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BA Athletics Club News Digest 1st February 2021

 For future weeks: inclusions, with photos, please to Roderick Hoffman at

Events Calendar - online here


Unrestricted races are currently off so the club continues to operate with Solo and Shared runs as listed above - for restrictions and advice see the Coronavirus footnote at the end of this digest.  Due to the Tier 4 lockdown all shared runs are off the agenda until March or April.

Club Event Map: [Clickable link to Google Maps]

Roderick Hoffman

This Week's Events

Please help me by sending in your results, for instance by filling in the tables below and forwarding to Some events, such as the weekend achievement, will have "Prompts" set up in Facebook. These allow the posting of a single image and some text and make it easy to flip through everyone's entries. The Ross Barkley exercise will be reported on next Monday. This week's bonus extra midweek challenge is to Kayak or Canoe on a course that you would normally run. I don't expect many entries despite the opportunities that the weather will present us with.

Ross Barkley 5k:

Your Name Date Run Location 5km Cumulative Time Total Time Taken Recent 5k Time Details or Comments
    for comparison e.g. how you split up the 5km

Weekend Achievement (by 5pm on the Monday) or use the Facebook prompt that will be added on Friday:

Participant Event Distance Location Day/Start Time or Duration Details or comment, and other achievements
e.g. Running

Roderick Hoffman

Last Week's Midweek Challenge - Track-on-Field

January's Track on Field results

Just four of us managed Track-on-Field in January. Best individual performance was clearly Steve Hillier in the 200m although I was nearly as fast in the 100. Stephen was fastest at the longer distances but is perhaps yet to get all of his breath back over the shorter sprints.

Roderick Hoffman

BAAC 2021 Virtual Relay London Marathon – 14th March – live running, start 8am

Hi all,

Further to recent communications, here is the Event Outline and Entry Invitation - please can you distribute within your club/groups/friends. We would like to invite other nearby clubs/groups so if you can let me know some who may be interested either let us know or forward to them (please give us a heads-up on any !). First thoughts include TVXC league clubs, Hillingdon, Metros. Ealing/Southall/Middx, Shepperton etc. and of course any interested individuals (non-attached). Hopefully we will get a good number of 'International entries' again as this was really enjoyed. We will make up teams as requested, or help to mix'n'match as last time. We will not be publicly advertising however.

Any questions please just ask - there is an email address dedicated to the event for all entrants:
or use other emails or phone numbers for Joe Nolan.

Hope all is clear, let's hope for an even greater event than last year.

We shall start recruiting/confirming 'Team Managers' during next week.

The info is in full in the script below, and also attached in both .docx format and .pdf format for whichever suits you best to distribute.

Thanks again for all your interest and let's hope it exceeds last year's event and everyone gets a well needed boost at this time - fortunately we have some expert excel spreadsheet and entry/result processing this time to make the job easier.

Best Regards and keep safe all

Joe Nolan

The whole running community, along with everyone, have suffered the effects and lockdowns on our fitness & health so we are all needing encouragement to get out there again, get fit and inspired for hopefully a return to ‘normal life’ again in the not-too-distant future.

Following the success of the 2020 event, we are repeating the event this year.  This will comprise a 1-mile leg locally for each runner, against a backdrop of the LM course.  Teams of 26 will be formed with a schedule of ‘live handovers’. Last year we had 208 runners, with participants in Canada, USA, France, Germany, Iraq and the UK - a team from ‘Datchet Dashers’ took first place honours, but only by a few minutes – who might beat them this time ?  No restriction on age by the way – last year ages ranged from 4 to 80.  Entry is free, and must be submitted before the close date of 28th February. If any particular group wishes to support a charity please organise that separately but do let us know.

Runners can request an approximate start time after 8am, each start/finish time will be managed within a live WhatsApp group, or otherwise means if you do not have that facility. You will be able to monitor the progress of your team throughout, which was so much fun last year.

 Following current COVID-19 guidelines, your runs should be local to you (suggest an ‘out & back’ loop) or could even be on a treadmill. Walk/run legs are also fine.

We will assist making up teams, and can accommodate Key Workers/those with other constraints who cannot run on the actual Sunday morning – just let us know if this may be you.

Results will be published afterwards and there will be a special ‘medal certificate’ issued to all competing, and we will be able to look back in the happier times to come that we ‘proudly, but safely, ran London 2021 despite the bug !).

Please answer all 10 questions on the quiz/entry form below and submit to the email address shown. If there are any queries just ask (same email address).

2021 Virtual Relay London Marathon Entry Form/Details required (please answer all questions):

  • 1-NAME ?
  • 2-LOCATION ? (England/Other/Region/County)
  • 5-DO YOU USE WHATSAPP ? (or would you prefer TEXT messages ?)
  • 8-PREDICTED APPROX ONE-MILE TIME ? (Needed for rough scheduling of start times)
  • 9-SPECIAL REQUESTS ? (preferred start time, order with others, but only if really needed please !)
  • 10-ANY QUERIES ! ?

Please submit to:

All emails/entries will be replied to/confirmed within 48 hours – you will receive a first information pack with further details of the event - if you do not hear anything please check your SPAM folders and/or make contact again !  All data collected, complying with data protection will not be used for any other purpose. All contact information will be deleted soon after the event and not used for any other purposes.

Best regards, good luck and stay safe all

Joe Nolan

Remembering the Round-the-Block Race

Traditionally the BAAC Heston Round-the-Block Race has been held on the last Tuesday of January. When we held it last year we announced that it would be the last held on that circuit. Obviously there was no option this year other than to keep to our word. However on Wednesday (a day late due to the safety hazard on Tuesday of too much ice on the pavement) I did run round the circuit as a solo run. I also then walked round the circuit and took some photographs. The photographs were to mirror and contrast with a selection I took in about 1992 for an observation competition held at one of the club's socials - a competition I can remember that John Williams won. I've loaded some of the "then and now" photos on Facebook - see: although, to be frank, photographs of buildings that used to be pubs and changing designs of street furniture probably aren't particularly interesting.

But let us take a moment to remember what the event was:

Round-the-Block 1992 event photograph

  • In 1979 several runners in the BA OR group moved from Ruislip to Comet House on the BA Hatton Cross site, near the Market Research Department who were their customers. OR decided to challenge Market Research to a race around the block of the BA Sports Club - based at the Concorde Centre in Heston. The course was 3.5 miles in length so considered a bit of a challenge (and a good excuse for a long lunch with a pint at the club bar). OR's Steve Fletcher led the field home in just over 21 minutes followed by Bryan Wilson and Dave Carrington. David Barnard and Alan Friar were also in the field.
  • In 1980 the event was repeated but opened up to anyone working for British Airways. Finishing first was a youngster from the Finance department called Barry Walters. Ladies competed for the first time with Sue Adams being the first lady finisher.
  • In 1981 Barry was also first finisher. And in 1982. And '83. And so on until 1990 when Tim Brennan managed to finish first.
  • The 1992 race had 217 finishers representing 41 different teams! The policeman in attendance asked us to move the start on grounds of safety. Tim was first finisher. The BAAC "Round-the-Block" magazine only listed the top 30! Slightly more than that are shown in the photograph above.
  • Being first finisher hasn't always been so hotly contested - in 2012 there were only three participants and I managed to finish ahead of Steve Newell and a pregnant lady - but perhaps I've told you that story before.
  • The necessary one day's delay this week was not unusual for the month of January - in 2014 the event had to be delayed by two whole weeks.
  • The original organiser of the event was Dave Barnard. Bill Byrne took over in the late '80s, then Paul Knechtl in the late '90s. Recently Neil Frediani and I have been sharing the arrangements.
  • It was decided that last year's 2020 race would be the last. There were nine participants with Jeremy Short last first man and Harjit Jhooti last first lady. However, honours went to Dave Barnard as tail walker hence being the last competitor at the event he had been on the start line of 42 years earlier.

Roderick Hoffman - with some information provided from a BAAC Round-the-Block newsletter article from 1992 written by Bill Byrne.

Additional Cooper Test results

Three more members submitted the results of their personal attempts at the Cooper Test during the week:

Distance  VO2 Max      " standard "  rating
Denis Foxley (M71)          1.3 miles        35.5                32.0        good (72)
Kelly Davis (F38)              1.088 miles    27.8                32.7        fair (19)
Jeremy Short (M59)            2640m            47.7              35.3        excellent (98)

The ExRx calculator also gives a "score" for each try as well as a rating.  The test is about cardiovascular fitness rather than speed. The system may appear rather harsh - possibly gender equality gone mad and sprinters do not score well.  Jeremy Short has been awarded 98 points.
Last week's scores were:

Chris Kelly (100), Maarten Stenham (92), Steve Taylor (88), Roderick Hoffman (76), Barry Walters (50), Michael Ball (49), Steve Hillier (37).
Steve Hillier has observed that there may be as much as 30kg more of him than the perceived ideal.

Steve Newell (M76) has been back on the rowing machine recently and done 2000m in 8:08.  Using a different calculator which uses weight as well as age he has a VO2 max of 39.77 which would be "good" for a 69 year old.

Steve Newell

SOLO Activity Achievements, Weekend 29th January to 1st February 2021

30 members and friends reported activities for this week.  Please try to make future submissions by Monday 5pm, or 6pm at the latest, either by email to me or using the "Prompt" in Facebook, and I'll try to include them all.

Colleague Activity Distance Course Start Time Duration Comments
Denis Foxley Running 4.5miles Last Sat 00:43:00 Late entry from last weekend.
Amanda Coombs Running 8.97km Sunbury Sun pm 00:52:03 Another scavenger hunt. 31 items found.
Andy Rayner Running 2.2miles Sun 00:31:30 Also 3miles on Thursday in 44min and a fast 2.2mile walk on Tuesday.
Barry Walters Running 10k Lilyhill Park Sat am 00:54:38 Similar run to last week to Lilyhill Park and back in wet and pretty unpleasant conditions.
Ben Cooper Running 5k Cardiff Sat am 00:24:29 Miserable rain ensured a reasonable pace on my 5k from/to home route as per local lockdown rules.
Benita Scaife Running 5miles Bourne End via Cookham Bridge Sun 00:53:43 An all road route, as our preferred cross country route is in places impassable.
Chris Kelly Running 10.5miles Dunsden Hill Sat 01:26:40 Past Loddon Brewery.
Christine Munden Exercise Courtney Black HIIT Workout
Clara Halket Running 17km Army training grounds Sat am Cold and wet
Denis Foxley Running 4.76miles This Sat 00:48:10
Emma Moreton Hill Sprints Mon am Monday morning hill sprints after 30 days of yoga - I got a Strava segment crown and Local Legend .
Jain Reid Running 21.11km Richmond Park and back Sun am 02:42:05 Taking me to 97km for the week and 325km for the month, probably a record. I ran today to avoid the rain yesterday but consequently it was pretty wet in the park and getting harder to dodge the crowds.
Jane Harbert XC Skiing 3.4miles On Dillon Lake 01:00:00 Yes - that was "on" the lake.
Janet Smith "Rebounder" 10000steps Sat "Staying dry today". Janet's photo reveals that she was also watching the TV - though I guess whatever they were cooking ended up well shaken.
Jeremy Short Running 2640m Cooper Test Sat am 00:00:12 See above.
John Scaife Running 5miles Bourne End via Cookham Bridge Sun 00:53:43 Before walking home we found our favourite spot Dinnies Waterside park almost completely under water as the Thames had breached its banks at that point.
Julie Barclay Running 15.7km Basingstoke Canal Thur 01:21:00 Final part of canal journey, with Paul, see below.
Keith Johnson Running 8.65km St Albans area Sat am 00:43:16 Also slightly longer but slower pace on the Sunday - 8.7km in 0:44:55
Kelly Davis Running 7miles Stanwell and Bedfont Lakes Sun 01:24:00 Did 7 miles just to make sure I got my 10k badge as every time I did 10k strava wouldn't give it to me so I went a little over. 35th day running.
Melanie Miller Walking 18.05km Gerrards Cross Sun lunch 00:04:24 Soggy swampy Sunday saunter thru the walk just very muddy full of puddles "Aquathon" wudda been more appropriate.
Michael Ball Sprints Feltham Track No Berkley or Track-on-Field for me this month, went to Feltham with Kenny and did 2x100 and 3x60.
Mike Dennison Running 17kms More Hampton Streets 01:31:15 A bit more awkward for route finding as the 1980s housing estates are mazes of roads and paths with lots of choices. I didn't expect the mileage to be quite so high, either.
Neil Frediani Running 9miles Up north somewhere Sun pm With an interesting experiment to see which of two sets of running shoes gave the better grip on the frozen ground.
Paul Watt Running 5k Rushmoor Freedom Run Sat 00:21:01
Petra Otto Walking 6.96miles Local Sat 02:47:41 Cold, wet & windy.
Piers Keenleyside Running 10.5miles Ealing and Thames Sun Strava tracks only show 9.5 miles in 2:05:17 - I had trouble switching the watch on!
Roderick Hoffman Running 12.5km Yeading to Hillingdon Sun 01:24:30 Taking the dry routes including on a windy A40.
Sarah Gordon Running 5k Local streets Sat am 00:38:01 Getting out of the house felt like an achievement. Did my ‘not a Parkrun’ 5k in cold wet windy sleet and then happily ‘Stay at Home’ for the rest of the day.
Stephen Taylor Running 12.01miles Ealing HM Sun pm 02:05:28 A drizzly run around most of the Ealing half marathon route, I'll probably attempt the whole thing in February.
Steve Hillier Running 5k Local streets Sun 00:32:37 Same course as my Ross Barkley (see next week).

Neil's footware experiment. Clara's army range photoNeil (left) neglected to say which shoe proved the better performer - did he turn to the left or the right?

Clara (right) enjoying the scenery on the army range in January.

Roderick Hoffman

Basingstoke Canal

Last year, for various reasons, we set ourselves some running challenges. We wanted to explore new places by running new routes to increase our knowledge of our area and to dig into the rich history around here. Obviously, we also wanted to improve our cardiovascular performance, lengthen our runs and increase leg strength in readiness for what we all hope will be a long and successful athletic summer.

One such adventure has been completed, namely the Basingstoke canal, running from the junction with the River Wey in Woodham to Greywell Tunnel covering between 50 and 55 kilometers. The official website states the navigable stretch of water being 49.98km, the final distance marker stating 49.5km, county and rambling websites stating 53.5km and our own navigation aids showing it to be 55.7km....and for the purposes here, I will use our measurements and timings.

We decided to break the challenge into four stages with one stage being run each week.

Stage One - Woodham to Brookwood - 14.6km in 1hr 09.

This was the busiest leg with many people walking and running the canal: understandable as the most urban part of the route. Apart from having to cross the canal in Woking adjacent to the Peacocks Centre, there was very little clue as to where we actually were, which is rather difficult to explain. We were running through areas that we know very well but the perspective from the canal is completely different. The towpath is very flat and wide but we noticed that the further from town we got, the narrower, wetter and bumpier the path became. Three times the towpath crosses over the canal during this section with St.John’s and Brookwood being the other two where we had to cross the road over a bridge to the other side of the water.

Stage Two - Brookwood to Ash Lock - 14.9km in 1:14.

This stage becomes more rural but we soon discovered that we might be running this canal in the wrong direction...there are 17 locks in the first 8km and there was a 30-40m run up to each one! A very green run through the Army ranges, along part of the Frimley Lodge parkrun course and through Ash Vale and the fishing lakes.

Stage Three - Ash Lock to Crookham Village - 11km in 0:58.

Paul and Julie at Greywell TunnelThis is where we left the path and gravel towpath onto the mud. This leg touches the Rushmoor parkrun and past Farnborough airfield, through Fleet and along to Crookham village. After Fleet, we were in an area never explored and we both thought the area to be lovely.

Stage Four - Crookham Village to Greywell Tunnel - 15.7km in 1:21.

What we thought was to be the shortest section was in fact the longest. Not a disappointment though as through the countryside, past old waterside pubs and very few people: we only passed 6 other people in 15km until we reached Odiham Castle where some were visiting the old ruins. Very remote and green and best to run it accompanied as if injured there may not be anybody around to help. The path was very muddy and very narrow and because of all the rain, the water level was very high leaving us just a foot from the water in places.

The canal originally continued on to Basingstoke but now stops 8km short at Greywell Tunnel. The canal travelled for 1km through a tunnel but in 1932 it collapsed and was left in disrepair with the canal beyond the tunnel drying up and disappearing. The tunnel is now a protected area as it houses one of Europe’s largest bat roosts that includes five different species.

We recommend this run to anybody who wants to explore new areas. It starts in a busy town with concrete towpath and ends near a ruined castle at a remote protected tunnel. There are some beautiful areas, wonderful views with abundant wildlife, it is multi-terrain and quite tough but very much worth it.

Paul Watt and Julie Barcley

parkrun Groups

It may still be some time before anyone associated with the club, other than Caroline Yarnell, posts a parkrun result but if after one year of non-use you wanted to check that you can still remember your parkrun ID and password then you can update your parkrun profile with the different groups that you belong to. You can now be a member of up to five different groups, with one of them highlighted as your primary group. "First Claim" members of British Airways Athletics Club may like to make "British Airways AC" your primary group whereas those whose first claim club is another club could have BA as one of the other groups. Those of us who like to visit different parkruns might have "UK parkrun tourists" as another group joined and those who remain loyal to just one parkrun might have a parkrun linked group as one of their groups. Doing this should enable organisers and interested parties to check weekly participation - both for parkruns and also for (not)parkruns. However, having said that, with no events taking place it is difficult to prove that such reports will be useful. But you will have remembered your password.

Roderick Hoffman

Coronavirus Warning Footnote [changes from last week underlined or struck-through] (no changes)

In the UK exercise outside is permitted because it will boost physical and mental health and because the risk of catching Coronavirus outdoors is very low provided social distancing advice is kept to.

  • Do not exercise outside the house if you have been asked to isolate or you are unwell, particularly if you have symptoms of the coronavirus such as a fever, or if you share a house with someone who has these symptoms, or if you consider yourself to be vulnerable, such as being elderly or with pre-existing health conditions,
  • You may drive to outdoor publicly accessible open spaces but you are advised to stay 'local' (defined as "in the village, town, or part of the city where you live."), you are also advised to minimise the amount of time spent outside your home and you should follow social distancing guidance whilst you are out. Further advice is to reduce public transport and shared car journeys and do not cross the "Tier 3" boundary (in either direction).
  • Tier 4 rules only allow you to exercise on your own, with people in your linked household (bubble), as part of child-care or with one other person. You are advised to exercise just once per day and to minimise the variety of people you meet over the weeks of lockdown. Exercising your pet is allowed in addition, but only on your own.
  • As you exercise, keep 2m away from all others including those you run with as well as those you meet on the run, by default diverting around those you meet (don't leave it up to them to avoid you),
  • Do not push yourself too far, this may weaken your defences against the virus and/or increase the probability of requiring assistance. We all have different limits so you need to judge what would be too far for you,
  • If government instructions are updated to limit or prevent exercising outside your homes, or to meet with fewer people, please respect such instructions - we should be fighting the virus, not authority.

If you are unwell yourself, especially if you have symptoms of the virus:

  • Put your needs first...
  • but please let me (Roderick Hoffman) or Steve Hillier know of your condition/status, but we will keep it to ourselves unless you ask us to pass information on.

Shared club activities are not permitted in Tier 4.  For when the situation changes any club member may be permitted to organise a shared activity. We recommend the social distancing gap of 2metres although "1meter+" can be followed during the activity itself.  To legitimize a run with more than six participants:

  • The chairman (Roderick) or the secretary (Steve Hillier) must be notified in advance that the event is taking place,
  • One of the participants must be a paid-up member of the BA Athletics Club and must be prepared to perform the duties of a "Covid-19 Coordinator", if more than six attend we recommend that that member wears a BAAC top or distinctive clothing,
  • Participants, and the activity, should not cross the "Tier 3" boundary or the "Tier 4" boundary (in either directions).
  • A risk assessment has to be raised based on this template,
  • The considerations within the risk assessment must be followed,
  • After the activity perform a review of the risk assessment and log and pass on any issues or lessons learned.

Next Digest - Results, news, pictures, feedback, jokes, stories - send them to the editor, Roderick Hoffman, at

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