Howdie Road Runners,

Another weekend full of great performances from BRR members, as covered in Greg’s BRR in action report. It made it really difficult to choose the star photo of the week. Eventually I decided that the honour should go to Leo for winning his first canicross!  Don’t write in and tell me he isn’t actually a BRR member. He is definitely into barking in a big way…

BRR Membership 2022-23

The new membership year has now begun. Thank you to everyone who has paid their membership fee, and EA registration fee if applicable. If you haven’t paid yet, a reminder that membership is just £15 a year, or £31 if you want EA registration too. The money can be paid directly into the BRR bank account (account code 42026724, sort code 40-03-33). Be sure to use your name and mem or mem+EA as the reference, so we know who has made the payment. If you have any issues, please contact our Membership Secretary, Belinda Riches.

Running in the News

Here’s a running record that you might be glad you have no chance of beating: American Dad and runner Chad Kempel has broken the record for running a half marathon pushing quintuplets, at the Oakland Half-Marathon in California. Yes, that’s five kids in a buggy!

Kempel already held the record for completing a marathon pushing a pram with five kids set at the Modesto Marathon in California in 2019, with a time of 4:42:49.

Of course, three years on, the children are that bit older (four years) and weigh that bit more; a total of 108kg including the buggy to be precise, or roughly the same as a baby elephant.

Kempel crossed the finish line in a time of 2:19:54. His wife Amy cycled alongside him during the race to help with the children if any assistance was required. However, it sounds like Dad was more in need of assistance than the kids. Despite conditions being hot during the race, Kempel said that his kids were yelling, ‘Run faster, Dad!’ all the way through the race. ‘They thought it was hilarious,’ he said.

The Idaho runner’s attempt was almost derailed at the halfway mark when he hit a long incline, at which point the weight of the buggy began to take its toll. ‘I’m just dying sweating and I’m like, “I don’t even know if I can go any farther!” he said. ‘I had forgotten how heavy it could be, especially when going up a hill, even if it’s barely a hill at all, I’m basically full-on holding the whole thing up.’

He got through it by thinking about what his wife and children went through during the pregnancy and birth at 13 weeks premature. ‘It really showed me that anything is possible,’ Kempel said.

As if having quintuplets to look after isn’t hard enough!

BRR in Action

(courtesy of Greg Adams)

Round 2 of Barking Road Runners Grand Prix series took place this week at the St. Clare Hospice near Harlow. BRR were well represented in the hilly 10k race around the country lanes of Hastingwood.

First finisher for BRR was Paul Withyman 40:13 followed by Debbie Coyle 41:15 who was also the first female finisher overall.  Other BRR runners were Kevin Wotton 46:26, Adrian Davison 46:54, Trevor Cooper 48:38, Ron Vialls 49:00, Cristina Cooper 50:33, Joyce Golder 51:34, Martin O’Toole 53:38, Alain Cooper 56:10, Gary Harford 57:39, Louise Chappell 58:53, Les Jay 1:04:25, Alison Fryatt 1:04:33, Rob Courtier 1:07:14 and Greg Adams 1:11:14.

At the Crawley 12-hour track race Colin Jones ran an amazing 64 miles in the 12-hour period to finish in 5th place overall. That’s an amazing 261 laps of the track at an average pace of 2:46 per lap.

Jonathon Furlong competed in the Kent Half Marathon. The race covered the undulating, quiet, wide lanes outside Ashford in Kent plus a short section on the Pilgrims Way. Jon said it was a hilly course and suffered with cramp but managed to finish with an official time of 2:16:36. We all agreed the pretty medal was well worth the suffering.

Jagbir Bassi ran the Kew Half Marathon as a pacer for those wishing to finish in a time of 1:45. The Half started and finished inside Kew Gardens and included an additional flat and scenic stretch along the Richmond Riverside. Great to support other runners in achieving their running goals.

Completing a busy week for BRR John George competed in at the Ibiza running festival taking part in the 12k race, finishing the unusual distance in a creditable 57:02.

Round 7, the final round of BRR winter virtual 5k series took places this week and in 1st place was Vicki Groves followed by Joyce Golder and Adrian Davison. Overall winner of the series with 494 points was Cristina Cooper, 2nd place was Joyce Golder with 486, and Rob Courtier in 3rd with 482.

BRR parkrunners

Barking Park

James Lowndes 20:49, Owen Wainhouse 20:59, Mark New 23:43, Stuart Burr 25:03, Joyce Golder 25:07, Adrian Davison 25:09, Ron Vialls 25:54, Jason Li 26:34, Sally Bridge 26:48, John Lang 26:50, Andrew Hiller 26:55, Alain Cooper 27:12, Rob Courtier 30:12, Les Jay 32:03, Greg Adams 32:08, Clodagh O’Callaghan 33:45, Nikki Cranmer 34:29, Dawn Blake 34:30 and Alan Murphy 49:59.

Gunpowder Park

Rory Burr 23:17.


Antony Leckerman 23:37.

Raphaels Park 

Gary Harford 27:24.

Valentines Park

Kevin Wotton 30:27.

Summer Handicap Series

A reminder that the summer handicap series will be starting at the beginning of May. This time it is a real race, with all participants competing together on the same course. The rules are very similar to the virtual competition, with one or two tweaks:

  1. The Handicap Series will consist of seven races, all over a distance of 5k in Barking Park (the Barking parkrun course).
  2. The entry cost is £1 per race, or £5 for the series paid in advance, with a £10 prize to the winner (first across the line) of each race.
  3. The race clock will start at 7.00pm. Race starts will be staggered according to members’ handicaps.
  4. For the first race of the series members will be handicapped as determined by the Committee, based on: results from the previous competition; a previous 5K race; or a parkrun. If a 5K time cannot be provided, then the first race by a member will be used to set their 5K handicap time and, as such, they will not receive competition points for that race.
  5. For subsequent races in a series, members will be handicapped based on the faster of their season’s handicap or their fastest actual time of the season.
  6. Non-members may participate as a guest of the Club on the basis of a personal invitation, at the discretion of the Committee, but will not be eligible for competition points or prizes.
  7. Points will be awarded for the finishing positions on the basis of 100 points for first place, 99 points for second and so on. Each member’s five best results will count towards their final score.
  8. Trophies will be awarded for first, second, and third place in the overall competition.

The race dates are:

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

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

BRR Diary

Download the TeamUp app onto your phone, then enter the calendar key for Barking Road Runners when asked: ks67p21gt8p5gzdo66 to see all of BRR’s agreed fixtures for the year.

7.00pm, Tuesday 12 April – Speed Development. Jim Peter’s Stadium. It’s the 4,3,2,1 session. That’s 4x 4mins, 3x 3 mins, 2x 2 mins and 1x 1min, with 1 min recovery between each. The catch is as the reps get shorter, you should be running faster, starting at 10k race pace and finishing at 5k race pace. John will be holding a proper stretching session afterwards (indoors if it’s cold), so please don’t dash straight off.

7.00pm, Thursday 14 April – road run from Jo Richardson School/Castle Green Centre. Usually around 5 miles.

11.00am, Friday 15 April – Crown to Crown 5k. Westley Heights Country Park, 1 Dry St, Langdon Hills, Basildon SS16 5LT. Remember you now need to sign-up in advance for this over popular part-trail, part-tarmac race. Only £2.50 for EA registered/£4.50 for unregistered, including 50p service fee, via Entry Central We are planning a meal at the Basildon Harvester afterwards.

7.00pm, Tuesday 19 April – Speed Development. Jim Peter’s Stadium. Just to make Easter last that little bit longer, it’s the Easter Surprise session! That said, if you were around for the Christmas Cracker session, you’ll have a rough idea of what to expect: Easter eggs, each with a different session inside. What you do will depend on which eggs get cracked open. This time some of the sessions will include strength work. I expect some egg-cellent performances…

10.00am, Sunday 24 April – SECCL #03. Hadleigh Country Park, Chapel Ln, Benfleet SS7 2PP. The Daddy of the SEX-C league races. Please come along if you can and help us hold on to our Division 2 lead.

Alcohol and Running

There has been some discussion on the WhatsApp group recently about alcohol and running. I know some of you have said that – on occasion – you’ve actually run better after a drink or two the night before. And, if you’re a drinker, it can be nice to raise a glass in celebration after a race.

The guidance on alcohol consumption seems to vary, with some research actually saying that small amounts of alcohol can actually have health benefits, like helping prevent heart disease, osteoporosis and reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. The NHS advice is that there is no completely safe level of drinking. If you do drink, it is recommended that you consume no more than 14 units of alcohol a week, spread across three days or more. That’s around six medium (175ml) glasses of wine or six pints of 4% beer. Sticking to these guidelines will lower the risk of harming your health.

If you do decide to have a few drinks, what happens and how much will it affect your performance?

Dehydration – as you’ll know if you’ve woken up with a raging thirst after a night on the town, alcohol can cause dehydration. The trouble is running will also dehydrate the body, meaning that your kidneys have to work extra hard and leaving you vulnerable to cramps, fatigue and muscle strain. To combat the dehydrating effect, you should drink a glass of water for every alcoholic drink you have consumed (you will then spend the night in the toilet…).

Sleep Problems – it might seem like you sleep well after a drinking session but, when you crash out, you actually miss out on the first stage of sleep (the non-rapid eye movement stage). As a result, your sleep will be disturbed and you may wake up earlier than you should.

Slows You Down – alcohol results in a slower reaction time and poorer coordination. If you still have alcohol in your bloodstream when you run this can make you more vulnerable to injury.

Sugar Cravings – alcohol affects your blood sugar levels which makes you crave junk food. Junk food is full of calories but very short on nutritional value, the last thing a runner needs. Talking of which…

Empty Calories – Alcohol doesn’t contain any nutritional benefits, but it still has 7 calories per gram. And those calories get stored in the body like fat, generally accumulating around the stomach area. No point in spending a fortune on expensive running shoes if you undo all your hard work by toting a beer belly.

Increased Heart Rate – your heart rate and blood pressure both increase when you drink alcohol. This can be particularly problematic for those with an underlying problem who then go and work out hard with a run, thus increasing their risk of a heart attack or stroke.

Muscle Issues – Excessive amounts of alcohol affect the levels of the muscle-building ‘male’ hormone, testosterone. And it also interferes with protein synthesis, the process where amino acids are joined together to form complete proteins, which will also negatively affect muscle growth.

Slows Recovery – the liver helps the body recover from exercise and also monitors blood flow. Because increased blood flow can occur after you’ve had too much to drink, the liver focuses on trying to regulate that, rather than the body’s recovery.

None of this is to say you should never have a drink but, as the old saying goes, moderation in everything. And, next time you say you’ve run better because you had a drink the night before, just think: you may have run even faster without the booze!

Cracker Corner – the Easter Edition

Why shouldn’t you tell an Easter egg a joke? – It might crack up!

What should you do to work off all that Easter food? – Eggs-ercise!

What proof is there that carrots are good for the eyes? – well, you don’t see rabbits wearing glasses do you!

What’s the Easter Bunny’s favourite type of music? – Hip Hop!

What do you get when you cross a bunny with an onion? – A bunion!

I ordered rabbit stew in a restaurant but had to complain – there was a hare in it!

Boom! Boom!

And finally…

There was a bit of an issue with the results of the St. Clare 10k, when the organisers gave Paul Withyman his wife’s number but failed to let the chip-timing company know, resulting in him being awarded first female instead of Debbie Coyle!  I was equally upset when I checked the results and found Les Jay came above me in the FV55 category. Some of you may remember that Les’s ‘unisex’ name also caused a problem at last year’s Ingatestone 5; BRR would have won the female team prize if we hadn’t ‘fessed up and told the organisers that Leslie Jay was actually a man. Too honest for our own good…

Happy Running



BRR Chair



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