Howdie Road Runners

A huge thank you’ to those of you who were able to attend this year’s AGM, which took place on Thursday 28 October. It was great to see some first-timers at the meeting, along with the regulars, and we had some very lively discussion. The updated Rules and Annual Report will be saved on the BRR website in due course i.e. once we sort of the error that is currently preventing us from updating the site! In the meantime, please see the minutes of the meeting for details of what was agreed, including some changes to the Club Rules. Huge thanks to Club Secretary, Dee Spencer-Perkins, who has done a terrific job of capturing what was said.

211028 – BRR AGM Minutes 2021

Members’ Cup 2021 and Club Charity

Last few days to vote in the Members’ Cup: Late votes will NOT be counted, so don’t delay, vote today!

BRR in Action

(Courtesy of Greg ‘the newshound’ Adams)

Cristina and Trevor Cooper travelled to Turkey and competed in a 70.3 Ironman triathlon which included a 1.2-mile ocean swim, a two-loop 56-mile bike ride and a 13.1-mile run.

Joe Stacey and Rosie Fforde competed in the Coventry Half marathon finishing in excellent times of 1:19:30 and 1:46:21 respectively. The route took runners on a double loop of the town centre, taking in the historic Council House, Lady Godiva, and some of the city’s few surviving medieval building before finishing at Coventry Cathedral.

This week’s BRR parkrunners

Barking Park

Owen Wainhouse 21:50, Ricky Singh 25:34, Adrian Davison 25:34, Joyce Golder 25:54, Andrew Hiller 27:14, Sally Bridge 2:44, Rob Courtier 29:54, Les Jay 32:54 and Micky Ball 37:38.


Martin Page 23:42.

Chalkwell Beach

Antony Leckerman 21:02.

Raphaels Park

Debbie Coyle 20:44


Rory Burr 25:49.

Valentines Park

Kevin Wotton 28:20 and Gary Harford 28:36.

Be a Greener Runner

COP26 – the United Nations’ 26th annual global climate change conference, has started in Glasgow. During the conference, world leaders – well, some of ‘em – will work together to reach an agreement on how to tackle climate change in order to achieve global net zero by 2050 and limit global warming to 1.5 degrees. You may share the cynicism of the Queen who was heard to say “I’ve been hearing all about COP… I still don’t know who’s coming…. it’s really irritating when they talk, but they don’t do.”

So perhaps we can’t wait for the ‘great and the good’ to do the right thing, and have to start making changes ourselves. I don’t mean becoming an ecowarrior and gluing yourself to a motorway. But if millions of people all take tiny actions to help the environment it can make a bid difference. Some suggestions for being a greener runner are:

  • Some races now ask you to bring your own bottle and refill at check points to reduce waste. Or, if there are water stations handing out plastic bottles, try and cut down on the number you take (but don’t get dehydrated!).
  • If using gels, keep empty wrappers on you until you can dispose of them responsibly, rather than littering the roads and countryside.
  • Make your kit last. And, when you sign up for a race and they want you to pay extra for a t-shirt, think about whether you really need it.
  • Buy from ethical companies – many manufacturers are now making running gear out of recycled materials.
  • Car share to events – it will save petrol, mean less spend on parking, and you have someone to celebrate or commiserate with on the way home.
  • Become a flexitarian by eating less meat. Livestock farming is responsible for nearly one-fifth of human-related greenhouse gas emissions. Eating more veg-based protein (beans, lentils, nuts and seeds) can help the environment and your waistline too. You don’t have to go all the way and become a vegan, but it certainly doesn’t seem to have hurt Joe’s running! To help you, here is a festive vegan tabbouleh recipe, courtesy of the Co-op:


  • 2 Co-op white pitta breads, cut into shards
  • 1 tsp Co-op olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • 100g Co-op cous cous
  • ½ x 25g pack each flat leaf parsley, coriander, mint and basil, finely chopped
  • 40g dried cranberries
  • 50g walnuts, toasted and chopped
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 200g tub Co-op houmous
  • 125g pack baby spinach


  • Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/gas 6
  • Brush the pitta shards all over with the oil, then season
  • Bake for 10-12 mins, until toasted and crunchy, then set aside to cool
  • Meanwhile, prepare the cous cous according to the pack instructions
  • Fluff with a fork, then stir through the chopped herbs, dried cranberries, toasted walnuts and lemon juice
  • Put the houmous in a small serving bowl and drizzle with a little olive oil
  • Place it in the centre of a platter and arrange the spinach around it to resemble a wreath
  • Spoon over the cous cous mixture and position the toasted pitta shards around the houmous bowl, then sprinkle with the lemon zest before serving up.

Dottie Dear’s Almanac for November: Gadgets

Dottie is quite a Wallace and Gromit fan, and she has a passion for devising handy gadgets and appliances for use around the tree-house. On a previous visit, she had demonstrated her rather vicious tool for paring the pointy bits off pineapples (not for the faint-hearted), and also a cunning little device for lobbing conkers at passing Dagenham ’88 runners.

When we arrived this month, there was a stuffed raptor of some kind nailed to a rocking plank at the base of the tree, which was in turn connected to the veranda of the tree-house by a complex system of ropes and pulleys. At the very top of this system was a large bell. Dottie was busy nailing a sign to her notice-board, and we couldn’t really see what she was doing. In any case, the glassy-eyed stare of the dead bird was giving us the creeps, so while she got on with her notice-nailing we consulted her Almanac for this month, which was as follows:

  • Sometimes it’s easier to shave a bit off the door-frame rather than off the door.
  • Whatever the job, someone will sell you a kit to do it.
  • Try not to spill paint on the carpet (unless the colour is the same).
  • Always respect gravity (especially when working on a roof).

As we finished making our notes, Dottie stood back and we were able to read the notice she had fixed to the trunk.  It was an instruction for visitors:

“Press buzzard for entry”

Not sure about that one, Dottie, but time will tell.

England Athletics Survey

England Athletics are surveying London based athletics club members to gather information on the time taken to travel to track and field facilities In Greater London. The data will be used to help inform a ‘facility planning model for athletes’, whatever that means! It would be helpful if you could complete the short survey – it should only take a few minutes.

BRR Diary

7.00pm, Tuesday 2 November – Speed Development, Jim Peter’s Stadium. We have Simon from Comrades Triathlon, who is training to be a tri coach, taking the session. I’m sure you will all give your full support.

6.30pm, Thursday 4 November – Road run from Jo Richardson School, Gale Street.

Midnight, Friday 5 November – deadline to vote for the Members’ Cup.

2.30pm, Saturday 27 November – Chingford League Cross-Country 5 miler. At Trent Park (EN4 0JZ). Free for BRR members. Bring your existing bib number, if you already have one. If you don’t have a number yet (or you’ve lost your number), let me know by Midnight on 24 November and a bib will be issued on the day.

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. SOLD OUT!!!

Running Hero – Kelly Holmes

Born in Pembury, Kent, in 1970, Kelly Holmes was raised by her mum on a council estate in her early years. She attended the local secondary school where her PE teacher encouraged her to pursue running. She started training for athletics at the age of 12, joining Tonbridge Athletics Club, where she went on to win the English Schools 1,500 metres in her second season in 1983.

At 18, Kelly turned away from running to join the British army. She became an HGV driver and then a Physical Training Instructor. It was during her physical instructor training that her athletics prowess was noticed and she went on to participate in many army events. On one occasion she competed in and won the 800 metres, 3,000 metres and a relay race in a single day. She also won the heptathlon and was British Army judo champion at one point.

Holmes watched the 1992 Barcelona Olympics on TV and, seeing an athlete she had previously competed against and beaten in the heats of the 3,000m, she decided to return to athletics. For several years she combined athletics with employment in the Army, winning medals at several events including 1,500m golds at the 1994 Commonwealth Games and 1995 European Cup, until increased funding allowed her to become a full-time athlete in 1997. She was awarded an MBE for services to the British Army in 1998 but her athletics performance dipped for a few years and she has been open about her struggles with injuries, self-harm, and clinical depression.

2002 saw a return to form, with 1,500m gold at the Commonwealth Games in Manchester, followed up by silver medals at the World Championships, World Indoor Championships, and IAAF World Athletics Final in 2003.

But the Athens Olympics in 2004 was her crowning glory. She arrived at the Games with no injury worries for just about the first time in her career. She had originally planned to compete in just the 1,500m but, at the last minute, also decided to race in the 800m. This was a good decision: ignoring a fast start by a number of the other competitors, she moved into the lead on the final bend, taking the gold on the line. In doing so, Holmes became just the seventh British woman to win an athletics gold, and the second after Ann Packer in 1964 to win the 800m.

In the final of the 1,500m, Holmes again ran at the rear of the field, taking the lead on the final straight. She thus became only the third woman in history to do the 800 m and 1,500 m double (the previous two were Russian/Soviets), and Britain’s first double gold medallist at the same games since Albert Hill in 1920. Her time of 3.57:90 in the 1,500m final set a new British record for the distance. Holmes was rewarded with the honour of carrying the British flag at the closing ceremony of the Games. She was awarded BBC Sports Personality of the Year for 2004, and a CBE in 2005.

In August 2005 she competed in her final race in the UK, the 800m at the Norwich Union British Grand Prix meeting in Sheffield. Her training schedule during the summer of 2005 had been disrupted by a recurrent Achilles’ tendon injury, and she finished the race in eighth place, limping across the finish line and completing a lap of honour on a buggy. She retired soon afterwards.

In May 2009, Holmes was named as the president of Commonwealth Games England, In 2018, Kelly was appointed Honorary Colonel of the Royal Armoured Corps by the Queen.

Kelly Holmes Killer Training Session

Dame Kelly Holmes claims there were lots of ‘killer’ sessions that she used to complete as an elite middle-distance runner but recalls one particularly challenging workout that she did on a regular basis:

“It was 2x4x200m with five minutes recovery between sets and 20 seconds recovery between reps. It was so hard, because it was always at race pace or quicker with limited recovery. Therefore, lactic acid build-up was a given,” reflects Holmes.

Another short and simple session was of 2x400m with 10 minutes recovery in between. Kelly could run each lap in 52 seconds.

Having been a PTI in the Army, Holmes loved circuit training as well as fartlek and interval running. However, she hated long reps like 1000-2000m and was much keener on the shorter, faster reps, as shown by the fact she still owns the British 600m record with 1:25.41.

Cracker Corner

I used to have a job as a scarecrow. I was outstanding in my field.

I’m now working as a vacuum cleaner salesperson. At the moment business sucks.

Hard work never killed anyone, but why take the chance?

Boom! Boom!

And finally…

There was some discussion on WhatsApp recently about buying trainers. But never mind the Asics Outlet Store or The fashionistas are wearing Cristian Dior trainers. A snip at only £800 a pair. I don’t know if the shoes help you to run better but, around here, you’ll have to learn to run fast to get away from the muggers.

Happy Running



BRR Chair








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