Howdie Road Runners

I’m sure it has become very boring for those of you who didn’t take part, but for a lot of us the weekend was all about the Spitfire Scramble, a 24-hour endurance race in Hornchurch Country Park. After a two-year delay, it seemed to come round all too quickly! We were lucky that the hot, hot, hot weather originally forecast for Saturday and Sunday slipped into the beginning of this week, but it was still hot enough. A big thanks to everyone who helped to make the weekend special, including those who came along to support.

How many of us have said ‘never again’? How many will still sign up for next year? It is certainly worth doing at least once, if only to decide you never want to do it again!

Keep your Cool

I know I banged on about it last week but the importance of taking care in the hot weather can’t be stressed enough.

When the temperature goes above 37 degrees centigrade that’s above a healthy body temperature, making it difficult for your system to regulate itself and potentially leading to heat exhaustion or even heatstroke, a serious medical condition.

Although the very young and very old are most vulnerable, It can affect anyone, including fit and healthy people like you – especially if they are doing strenuous exercise in high temperatures or have been drinking alcohol in the sun all day (bad idea). It can come on quickly, over minutes, or gradually, over hours.

The symptoms you will feel are your body’s way of warning you to cool down, fast. This handy graphic, courtesy of the NHS, tells you what to look out for:

Other possible symptoms of heat exhaustion include:

  • a headache
  • dizziness and confusion
  • loss of appetite and feeling sick
  • cramps in the arms, legs and stomach
  • fast breathing or pulse
  • a temperature of 38C or above
  • being very thirsty

What to do

If you think someone has heat exhaustion:

  • get them to rest in a cool place – such as a room with air conditioning or somewhere in the shade
  • remove any unnecessary clothing, to expose as much of their skin as possible
  • cool their skin – use whatever you have available, a cool, wet sponge or flannel, spray water, cold packs around the neck and armpits, or wrap them in a cool, wet sheet
  • fan their skin while it is moist – this will help the water to evaporate, which will help their skin cool down
  • get them to drink water or a sports drink if you have one handy
  • Stay with them until they are better.

They should start to cool down and feel better within 30 minutes. If they don’t respond positively, or display any of the symptoms on the right side of the graphic, seek urgent medical help as they might have heatstroke.

So, please be sensible, slow down, and stay cool.

July BRR Committee Minutes

Having said all that, what better way to get your pulses racing than by reading the minutes of the July Committee meeting? This month’s meeting was jam-packed full of agenda items, but the focus was on our August Bank Holiday 5k race 220711 – July 2022 BRR Committee Meeting minutes

Running in the News – World Athletics Championships

There has been disappointment but also some cause for hope for Team GB at the World Athletics Championships at Eugene, in the US state of Oregon. The biggest upset so far has been Dina Asher Smith finishing outside the medals in the women’s 100m final, despite equalling her GB record time of 10.83.

In other events, Andrew Pozzi failed to qualify for the men’s 110m hurdles final, and Holly Bradshaw was out of the women’s pole vault after her pole horrifically snapped in half during her warm-up. Luckily, she wasn’t seriously injured.

In better news for the Brits, Jake Wightman and Josh Kerr are in Wednesday’s 1500m semi-finals, Matt Hudson-Smth and Alex Haydock-Wilson, and Vctoria Ohuruogu, Nicole Yeargin, and Ama Pipi are in the men’s and women’s 400m finals. Others to watch out for are Keely Hodgkinson in the women’s 800m, Max Burgin in the men’s 800m, Laura Muir in the 1500m, and Dina Asher-Smith in the 200m.

BRR in Action

(with thanks to Greg Adams)

Handicap No. 05 in the Barking Road Runners summer series took place this week and produced the 5th different winner. The first five finishers all beat their handicap and will have new times for race No. 06.  Les Jay was first across the line just edging out Nikki Cranmer. Martin O’Toole still leads the series overall with two races to go.

After a two-year hiatus due to the COVID pandemic, the Spitfire Scramble returned last weekend. The Scramble is a 24-hour endurance race at Hornchurch Country Park with various categories for teams and solo runners. 


The course was a 5.75-mile multi-terrain circuit around the Hornchurch and Ingrebourne Country Parks and the winners of each category were the team or solo runner who completed the most laps within the 24 hours. BRR had a large contingent of runners in several teams either wholly made up of members or mixed with runners from other clubs. 


The red-hot weather made conditions tough, especially for those running at peak times, but there was still some amazing performances. Louise Chappell was a member of the team who won the 3-5 ladies category after coming 3rd and 2nd in previous years.




BRR parkrunners


Barking Park – Joe Stacey 19:55, James Lowndes 20:02, Sally Bridge 30:38, John Lang 30:42, Kirsty Waugh Mcdonagh 32:39, Rob Courtier 33:14, Julie Gillender 33:35 and Nikki Cranmer 34:00.


Clacton Sea Front – Rory Burr 23:41, Barry Culling 26:38 and Stuart Burr 27:22.

Raphaels Park – Gary Harford 27:56.

Walthamstow – Stuart Mackay 20.43

BRR Diary

7.00pm, Tuesday 19 July – Speed Development. Jim Peter’s Stadium. Last week’s planned session carried forward to this week. It’s the Kenenisa Bekele favourite session:

8 x (60 secs fast, 90 secs recovery, 30 secs faster, 90 secs recovery)

The 60 seconds should be run at 7 out of 10 effort, the 30 seconds at 8 out of 10 effort i.e. not an all-out sprint, as you probably can’t do that for 30 seconds. But please remember that the hot weather might mean you can’t perform at your usual level, and that’s OK.

7.30pm, Wednesday 20 July – ELVIS 05: Harold Wood 5k. Harold Wood Park, Harold View, Harold Wood, RM3 0LX. The newest race in the ELVIS series, and a quite challenging mix of tarmac paths and gravelly trail. More information and entries at

7.00pm, Thursday 21 July – Road run. From Jo Richardson School/Castle Green Centre, Gale Street. Usually around six miles, with short cuts for those who want a shorter run.

9.00am, Saturday 23 July – Barking parkrun 10th birthday.

7.00pm, Tuesday 26 July – Speed Development. Jim Peter’s Stadium. It’s the last Tuesday of the month, so Captain Rob’s evil twin will be overseeing your timed mile, plus the usual 300s (unless he’s thought of something even more evil).

7.00pm, Thursday 28 July – Summer Handicap #06. Barking Park. It’s the penultimate race in the summer competition. Chris and I won’t be around, so if you don’t want to run it would be great if you could help Greg with the organisation.

10.00am, Saturday 6 August – Orion Forest Five ELVIS and GP race. An ever-popular trail race through Epping Forest, and this time you will earn point towards both the Club ELVIS and GP competitions. More details and entry at

7.00pm, Thursday 11 August – Summer Handicap #07. Barking Park. The last race in the competition (sob!). Even if it’s too late to be in the overall top three, it’s not too late to win the tenner.

First Claim or Second Claim?

We all hear the terms ‘first claim’ and ‘second claim’ bandied around, but what do they actually mean?

When you join a UK Athletics (UKA) affiliated running club, providing it is your only club, that is your ‘first claim’ club. If you subsequently join another UKA club, that will be your second claim club. You can race as an individual in open races for any club you are a member of. However, for league and championship races and to count as part of a scoring team, you must compete for your first claim club, unless it is not affiliated to UKA for that discipline or is not participating in that league. In other words, the club has ‘first claim’ over you. This system is primarily designed to stop elite athletes swapping from club to club regularly mid-season, but it applies to all UKA affiliated club members.

You can have as many second claim clubs as you like. But you can’t compete for them against your first claim club.

People can have various reasons for joining a club second claim. They may be away from home a lot and want a second club to train with while they are away. The second club may train on different days or offer different types of sessions, or they may race in different competitions or leagues to the first claim club.

Quite often, people will move to another club first claim but maintain their loyalty to their original club and so stay on as second claimers so they can still compete with them when there is no clash. BRR has has several members who run for us second claim when allowed. This has been a particularly helpful in the South Essex Cross-Country League, where our second claim members played a big part in helping us get promoted to the first division. So, a big ‘thank you’ to our second claimers!

Cracker Corner

A big thanks to Les, who has given me the best present ever: the book of All New Dad Jokes. It will be great for the blog but what will Les do without his source material?

  • What are made of brass and sound like Tom Jones? Trombones.
  • Chris has accused me of lacking empathy. I just don’t understand why he feels that way.
  • Breaking news: the man who invented autocorrect has died. His funfair is on Sundial at moon.

Boom! Boom!

And Finally

You know I like bringing you new products that I have trialled on your behalf: constantly caring, that’s me.

I saw this Squirrel’s Nut Butter advertised in this month’s Runner’s World Ultra Special pull-out. I thought ‘if it works for ultra runners, it should work for me’. I’ve used it a couple of times, including at Spitfire and so far, so good; no chafing despite the hot and sweaty weather. It was also put to use on Les’s runner’s nipples and one of Andy’s team member’s chafed thighs. All seemed good.

I was also glad to see that it is vegan friendly. I assume that means the butter isn’t actually made out of squirrels’ nuts…

Take care out there


Chair, BRR


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