Hello Roadrunners…

… and a big thank you to Dennis, Nikki and Greg for holding the fort while I was away gently roasting in Sicily. Seemed like I missed a lot of fun while I was away, from the penultimate summer handicap, to the Mayor of Barking an Dagenham visiting Barking parkrun for its ongoing tenth anniversary celebrations.

Hainault Forest Restoration Project Update

  • New paths and improved pedestrian entrances have been installed. They are designed to improve accessibility to the site and open views from Romford Road.
  • The Global Cafe area has been improved with new landscaping and a new seating area.
  • The barns restoration is continuing with the installation of a biomass boiler, which will power the underfloor heating to the main barns. The 1856 Barn roof is nearing completion and will ensure the building is stable and water-tight.
  • Work on the visitor farm is progressing with new rabbit tunnels and a duck pond completed, along with the new path network.

Some BRR members were enjoying the new facilities last Sunday. Whilst there, Dee Spencer-Perkins, our illustrious Club Secretary, had the chance to catch up with her friend Dottie:

Dottie Dear’s Almanac for August: Positivity

There was a rather contemplative air about the tree house when we arrived this month. Dottie was sitting on her balcony, drinking a thoughtful cup of coffee. Apparently, first thing that morning she had been feeling a bit low, because her birthday was coming up, and it seems that the numbers on the Smart Meter of Life had been moving relentlessly on.  Not wanting to give too much away, let’s just say that the left hand digit was somewhere between 6 and 8, and the right hand one was a Big Fat Zero.

However, things had perked up a bit during the course of the day. A little earlier, as she had been sitting and ruminating about having a Seriously Big Birthday in the offing, there had been a sudden strange groaning noise from below, a bit like an expiring vacuum cleaner.  She had looked out to see a sad figure sitting on a tree stump, with a set of collapsed bagpipes beside him on the ground. It was none other than the Twat of Basildon, who had visited the Forest some time ago when Dottie was really expecting a visit from the Twirl of Brentwood (see Almanac for September, 2021).  We also need to explain here that the Twat of Basildon was an aspiring Highlander who had never even been as far north as Tebay Services on the M6, and who despite daily practice was totally rubbish at playing the bagpipes.

The Twat (whose real name was Bertie) had his head in his hands, and looked such a sorry sight that Dottie felt she just had to go down and find out what was the matter.  It turns out that he was in danger of being overtaken in the race for Twat of the Year 2022, an award he had held in 2021 and which had made his Mum very proud. It seems that this prestigious title was awarded annually to the person who had had the most spectacular failure in the previous twelve months and, in this celebrated national competition, failure was measured by the lowest number of online likes and sales.  In 2021, the Twat of Basildon had won it handsomely with his Twirkometer, a device for use in discos that purported to measure the number of Twirks per Minute.  This had received precisely 5 likes online, and he had sold just 2 units – one to a pub in Huddersfield, and the other to a darts club whose members liked to celebrate bullseyes by conga Twirking.  (We didn’t want to know either.)

This year he had had great hopes for his latest project – a cast iron tripod with one leg shorter than the other two, which he had dubbed the Boilopod. The idea was that you could use it during mountaineering expeditions to heat things up when preparing food on a slope. He had posted the idea online, and it had all started so well.  By the previous evening, he had had just four likes, and only one sale (although some people have more money than sense, we have to say).

Anyhoo, at the last minute, a rival entry had come in from left field.  An old antagonist, the Wazzock of Wigan (who had been gunning for the Twat for some time) entered the fray with a stroke of genius:  a button that you press when you don’t want anything to happen.

The cut-off time for the end of the competition was fast approaching, and the Wazzock had had just 2 likes and no sales whatsoever.  Bertie was in danger of losing his exalted Twatliness, and also his self-esteem. As this was clearly an emergency, Dottie rushed back up rope ladder to organise a camomile tea and some Jaffa Cakes, and as she waited for the leaves to brew she had a light-bulb moment.

Carefully hurtling back down the ladder (as far as this is possible), she offered her solution to the soggy Twat.  In her opinion, even if the Wazzock won the title with no sales, Bertie would in fact have failed to fail, which in reality was the perfect failure.

There followed a bit of a stunned silence –  the sort where you think that you might have said something important or wise but you’re not quite sure – and Bertie looked completely baffled.  Just as Dottie was about to spoil it by blithering on about positivity, the Twat suddenly drew himself up to his full height and a big grin spread all over his face. Smoothing down his kilt he hoisted his pipes onto his hip.  Then, disentangling his chanters from his drone he skirled off vaguely in the direction of Lambourne End, groaning out his unique and miserably distinctive version of Scotland the Brave.

Having achieved this rather positive outcome in identifying the silver lining behind the cloud, Dottie had begun to feel that her Big Birthday wasn’t such a gloomy milestone after all, and in this frame of mind she had produced her wisdom for this month as follows……

You know you are getting more mature when:

  • A tin of shortbread biscuits is no longer a disappointing Christmas present;
  • an M&S bed jacket doesn’t seem like such a bad idea after all;
  • You sometimes find yourself sounding like your Mum; and
  • You regularly fall asleep during the Mystery House on Escape to the Country……..

And you know what?   It doesn’t matter!  Hurrah!

BRR in Action

(with thanks to Greg Adams)

The sixth race in Barking Road Runners summer 5k handicap series at Barking Park produced its sixth different winner. The first four runners managed to beat their handicap times but it was Kirsty Waugh-Mcdonagh who finished first, followed by Nigel Swaby, Nikki Cranmer, and Adrian Davison.

Nikki Cranmer has taken top spot in the table from long-time leader Martin O’Toole with Nigel Swaby close behind in third place.

BRR parkrunners 

Barking Park – Jagbir Bassi 20:39, Tom Brennan 21:15, Adrian Davison 21:31, Jonathan Asino 23:10, Belinda Riches 24:44, Heather Haggis 25:03, Joyce Golder 25:09, Isabel Pinedo Borobio 25:51, Stuart Burr 26:01, Sally Bridge 26:10, Andrew Hiller 26:45, Kasia Maj 26:54, Alain Cooper 28:28, Martin Mason 29:12, Emma Paisley 29:43, Les Jay 30:58, Louise Chappell 30:59, Rob Courtier 31:32, Kirsty Waugh Mcdonagh 31:56 and Alan Murphy 56:25.

Chalkwell Beach – Antony Leckerman 20:07.

Edenbrook Country – Owen Wainhouse 21:06.

Great Yarmouth North Beach – Rory Burr 31:15

Raphaels Park – Gary Harford 29:33,

Storey Fields Park – Peter Jackson 17:56.

Valentines Park – Joe Stacey 18:17, Kevin Wotton 21:40, Paul Withyman 24:13 and Rosie Fforde 24:56.

BRR Diary

7.00pm, Tuesday 2 August – Speed development session. Jim Peters Stadium. Captain Robs evil twin will be hosting his favourite session: 4 or 5 x 1k (that’s two-and-a-half laps of the track), with 200m recovery.

7.00pm, Thursday 4 August – Road running session. Starting from the Castle Green Centre/Jo Richardson School, Gale Street. Usually around six miles, but with short cuts for those who want to run a shorter distance.

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. There is still time to sign up at https://www.entrycentral.com/OrionForestFiveRace3ELVIS

7.30pm, Wednesday 10 August – Crown to Crown 5k. Westley Heights Country Park, behind the Miller & Carter (Crown) Public House, Langdon Hills. There may be entries available on the night, or sign up at https://www.entrycentral.com/Crown-to-Crown

7.00pm, Thursday 11 August – Summer Handicap #07. Barking Park. The last race in the series, and it’s all up for grabs. Even if you’re not in line for a trophy, you could still win the tenner.

9.30am, Sunday 21 August – Clacton 10k/Half. Clacton Seafront opposite Fourth Avenue, Clacton-on-Sea, Essex, CO15 5BL. A few Club members will be making a weekend of it. Enter at: https://www.nice-work.org.uk/races/clacton-half

10.30am, Monday 29 August – BRR’s Phipps 5K ELVIS race. Barking Park on the parkrun course. If you will be running for BRR you can enter for half price by talking to Alison/Rob/Dennis. DO NOT ENTER VIA ENTRYCENTRAL AS YOU WILL BE CHARGED FULL PRICE. Please also let us know if you are able to volunteer on the day.

Running – good for the body and the mind

Currently, there are no known effective treatments to prevent or stop the progression of Alzheimer’s, a progressive brain disorder that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills. But a new large-scale study reported by Runner’s World, has found that cardiorespiratory fitness activities such as running could lower the chances of developing the progressive brain disorder. In a study of 649,000 US veterans with an average age of 61, researchers found that the fittest in the group, as identified via a treadmill test, developed 33% less Alzheimer’s (after 8.8 years) than the least fit.

The findings suggest the association between cardio-respiratory fitness and Alzheimer’s risk is inverse. In other words, the fitter you are, the less likely you may be to get Alzheimer’s. Running is, of course, one of the greatest fitness-enhancing exercises out there, and the results of this study give us another compelling reason to lace up.

‘The idea that you can reduce your risk for Alzheimer’s disease by simply increasing your activity is very promising, especially since there are no adequate treatments to prevent or stop the progression of the disease,’ said study author Edward Zamrini. ‘We hope to develop a simple scale that can be individualised so people can see the benefits that even incremental improvements in fitness can deliver.

‘One exciting finding of this study is that as people’s fitness improved, their risk of Alzheimer’s disease decreased — it was not an all-or-nothing proposition. So people can work toward making incremental changes and improvements in their physical fitness and hopefully that will be associated with a related decrease in their risk of Alzheimer’s years later’.

A limitation of the study was participants were mostly white men, but there is no reason to think the results wouldn’t apply to other groups of the population too.

Cracker Corner

What’s the difference between Dubai and Abu Dhabi? The people in Dubai don’t like the Flinstones, but the people in Abu Dhabi do.

I saw a real idiot at the gym today. He put a water bottle in the Pringles holder on the treadmill.

I’ve just written a book about falling down the stairs. It’s a step-by-step guide.

I sat next to a baby for my flight back from Sicily. I didn’t think it was possible for someone to scream for three hours straight. Even the baby was impressed I managed it.

And finally…

After a day spent on a train circumnavigating Mount Etna, Chris and I stepped out of Catania Centrale Stazione in the early evening and spotted a group of four runners going past. I was just wondering if it was the local running club, when Chris said ‘didn’t you recognise who that was?’  Next thing I know, he was shouting to our/Comrades very own Gabriele Grimaldi. I thought ‘it’s a small world, don’tcha know’. Gabriele probably thought ‘you travel 1,220 miles across the world, and you can’t get away from Barking Road Runners’.

Anyway, I was too stunned to get a photo of Gabriele, so here’s a picture of a boy chasing an arancino instead…

Happy Running


Chair, Barking Road Runners


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