Howdie Road Runners,

Another very busy weekend for the Road Runners, with multiple events taking place on both Saturday and Sunday. In the usual style of runners, we all agreed that the races were brutal in the pounding sunshine, then promptly decided we would be them again next year! All the details in Greg’s BRR in Action report.

Running in the News

The second meet of this year’s Diamond League took place in the newly renovated Alexander Stadium in Birmingham on 21 May and there were plenty of great performances from Team GB athletes to give the home crowd something to cheer about.

Olympic silver medallist Keely Hodgkinson comfortably won the women’s 800m with Laura Muir doing the same in the women’s 1500m. Dina Asher-Smith was victorious in the women’s 100m, and the British women set a world lead in the 4x100m relay. Zoey Clark came first in an all-GB women’s 400m, and Isabelle Boffey won first place for GB in the women’s 800m B Team race. 

On a day where the British men did less well overall, Birmingham’s own Matt Hudson-Smith (GBR) pleased the spectators by coming first in the men’s 400m. Jeremiah Azu actually did better for Team GB in the men’s 100m B race than our A race men, finishing in first place in 10:19. William Battershill came first in an all-GB men’s 3000m steeplechase. Our men’s second team came third in the men’s 4x100m relay, with the first team failing to finish.

On the field Lorraine Ugen came third in the women’s long jump and, in one of five para events, Hannah Cockroft was victorious in the women’s 400m wheelchair race.

It all bodes well for the Commonwealth Games which will take place in Birmingham from 28 July to 8 August.

BRR in Action

(with thanks to Greg Adams)

Round 02 of the summer handicap series and a busy weekend of racing for BRR including the third race of this year’s Grand Prix series.

Nigel Swaby finished 1st in the latest handicap race with guess runner George Hanmore 2nd and Martin O’Toole 3rd. After two races Martin leads the series with Nikki Cranmer 2nd and Emma Paisley 3rd.

BRR had a large contingent at the Great Baddow Charity 10 mile race where Debbie Coyle (1:08:16) and Paul Withyman (1:09:19) were the first female and male finishers respectively for BRR. Paul had already finished first in a Race for Life 10k the previous day. Debbie finished 2nd female overall and 1st in her age category and Ron Vialls finished 2nd in his category in 1:29:47. Other BRR runners were Martin Page 1:15:31, Cristina Cooper 1:24:06, Joyce Golder 1:26:10, John George 1:26:51, Jonathan Furlong 1:31:28, Isobel Pinedo Borobio 1:34:19, Debra Jean-Baptiste 1:37:02, Jason Li 1:41:25, Alain Cooper 1:41:28, Les Jay 1:55:03, Alison Fryatt 1:57:44, Rob Courtier 2:07:46 and Mick Ball 2:32:05.

A few BRR members took part in the Hackney Half Marathon on Sunday where there were a quite a few casualties due to the heat. The BRR members, however, finished strong. Thomas Shorey 2:05:02, Kirsty Waugh-McDonagh 2:38:52, Clodagh O’Callaghan 2:44:59 and Ken Summerfield 3:22:07. Nabeel Akram ran the 5k in 48:38.

Shuhel Khan and Jahinur Meah took part in the Hampton Court 10k, finishing in times of 48:39 and 51:17 respectively, and meeting Mo Farah into the bargain!

Last but definitely not least Jack Nixon won the Suffolk 10k road championship finishing in a fast time of 32:58.

BRR parkrunners 

Barking Park – Jagbir Bassi 21:38, James 21:39, Owen Wainhouse 21,40, Shuhel Khan 23:00, Jahinur Meah 26:00, Mark New 23:25, James Hall 25:10, Trevor Cooper 25:37, Adrian Davison 25:46, John Lang 26:13, Rabea Begum 27:05, Les Jay 31:19, Sally Bridge 38:33, Nicki Cranmer 38:34 and Alan Murphy 51:31.

Castle Park – Antony Leckerman 23:38.

Dartford Heath – Rory Burr 23:44.

Valentines Park – Kevin Wotton 27:00, Gary Harford 27:05 and Andrew Gwilliam 36:45.

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.  A nice and simple – but tough – session this week. 8 x 3 minutes with 90 seconds recovery. If 90 seconds feels like too long to rest, it’s because you’re not doing the reps fast enough! Obvs, if you are doing the Dagenham race the next day, dial back your efforts.  

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. Good luck to Louise, Debbie, Adrian, John G, James H, Les, Colin, Antony, Jason, Martin M, Martin O, Martin P, Emma, Nehal, Isabel, Belinda, Ron, Paul Wi, and the mysterious Anonymous User.

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, including four zones with cycling-related entertainment. You can just turn up on the day, or sign up in advance to join a convoy of bikes from your local area into central London, then do as many eight-mile laps as you fancy before cycling home. More details and sign up here:

10.00am, Saturday 4 June – Orion Forest Five race series. Race HQ Orion Harriers Club House, Jubilee Retreat, Bury Road, London E4 7QJ. A three-race series with the second race on 2 July and third race on 6 August. The August race is also part of the ELVIS series. You can sign up for all three races at a discounted price at or just the ELVIS race at

7.00pm, Wednesday 8 June – Crown to Crown 5k. Westley Heights Country Park, behind the Miller & Carter (Crown) Public House, Langdon Hills. A popular trail race on a rather hilly course. Entry is only £2.50 affiliated/£4.50 non-affiliated.

7.00pm, Thursday 9 June – Summer Handicap 03. Third race in the 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.

7.30pm, Tuesday 14 June – Havering ’90 Joggers Midweek 5 (ELVIS 02). Raphael’s Park, Romford. Second race in the East London FiVes Interclub Series competition. More information and sign-up at . REMINDER – THERE WILL BE NO TRACK SESSION ON THE 14th.

7.30pm, Friday 17 June – John Clark Memorial Fell Race. Meet 7.00pm at the Orion Harriers Club House, Jubilee Retreat, Bury Road, London E4 7QJ. The only category A fell race in Essex or within the M25. Three miles and nearly 1,000 feet of climb – a race that separates the men and women from the boys and girls! £3 entry includes a free beer for all finishers. Entry on the night only. Great training for the last cross-country race – who’s up for it?

7.30pm, Tuesday 21 June – East End Road Runners’ Mid-Summer 5k (ELVIS 03). Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, near the Velodrome. Enter at . REMINDER – THERE WILL BE NO TRACK SESSION ON THE 21st.

10.00, Sunday 26 June – Cross Country #05. A return to Hadleigh Country Park for the last race in this year’s competition. We may have already won promotion but let’s put out a big team and finish the season in style, with the biggest cheer so far as we collect our Division Two winners’ trophy!

Running Injuries – Plantar Fasciitis

Bad feet run in my family, and the bane of my life is plantar fasciitis. At least, now, I recognise the symptoms when it is coming on and can take action before it stops me from running completely.

Plantar fasciitis (plan-tur fas-e-i-tis), or PF, is one of the most common causes of heel pain in runners. It involves inflammation of a thick band of tissue (the plantar fascia itself) that runs across the bottom of each foot and connects the heel bone to the toes. It supports the arch of the foot and absorbs shock when walking.

Tension and stress on the fascia can cause small tears. Repeated stretching and tearing of the facia can irritate or inflame it, although the cause remains unclear in many cases of plantar fasciitis. Factors that can increase your risk of developing this condition include:

  • Age. Plantar fasciitis is most common in people between the ages of 40 and 60.
  • Certain types of exercise. Activities that place a lot of stress on your heel and attached tissue — such as long-distance running, ballet dancing and aerobic dance — can contribute to the onset of PF.
  • Foot mechanics. Flat feet, a high arch or even an atypical pattern of walking can affect the way weight is distributed when you’re standing and can put added stress on the plantar fascia.
  • Excess pounds put extra stress on your plantar fascia.
  • Occupations that keep you on your feet. Factory workers, teachers and others who spend most of their work hours walking or standing on hard surfaces can be at increased risk of plantar fasciitis.

PF commonly causes stabbing pain that usually occurs with your first steps in the morning. As you get up and move, the pain normally decreases, but it might return after long periods of standing or when you stand up after sitting, until the pain in your heel is chronic.


The first treatment, as always, is icing the arch of your foot regularly (rolling your foot over a frozen bottle of water is good) and cutting back or stopping running. Ibuprofen can reduce inflammation, but don’t use it to allow you to run through the pain or you might cause more damage.

Taping your foot with KT tape will be provide support and may allow you to keep running. Get a physio or sports massage therapist to do it for you, or there are easy-to-follow videos on YouTube.

You can buy night splints that push back you toes, stretching out your plantar fascia. I tried a night splint and found it very uncomfortable but it might work for you. 

If you are seriously afflicted, treatments include steroid injections, shockwave therapy or – in the worse-case scenario – surgery.


You can’t do much about your age, but there are actions you can take to reduce the risk of PF if you are prone to it e.g. wear supportive shoes and avoid walking barefoot. Orthotics can help (I was given orthotics at the hospital last time I had a serious bout of PF). But, most important of all is strengthening the plantar fascia, Achilles tendon and calf muscles. This will both help you to recover more quickly and will reduce the risk of another flare up. Exercises to try:

Plantar Fascia Stretch – sit down and put your bad foot on the opposite knee. Bend the ankle and toes back and hold for 30 seconds. Repeat five times, and whenever you get the chance during the day. You can also practise the stretch sitting down: Resting your foot on the floor on your toes, push the heel forward so you get a stretch in the toes and under your foot.

Heel raises – starting with both feet, raise up onto your toes and back down. Progress to one-legged raises, starting with three sets of 10 raises. You can put your hand against a wall for balance but try not to let it take your weight, as that reduces the benefit of the exercise. 

Single-legged squats – standing on one leg, bend your knees down over your toes and straighten again. Aim to complete three sets of 10.

Gastrocnemius stretch – Place the leg to be stretched behind and lean forwards against a wall. Ensuring you heel is kept in contact with the floor at all times, hold the stretch for 20 to 30 seconds and repeat three times. You should feel the stretch at the back of your lower leg; if not, move the leg further back.

Soleus stretch – Repeat the above stretch but with your back leg bent. You should feel the stretch lower down your calf.

Heel drops – Stand on a step with the toes on the step and the heels off the back. Carefully lower the heels down below the level of the step until you feel a stretch. Hold for 15-20 seconds. The exercise can be performed with the knee straight and then repeated with the knee bent to make sure you are stretching both muscles. You should feel a gentle stretch.

Foot rolling – Roll the foot over a round object such as a ball, weights bar, rolling pin or can of soup (or similar). Roll the foot repeatedly over the object, applying increasing downward pressure.

You may feel mild discomfort (3 out of 10) during the exercises. If you are in pain the next day, do less reps, and only practise the exercises on alternate days until your feet and calves are stronger.  

Cracker Corner

A frog had its DNA tested. It was part Scottish, part Welsh, and just a tad Pole.

I removed the shell from my racing snail to try and improve his performance. If anything, it’s made him more sluggish.

Dennis was driving his bus when he saw a toad at the bus stop. He told it to hop on.

I went to the cinema the other day and found a newt in the seat next to me.

“Are you a newt?” I asked, surprised.


“What are you doing at the Cinema?”

The newt replied, “Well, I liked the book.”

Boom! Boom!

And finally…

As I mentioned above, bad feet are the bane of my life. As well as PF, regular readers will know about my ongoing battle with blisters and the eternal quest to find a solution. I’ve tried lubricants like Vaseline, silicone toe protectors, several different supposed ‘anti-blister socks, and even changed running shoe sizes, all to no avail. But I think I may have finally found the solution: blister prevention tape from KT Tape (available at Amazon). It’s pre-cut 9cm x 3 cm strips of tape that you apply to areas prone to abrasion injuries like blisters, chafing and hot spots.

So far, so good. I’ve used it at cross-country, a trail 10k, and, on Sunday, at the Great Baddow 10 and – wonder of wonders – no blisters. I guess the ultimate test would be to use it while running a marathon. On second thoughts, maybe I’ve done enough testing…

Happy Running



BRR Chair


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