Howdie Road Runners,

What a weekend! First the UK comes second in the Eurovision Song Contest (and we all know we would have come first if it wasn’t for the – deserved – sympathy vote for Ukraine) and then another first-place for BRR in Division Two of the South Essex Cross Country (SEX-C) League. I couldn’t be prouder of all our runners and volunteers. With only one race to go our position at the top of the Division is now unassailable but we want to end the season in triumph with another race win and the biggest cheer so far! I bet Captain Rob that we would do well in both. Ok Rob, where’s my 20p?

May Committee Meeting

The Club Committee met last week. The minutes can be found here: 220511 – May 2022 BRR Committee Meeting

After the meeting, it was announced that the Thames Chase 10k, which was due to be a Grand Prix race, has been moved to 25 September, which means it clashes with the Valentines Park 5k ELVIS (East London fiVes Interclub Series) race. We really want to support the ELVIS race if at all possible (as we expect other ELVIS clubs to support our race) so we are looking at having the July RunThrough 10k race in the Olympic Park as the GP race instead. I’m still waiting for the Thames Chase organisers to get back to me to see if we can transfer our places to next year. Please don’t book the Olympic Park 10k yet; if we do decide that race will be a GP, there are discounts for group bookings which make the race more affordable.

Running in the News

How young is too young to run a marathon? There has been outcry after a couple, Ben and Kami Crawford, ran the Flying Pig Marathon in Cincinnati on 1 May with their six children: Dove, 20; Eden, 19; Seven, 17; Memory, 15; Filia, 11; and Rainier, 6, despite the minimum age limit for the race being 18 years old on race day.

The parents insisted that the youngest child had wanted to run the race. However, the Kami Crawford wrote on Instagram:

“On the marathon course, Rainier knew they usually hand out Pringles around mile 20. He was struggling physically and wanted to take a break and sit every three minutes. After 7 hours, we finally got to mile 20 only to find an abandoned table and empty boxes. He was crying and we were moving slow so I told him I’d buy him two sleeves if he kept moving. I had to promise him another sleeve to get him in the family pic at the finish line. Today I paid him off.”

That doesn’t sound like a kid who wanted to run 26.2 miles to me!

When challenged on why the parents were allowed to register the under-age children for the race, Iris Simpson Bush, one of the race organisers, said:

‘The Flying Pig Marathon takes the safety and security of all participants very seriously.

…This decision was not made lightly because the father was determined to do the race with his young child regardless. They had done it as bandits in prior years before we had any knowledge and we knew he was likely to do so again.

The intent was to try to offer protection and support if they were on our course (Medical, Fluids and Replenishment).

Our decision was intended for some amount of safety and protection for the child. The family finished the race after the formal closure of the race course.

I assume full responsibility for the decision and accept that it was not the best course of action. Our requirement of 18+ for participation in the marathon will be strictly observed moving forward’.

Experts differ in their views on how much running is healthy for children of different ages; I sometimes think that the UK Athletics age limits are a bit ‘one-size-fits all’ and don’t take account of the fact that kids develop at different rates and some are equipped to run distances that others can’t. But surely the important thing is that they want to run, and they fully understand the challenge they are facing? Lots of adults don’t understand the demands – both physical and mental – of running a marathon so I really don’t understand how a six-year-old can.  In my book, a kid who is struggling physically and has to be bribed with crisps to get off the floor, let alone finish a race, can’t be said to be running willingly!

I’d be interested to know what others – especially parents – think. In the meantime, I loved this quote from US Olympic runner Kara Goucher ‘A six-year old does not understand what embracing misery is’. Of course, we adults do, and we still willingly do it!

BRR in Action

(with thanks to Greg Adams)

Round 4 of the South Essex Cross Country League at Thorndon Country Park this week and a chance for Barking Road Runners to confirm promotion, in this year’s unusual cross country series where sunstroke is more likely than frostbite.

BRR once again fielded a strong team and managed to finish first in their division, thus sealing promotion. BRR have an unassailable lead with only one race left and will compete in the 1st division next season.

BRR points scorers on the day were Debbie Coyle 2nd, Jess Collett 6th, Maxine Browne 21st and Sarah Friel 23rd and for the men Steve Philcox 11th, Simon Adebelo 13th, James Lowndes 29th, Jagbir Bassi 31st, Stuart Mackay 46th, Paul Wyatt 48th and Adrian Davison 61st.

Other BRR Runners who are an important part of the team as they take points off the other clubs were Joyce Golder, Belinda Riches, Isobel Pinedo Borobio, Veronica Barrikor, Nikki Cranmer, Melissa Lowndes, Martin Page, Colin Jones, John George, Daniel Plawiak, Mark New, Rory Burr, Ron Vialls, David Kail, Jason Li, Alain Cooper, Martin Mason, Les Jay, Rob Courtier and Micky Ball.

Earlier in the week Louise Chappell participated in the Crown to Crown 5k, finishing in 47th place in a creditable 28:55.

And on Sunday Trevor and Cristina Cooper took part in the St. Neots’ Triathlon Series, with Trevor taking on the sprint distance (750m swim, 24k bike, 5k run) and Cristina tackling the Olympic distance (1,500m swim, 45k bike, 10k run). They finished in 1.26:15 and 3.11:15 respectively.

BRR parkrunners

Barking Park – Jagbir Bassi 21:32, James Lowndes 21:57, Owen Wainhouse 21:59, James Hutton 22:22, Adrian Davison 23:04, Trevor Cooper 24:05, Joyce Golder 24:13, Ron Vialls 24:32, Jahinor Meah 24:45, Isobel Pinedo Borobio 26:02, Kasia Maj 26:06, John Lang 27:45, Andrew Hiller 28:02, Nikki Cranmer 32:36, Rob Courtier 36:11, Jason Li 39:01, Micky Ball 39:26, Alan Murphy 47:23 and Trevor Parkin 50:16.

Raphaels Park – Debbie Coyle 22:56.

Swanley – Greg Adams 34:20.

Valentines Park – Paul Withyman 19:26, Kevin Wotton 22:11 and Andrew Gwilliam 30:23.

Shokz Headphone Competition

Shokz bone conduction headphones are the only headphone that you are allowed to wear in UK Athletics licensed road races. Shokz are looking for 1,500 members of running clubs/groups to test their latest Openrun Pro headphones worth £159.95. Just complete the registration form for your chance to take part. If you are one of the lucky people selected to be testers, you get to keep the headphones afterwards.

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 17 May – Speed Development. Jim Peter’s Stadium, Mayesbrook Park. This week we have the old favourite, Dancing Dicks: three sets of (30 secs, 60 secs, 90 secs, 30 secs, 60 secs, 90 secs with 30 secs recovery in between each), with two minutes rest between sets.

7.00pm, Thursday 19 May – Summer Handicap 02. Barking Park. Second race in seven-race series, run on the Barking parkrun course. The entry cost is £1 per race, 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 five results. It’s going to be a hot one and the bugs are likely to be out in force, so do remember to wear insect repellent if you are prone to bites and stings (see my tips, below).

11am–9pm, Saturday 21 May – Barking Bikefest. Abbey Green, Barking IG11 8AS. A chance to race your bike around Abbey Green. Kids’ races too. I have registered for the women’s novice race, so you may want to avoid the Barking Abbey area at around 1.40pm-2.30pm.

11.00am, Sunday 22 May – Great Baddow 10 (GP04). The Recreation Ground, Great Baddow, Chelmsford, Essex, CM2 9RL. Online entries are ow closed but you can enter on the day.

7.30pm, Wednesday 25 May – Dagenham 88 5ish (ELVIS 01). Central Park, Dagenham. First race in this year’s East London FiVes Interclub Series competition. There are now 16 entrants from BRR. Entries via EntryCentral

9.00am, Sunday 29 May – RideLondon Freecycle. If you fancy a change from running, why not join the RideLondon freecycle, taking in the main sights of London on closed roads? You can just turn up on the day, but if you sign up in advance you get a free tabard and bid number. You can also join a convoy of bikes from your local area into central London if you wish, then do as many eight-mile laps as you fancy before cycling home. More details and sign up here:

11.00am, Friday 3 June – Hatfield Broad Oak 10k. Hatfield Broad Oak Village Green CM22 7HH. If you’re at a loose end over the Jubilee weekend now that the Thames Chase 10k has been postponed, why not try this race? It’s a great event through countryside not far from Harlow, and the race starts and finishes near the annual village festival (and a few nice pubs too). There will be a special Jubilee medal and t-shirt for all finishers. Enter at:

Running Injuries – IT Band Syndrone

The Iliotibial (IT) band is a long, thick, fibrous band of connective tissue—or fascia—that runs along the outside of the thigh from the hip to the knee and tibia of the lower leg. The IT band allows your hips to extend, abduct, and rotate; it also stabilizes your knees.

IT Band Syndrome (ITBS) occurs when the band becomes too tight and rubs against the thighbone (femur), causing a sharp or burning pain in the knee and/or hip. The pain may ease off as you warm up but will worsen again if the activity continues. Sports that require repetitive flexing of the knee – like running and cycling – can all result in ITBS. Research shows it accounts for 22% of all lower extremity injuries and is the leading cause of lateral knee pain in runners.

Treating IT Band Pain

If you have severe pain, it’s always best to seek the help of a professional. But, if you have caught the pain at an early stage, the following is the standard advice and certainly won’t do any harm. Always listen to your body and remember that prevention is better than cure!

The first thing to do if you have IT Band pain is rest and apply ice to reduce inflammation and soreness. Anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen can relieve pain temporarily but NEVER take painkillers to allow you to keep running; they will just mask the pain and may result in further injury. You may need to take a break from running and try a lower impact sport for a while, like cycling or swimming.

Preventing IT Band Syndrome

Here are some tips for avoiding an IT Band injury. Funnily enough, they are all good tips for avoiding any sort of running injury!

Always Warm Up – Five-10 minutes of low-to-moderate intensity activity, such as brisk walking or a very gentle jog before engaging in more strenuous exercise is sufficient.

Replace Your Running Shoes Regularly – Replace your running shoes if the cushioning becomes compressed and loses its support. Worn out shoes absorb less shock, which may lead to an increased risk of IT band pain. It is also helpful to alternate between two pairs of running shoes. This allows each pair’s shock-absorbing cushion to return to its optimal form before you wear them again.

Don’t Do Too Much Too Soon – As recommended last week for reducing the risk of shin splints, build up your mileage gradually. This advice doesn’t just apply to new runners but also experienced runners who are upping their mileage as part of a training plan.

In particular, make sure you build up your hill training gradually. Hill running is great for building strength but downhill running increases friction on the IT band and is also tough on the quadriceps. Tired quads lose the ability to stabilise and control the knee which increases stress on the IT band.

Stretch After Exercising – It’s important to stretch your hamstrings and glutes after your workout to keep the IT band flexible and prevent it from tightening. Foam rolling after exercise may help too.

Strength Training – Strength training is key to reducing Strengthening your glute and quad muscles will take pressure off the IT band. Try these exercises:

  • Hip bridge with resistance band – perform three sets of 10 bridges with a resistance band around your lower thighs.

  • Side lying hip abduction – lying on your side with the bottom leg bent, raise your straight top leg for three sets of 10 reps.  Repeat on the other side.

  • Lateral resistance band walk – with a resistance band around your lower thighs, walk 10 steps to the side in one direction and 10 steps back, then repeat.

  • Side bridge (or plank) – perform 3-4 side planks, holding each plank for 10 seconds. Repeat on the other side.

Cracker Corner

I was due to attend a psychics’’ conference on Saturday but it was cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances.

Instead, I decided to visit an origami shop, only to find the business had folded.

On the way home I was kidnapped by aliens who took me back to their spacecraft and made me clean my teeth, brush my hair and blow my nose; it was the Mother Ship.

Boom! Boom!

And finally…

With the warm weather comes: the nasty sting-y, bite-y insects in Barking and Mayesbrook Park, especially in the evening i.e. exactly when we are doing our track sessions and handicap races.

My own personal health adviser, AKA Jason, has recommended the ‘Bug Bite Thing’, an insect sting extraction tool (, available in the UK from Amazon.

However, on the basis that prevention is better than cure, I have also spotted this on Amazon which I think might just do the trick…

Happy Running


BRR Chair


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