The B&D Post might not publish it, but I will!

Season’s Greetings Road Runners

Happy Christmas Day (Substitute Day) bank holiday! Hope you enjoyed Christmas Day and Boxing Day, and didn’t over-indulge too much. If you’re lucky enough to be enjoying an extended holiday over the festive season, it’s easy to fall into the habit of getting up late and vegging out on the sofa watching TV rather than braving the elements and going for a run and, if you’ve trained hard all year, why not? But there’s still plenty going on over the next week if you want to keep busy: Debbie has given us a daily abs and core challenge; we have track as usual on Tuesday evening; plus Ilford AC have invited us to join in a couple of their training sessions, taken place on Tuesday morning and Friday morning, both starting at 10.00am. And, if you’re looking for a race, don’t forget the Leigh-on-Sea 10k on 2 January. Details of all these events are below.

Did you know…

Bank Holidays have only existed in the UK since 1871? Previously, although holidays had existed for many centuries, they were usually based around religious festivals like Saints Days – the word ‘holiday’ derives from ‘holy day’ – and pretty much the only nationwide days off people had were Sundays, Good Friday and Christmas Day.

In 1871 the banker-turned-politician Sir John Lubbock, the first Lord Avebury, introduced the Bank Holidays Act. Why were they called bank holidays? Because, prior to the Act, banks were obliged to stay open virtually all-year round as they were required to pay bills of exchange and promissory notes as they fell due.

Sir John Lubbock

So popular was the Act that the Daily Telegraph suggested calling the August Bank Holiday ‘St. Lubbock’s Day’ and the News of the World said:

“Blessings on the head of Sir John Lubbock, who invented a decent excuse for holidays to Englishmen. We never wished for a revival of Saint’s days, but we certainly did wish that some great inventive genius could discover a reason why the people should not work all the year round, Sundays, Good Fridays, and Christmas days excepted … Sir John has shown of himself to be an inventor of the highest order, and his great reputation as a man of science has been enhanced by the invention of Bank Holidays.”

Originally, only four days were included in legislation in England: Easter Monday, Whit Monday (the first Monday in May), first Monday in August and Boxing Day. The Act did not include Good Friday and Christmas Day as bank holidays in England, Wales, or Ireland because they were already recognised as common law holidays. In 1875, the law was changed to allow an extra day off on 27 December if Boxing Day fell on a Sunday, as it did this year. In 1971 Whit Monday and the August bank holiday were moved to the last Monday in May and August respectively. The 1971 legislation also gave the Queen the power to appoint additional days as bank holidays by Royal Proclamation. New Year’s Day was not proclaimed a bank holiday in England, Wales and Northern Ireland until 1974. Unfortunately, bank or public holidays do not have to be given as paid leave and an employer can choose to include bank holidays as part of a worker’s statutory annual leave.

The Bank Holidays Act 1871 must still be one of the most popular pieces of legislation ever passed and I really think we should have had an extra bank holiday in 2021 to celebrate Sir John Lubbock and the 150th anniversary of bank holidays. We’ll just have to make do with the extra Platinum Jubilee bank holiday on 3 June next year.

Athletics in the News

There is hope for us all yet. On Sunday 18 December, almost 40 years after reaching the 800m final in the 1982 Commonwealth Games, Scottish veteran and three-time Commonwealth Games competitor Paul Forbes smashed the world M65 800m indoor record with a time of 2:15.30.

Forbes’ time, achieved at the Glasgow Athletics Association Yuletide Indoor Meeting, was 30 seconds outside his lifetime best of 1:45.66 achieved in 1983. Forbes finished third in his heat behind Dylan Drummond, who is 45 years his junior and who won in 2:01.49, and second-placed M40 Stephen Brown in 2:09.25.

After the race, Forbes said:

“I knew I was in good shape and the track training had been going very well…but you still need everything to fall into the place on the day to get any kind of Record. That applies at every age and stage in athletics – and I’ve been racing since I was 12. It all worked out really well on Sunday and I’m chuffed with the response.’

Forbes had stopped running in his ‘30s before returning as a senior and taking part in his first major race as a veteran in 1997.

BRR in Action

(Courtesy of Greg ‘the newshound’ Adams)

Barking Road Runners members Alison Fryatt and Kresh Veerasamy took part in the Boxing Day Crown to Crown race.  The 5k trail race took place in the Westley Heights country park at Langdon Hills in Laindon. Fortunately the rain stopped before the start but, according to the runners, there was plenty of mud and some interesting water features to contend with and a nice slippery hill to finish. Alison finished in time of 39:49:14 and Kresh finished in: 49:39:83.

Alison Fryatt and Kresh Veerasamy at Boxing Day Crown to Crown.

Christmas Day parkrunners

There were plenty of Santas at Barking Park on 25 December for the traditional Christmas Day parkrun, with 298 participants turning up to walk, jog, or run the 5k course. Running on Christmas Day for BRR were:

Barking Park

Rory running his 200th parkrun

Joe Stacey 18:25, Paul Withyman 19:34 (PB), James Lowndes 21:25, Jess Collett 21:30 (PB), Colin Jones 21:52, Adrian Davison 23:15: Nehal Patel 23:43 (PB), Belinda Riches 25:01, Rory Burr 25:34 (200th parkrun), Joyce Golder 25:41, Stuart Burr 25:58, Martin O’Toole 27:08, Rabea Begum 28:55, Dennis Spencer-Perkins 29:31, Robert Courtier 29:47, Emma Paisley 30:33, Nikki Cranmer 33:11, Dawn Blake 33:11, Charlotte Owen 33:12, Micky Ball 45:16 and Alan Murphy 45:45.


Martin Page 25:29.


Antony Leckerman.


Owen Wainhouse 21:22.

Winter Virtual Handicap Series

Dennis is organising a virtual handicap competition, to keep us all motivated at the coldest time of year. No big prizes, just kudos and maybe a small something. The competition will consist of seven 5k runs, one to be completed every other week, from w/c 8 January until w/c 2 April. Your best five results will count towards the final score. Your handicap will be based on your performance in the last handicap competition, your parkrun time, or another recent verified 5k performance.

You can run your 5k on the course of your choice any time between the Saturday and the following Friday, submitting your result to Dennis, via the results WhatsApp group, by Midnight on Friday. LATE ENTRIES WILL NOT BE COUNTED!!!!

You can submit your parkrun time if you wish, in which case you don’t need further evidence of distance. If you run at any other time, please send a photo of your time on your watch, Strava, Garmin Connect etc. Any questions about the handicap? Speak to Dennis.

Debbie’s Abs and Core Challenge

Want to run like Debbie? Try her abs and core session!

In case you missed it on WhatsApp, Debbie Coyle has kindly invited us to take part in her and core challenge. Just follow Comrades in Coaching on Instagram and join Debbie at 5.00pm every day until 1 January for 15-20 minutes of ab-busting fun!

Date Change – BRR XC

As mentioned on WhatsApp last week, we have moved the date for the last race in our internal cross-country series from Sunday 13 February to Sunday 20 February. This is because Ilford AC are hosting their annual 10-mile cross-country race in Hainaut Forest on 13 February. We’re aware that some BRR members will wish to do the Ilford race and didn’t want to clash. The race is in tribute to Kevin Newell, an IAC member who suffered a catastrophic brain injury falling from a ladder at work, and will raise funds for the Brain Charity. You can enter the Ilford race at

BRR Diary

You can find further information about all Club events on the BRR TeamUp app. Just install the TeamUp app onto your phone, then enter the calendar key for Barking Road Runners when asked: ks67p21gt8p5gzdo66.

10.00am, Tuesday 28 December. Seven Kings Park. A festive session with Ilford AC. There will probably be a few Dagenham 88 Runners there too. Expect it to be some reps around the park. Good for working off that Christmas excess.

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.

Thursday 30 December – NO EVENING MEET. Castle Green will be closed. Instead, you could try…

10.00am, Friday 31 December. Ingrebourne Hill. A festive hill session with Ilford AC. What better way to see out the old year than running up and down Ingrebourne hill!

6.00pm, Sunday 2 January – Leigh-on-Sea 10k. 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. Fingers crossed that covid rules allow. Let Nikki know if you are interested.

Saturday 8 January to Friday 14 January – Virtual Handicap #01. Remember to submit your 5k time by Midnight on the Friday.

10.00am, Sunday 9 January 2022 – BRR XC 03. Hainault Forest. Starting at the car park near the café in Fox Burrow Road, the race will probably use Ilford AC’s Newman Hilly 5 course.

New Year’s Resolutions for Runners

I’m not usually one for New Year’s resolutions; chances are you break them and then lose motivation. But I think these resolutions for runners, based on an article from a few years ago, are great general advice for runners whatever the time of year.

  1. Set a Target

Whether it’s running your first marathon, a getting a new parkrun PB, challenge yourself with a 2022 milestone. Focusing on your ultimate goal will help structure your running as you build up to your target, and give you that extra bit of willpower to keep going when the going gets tough.

  1. Try Something New

Shake up your training, be adventurous and keep your motivation and interest levels up by making 2022 the year you try something a bit different. If you’re tackling the fells for the first time (there’s a fell race in Chingford!), entering a triathlon, taking on your first ultra or even exploring new running routes, changing things up keeps your training fun and challenging.

  1. Be Consistent

Whatever you want to achieve from your running in 2022, whether it’s further or faster, it won’t happen without consistent training. That means scheduling in regular, quality training sessions, at least 3 times a week, for maximum endurance and performance benefits. Make training sessions an ingrained part of your lifestyle or social activity and you are more likely to stick with them.

  1. Get Organised

Don’t rely on willpower alone. Start a training plan and schedule in your runs. Make your training convenient so that other commitments don’t become barriers to your running, and keep a training log so that you can look back at each week’s progress with satisfaction, or as something to build and improve upon.

  1. Build Slowly

Make sure that 2022 is an injury-free zone by building up to your goals gradually and listening to your body. Build up speed and mileage slowly – remember it should be progressive overload, not just overload! –  integrate new sessions into your routine with care, and schedule in rest days for recovery.

  1. Reward Yourself

Keep your target realistic and set small achievable interim goals to keep up that motivation. Reward yourself as you hit your milestone targets. This can be anything from a glass of wine, to your favourite meal or even better, treat yourself to a sports massage or some new running kit.

  1. Love Your Running

Don’t forget, the most important part of running is enjoying it! Make the pursuit of this year’s goals a positive one by keeping your training interesting, fun and challenging. When training doesn’t go to plan, remind yourself that every runner has off days and keep at it. Run with friends and clubmates, always greet fellow runners with a smile, and even take a new runner under your wing. Share your love of your sport and make 2022 your year of running. Good luck!

Cracker Corner

I got up on Christmas morning and cut the hedge. Later I had Christmas dinner with all the trimmings.

I bought Chris a mime kit for Christmas. It left him speechless.

Chris was so upset with his Christmas present he threw a piece of cheddar cheese at me. I thought ‘now, that’s not very mature’.

Boom! Boom!

And finally…

Alison to Chris: ‘Oh look, we’ve got a track teaspoon in the cutlery drawer’.

Chris: ‘Why, what’s wrong with it?’

Alison: ‘Nothing’s wrong with it’.

Chris: ‘Then why did you call it a crap teaspoon?’.

Sigh. Either I need to learn to speak more clearly, or he needs a hearing test…

Happy New Year when we get there



BRR Chair








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