Howdie Road Runners

Those of you at track last week may have wondered why some of us slunk off to the other end of the building after the session. We were actually holding our first face-to-face BRR Committee meeting in over a year. For some Committee members, it was their first meeting in person. While there are some benefits to virtual meetings, you can’t beat seeing people face-to-face, and we were able to make decisions on the BRR presentation evening, post-Xmas meal, and the fixture list for the BRR internal cross-country competition. Please see the minutes for full details.

211116 – November 2021 Committee meeting

Elsewhere, the big news is that, from next Saturday, scanning personal barcodes from mobile phones will be allowed.  This has been the subject of acrimonious debate on the parkrun discussion group Facebook page ever since the parkrun virtual volunteer phone app was introduced, but now everyone seems to think it is a great idea! Those of us who have always thought so can just feel smug and self-righteous. Unfortunately for this chap, we are still not allowed to scan body parts (thank goodness for that).

Athletics in the News

A documentary will be available the Run Show YouTube channel on Tuesday 23 November about 400m record holder Iwan Thomas completing the Centurion Running South Downs Way 100.

Thomas, who has held the UK 400m record (44.36) for almost 25 years, completed the gruelling race during the summer to raise money for Group B Strep Support, the world’s leading charity working to eradicate Group B Strep infection in babies. Thomas succeeded in raising £25,000.

Since retirement from the track Thomas has forged a successful career on television and is a regular announcer at British Athletics events. To keep fit, he has completed a number of distance running events such as the London Marathon and Great North Run. But he admitted being under-prepared for the 100.

“This was the most brutal thing I have ever done,” said Thomas. “The temperatures made what should have been a difficult run almost impossible for me.”

Thomas’ son Teddy was diagnosed with Group B Strep in 2018, an infection caused by streptococcal bacteria, which can lead to meningitis, pneumonia and sepsis, and spent the first 10 days of his life in intensive care.

Thomas said: “Seeing Teddy covered in tubes and battling for his life was by far the worst experience of my life. If I can shine a light on this infection that claims the lives of so many young children then the pain of what I endured was 100% worth it.”

Motivated by this, Thomas battled injuries during the event plus horrendous blisters. He was also in danger of missing the cut-off time at certain points but was helped by fellow ultra-runner Susie Chan and he managed to finish in 29 hours and 35 minutes.

“I am delighted to share the raw reality of what this run cost me physically and emotionally and I hope that it has helped shine a light on Strep B and the money raised can help other families like ours,” added Thomas.

You can watch the documentary, and get a taste of what our Colin Jones goes through when he’s doing ultras, at:

BRR in Action

(Courtesy of Greg ‘the newshound’ Adams)

Barking Road Runners Ron Vialls and Jack Nixon competed in the British Masters Athletics Federation 10k Championships at the Cyclopark Gravesend. Jack ran a personal best time of 33:38 finishing in 7th place and Ron ran his fastest 10k of the year in 49:06.

Rob Courtier ran the Dark River Race in Wiltshire, a 5-mile off road race in the dark using a head torch. Rob described it as a crazy race: pitch black with lots of hills and big stones everywhere. Rob finished in a time of 1:00:23.

BRR parkrunners this week

Barking Park

Owen Wainhouse 22:23, Charlotte Owen 23:39, Joyce Golder 25:17, Jason Li 26:48, Alain Cooper 28:36, Emma Paisley 29:53, Les Jay 32:58, Nikki Cranmer 34:39, Dawn Blake 34:40, Micky Ball 38:07, Jenny Birch 39:46 and Alan Murphy 51:50.


Peter Jackson 19:07.

Chelmsford Central

Gary Harford 26:59 and Vicki Groves 27:38.

Finsbury Park

Joe Stacey 17:36.

Harrow lodge 

Rory Burr 26:04.

Maldon Prom

Kresh Veerasamy 33:29.

Seven Fields

Rob Courtier 33:13.

Valentines Park

Kevin Wotton 23:04 and Andrew Gwilliam 61:44.


Jess Collett 22:03.

BRR Diary

Further details of BRR events can be found on BRR Calendar on the events section of the website, or on the TeamUp app (download the TeamUp app onto your phone, then enter the calendar key for Barking Road Runners when asked: ks67p21gt8p5gzdo66)

7.00pm, Tuesday 23 November – Speed Development, Jim Peter’s Stadium. This week we have five and fives: 5 x (3min run with 90 secs recovery) at 5k pace, followed by 5 x (90 secs run with 1 min recovery) at 3k pace. The warm-up is cups and saucers…

6.30pm, Thursday 25 November – Road run from Jo Richardson School, Gale Street. About an hour. This week we may venture to ‘the other side’. The other side of the A13, that is!

2.30pm, Saturday 27 November – Chingford League Cross-Country 5 miler/BRR XC 01. Trent Park (EN4 0JZ). Free for BRR members. Bring your existing bib number, if you already have one. If you have lost your bib number, or haven’t run in the series so far but want to take part, please let me know by Midnight on Wednesday 24 November. NOTE: we must complete two “finishing order declaration sheets” for all our men and women finishers. You will get a cloakroom ticket with your finishing position which needs to be noted on the sheets, which will then be handed in after the race (like we do for the South Essex Cross Country League). It would be great if someone who isn’t running, or an early finisher, could help with this – I will be right at the back as usual so won’t be able to do it.

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. The plan is to have refreshments in the Methodist Central Hall cafe 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. A two-lap, roughly five-mile course.

11.00am, Sunday 26 December – Crown to Crown 5k. Westley Heights Country Park, 1 Dry St, Langdon Hills, Basildon SS16 5LT. Entry details TBC.

6.00pm, Sunday 2 January – Leigh-on-Sea 10k. The popular race, organised by Leigh-on-Sea Striders, is back with a new time and a new, 3-lap, route taking in Two Tree Nature Reserve, Belton Way Loop, and Old Leigh. Head torches are compulsory (sounds like fun!).

7.30pm, Friday 7 January – Club meal. The Greyhound Harvester, High Road, Romford.

10.00am, Sunday 9 January  – BRR XC 03. Hainault Forest. Starting at the car park near the café in Fox Burrow Road. course to be confirmed, but it will be around 5 miles.

Land Registry Property Alert

Not a running issue, but I thought any home owners might be interested nonetheless.

There was a news story at the beginning of the month about Reverend Mike Hall, who returned to his house in Luton after some time working away to find it had been sold without his knowledge. Mr Hall found building work under way and a new owner who said he had bought the house. The house had been stripped of all furnishings. When Mr Hall checked with the Land Registry he found that the house was registered in a different name. A BBC investigation discovered that Mr Hall’s identity had been stolen and used to sell the house and bank the proceeds. BBC You and Yours found details of a driving licence used to impersonate Mr Hall, details of a bank account set up in his name to receive the proceeds of the sale, and phone recordings of the house being stolen. Once the house was sold to the new owner for £131,000 by the person impersonating Mr Hall, they legally owned it.

Mr Hall contacted the police who initially said it was a civil matter and there was nothing they could do, but Bedfordshire Police’s fraud squad are now investigating.

Fortunately, this type of fraud is very rare. But the Land Registry has set up a free Property Alert service to help protect your property, or the property of family members, from fraud. Once you have signed up to the service, you will receive email alerts when certain activity occurs on your monitored properties, allowing you to take action if necessary. You can register with the service at:

Cracker Corner

A man walked into a bar and said ‘ouch’. It was an iron bar.

A man walked into a doctor’s surgery and said ‘Doctor, I keep thinking I’m a moth’.

The doctor replied ‘Sorry, I can’t help you, you need to see the psychiatrist down the corridor’.

The man said ‘I know, but I was attracted to the light’.

Boom Boom!

Running Hero – Frank Shorter

Frank Shorter, born in 1947, Munich, Germany, was the first American in 64 years to win the Olympic marathon, earning the gold medal at the 1972 Games in Munich, West Germany, the city of his birth.

The son of an American army doctor who was based in Germany after World War II, Shorter had early success with running. After winning the National Collegiate Athletic Association 6-mile run for Yale University in 1969, he won his first marathon in 1970 in São Paulo, Brazil. He followed that with a double victory in the 1971 Pan American Games, winning both the 10,000m and the marathon.

Shorter competed again in the 10,000m and the marathon at the 1972 Olympic Games. He only managed fifth in the 10k but dominated in the marathon, finishing two minutes ahead of the rest of the field in 2.12.19. “I threw a 4:33 surge between miles nine and 10, and from that point on I was out of sight of the guys trailing me” Shorter said. “The whole second half, I kept hitting my pace. I had the talent to go out fast, by myself, and ride the pain. I learned that from watching Clayton and Ron Clarke, but it was also something I internalized from my childhood.”

It was only many years later that Shorter revealed he had learned to deal with pain through years of being mentally and physically abused by his father. Nonetheless, Shorter’s masterful gold-medal performance made him a household name across America, and soon thousands of his previously sedentary countrymen and women were taking to the roads, running in his footsteps.

At the 1976 Olympics in Montreal he earned the silver medal. He was beaten by Waldemar Cierpinski of East Germany, who was later documented to be part of that nation’s doping system. Upon leaving competitive racing, amongst other things Shorter became the first chairman of the board of the US Anti-Doping Agency.

Shorter was unusual in that, for most of his running career, he coached himself, including when he won his Olympic medals. An interviewer once asked him if he’d thought about writing a book on training. He responded “No. Do you know why? Because if I did it would be a page long. Here’s what you do: you gotta run 130, 140 miles a week, two hard workouts a week and a long run. That’s it”.

He later relented and wrote a book Running for Peak Performance. But, in short, his training method involved running very easily – at his conversational pace – 75-90 percent of the time, with some short, fast, interval training at 5K race pace to improve speed. For marathon training, he added a long run once a week working up to at least two hours/20 miles.

And finally…

Oh dear. I managed to lock Mick Moohan in the changing rooms at Barking Park after parkrun on Saturday. Luckily he banged very loudly on the door to attract our attention before we walked away or we may have returned next Saturday to find an emaciated corpse. Oops…

Happy Running



BRR Chair








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