A chuffed Trevor ‘PB-tastic’ Parkin!

Howdie Road Runners,

Well, I know it wasn’t the first time there has been snow in March/April, but I feel the weather had lulled us into a false sense of security with the warm spell in the middle of March and then – wham! – it was colder than we’d had in the whole of winter! It’s looking a bit warmer this week, if a bit wet and, as we always say, skin is waterproof!

Should be nice for the St. Clare 10k next Sunday, the second race in this year’s Grand Prix season. There is still time to sign up, if you haven’t already. Details in the BRR diary, below.

It’s the usual, jam-packed blog this week. Thanks to Stuart for being the second person to submit a contribution to the new Member’s Profile feature. Looking forward to receiving profiles from the rest of you. And, as always, very happy to receive other articles e.g. race reports, kit reviews, bad (but clean) jokes etc etc. Just PM them to me.

Athletics in the News

Jack Buckner has been announced as the new Chief Executive of UK Athletics. Buckner replaces Joanna Coates who resigned in October after the GB athletics team only won six medals at the Tokyo Olympics last year. This was later reduced to five medals after the men’s relay team was disqualified due to CJ Ujah’s doping disqualification.

Buckner joined UKA having previously been CEO at British Swimming. He oversaw Team GB’s record success in the pool at the Tokyo Games, where they won eight medals, with 26 more won at the Paralympics. He will now lead the athletics build up to the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Buckner’s background lies in running. As a former middle-distance runner, he was a once 5,000m European champion, and won world bronze in 1987. The photo shows him in his heyday. Of his new role, Buckner said:

“I’m incredibly excited to continue my sporting journey at UK Athletics where I know there are so many great people doing amazing things in Olympic and Paralympic sport. Athletics has been a huge part of my life since I was a teenager and I can’t wait to be trackside later in the year.”

Let’s wish him luck in his new job. It would be fantastic to have another Super Saturday in 2024.

Hainault Forest Update

The restoration work at our favourite Sunday trail run venue is moving on at pace. Restoration of the barns is progressing, with new facilities beginning to take shape:

  • The craft workshop facilities have new glass frontages;
  • The Forge barn is beginning to be rebuilt with great brickwork;
  • The Forest’s streams have been re-naturalised, leaky log dams have been installed and new wetlands created, as part of the Environment Agency funded Natural Flood Management programme; and
  • As part of the Natural Flood Management project, a large pond has been restored back to the Forest, next to the second car park. It is called the Ghost Pond (see photo, above)!

In not so cheery news, the cost of parking in Hainault Forest increased from 1 April to £1.30 an hour or £4.80 all day – a 33% rise!

Member’s Running Profile: Stuart Burr

Please briefly introduce yourself

My name is Stuart Burr and was a member of Essex Beagles/ Newham & Essex Beagles from 15 years old to 21. Away from the track, love my weekend breaks with Rory’s mum, West Ham United, beers, prosecco and good food.

What events, if any, do you have coming up?

No races planned as my knee doesn’t take well to hills and mud.

What does running mean to you?

Running is the most fantastic inclusive sport, and for me I am a nicer person when not injured!

What is your best/proudest running moment?

Best performance was a 14.31 in the 5000m, in the British League in Cwmbran, beating the great Tony Simmons that day. Was a fluke! [Don’t be so modest, Stuart! – Alison]

Best bit of running advice you could give or have been given.

Love our track sessions, and the banter and encouragement that pulls so many people together all doing their best to improve. 

BRR in Action

(courtesy of Greg Adams)

With no team events this week Barking Road Runners members went on their travels to participate in various events.

Daniel Plawiak travelled to Manchester to take part in the Marathon.

 Daniel finished in a good time of 3:50:56.

Jagbir Bassi and Trevor Parkin took part in the London Landmarks Half Marathon Jag finished in a quick 1:25:21 and Trevor recorded a new personal best of 3:46:49.

Gabriele Grimaldi returned home to Italy to compete in the Duathlon Classico in Pesaro. 

 The race consisted of a 10k run, a hilly 37k cycle and a further 5k run to finish. Gabriele’s individual splits were 32.05, 1:06:57 and 18:43. 

 His total time of 1:59:27 saw him finish in 26th place out of several hundred in a professional standard event.

BRR parkrunners


James Lowndes 20:42, Adrian Davison 21:55, Jagbir Bassi 23:20, Joyce Golder 24:12, Mark New 24:32, Trevor Cooper 24:40, Thomas Shorey 26:05, Andrew Hiller 26:14, Alain Cooper 26:36, James Hall 27:36, Jason Li 27:37, Rob Courtier 29:52, Cristina Cooper 31:49, Les Jay 32:25, Nikki Cranmer 32:29, Clodagh O’Callaghan 34:56, Peter Jackson 35:44 and Alan Murphy 50:30.

Bois De Boulogne.

Nehal Patel 23:46.

Chalkwell Beach 

Antony Leckerman 22:30.

Clacton Seafront 

Jenni Birch 42:59.

Hampstead Heath

Stuart Mackay 21:09, Jess Collett 22:40.


Kevin Wotton 31:28.

Raphaels Park 

Martin Brooks 26:28, Faye Spooner 34:52.

River Valley

Rory Burr 24:31.


Paul Withyman 19.33.

SECCL Division 2 team results: One Tree Hill

A reminder of the team results from last Sunday’s XC race. Brentwood received a penalty score of 160 points (equivalent to the last-placed position) as they didn’t field a full male team – ouch! It underlines how important it is to field full men’s and women’s teams. Even if you don’t score for our team, you may push back a runner in one of our rival clubs. You could also score points for the individual competitions.

Here comes the summer… Handicap Series

As the winter virtual handicap series comes to an end, you’ll be pleased to hear that the summer handicap series is on its way, and this time it’s ‘real’! All races will be held at 7.00pm on Thursday evenings on the Barking parkrun course. The entry cost is £1 per race, or £5 for the series (7 races) paid in advance, with a tenner to the winner of each race and trophies for first, second and third across the competition as a whole, based on each participant’s best 5 results. Handicaps will be based on winter handicap results, or another verified 5k result (e.g. parkrun) if you haven’t participated in the virtual competition.

The dates are:

  • 5 May
  • 19 May
  • 9 June
  • 30 June
  • 14 July
  • 28 July
  • 11 August

There is no longer a requirement to volunteer for at least one race to be in with a chance of a trophy, but it would be great if you could help out with timing, finish tokens etc if you are not running. 

BRR Diary

I only list the dates for the coming month in the blog. To see all our agreed fixtures for the year, download the TeamUp app onto your phone, then enter the calendar key for Barking Road Runners when asked: ks67p21gt8p5gzdo66 .

2 April to 8 April – 5k Virtual Handicap #07.  Last race in the virtual Winter competition.

7.00pm, Tuesday 5 April – Speed Development. Jim Peter’s Stadium. Rob’s evil twin will be taking the session, so it’s going to be devilishly difficult: (1k fast, with 200m recoveries) x 5, or as many as you can fit in the time available. Mwah hah hah!

7.00pm, Thursday 7 April – road run from Jo Richardson School/Castle Green Centre. Usually around 5 miles.

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. https://stclarehospice.org.uk/event/st-clare-10k-april-2022/

11.00am, Friday 15 April – Crown to Crown 5k. Westley Heights Country Park, 1 Dry St, Langdon Hills, Basildon SS16 5LT. First race in the series for this part trail, part path race that is always popular with BRR members. Entry £2.50 for EA registered/£4.50 for unregistered, including 50p service fee, via Entry Central https://www.entrycentral.com/Crown-to-Crown

10.00am, Sunday 24 April – SECCL #03. Hadleigh Country Park, Chapel Ln, Benfleet SS7 2PP. We’ve come first in our division in the first two races but the series isn’t in the bag yet. Please come along if you can and help us hold on to our lead.

Mmmm, new shoes!

There is nothing better than a pair of new running shoes. Well, there probably is but I can’t think what it could be right now. It’s hard to resist the temptation to open the box, put them on and start pounding the pavements straight away. However, Brooks running shoes advise that you should still take the time to break in your new shoes before you go all out, to reduce the risk of injury. It really is a case of ‘don’t run before you can walk’.

Today’s running shoes are often so full of cushioning that they feel like a pair of slippers. But, regardless of how comfortable they feel, your feet need time to adjust to the, even if they are exactly the same make and model as your existing shoes.

In the first instance, just walk around the house in them so they and your feet can get to know each other. Consider how they feel e.g. is the lacing right for you (how they are laces on arrival won’t necessarily be the most comfortable way for your foot type)?

Then, take them out for a short run, no longer than 20–30 minutes. Check for any pain or discomfort. While it’s okay for new shoes to feel a bit stiff and foreign during your first few runs, they shouldn’t feel uncomfortable or cause pain; best to find out if there is a problem sooner rather than later and return them if need be.

If there are no problems, you can steadily increase your run time and intensity over the next couple of weeks, but keep your existing shoes – if they haven’t given up the ghost – for your long or high-intensity runs for the time being, until the new shoes have been properly broken in.

It’s always good to have a couple of pairs of running shoes on the go and rotate them. Giving your shoes a day off between runs will allow the foam in the soles to recover. The foam helps to distribute the impact as your foot hits the floor which reduces the strain on your body. If you wear the same shoes every day the foam compresses and you lose the benefit of all that cushioning you have paid for.

A study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports found that runners who used multiple pairs of running shoes had a 39% lower risk of running-related injuries compared to runners who used only one pair (thank you, Scandinavian researchers).

Finally, make sure you pay attention to your socks too. No point in paying £100 or more for shoes and then scrimping on socks. Of course, if you have some trusty M&S socks that do the trick for you that’s fine. But, in general, proper running socks – usually made of sweat-wicking material (synthetic technical material or merino wool), with minimal seams to dig in, and often ergonomically shaped for each foot – will give better results.

Cracker Corner

(with thanks to the king of the one-liner, Tim Vine)

I was having dinner with my boss and she said ‘How many potatoes would you like, Alison?’ I said ‘Ooh, I’ll just have one please.’ She said ‘It’s OK, you don’t have to be polite.’ ‘Alright,’ I said, ‘I’ll just have one then, you stupid cow’.

Chris said to me the other day “as a young girl, was your father very strict with you?” and I said “let’s make one thing absolutely clear… my father was never a young girl.”

I went into a record shop and asked the man behind the counter “what have you got by the doors?” He said “a bucket of sand and a fire extinguisher”.

Boom! Boom!

And finally…

Those of you at track last Tuesday will have heard Paul Grange refer to the South Essex Cross Country League (SECCL) as the ‘tea and cake’ league, and there is no doubt that the tea and cake is a big incentive to take part. I noticed that Pitsea Running Club didn’t use the usual SECCL abbreviation in the results for One Tree Hill but instead used SEXC. I quite like the idea of running in the SEX-C league! Might be the only time cross-country is referred to as sexy…


Happy Running



BRR Chair


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