Howdie Road Runners,

What a super, smashing, great turn-out at the Chingford League relays! It doesn’t seem that long ago since we struggled to field full single men’s or women’s team. Now, with five men’s teams and two (and a bit) women’s teams, we must be one of the best represented clubs taking part. And it was fantastic to have so many supporters too, despite the chilly weather and 19kph North wind putting the brrr in BRR.

If you loved the mud, remember we have our next South Essex Cross Country League race at One Tree Hill on 27 March. Dennis has promised (he might not realise it yet…) that there will be a BRR mug for everyone who competes or volunteers in the series if we get promoted to Division One.    

Athletics in the News

We had a race-walker at Barking parkrun on Saturday. Coincidentally, it was also the World Athletics Race Walking Championships in Muscat, Oman at the weekend.

Chinese athletes won all the gold medals available on the first day but it was sole Ukrainian competitor Valeriya Sholomitska, who came fourth in the under-20 women’s 10km, who received the most applause of the day.

Before the race competitors observed a ‘Moment for Ukraine’ with some athletes holding up a Ukrainian flag as World Athletics President Sebastian Coe laid a bouquet of blue and gold flowers.

This must have inspired Sholomitska, who was in the lead at 5km in 24:10. She dropped off the pace at 8km but fought hard finish fourth in 48:53. Sholomitska said: “I’m very happy to make it to these championships. The situation in my home country is very difficult and many people have died. We just want peace.”

I’m sure we can all agree with that.

ELVIS has entered the building…

Last Wednesday Rob and I attended the planning meeting for this year’s East London fiVes Interclub Series, or ELVIS for short. For those who don’t know, this is a competition between nine East London running clubs. Eight of the clubs host a race of either five k or five miles. This year’s fixtures are shown below:

For each race there are individual prizes and team prizes for the top finishers. There are also series prizes. We need six men and six women to make up a team (it doesn’t necessarily have to be the same six for each race) so it would be great to get a good turn-out for all of the races. We also have our own, internal, ELVIS competition, with trophies awarded to men and women on the basis of the best five performances from the eight races.

Note that the 14 June and 21 June races are on Tuesdays, so there will be no track session those nights.

BRR in Action

(courtesy of Greg ‘the newshound’ Adams)

The 7th and final race in this year’s Chingford league was the 4x3000m relays at Wanstead Flats hosted by East London Runners. BRR had a good number of runners on the day and fielded 5 men’s and 3 women’s teams. The runners enjoyed the course although it was quite muddy in places as BRR’s Shuhel khan can confirm as he nearly fell during his sprint for the line.

The men’s A team of Joe Stacey, James Lowndes, Simon Abeledo and Paul Withyman finished 3rd in their division whilst the women’s A team consisting of Debbie Coyle, Sarah Friel, Jess Collett and Rosie Fforde went one better finishing in 2nd place. The men’s and women’s B teams where both divisions are combined finished in 9th and 11th respectively. Both Men’s and Women’s teams finished 3rd in their leagues overall and hope to push for promotion next season.


BRR Ladies A team

Adrian Davison finished runner-up in the over 60s individual completion for the season. Isobel Pinedo Borobio and Joe Stacey received celebration mugs for participating in all the races for the season. 

Away from the Chingford League Louise Chappell competed in the tough Essex 20 mile run and finished with an impressive 11minute personal best.

Debbie Coyle finished 1st overall at Harrow Lodge Park run in a time of 19:47 with an age grading of 81.04%.

Debbie and Leo at Harrow Lodge

BRR parkrunners 

Barking Park

Jagbir Bassi 20:22, Adrian Davison 23:57, Ron Vialls 24:10, Trevor Cooper 25:32, Cristina Cooper 25:37, John Lang  26:42, Andrew Hiller 27:49 Sally Bridge 37:34, Kirsten Hiller 38:55, Dawn Blake 38:56, Nikki Cranmer 38:56, Micky Ball 40:42, Darren Graham 45:39, Belinda Riches 45:40 and Alan Murphy 49:03.

Chalkwell Beach

Antony Leckerman 20:52.

Clacton Sea Front

Barry Culling 26:55.

Harrow Lodge

Debbie Coyle 19:47, Rory Burr 26:45.

Raphaels Park

Martin Brooks 26:26.

Valentines Park

Kevin Wotton 22:15 and Gary Harford 27:40.

Track Miles

Here are the track mile times from last Tuesday, compared to previous performance for those who were there (I know it wasn’t February, but it would have been if it had been a Leap Year!) – shout if they are too small/blurry to read. Apologies if I have recorded anybody’s time incorrectly; the damp weather wasn’t kind to the whiteboard. And I know there were women other than Isabel running, but their times weren’t on the board. If there are any corrections or additions, please let me know and I will update the spreadsheet for next time.

BRR Diary

Don’t forget you can find details of our up-and-coming races on the BRR TeamUp app. Download the TeamUp app onto your phone, then enter the calendar key for Barking Road Runners when asked: ks67p21gt8p5gzdo66. If you don’t want to download the app, you can also find the calendar on the BRR website at

5 March to 11 March – 5k Virtual Handicap #05. Post your results on the WhatsApp results group by Midnight on Friday at the latest.

7.00pm, Tuesday 8 March – Speed Development. Jim Peter’s Stadium. This week we are doing ‘Diminishing Recoveries’ a tough session aimed at half marathon distance runners, for those of you running Brentwood in a few weeks or, for those not doing Brentwood, just a tough session!

  • 4 x 2 minutes, with 1 minute recovery between reps
  • 2-minute break
  • 4 x 2 minutes, with 45 seconds recovery between reps
  • 2-minute break
  • 4 x 2 minutes, with 30 seconds recovery between reps

All reps should be at 10k race pace. The intention is to build strength and speed endurance.

7.00pm, Thursday 10 March – road run from Jo Richardson School/Castle Green Centre. Usually around 5 miles. Where can we get lost this week…

2 April to 8 April – 5k Virtual Handicap #06.  

10.00am, Sunday 20 March – GP01: Brentwood Half Marathon. Sawyers Hall Lane, Brentwood, Essex CM15 9DA. Not too late to sign up for the first race in this year’s Club Grand Prix series. Enter at:

10.00am, Sunday March 27 – SECCL #02, One Tree Hill. Let’s get another great team out and maintain our position at the top of Division 2. Entry is £5, but BRR members just pay £3. No need to register in advance; just turn up on the day.

10.30am, Sunday 10 April – GP02: St. Clare 10k. St Clare Hospice, Hastingwood, CM17 9JX. A lovely run through the country lanes near Harlow, with proceeds going towards the upkeep of St Clare Hospice. Entry £13 for EA registered/£15 for unregistered.

Ron Hill’s Training Schedule

For the last few weeks we have been concentrating on what you might include in your own training plans for the year. I thought you might like to see an example training week from legendary runner Ron Hill, before his first bid Championship win in 1969, courtesy of Roadrunner magazine (that’s the journal of the Road Runners Club, not Barking Road Runners).

  • Monday – morning 7 miles easy; evening 10 miles fast and slow, including speedwork.
  • Tuesday – morning 7.5 miles easy; evening 9 miles home from work at easy pace.
  • Wednesday – morning 7.5 miles to work; evening 12 miles home from work, fast and slow running.
  • Thursday – morning 7.5 miles to work; evening 8 miles home from work.
  • Friday – morning 7.5 miles to work; midday 7 miles in lunch break.
  • Saturday – if racing: 5 miles in the morning and race in the afternoon. If no race:7 miles in the morning and 13 miles in the afternoon, fast and slow.
  • Sunday – 20.5 miles “and that’s it”.

I can only assume that he ran different routes to and from work on different days, given the variations in distance covered. Interestingly, he didn’t do any really long training runs on a frequent basis. However, by splitting his distances into two runs almost every day, he managed to rack up over 100 miles every week. Perhaps something to consider (maybe at less intensity…) if you find it difficult to fit one really long run into your training schedule.

Dottie Dear’s Almanac for March: Lucky Pants

For those who are new to the BRR Blog, Dee Spencer-Perkins has a special relationship with Dottie Dear, an eco-warrior who lives in a tree house hidden in the depths of Hainault Forest. Last week I was wondering what Dottie thought of the renovations at the Forest. Seems like she is in the thick of it…

Almost Spring – and as the sap rises in Dottie’s tree, this month she has been moved to do some cleaning and clearing, as are most of us at this time of year.

However, there was a bit more urgency than usual about her frenetic sorting.  It was a Wednesday, and that afternoon Dottie and several people from the Hainault Forest Woodland Folk were due to meet with representatives of the Woodland Trust together with some bigwigs from Redbridge and Havering Councils.  This was all to discuss the implications of the current improvements being made to the Country Park.

Dottie has admitted that she is a tad superstitious at times like this, and it’s important to get things right. It turns out she is a big believer in the talismanic power of clothing, with particular reference to footwear. Unfortunately, Dottie’s odd socks had been mysteriously (but relentlessly) multiplying in the sock box for a few months and this was particularly problematic as she had a special set of seven socks that she needed to find urgently, each embroidered with a weekday, Monday through to Sunday.  She was convinced that extra luck would ensue when wearing the correct pair of socks for the day of the week, and this belief had been reinforced when she discovered that successful sportspeople also paid particular attention to the periaptic powers of socks.  Phil Jones (Manchester United) always used to put his left sock on first if it was a home game, and his right one on first for an away game.  Also, she had seen somewhere that Serena Williams, the champion tennis player, always wore the same pair of socks for the duration of a tournament. 

Furthermore, Dottie was prepared to go beyond hosiery. She was also the proud owner of a set of seven pairs of rather fetching cami-knickers (in a sensible, breathable blend of cotton and bamboo) each with the day of the week emblazoned on the waistband. She considered that her luck would be compounded by wearing matching pants and socks, but that this protection should only be invoked in extreme circumstances.  Today’s meeting clearly fell into this Very Important category, hence the frenzied ferreting around amongst her smalls.

It was not that she intended to rely completely on her undies and socks (although she was a bit worried that members of the Council might also be wearing retaliatory underwear). In reality, she had done a fair bit of preparation for the meeting and was just wanting to make sure that she didn’t dry up or say something silly at the wrong time (or, indeed, at any time).  She was sure that the additional confidence resulting from detailed attention to her wardrobe would get her through, as she would then be fully briefed. (See what we did there?)

Not surprisingly, this month her nuggets of wisdom for us are mainly about the advisability of preparing thoroughly for important events, as follows:

  • To fail to plan is to plan to fail …….
  • …..but it doesn’t do any harm to say ‘Rabbits’ on the first day of each month.
  • A stitch in time saves nine.
  • You can believe in Fate, but there’s no harm in giving it a bit of a nudge every now and again.

Finally, after almost disappearing in a tsunami of socks, Dottie found what she was looking for and snatched up a balled pair, bobbing into her bedroom to finish dressing for the meeting.  As she came out and prepared to go down the rope ladder, we were alarmed to see that although her right ankle was labelled ’Wednesday’, worryingly her left one read ‘Thursday’.  The socks had been wrongly paired!  Karmic Emergency – big time! 

But it was too late, and Dottie had already disappeared into the trees.  We could only hope that she had the Wednesday bloomers on……

Cracker Corner

We took our car for a service on Sunday. It was a struggle getting it in the church…

Last week I failed my abseiling examination. I let myself down badly.

I bought some Velcro the other day and I just couldn’t believe the price. It was a rip-off.

Did you hear about the cardiologist who gave a lecture at a symposium and got a standing ablation….

Boom! Boom!

And finally…

Never mind Dottie’s day-of-the week bloomers. Runderwear pants have an inscription on the inside of the waistband.

But surely there is a flaw in the Runderwear logic? If you have donned your pants, you don’t need the reminder not to run commando. And if you’ve forgotten to put your pants on, you won’t see the reminder anyway…


Happy Running



BRR Chair




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