Howdie Road Runners,

We’re three fifths through this year’s SECCL/SEX-C cross-country series, and it’s getting more and more exciting! We certainly missed those of you who couldn’t be there, but the team we fielded did an excellent job and we managed to hold on to the top spot in the second division. Just two more races to go, so let’s try and hang on to our lead and earn promotion to the premiership!

Running in the News

There’s hope for us all.

65-year-old Alastair Walker from Hawick in the Scottish Borders is celebrating beating the 10k world record for his age category.

The Teviotdale Harriers’ member, who had previously broken the 3k record for his age group, clocked a time of 34:32 at the British Masters Championships in Grangemouth last Sunday. He reported that he was in good shape before the race and had set his sights on breaking the record, but was surprised to shave over a minute off the previous record for the 65+ age group.

 “It was good, it wasn’t half bad, I’m delighted to have broken that record,” he said.

“I think it was over a minute, which was pretty good going, I didn’t think I would break it as much, I was quite surprised to see it was over a minute. I was conscious of the record when I was doing the race – I knew the splits of the kilometres I needed to do to come inside the old existing record.”

Walker had been a runner in his twenties and thirties but then gave up running until he was 58. His current training regime sees him cover about 70 miles a week to keep in shape. “I am out every day,” he explained “I am retired so I have nothing else to do with my time so that helps.”

He is now setting his sights on picking up a “couple of golds” at the world championships in Finland this summer. One to watch out for.

At the other end of the spectrum, 31-year-old Eilish McColgan has set a new UK 5k record of 14:45 at the ASICS META:TIME:TRIALS in Malaga. She missed breaking the European record by one hundredth of a second.

Another Brit, Beth Potter, actually ran the distance in 14:41 last year but, although the time was recognised by World Athletics, it has not been officially ratified as a record because there weren’t any drugs testers present. McColgan therefore takes the title.

BRR in Action

Barking Road Runners participated in the South Essex Cross Country League round 3 at Hadleigh Country park last weekend. After finishing first in their division in the previous two races BRR were hoping for a hat-trick of wins.  Although several of BRRs runners were missing due to holidays, injuries and other commitments they still fielded a strong team of 30 runners on the day. There was not the usual mudfest on the four-mile course but there were still plenty of hills with runners variously describing it as ‘brutal’, ‘hellish’ and ‘fun’ in equal measures. Unfortunately for BRR it wasn’t to be three wins in a row but, with the whole team performing well, the second place finish was enough to keep them clear at the top of the division with two races to go.

First male finisher for Barking was Paul Grange who finished in 3rd place overall and 1st female was Maxine Brown. BRR’s other points scorers were Belinda Riches, Joyce Golder, Cristina Cooper, Simon Abeledo, Steve Philcox, James Lowndes, Jagbir Bassi, Adrian Davison and Trevor Cooper.

Maxine Brown And Paul Grange BRRs 1st male and female finishers

BRR parkrunners

Barking Park

Jagbir Bassi 20:39, Stuart Mackay 20:46, Jess Collett 22:14, Adrian Davison 26:17, Andrew Hiller 26:59, Rabea Begum 27:15, John Lang 27:24, Les Jay 31:16, Dawn Blake 32:30, Sally Bridge 32:31, Greg Adams 34:34, Micky Ball 40:42, Darren Graham 42:35, Belinda Riches 42:36, Jason Li 44:32 and Alan Murphy 54:31.

Chalkwell Beach

Antony Leckerman 22:01.

Chelmsford Central

Vicki Groves 31:08, Rob Courtier 31:35 and Nikki Cranmer 32:26.

Hackney Marshes 

Owen Wainhouse 20:08.

Harrow Lodge 

Rory Burr 24:20.

Raphael Park

Mark New 26:10 and Gary Harford 27:11.

Valentines Park

Kevin Wotton 22:19 and Andrew Gwilliam 37:48.

Bury St. Edmunds

Jack Nixon 16:43 and Gerard Nixon 24:41.

2022 Grand Prix Competition

Here is the complete list of Grand Prix races for this year. The series usually consists of ten races, with the competition results based on participants’ best six placings. We have added an extra race this year, as the Rayleigh 10k was sold out almost immediately due to carried-forward entries from pre-lockdown, meaning many members didn’t get a chance to sign-up. Adding an extra race was considered to be the fairest solution for members who have entered Rayleigh, and those who had missed out.

  • GP01: Sun 20 Mar – Brentwood Half
  • GP02: Sun 10 Apr – St Clare 10k
  • GP03: Sun 8 May – Rayleigh 10k (SOLD OUT)
  • GP04: Sun 22 May – Great Baddow 10
  • GP05: Sun 5 Jun – Thames Chase 10k
  • GP06: Sun 3 Jul – Ware 10
  • GP07: Sat 6 Aug – Orion 5 (also ELVIS 06)
  • GP08: Sun 11 Sep – Pleshey Half
  • GP09: Sun 18 Sep – Ingatestone 5
  • GP10: Sun 9 Oct – Tiptree 10
  • GP11: Sun 6 Nov – Billericay 10k

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 26 April – Speed Development. Jim Peter’s Stadium. I can’t believe it, it’s the last Tuesday of the month already, which means it’s time for the mile time trial. How is your fitness? Are you maintaining, improving or plateauing? The time trial will give you the answer. Followed by 300s as usual.

7.00pm, Thursday 28 April – road run from Jo Richardson School/Castle Green. Approx 5 miles.

7.00pm, Thursday 5 May – Summer Handicap 01. First in the series of seven races on the Barking parkrun course. The entry cost is £1 per race, or £5 for the series 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.

10.30am, Sunday 8 May – Rayleigh 10k. Belchamps Camp, Holyoak Lane, Hockley, SS5 4JD. GP03 in the 2022 series but SOLD OUT. There is a short waiting list so you may be lucky if you put your name down.

10.00am, Sunday 15 May – Cross Country #04, Thorndon Country Park. Penultimate race in this year’s competition. More details to follow.

7.00pm, Thursday 19 May – Summer Handicap 02. Details as above.

11.00am, Sunday 22 May – Great Baddow 10 (GP04). The Recreation Ground, Great Baddow, Chelmsford, Essex, CM2 9RL.There is still time to enter the 40th edition of this popular race.

7.30pm, Thursday 25 May – Dagenham 88 5ish (ELVIS 01). Central Park/Eastbrookend Country Park. First race in this year’s East London fiVes Interclub Series competition. Still awaiting further details.

Warm Weather Park Workout

I hope those of you at track last week enjoyed the Easter Surprise session. The session included a block of running and strength exercises, which followed on nicely from Debbie’s warm-up. So I was pleased to see the Coachmag website extoling the benefits of combining running and strength training.

I’ve never really understood the attraction of exercising in a gym; I prefer to be outside enjoying my surroundings (even if that happens to be a grubby, weed-scented road in Dagenham!) though I suppose indoors exercising has it’s benefits when it’s cold and wet outside.

But, now we are enjoying warmer weather and lighter evenings, let’s go outside, as George Michael recommended*, and enjoy some strength training in the great outdoors.  Strength exercises will greatly reduce the risk of running injuries, many of which are caused by weak muscles. Interspersing the exercises with running means you get the best of both worlds: strength and cardio.

Here is an exercise session that makes the most of the environment in your local park. Be prepared for some funny looks if there are people sitting on the bench you use. Remember to make it look effortless as other park users go by, especially if you are wearing a BRR top. You can collapse to the floor when nobody is looking!


Warm-up with an easy Jog for five minutes followed by a few lunges and squats, then do five minutes of harder running to get your blood pumping. Move through three circuits of the following exercises, performing each exercise for 15-20 reps or 30 seconds, and resting for a minute between each circuit. The exercises below provide a full-body workout but feel free to miss one out or substitute a different exercise if you have a particular niggle or an exercise just isn’t for you.

Exercise 1 – squats

Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Lower, bending at the knees and pushing your hips back as if sitting on a chair, until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Then push through your heels to drive back up to standing.

Exercise 2 – negative tree pull up

Jump up to reach a low – but strong! – branch, or a dip bar if there is an outdoor gym in your park. The aim is to have your chin at branch/bar height. Slowly lower down under control, then repeat.

Exercise 3 – incline press-up

Perform a press-up with your hands on a raised surface like a bench or a super-duper square Barking and Dagenham litter bin. The lower the object, the harder the press-up.

Exercise 4 – park bench overhead press

Put your feet on the bench and your hands on the ground beneath your shoulders. Lower your body until your head almost touches the ground, then push back up.

Exercise 5 – Bent-knee bench triceps dip

Rest your hands on the bench behind you, keeping your legs out in front with a slight bend in your knees. Lower your torso until your elbows are bent at 90 degrees, then push back up.

Exercise 6 – Bench step up

Place one foot on the bench, then drive up through your leading leg so you momentarily stand on the bench. Step back down under control. Alternate which leg you lead with. If a bench is too high, look for something lower like a step.

Exercise 7 – High knee skip on the spot

Skip on the spot, bringing your knees up as high as possible.

Exercise 8 – plank

Support your body on your forearms and feet, forming a straight line with your body from your shoulders to your ankles. Hold this position. If this is too tough, perform a high plank supporting your body on your hands. Don’t arch your back or droop!

Other exercises to try are: jump squats (squat down then jump up); jumping jacks or half jacks; Superman plank (high plank then lift opposite arm and leg and hold for 20 seconds before swapping over); lateral steps (ten big steps to the right, then ten to the right); lunges; and – the old favourite – burpees.

*George may not have had squats, planks and lunges in mind when he sang ‘you know you want to but you can’t say yes’.

Cracker Corner – the scam edition

Watch out for the latest scam. My friend ordered a hearing aid two weeks ago and she still hasn’t heard anything…

Talking of scams, don’t buy Velcro – it’s a rip-off.

Somebody sent me a picture of canned meat – it was a spam email.

There are a lot of scams on the internet…for the low price of £99 I can show you how to avoid them.

I don’t know if this is a scam or not but I just received a phone call yesterday saying I’d won £250 cash or two tickets to an Elvis tribute night. It said press one for the money, or two for the show.

Boom! Boom!

And finally…

Never mind the 65-year-old who broke the 10k record for his age group. A 95-year-old man, who was told by doctors he would never walk again following a fall where he broke his pelvis, is now a regular at his local parkrun.

Harold Messam attends the parkrun in Long Eaton, Derbyshire every week and completes the course in under an hour. Mr Messam, from Breaston, said: “I’ll keep doing what I can while I can. [That] is my policy. To me it’s not a race. It’s achieving, finishing what I’ve started.”

Well said, and well done, Harold! But think how much better you’d do if you warmed up first…

Happy Running


BRR Chair


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