Seasons Greetings Road Runners

Only five sleeps until Christmas…parkrun! ‘Tis the season of peace, love, and goodwill to all, even Dagenham 88 and Ilford AC. Well, Dagenham 88 anyway. Sunday’s cross-country at Hornchurch Country Park was a great pre-Christmas race; plenty of mud to make up for the South Essex Cross-Country League races that we are missing this year. More in Greg’s news report, below.

Last Monday saw the December Committee meeting. The minutes can be found here: 211213 – December 2021 Committee Meeting

Thanks to Dee Spencer-Perkins for doing such a good job of making sense of our ramblings. And, while I’m saying ‘thank you’, I’m sure you will all join me in giving thanks to Debbie Coyle and John Lang for their help with the track sessions throughout the year. They have brought knowledge, skill, variety – and sometimes challenge! – to Tuesday nights, and I’ve really appreciated their support.

Athletics in the News

Next year’s Manchester Marathon, on 3 April, has been chosen as the England trial for the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham and the British qualification race for the European Championships in Munich. The event is expected to attract Britain’s best marathon runners.

England Athletics has set qualifying times of 2:14:00 for men and 2:34:00 for women.

The Manchester Marathon claims to be the UK’s flattest major marathon, and also hopes to be the biggest UK spring marathon next year. The 2020 race saw a new route introduced for the marathon, which now includes a three-mile section through Manchester city centre before heading out to Trafford, Sale and Altrincham. Sounds a bit more interesting than when some of us did it a few years ago.

BRR in Action

(Courtesy of Greg ‘the newshound’ Adams)

Club Cross-Country series round 2 this week for Barking Road Runners at Ingrebourne Valley country park. The approximately 4 and half mile course was enjoyed by the runners, variously describing it as fun, good and evil in equal measures.

BRR At Ingrebourne Valley Country Park

First place went to Joe Stacey with a time of 29:21 followed by James Lowndes 30:24 in second, and Jess Collett 33:53 in third. Jess was also First Female finisher. Also running were Colin Jones 34:38, Adrian Davison 34:58, Shuhel Khan 36:56, Nehal Patel 37:16, Ron Vialls 37:30, Martin O’Toole 43:33, Isobel Pinedo Borobio 43:34, Gary Harford 44:04, Debra Jean Baptiste 47:20, Nikki Cranmer 51:02, Les Jay 52:34, Micky Ball 1:00:45, Alison Fryatt 1;00:46 (tailrunner), Martin Mason DNF and Jason Li DNF. Round 3 is January 9th at Hainault Country Park. Joe and Jess are currently leading the male and female competitions respectively, but there is still plenty of time to catch them.

Joe Stacey and James Lowndes 1st and 2nd place

3rd place overall and 1st female Jess Collett

BRR parkrunners this week

Barking Park

James Lowndes 20:52, Owen Wainhouse 21:33, Adrian Davison 23:33, Ron Vialls 23:52, Ricky Singh 24:35, Belinda Riches 25:31, Barry Culling 26:01, Stuart Burr 26:18, Andrew Hiller 26:21, Jason Li 27:10, John Lang 27:30, Martin Brooks 28:46, Robert Courtier 29:10, Emma Paisley 29:28, Dawn Blake 31:29, Micky Ball 37:44, Jenni Birch 39:15, Alan Murphy 49:19 and Alison Fryatt 49:23 (tailwalker).


Rory Burr 25:05.


Antony Leckerman 24:18.


Thomas Shorey 24:59 and Clodagh O’Callaghan 32:53.

Valentines Park

Kevin Wotton 22:37 and Kresh Veerasamy 37:40.

Bleep Bleep, Bleep Bleep, Yeah!

Those of you at track last week may have heard some strange noises after the session: we were preparing for a bleep test challenge, which will take place at track on Tuesday 11 January.

For those of you who haven’t heard of the bleep test, it is used to test aerobic/cardio-vascular fitness. It involves running between two markers set 20 meters apart, following the bleeps which dictate the running speed required. You must reach each marker on or before the bleep. At regular intervals, the required running speed increases. You get one warning if you miss a bleep, if you miss another bleep you are disqualified. The test continues until all the participants are no longer able to keep up with the required pace.

You can use your score (how far you can run in total before missing two bleeps), to see how your aerobic fitness rate compares with the norm based on your age and gender. I’ll share more details nearer the time.

BRR Diary

7.00pm, Tuesday 21 December – Speed Development, Jim Peter’s Stadium. The Christmas Cracker session AKA ‘the Twelve Minutes of Christmas’. Six crackers, six 12-minute mini-sessions, some hard, some even harder. We’ll pull three crackers to make up a 36-minute session. What will we get? Like any cracker, it will be a surprise!

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!

7.00pm, Tuesday 28 December – Speed Development, Jim Peter’s Stadium. Not just the last session of the month, but the last session of the year. The usual mile time trial followed by some festive Christmas cracker relays.

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. Free prosecco at the end, plus you can buy pizza! Enter at

7.30pm, Friday 7 January – Club meal. The Greyhound Harvester, High Road, Romford. Of course, covid rules allowing. Let Nikki know if you are interested. There may be a complimentary glass of prosecco…

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

Running Mantras

Running involves both physical and mental strength, but often we can undermine our runs – consciously or unconsciously – by putting negative thoughts in our heads. It might be ‘this is too hard’, I’m knackered’, ‘everything hurts’, or ‘it doesn’t matter if I walk’ (my own personal negative thought). These negative thoughts become hard-wired in your brain and can really affect your performance.

That’s why adopting a mantra – consciously replacing negative thoughts with positive and self-affirming statements – is often recommended. Repeating a positive mantra over-and-over during training, races, or even as you go about your daily business, will eventually over-write the negative thoughts in your mind – that’s the theory anyway!

Some examples of mantras are:

  • I can do this.
  • Light and fast.
  • Run Hard. Run Strong. Don’t Quit.
  • Right left, right left.
  • I trained for this.

But it’s important that you find a mantra that resonates with you personally; somebody else’s mantra just won’t cut it.

Do you have a running mantra? Or do you think they’re a load of rubbish? Let me know.

Cracker Corner

  • Did you hear about the man who stole an advent calendar? He got 25 days.
  • Why was the turkey allowed to join the band? Because he was the only one with drumsticks.
  • What do you get if you cross Santa with a duck? A Christmas Quacker.
  • What does the Queen call her Christmas Broadcast? The One Show.
  • What do you call an obnoxious reindeer? Rude-olf.

Ok, ok, if you’ve got any better jokes than these, let me have ’em.

And finally…

Note to self: if you buy some bells to jingle at the participants at Barking Christmas Day parkrun, don’t be surprised if you sound like Santa’s sleigh as you walk home from the shops. Only slightly embarrassing…

Happy (Christmas) Running



BRR Chair









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