly sand dune sessions in the autumn and winter, this session was not hard physically. It took pace judgment, concentration and the will to hold on to the pace.”

He also knew that if he could go through 400m in sub-50 on the way to a 500 yards hurdles, particularly at a stage in his training programme when he was yet to introduce the fastest training sessions, racing a 400m hurdles would feel short psychologically and he would be able to go quicker in the actual race.

So, maybe instead of trying to run faster than race pace during your training runs, you should instead try going at race pace but for longer than the race distance, so that you are confident you have something in the tank on the big day.

Cracker Corner

My friend has two Dobermans called Timex and Rolex. They’re watchdogs.

I went to a party at the RNLI last night. They really know how to push the boat out.

Why did the burglar have a shower? Because he wanted to make a clean getaway.

Boom! Boom!

And finally…

Have you heard of FOMO? It’s ‘fear of missing out’. The dictionary definition is ‘signing up for the Benfleet 15 against your better judgement just because your club mates have already done so’. Did I tell you how I sat on the floor and cried after my first Benfleet 15…

Happy Running



BRR Chair








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