Howdie Road Runners,

Last week seemed very long, with no bank holidays; I’ve decided I’m in favour of a three-day working week – but only if I get a full week’s pay, of course! In typical UK style, now the bank holiday is out of the way, we are entering a heatwave. Also in typical UK style, after moaning about how miserable the summer has been so far, it is now time to moan about the excessive heat and accompanying hay fever. I hope some of you may find the article about hay fever of help, if only to confirm that you are already doing everything possible to minimise the symptoms.

Otherwise, there is a short poll that I’d love you to respond to (it will take seconds, honest); a no-hill hill training session, and all the usual bits and pieces.


Running in the News

Some of you took a wrong turn at the Dagenham ’88 ELVIS race due to poor marshalling a few weeks ago, and will have been miffed to have to run further to get back on course. So you’ll have sympathy for Kenyan Felix Kirwa, who was misdirected when he was leading the Stockholm Marathon a couple of weekends ago.

At the 30km mark, the leading pack, comprising Kirwa and two Eritrean athletes, was led off-course due to a ‘communication error’ by the race’s lead motorcycle rider. The runners were led across a bridge before being informed they were going the wrong way and that they needed to turn around. Video footage shows the pack running back and forwards and throwing their arms in the air as they try and work out what’s going on.

At the time of the mistake, the course record of 2:10:10 looked like it was about to be broken but, after being misdirected, the runners added at least two minutes onto their time.

Luckily, they didn’t lose their lead and Kirwa eventually took the victory in 2:11:07 having ran 43.2k, an extra 1.1k over and above the marathon distance.

Afterwards, Kirwa said ‘I am very happy to win the Stockholm Marathon. But we ran wrong and we missed the record because of it.’

I’m not sure I would have taken it that calmly, especially as there would probably have been a bonus for beating the course record.

Poll Time – When do you Run Best?

You’re going for that elusive Personal Best. If you could choose the time of the race e.g. morning, afternoon, or evening, to ensure your best performance, what would it be? Please answer the poll – link below – and let me know. Results in next week’s blog.

BRR in Action

(with thanks to Greg Adams)

Kevin Wotton flew the flag for BRR at Wednesday’s Crown to Crown 5k at Laindon, finishing the hilly, mainly off-road, course in an impressive 23:26.

Barking Road Runners’ summer handicap round 03 this week was won by Isobel Pinedo Borobio. Isobel stormed past round 02 winner Nigel Swaby in the home straight to secure the win finishing 1 minute 33 seconds inside her handicap time. Nigel finished 2nd with Clodagh O’Callaghan finishing 3rd.

It was a close run race with a couple of exciting sprint battles at the finish, namely between Tom Shorey and Mark New, and Emma Paisley just managed to hold off Jason Li and Martin O’Toole. With the first nine finishers inside their allotted handicap times, round 04 on the 30th June should be a tight race.

Martin O’Toole still leads the overall points table after three rounds with Emma Paisley 2nd and Mark New 3rd.

Rory Burr and Antony Leckerman took part in the Southend half marathon finishing in times of 1:55:58 and 1:42:40 respectively, excellent achievements in the hot conditions.

Ultrarunner Owen Wainhouse competed at the South Downs 100 mile run finishing in an impressive 27 hours and 19 minutes. He said it was a bit tough going between miles 40 to 60 but otherwise enjoyable. [He has no right to look so happy after running 100 miles – Alison]

BRR parkrunners

Barking Park – Steve Philcox 18:26 (first across the line), Jagbir Bassi 19:38 (second across the line), Mark New 23:31, Belinda Riches 25:40, Jason Li 25:57, Faye Spooner 26:38, John Lang 26:46, Andrew Hiller 26:55, Martin Brooks 28:14, Les Jay 31:23, Julie Gillender 34:14, Greg Adams 3628, Melissa Lowndes 37:15, Dawn Blake 37:16, and Alan Murphy 47:27.

Chalkwell Beach – Antony Leckerman 24:39.

Chelmsford Central – Vicki Groves 37:27.

Clacton Seafront  – Barry Culling 26:17.

Guildford – Joe Stacey 24:26.

Valentines Park – Kevin Wotton 22:04.

Victoria Dock – Nikki Cranmer 32:09.

The ‘No Hill’ Hill Session

Hill work is great for building strength and stamina and, of course, is essential preparation if you are running cross country races. But it isn’t always easy to find a convenient hill where we live. So why not give this three-minute Mountain Legs workout, favoured by pro hill runners, a try? It consists of just two exercises, best performed 3-4 times a week, though even once a week is better than nothing.

Single-Leg Rear Lunge (20 to 50 on each leg)

The single-leg rear lunge targets the glutes and quads, while putting less strain on the knee than forward lunges. They involve eccentric (muscle-lengthening) contractions, which are similar to running downhill.

How to do it

Stand with feet hip-width apart. Resting your right hand on a wall for balance, step your left foot backwards and balance on the ball of your left foot. Keep your left heel off the ground, and ensure that your right knee doesn’t bend in front of the right toes. Lift back up into the starting position without putting your left foot on the floor. That is one rep. Build up gradually, starting with 5-10 on each leg.

Single-Leg Step-Ups (30 to 50 on each leg)

Single leg step ups engage the quads, glutes and hamstrings. They involve mainly concentric (muscle shortening) motion, mimicking uphill running.

How to do it

Find some stairs with a banister and at least two steps. Keeping your right foot on the ground, put your left foot two steps above, using the banister for balance. Push through your left foot to bring your right foot up to the same height, but don’t put the right foot on the step. Step back down leading with the right foot. That’s one rep.

Do all the reps on one leg before swapping to the other leg, as that works the muscles harder. Like the first exercise, you should build up the reps gradually.

For both exercises, just use your arm to give balance, don’t let it take all the weight or you won’t get the full benefit;  it can help if you lean on the wall with your fingers pointing downwards, or hold the banister rail from underneath. Your motion should be smooth, and quick but controlled; avoid bouncing and jerky movements.

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.


7.30pm, Tuesday 14 June – Havering ’90 Joggers Midweek 5 (ELVIS 02). Raphael’s Park, Romford. Second race in the East London FiVes Interclub Series competition. Sorry, SOLD OUT.

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. Fell races are graded in terms of Ascent Difficulty (Grade A-C, with a being the toughest) and Distance Category (Grade L-S).

This is the only category A fell race in Essex or within the M25, with nearly 1,000 feet of climb. But at least its distance category is S for short; just three miles. £3 entry includes a free beer for all finishers. Entry on the night only.

7.30pm, Tuesday 21 June – East End Road Runners’ Mid-Summer 5k (ELVIS 03). Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, near the Velodrome. Enter at . Eleven BRR members had entered when I checked at the weekend. Don’t leave it too late and miss your chance to join the fun.  REMINDER – THERE WILL BE NO TRACK SESSION ON THE 21st.

10.00am, Sunday 26 June – Cross Country #05. Hadleigh Country Park. Last race in this year’s competition. Let’s put out a strong team to celebrate our promotion to the first division.

7.00pm, Thursday 30 June – Summer handicap #04. Barking Park, on the parkrun course. £1 entry with the chance to win a tenner.

9.15am, Sunday 3 July – GP05: Ware 10. GlaxoSmithKline Cricket Ground, Park Road, Ware, SG12 0DP. A new race for BRR. The race is being held in support of Essex and Herts Air Ambulance. There is also a kids’ fun run.

Ware is just off the A10, which itself joins the M25 at junction 25. You can also walk from Ware train station (about 15 minutes) which links to Broxbourne, Tottenham Hale and Liverpool Street stations. Entry is £21.20 for EA registered or £23.22 for non-registered athletes. Make sure you sign up for the 10 miler NOT the 10K! Enter at:–HANNcCxiDM

7.30pm, Wednesday 6 July – Ilford AC Newman Hilly 5 (ELVIS 04). Start and finish on the plain at Chigwell Row, Lambourne Rd (opposite Millers Lanepost code IG7 6ET. Enter at

Running and Hay fever

Back in the 19th century it was assumed that freshly cut hay was the cause of summertime sneezing, runny noses, itchy eyes and headaches. It wasn’t until 1859 that a British scientist called Charles Blackley worked out that pollen from any plant could cause hay fever. However, the lighter pollen produced by grasses and trees becomes airborne more easily and is therefore more likely to induce symptoms.

So much for the history lesson. The question is, what can you do to minimise hay fever symptoms while you are running?

  • The pollen count is lowest in the morning, so it can help if you schedule your runs first thing. Of course, that doesn’t mean missing track sessions or evening races!
  • Wearing a sun vizor/peaked cap and glasses or sunglasses while running will stop at least some pollen going into your eyes.
  • Put some Vaseline or hay fever balm, like Haymax, at the base of your nostrils; the pollen will get stuck to it rather than finding its way up your hooter.
  • Change your kit and, if possible, have a shower as soon as you get home to remove the pollen;
  • Drying your washing inside rather than on the line where it can pick up pollen, and keeping the windows shut is recommended, but I suspect most of us won’t want to do that unless our symptoms are really bad.
  • Running during or just after light rain may help as it settles the pollen, but heavy rain and wind can whip it up, making hay fever worse.
  • Hay fever medication has a cumulative effect so start taking hay fever medication as early in the season as possible and keep taking it even on days when the pollen count is low.
  • If your hay fever is affecting your breathing, especially if you have asthma, do see your doctor. They may be able to prescribe medication that isn’t available over the counter.

Cracker Corner

I woke up this morning feeling refreshed after falling asleep in the fireplace. I slept like a log.

What do you give the man who has everything? Penicillin.

I went to the pub the other day and ordered two pints of beer, a bottle of prosecco and four bags of crisps. The bartender asked if I wanted a tray. I replied ‘don’t you think I’ve got enough to carry already?’

Boom! Boom!

And finally…

Talking of hay fever, captain Rob was really suffering at last week’s handicap, having spent the day gardening and the evening in the park. Luckily, I had some antihistamines in my bag. After taking one he felt a lot better. I thought afterwards, it wouldn’t have been the first drug deal in Barking Park, but it was definitely the most innocent…

Happy Running




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