Howdie Road Runners

A fantastic running weekend for Barking Road Runners, with lots of parkrun tourism, the Stebbing 10, and some real running tourism in Tenerife from Captain Rob. And it was a great weekend for birthdays too!

Athletics in the News

There was an interesting article on the Athletics Weekly website about the impact that Covid can have on athletes and how long it might take to recover from Covid.

While most athletes recover quickly, a study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine this year found that over a quarter of athletes took over a month to be ready to train and compete again.

A graduated return to training or competition is recommended. Even athletes with mild symptoms are advised to take their time getting back into training and should wait at least 10 days since symptoms first appeared and be symptom-free for seven days before resuming any type of exercise i.e. 17 days in total since first diagnosis.

The link to the full article is here:

BRR in Action

(Courtesy of Greg ‘the newshound’ Adams)

Several Members of Barking Road Runners took part in the hilly Stebbing 10-mile race at the weekend. First finisher for BRR was Jess Collett with a quick time of 1:12:50 which placed her 8th in her category. Jess was followed by Colin Jones 1:13:57, Dennis Spence-Perkins 1:38:45, Isobel Pinedo-Borobio 1:41:28, Mick Davison 1:44:43, Alison Fryatt 1:50:52, and Les Jay 1:53:25.

In the sunnier weather of Tenerife, Rob Courtier, Dave Mottley, and Derv Bartlett competed in an 8.6k race in Santa Cruz although the course as well as being hilly was also very warm. Derv finished in an impressive 37:45 whilst Rob finished in a time of 1:01:55 and Dave finished in 1:11:57.

BRR parkrunners

Barking Park

Joe Stacey celebrated his 50th parkrun in style, coming first across the line at Barking Park with a new parkrun Personal Best.

Joe Stacey 17:17, Belinda Riches 25:10, Ricky Singh 26:28, Martin Brooks 26:41 (the birthday boy), Andy Hiller 26:49, Jason Li 27:11, Sally Bridge 27:58, Les Jay 33:16, Nikki Cranmer 34:15, Dawn Blake 34:15, Micky Ball (another birthday boy) 37:36, Ken Summerfield 41:32, Alan Murphy 49:00 and Cristina Cooper 53:03 (tail walker).

Chalkwell Beach

Antony Leckerman 23:52.

Chelmsford Central 

Vicki Groves 34:18.

Mersea Island

Debbie Coyle 21:54 and Rory Burr 25:44.

Raphaels Park

Shuhel Khan 26:05

Valentines Park 

Kevin Wotton 23:12, Gary Harford 27:20 (yet another birthday boy!), Andrew Gwilliam 28:58, Kresh Veerasamy 34:09

BRR Diary

7.00pm, Tuesday 16 November – Speed Development, Jim Peter’s Stadium. This week we have a pyramid session: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 minutes, with a minute recovery between the shorter reps and – I’m being kind here – two minutes recovery between the longer reps.

6.30pm, Thursday 11 November – Jo Richardson School, Gale Street. Road run of about an hour.

2.30pm, Saturday 27 November – Chingford League Cross-Country 5 miler, Trent Park (EN4 0JZ). Free entry for BRR members. Bring your existing bib number, if you have one. If you don’t already have a bib number but want to take part let me know by Midnight on 24 November. This is also BRR XC01 in our own winter XC competition.

9.30am, Sunday 5 December – BRR Xmas Royal Parks run. Meeting at Matthew Parker Street (nearest tube St. James’s Park). A social run of around six miles through St. James’s Park, Green Park and Hyde Park. We usually stop for 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) if they feel like it.

10.00am, Sunday 19 December – BRR XC 02. Hornchurch Country Park, starting next to the car park near the Squadron’s Approach entrance. £2 entry fee that will go towards the refreshments/trophies at the end of the series.

11.00am, Sunday 26 December – Crown to Crown 5k – Westley Heights Country Park, 1 Dry St, Langdon Hills, Basildon SS16 5LT. Usually it’s just turn up and run on the day, but we can expect there to be some sort of online registration this year.

Running Hero – Linford Christie

In an international career spanning 17 years Linford competed over 60 times for his country, competing in three Olympic Games and winning more major championship medals (23) than any other British male sprinter. But Christie’s track career was not without controversy and you won’t see him commentating on athletics on TV.

Christie was born in Jamaica in 1961 and came to Great Britain when he was seven years old, living in Shepherd’s Bush. He competed in the very first London Youth Games in 1977 for the borough of Hammersmith & Fulham. But his early track career was not particularly promising and he failed to make the Great Britain team for the 1984 Summer Olympics. He was 26 before he won his first major medal, Gold in the 100m at the European Championships in 1986.

He won world bronze a year later after Ben Johnson was disqualified for steroid use. At his first Olympics in Seoul in 1988 he claimed silver, after initially finishing third, when Johnson was again disqualified for doping. In 1990 he defended his European title while also winning the 100m and 4x100m at the Commonwealth Games in Auckland.

At the age of 32 Christie took gold at the Barcelona Olympics to become the oldest Olympic 100m champion, with a time of 9.96 seconds. Luckily for him, his main rival Carl Lewis was absent from the race as he competed in the long jump instead.

A year after his Olympic victory, Christie won the world title in 9.87 seconds in Stuttgart. It was a European and British record and just 0.01 off the world record.

The 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta were a disaster for Christie as he was disqualified after false-starting twice in the final. Following this, Christie effectively retired from top-level athletics, but continued to compete at some minor events alongside a coaching career. This proved to be his undoing: in February 1999 Christie tested positive for nandrolone, an anabolic steroid that builds muscle, at an indoor meet in Dortmund.

Up to 2 nanograms per millilitre of urine is regarded as permissible for naturally occurring nandrolone but Christie’s reading, when he was randomly tested, was 200, more than 100 times the legal limit and 1,000 times more than is found in the average person.

Christie, then 39, was suspended by the International Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF). He strenuously denied taking any illegal substances but, in August 2000, he was banned for two years after the IAAF upheld a ruling that he had tested positive for drugs. This effectively ended his career.

At the time of his ban Christie said: “I have always made it clear that I have no confidence in the IAAF’s arbitration process and this simply reaffirms this. I have never intentionally taken any banned substance.”

Christie lost a lucrative contract with the BBC and has never really regained his place in the public eye, although he continued to work as a coach and he has appeared in some gardening programmes – another love of his. Of course, nobody can say whether Christie took drugs in his heyday (Christie tested positive for drugs at the Seoul Olympics, but a jury ruled it might have been ingested through ginseng so he was cleared), although there has been ongoing suspicion given his late rise to success, and the prevalence of drugs at the time he was competing. I guess we’ll never know.

Cracker Corner – the seasonal edition

In the UK we call it “autumn” from the Latin “autumnus” and the French “Automne”.

In the USA they call it “fall” because the leaves fall down…

How does an elephant get down from a tree?

It sits on a leaf and waits for autumn.

Why do birds fly south in the winter?

Because it’s too far to walk.

Even I’m groaning…

And finally…

Apologies to those of you who follow me on Strava and are now getting details of my twice-weekly cycles to and from the office. My tricycle certainly attracts attention; I’ve been asked if I can do wheelies (answer: no), how much it cost, and where I bought it, I’ve been told it’s solid (I think that’s a compliment) and cool. At the other end of the spectrum, I’ve been told it’s a ‘shit bike’ (quite right. It’s got three wheels for a start). But the biggest insult came from a small boy out walking with his mother ‘Mum, look at that bike – it’s so slow!”. Out of the mouths of babes…

Happy Running



BRR Chair








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