Before being moved on by the police…

Howdie Road Runners

We’re into December already. It seems the older I get, the faster the time goes by! On the plus side, December brings lots of running opportunities, starting with the Club’s annual Xmas Royal Parks Run, which took place on Sunday. In addition, unlike last year, this festive season we have some ‘proper’ races to do too, including the Sikhs in the City Dawn ‘til Dusk race, the Crown-to-Crown 5k, Witham 5 miler and, of course, our own cross-country race on the 19th and Christmas parkrun on…Christmas Day!

It would be great to have reviews  – long or short – of any races that you do  – long or short ! – to include in the blog

Athletics in the News


Athletics Weekly has reported that British sprinters Adam Gemili and Laviai Nielsen have been removed from the Lottery-funded World Class Programme by UK Athletics after choosing to stay in Florida with coach Rana Reider, who is the subject of an investigation into alleged sexual misconduct. The lost funding is worth up to £28,000 a year for each athlete. Another athlete, Daryll Neita, has chosen to leave Reider’s coaching group and so will retain their funding.

A statement from UKA read: “UKA’s position has not changed in that any athlete working directly with Rana Reider given the confirmed complaints of sexual misconduct against him from US Safe Sport, will not be able to be supported through the World Class Programme (WCP).

“Our discussions have been ongoing with athletes who are working directly with Rana Reider in Florida.

UKA added: “Adam Gemili and Laviai Nielsen have elected to remain in Florida and accept they will not be supported through the WCP for the time being. UKA understand the significant commitment these athletes have made to be based in Florida for the winter and that they will remain part of the training group until a further update from US Safe Sport is provided.

“All lines of communication will remain open with the athletes and we will support them with any future decision making as and when there are any developments communicated by US Safe Sport.”

Gemili said: ‘I feel it is correct to trust that the proper organisations will conduct a thorough investigation. UKA are understanding of my decision and we shall continue to work together.’

What do you think? Should Gemili and Nielsen have left and found a new coach, or are they correct to stay with Reider until the investigation is complete?

BRR in Action

(Courtesy of Greg ‘the newshound’ Adams)

Barking Roadrunners had their annual Christmas Royal Parks run this weekend taking in St James’s Park, Green Park, and Hyde Park. The run is between 6-8 miles as the quicker runners double back every so often to chat with the slower runners. Eighteen members in total attended, with twelve completing the run. There was a new addition to the course this year in the form of a 22.5 metre climb up the Marble Arch Mound to enjoy views of Hyde Park and the West End. Unfortunately, just as last year, COVID restrictions meant the Methodist Central Hall was unavailable for the post-run Christmas lunch so an alternative venue was found for a get together. (Update: we’ve since been told that the restaurant at the Methodist Central Hall will no longer be opening at weekends due to reduced visitor numbers).

This week’s parkrunners

Alexandra Palace

Jess Collett 21:37

Barking Park

Ron Vialls 24:08, Charlotte Owen 24:18, Joyce Golder 25:38, Trevor Cooper 26:43, Jason Li 26:57., John Lang 27:21, Isobel Pinedo Borobio 27:39, Les Jay 33:44, Barry Culling 33:56, Dawn Blake 33:59, Nikki Cranmer 34:00, Micky Ball 37:03, Cristina Cooper 45:15, Jenni Birch 48:33 and Alan Murphy 48:33.


Debbie Coyle 21:31

Harrow Lodge

Rory Burr 26:02.

Raphaels Park

Gary Harford 27:26.

Valentines Park

Paul Withyman 19:44, Kevin Wotton 22:38, and Kresh Veerasamy  35:46.

Benfleet 15

Nabeel queried the elevation at the Benfleet 15, so I thought this might be of interest to others running the race for the first time (too late to back out now). 2020 was quite a mild year; the previous time I ran, in 2015, it was 2.8 degrees, and I know others have run in much colder temperatures than that. Bring it on!

Benefits of Track Training

Newer members may not believe it, but there was a time when BRR didn’t hold track sessions and all our training was on the road. Indeed, some members were adamant that we shouldn’t run on the track because – as our name suggests – we are first and foremost a road running club. But track training has benefits for road runners too and, over the years, our track sessions have become our most popular sessions.

Why track train?


If you are at all nervous about running on your own, or worried about falling on our dodgy pavements, training on the track is great, especially on dark nights. You can run knowing you are in a safe environment. And you can cut your session short if you need to without ending up miles from home!


The track allows you to measure times and distance accurately, and monitor your effort and pace over a set distance, without interruptions like stopping at traffic lights or dodging pedestrians. Talking of which, here are the timed mile times for November:


Doing a track session with your clubmates provides a wonderful combination of support and competition. Tough sessions seem a bit less hard when you are running with others. You can push yourself by running with faster athletes, or you can be the person who helps a clubmate to push on.


There is a school of thought that running on different surfaces e.g. road, track and trail, reduces the stress on your body and therefore the risk of injury. Just don’t go out too hard – it’s easy to overdo it on the track’s springy surface and get injured if you’re not used to it.


Some people think running in circles around a track must be boring, but it can help to build your mental resilience to keep going throughout a session without the distractions you get on the road or trail.


Perhaps most importantly for us road runners, track sessions help you to build the skills you need for your road and cross-country races. Different sessions can help build speed, stamina, and that final kick you need at the end of a race. Track is also idea for doing drills to improve your running form e.g. arm-swing, leg lift, posture etc without totally embarrassing yourself!

BRR Diary

7.00pm, Tuesday 7 December – Speed Development, Jim Peter’s Stadium. A nice, simple, session this week, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy: 12 x (2 mins fast, 1 min recovery). Followed by the presentation of trophies for the 2021 season – please turn up if you’ve won a trophy, and stick around to find out who has won the Members’ Cup.

7.00pm, Thursday 9 December – Road run from Jo Richardson School, Gale Street. About an hour.

Various times, Sunday 12 December – Sikhs in the City 10k/HM/Marathon/Ultra. Woodford. ENTRIES CLOSED.

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. £2.50 for EA members/£4.50 for others. Enter at

10.00am, Monday 27 December – Witham (not on) Boxing Day 5. Witham Rugby Club, Spa Road, Witham, CM8 1UN. Can you beat the pud? There’s only one way to find out!

6.00pm, Sunday 2 January – Leigh-on-Sea 10k. The popular race (well, with everyone but the Daily Mail), organised by Leigh-on-Sea Striders. Head torches are compulsory Enter at

7.30pm, Friday 7 January – Club meal. The Greyhound Harvester, High Road, Romford. Let Nikki know if you are interested.

10.00am, Sunday 9 January 2022 – BRR XC 03. Hainault Forest. Starting at the car park near the café in Fox Burrow Road.

Dottie Dear’s Almanac for December: trugs

Here is the Christmas Edition of Dottie Dear’s Almanac. Any similarities to actual BRR Committee meetings are purely coincidental…

Apparently, Dottie is the Secretary for the Essex Society of Woodland Foragers, and every first Tuesday of the month the Committee make their way into the Forest and up her rope ladder to the tree-house for their regular meeting.

It was the last Committee meeting before Christmas, and they had got a bit bogged down in Item 4: The Preferred Construction of Trugs (essential kit when poking around in the undergrowth). They had already had a few sips of the Festive beverage Dottie had provided, and the debate was raging about whether or not the Society’s Rules should be amended to allow synthetic foraging baskets, as opposed to the traditional Sussex Trug made from sweet chestnut and willow (which had been the tradition in the Society for many years).

Dottie was just coming down with a headache, when there was a tremendous clanging on the bell that she had installed on the balcony.  Someone had obviously pressed the buzzard at the base of the tree (see Almanac for November, 2021).  Dottie rushed out on to the platform and looked down.  At the bottom of the rope ladder was a tiny Boy Scout with an equally tiny voice.  It was a bit hard to hear what he was saying, and at first Dottie thought she’d better try semaphore (having been a Girl Guide herself), but he looked a bit baffled (what do they teach them these days, she wondered), and anyway he didn’t appear to have any flags with him.  So that was no good.  Ignoring the probability that he might have had an iPhone, Dottie worked herself up into a huge bellow to ask what he wanted, and he replied (squeakily) that it was Bob-a-Job week, and did she have anything she wanted doing.

Giving him the benefit of the doubt (Bob-a-Job week in December?) she decided to make use of his services. She had this month’s Almanac Advice ready to post to us, so she lowered the envelope down to him (in a Sussex Trug) together with the fee, and off he trotted to the nearest pillar box.

The content of the envelope was as follows:

  • Comparison is the thief of joy.
  • Never try to refill a stapler whilst printing something off at the same time.
  • Pine martens really like eggs.
  • It’s impossible to resist the smell of toast.

When she got back to the meeting, everyone had relaxed into a pleasant alcoholic fug.  She had thought it was a mistake to allow them to break into the mead just after Matters Arising, but now she was mightily relieved.  The furious arguments had abated and instead they were alternately giggling and mumbling incoherently. Ignoring the mess on the rush matting (squashed mince pies and vegan sausage rolls) she let them carry on carousing, cracked open a bottle of Prosecco and just made the rest of the minutes up.

Cracker Corner

I went to the doctor’s because I’ve been having trouble sleeping. He said “sleep on the edge of the bed. You’ll soon drop off”.

I went to an Indian restaurant serving unusual meats and ordered the pelican curry. It tasted delicious but the bill was enormous.

Don’t blame me, blame Tony Blackburn and Les.

And finally…

I was composing the perfect photo of the Marble Arch Mound on Sunday when it was photo bombed by this cheeky rascal. I think he’s looking wistfully at the passing black cab…

Happy Running



BRR Chair









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