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BA Athletics Club News Digest 4th May 2020

Events - see below:

Inclusions, with photos, please to Roderick Hoffman at

Solo Events Calendar

Week of Monday… Midweek Challenge Weekend Challenge Weekend Solo Run
27th April what3words challenge none Best weekend exercise achievement
4th May Solo Mile [see below] none Best weekend exercise achievement
11th May Solo Pairs Scrabble Scramble Green Belt Relay solo
team run # [ROM]
Best weekend achievement (if not in relay)
18th May Track-on-Field [T&F GP day]
1500/800/400/200/100 # [CIE]
none Best weekend exercise achievement
25th May Virtually 5k none Best weekend exercise achievement
1st June Solo Mile none Best weekend exercise achievement
8th June tba Street Spelling? none Best weekend exercise achievement
15th June Track-on-Field
Run-of-the-Month # (tba) Best weekend exercise achievement
22nd June tba I Spy? none Best weekend exercise achievement

This week was the week for the Speedbird Ladies race. The reason we are not holding a solo 5k race this week is because the Speedbird Ladies is not cancelled, just postponed. We remain optimistic that we will be able to safely and officially operate the event before the end of August.

All face-to-face events are off until at least the end of May and probably June, but the club continues to operate with the Solo runs listed above - these ARE still permitted but see the Coronavirus footnote at the end of this digest.

* Please suggest formats for runs with the "tba" in the above table.

Roderick Hoffman

Midweek Challenges

This week the challenge is simple - just run one mile and submit your time, for instance by filling in the table below and forwarding to, by the end of Friday. The mile could be measured by GPS on your watch or by your phone and ideally should be a a straight or circular route rather than an out and back due to recording issues at the turnaround point. Run on tarmac unless you'd prefer a different surface or live close enough to an underused track.
Participant Location Day Start Time Duration/Time  Comment

Next week Steve Hillier is organising a Scrabble Scramble challenge:

Next week's midweek challenge involves running, or walking, and a bit of word construction.  I'll put you into teams of two, so you will have plenty of moral support!  Please sign up as soon as possible, and enjoy!

Here are the details:

This midweek challenge is designed for runners and walkers.  You will be allocated into teams of two.  Your team aim will be to collect as many Scrabble tiles as possible, then turn them into the highest scoring word or set of words.  Here’s the plan:

  • Tuesday 12th:  Let me know you want to enter by 1700 at the latest:  By midnight I will have let you know who your partner is.
  • Wednesday 13th:  Each of you should run for 40 minutes, or walk for an hour.  As soon as you have finished your run, email me your distance covered in kilometers.  I will send you one Scrabble tile for each km completed, together with a template board to fill in.
  • Thursday 14th:  As a team, fill in the Scrabble board with the highest scoring combination of words you can think of, and return to me by midnight.  Maximum individual word length is seven letters.

I hope that makes sense!

Steve Hillier

Then on 18th May we will repeat the Track-on-Field exercise and the following week we'll celebrate what would have been the Vitality 10k week with a Virtility 5k race, that Steve Taylor will be organising. Expect details for this next week.

I've started to pencil in events for June also, but let's not worry about them yet.

Roderick Hoffman

Green Belt Relay (virtual) 16th / 17th May #

Chris Kelly in the Green Belt RelayThe photograph shows the start of stage 20 of the Green Belt Relay in 2014.  Paul Sinton-Hewett can be seen in the blue in center.  The GBR organisers say, "...a bit of a GBR legend having not only run every race since 2006 but frequently doubled up on stages too, so he's run 30 stages, and the gruesome stage 4 eight times. Ooof.", not of PSH but of Chris Kelly our runner to the right of Paul.

Chris is our team captain and was firming up our team for this year's event which was due to be held over the weekend of 16th and 17th of May.  Obviously that is now cancelled but we would still like to take it on as a virtual team challenge [but "challenge" is the right word to use]. It will be the Club Run-of-the-Month.

Normally we are a team of 11 and each member runs once on the Saturday and once on the Sunday. Between us we cover a 220 mile circumference of Greater London (usually just outside the M25, on country lanes and paths). That means that the average leg is 10 miles long and start times are from 08:30 on the Saturday to 17:07 on the Sunday - they are FIXED start times and daytime only.

This year in the virtual event we would like to do all of the legs with the correct start times and distances but, obviously, around the local area of each team member. The priority would be to complete the 22 stages, how long it takes us isn't important. We'll miss out on the varied terrain, the driving logistics and the constant company but we can't have everything.  I've already raised this in Facebook and I've already had enough interest to guarantee the first full team and we are not far off being able to field a second - and I'll be happy to include walkers (but not cyclists or rowers). Everyone will be given two runs (other than those only available on one of the days). So, are you in? Please select ONE of the following and if you have time constraints please indicate that in a comment (e.g. "I can't do Sunday until 12:00").

  • Able to run both days for a total of 15 miles.
  • Able to run both days for a total of 19 miles.
  • Able to run both days for a total of 23 miles.
  • Only able to run on the Saturday but could do at least 10 miles.
  • Only able to run on the Sunday but could do at least 9 miles.

Please let me know by the end of Tuesday because on Wednesday I'd like to put names to stages so that everyone has ten days to make any swaps needed and to plan routes of the right length for each of their two runs. I'll also set up the appropriate WhatsApp group.

Roderick Hoffman (email me or use Facebook)

Midweek SOLO what3words Results

Well, that was an interesting diversion from serious running. But 24 of us had sufficient computing skills to look up the what3word codes for three of the locations on our midweek run and put together a new three-word phase from the nine total words. (see )

Runner Home Point1 Point2 Answer Comment Location Near Distance (miles)
Julie Barclay Racing.Harder.
SO TRUE La Canada Flintridge, LA, California, USA 5440
Barry Walters Zoom.Branch.
Sacramento, California, USA 5275
Simon Turton Skirt.Cobras.
S.E. India 5200
Amanda Coombs Probe.moves.
Ran in the rain, which was lovely – only saw two people. San Antonio, Texas, USA 5000
Stephen Taylor Book.kept.
Not an easy set but maybe a reference to apartheid is in there Redmond, Seattle, Washington state, USA 4780
Paul Watt Racing.Harder.
 So said Little Stoke! Quincy, Washington state, USA 4750
John & Benita Scaife Activates.
Let's hope so anyway Healy, Alaska, USA 4280
Jacqui Musselwhite Slot.sleepy.
We are having to have our pints at home! Florence, Huntsville, Alabama, USA 4280
Maartin and Jacob Stenham
When life returns to normal a Couple will have Smiled at the Chefs.  Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA 4016
Keith Johnson coffee.leaned.
As a lover of coffee this suits me just fine. Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA 4010
Ian Hudson tummy.coast.
what I want at the end of each run. Seneca, Illinois, USA (Heritage Harbour parkrun) 4000
Sarah Gordon bronze.beast.
Horrible traffic even during lockdown! Watseka, Illinois, USA 3950
Steve Hillier petal.liner.
…for protection in case the PETAL DRILL STRUCK! Roxboro, North Caroline, USA 3850
Trish McCabe stress.nurses.
to all the NHS frontline workers making sacrifices every day thank you Cleeveland, USA 3750
Janet Smith Scam.Flap.
Hopefully less people being fined for visiting the Lake District . Cleveland, Ohio, USA 3730
Neil Frediani post.slang.
Describe our post on Saturdays since deliveries have been stopped. Fernway, Pennsylvania, USA 3710
Piers Keenleyside healthier.deeper.
Advice for us all Lake Shore, Balimore, Maryland, USA 3630
Gary Rushmer Saving.silver.
Earning his cooking badge Baltimore, Maryland, USA 3620
Chris Stockwell FAILS.INTRO.
Mill Hall, Pennsylvania, USA 3600
Michael Ball fancy.dollar.
Anticipating visiting the money exchange when lockdown is over Big Trout Lake, middle of nowhere in Canada 3500
Chris Kelly boxer.oldest.
Not really appropriate, yet, but if this goes on.... who knows! Utsjoki, Lapland, Norway 1570
Alice Banks Orange.snow.
Stepps, North Lanarkshire, UK 330
Harjit Jhooti walks.anyone.
Stocksbridge, Sheffield, UK 146
Roderick Hoffman chase.gaps.
Reminds me of parkrun. Capel in Suffolk, UK 25

Now I had announced that the winner would be the person who posted the most apt or amusing three-word phase. Trish McCabe almost jumped the start, and posted "nurses.turned.legend" which was clearly going to be almost impossible to beat and so it proved so Trish is the first winner of this event. Julie's "" was judged second best followed by the almost as apt "runner.moves.miles" (Amanda) and "activities.slower.fattening" (the Scaifes).

HOWEVER, I announced that there would be another winner, and in truth I always intended this, which would be to the individual who's new three-word phase was for a location the furthest distance away. The table is ordered by this so the second winner is Julie Barclay since her "" is a location in Los Angelis, California, roughly 5440 miles from Woking. Now, I expected that these locations would be scattered around the world but it is obvious that they aren't - most of our locations are in the USA. It is obvious from this that the distribution of words in the what3words algorithm concentrates certain words to regions including the USA and the UK as one such region. Quite how Simon Turton escaped to India I haven't worked out! You'll notice that the one person who knew the criteria for this second winner failed to exploit his knowledge - with my "" being just 25 miles from where I live. I note in retrospect that "chase.chimp.suffer" is 4980 miles away near Albuquerque in New Mexico.

For those pining for parkrun's return I found that "park.runs.return" is on the apron of Louisville International Airport in Kentucky, USA, less than a parkrun distance away from Joe Creason parkrun which would have had its second birthday last Saturday. Hopefully we'll all be back there (and elsewhere) soon.

If it starts to rain you can spend hours on the what3word website - for instance the reception desk at my mum's assisted living apartments is at inspector.visit.hurray!

Roderick Hoffman

Round-the-Block Table update

Last month's two club points scoring events have now been processed in our annual Round-the-Block table and I can announce that the first four club members to exceed ten points in the table are Steve Hillier, Gary Rushmer, Steve Newell and myself. Well done and thank you to all four of them/us. Steve Hillier has got points from taking part in 11 of the 13 points scoring events we have held so far this year - and the only two he skipped were the ladies cross-country events where he was elsewhere, running in the men's.

77 of us are listed in the table so expect many more of us to get the ten points needed for recognition. The next two events are the Run-of-the-Month Green Belt Relay (virtual) and the Solo Track-on-Field (Club In-house Event) on 20th May.

Roderick Hoffman

SOLO activity achievement weekend 1st to 4th May 2020

We are back up to 33 attendees and those of us who ran or walked did a total of 248km (and that is only counting 6miles of Denis' 26).

Colleague Activity Distance Course Start Time Run Time Comments
Alice Banks Running 5.27miles Maidenhead Thicket Sun am 00:51:03 Also yellow leg of the marathon rainbow.
Amanda Coombs Triathlon garden and local Sun noon S&C circuit / 20km cycle / 5km run in 26:59
Andy Rayner Running 4miles XC Sat am 00:50:31 Conditions very difficult [earlier in the week I had done 49:03]
Barry Walters Jog/Walk 5k The Lookout, Bracknell Sat am 00:33:10 Including 20 minutes steady running
Benita Scaife Running 5miles Bisham Woods / Cookham Dean Common Fri 00:53:39
Chris Kelly Running 5k Sonning parkrun Mon am 00:40:18 Slower, later, enthusiasm under fire…
Chris Stockwell Walking 14.46miles Windsor Great Park Sat am 04:10:00 A beautiful morning for a stroll in Windsor Park, hardly anyone about.
Clara Halket Running 16.15km Looks like the ranges again Sat am Unknown
Denis Foxley Running 26miles 26.2 Challenge Whole week 04:30:00 2x6miles, 2x5miles and 1x4mile. Very pleased as a year ago I couldn’t run more than 3 miles and then needed 3 days recovery.
Gary Rushmer Running 8.42miles Cooper's Hill Sat am 01:13:01 Hill work 5x1mile. 1,084ft elevation gain. Forgot how hard hills are!
Harjit Jhooti Treadmill 21.34km Home Sat am 02:12:58 Whilst watching Military Wives
Jain Reid Running 14.16km Richmond Park Sun 11am 01:32:25 Amended route due to increased in weekend crowd numbers.
Jan Jones Running 5k Beddington Park Fri 01May 0:32:02
Janet Smith Running 5.2miles Eton Sat am 00:57:07 Beautiful Saturday morning run
John Scaife Running 5miles Bisham Woods / Cookham Dean Common Fri 00:53:40 Still muddy in the woods after recent rainy days.
Julie Barclay Freedom Run 5k Crane Park Sat 02May   0:21:59 Equal course Pb but had to open the gate!
Keith Johnson Running 5k Non ParkRun Course Around Highfield In St Albans Sat 00:24:30 On my same Saturday route just so I have a level of consistency like a ParkRun. 
Maria Jovani Running 10miles Three parkrun venues Sat am 01:17:49 Visits to Bedfont, Hanworth and Crane parkrun courses
Michael Ball Running 5miles Sun am Run and Circuit training
Mike Dennison Running 12.16km To, around and from Hanworth parkrun course. Sat pm parkrun in 21:12
Mike Dennison Cycling 24.83km post to post (box) Sun 01:24:56 Searching for different monarch's pillar boxes.
Neil Frediani Running 9miles Towards Chertsey Sun am 01:29:41
Olivia Jones Running 7.5k Beddington Park  Fri 01May 0:42:06 [Jan's daughter]
Paul Brandon Turbo Cycling 15.2m/24.3k My garage Sat PM 59:21:00 Steady ride while watching TV
Paul Watt Freedom Run 5k Crane Park Sat 02May   0:21:01 Course Pb but No marshal to keep gate open
Piers Keenleyside Cycling 8miles Ealing Post Boxes Sun 01:02:52 Recce for forthcoming Ealing Eagles Solo Lockdown Post Box Street-O
Roderick Hoffman Running 13.16km Wings for Life (Virtual) Hillingdon Sun 12:00 01:24:40 See below
Scott Davison Cycling 21miles Hampton Court Sat am 00:01:52 Via Bedfont/Hanworth/Crane Park. Never seen so many cyclists at Hampton Court. Next time I'll use racer not mountain bike!!!
Simon Turton Running 7.39miles Henley to Twyford Sat pm 01:02:55 Kept it steady with a couple of good hills (for those that know the area, White Hill (A4130) and Bowsey Hill). Good workout in the afternoon sun
Stephen Taylor Running 13.14km Perivale and Sudbury Sat am 02:10:43 The usual Saturday distance and not a particularly scenic route but one I know well so a good time to switch off and think of nothing in particular.
Steve Hillier Cycling 2x10miles Local Sat/Sun 2x1hour The first in windy conditions, the second in dead calm.
Steve Newell Indoor Rowing 6800m Equivalent to Boat Race distance Sat am 28:17.7 Big improvement (or the tide?)
Trish McCabe Running 8miles To Long Wood via Grand Union Canal Sun Inspired by Roderick’s photos I took a trip to see the beautiful bluebells. Well worth a visit!

Same again next weekend. Submit your best performance of the weekend by filling in the following form and sending it to me OR replying to the message on Facebook (or any other messaging format to me).

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

Roderick Hoffman {submit by 5pm on Monday}

parkrun Update

Several new parkruns have also been announced since the worldwide lockdown started. I think I've added about 40 to my map, showing parkrun by region, including five in the UK.

Roderick Hoffman

parkrun is in lockdown for at least the next five weeks but it is still possible to register and get a barcode.  Last week Bedfont Lakes gained three more registrations even though there is no prospect of being able to use that brand new barcode at the end of Saturday morning 5km anytime soon.

Parkrun calendar bingo

I have written on this topic briefly before and my advice is that unless you are blessed by exceptional patience, bloody minded persistence and most important of all perpetual youth then don’t get involved.

Around the time I reached 365 parkruns and getting close to the middle of no-mans-land halfway between 250 and 500 I idly sorted my runs by month and day to see if there were any months for which I already had a complete set of dates 1-30 or 31. No, I hadn’t.  I had duplicates on numerous dates throughout the year and several dates missing in every month of the year, even after including volunteer mornings.

I knew I’d never done a parkrun on a 29th February but that there would be leap day Saturday in 2020.  Then I realised that the next one wouldn’t be until 2048 so looking back now with parkrun suspended since the middle of March I’m very pleased that I managed to get a tailwalker slot at Bedfont Lakes on Saturday 29th February 2020.

Saturdays in 2020 last appeared in 2014 (January and February) and 2015 (March to December) when I was doing a parkrun most Saturdays so I wasn’t short of too many of the dates coming up in 2020.  The next one I need is 30th May and with parkrun suspended everywhere until at least the end of May that one will have to wait now until 2026.  Dates generally come round every five or six years governed by the leap year cycle, but sometimes it can eleven years.  Dates from 2010 haven’t come up again since then but are due next year (2021).  Dates you missed in 2019 won’t crop up again until 2030.

Christmas Day (25th December), hasn’t been on a Saturday since 2010 when parkrun was really still in its early development.  While many venues have staged extra Christmas Day parkruns in recent years it will be interesting to see how many will take place when it is a normal parkrunday (aka Saturday). Inevitably some landowners and local authorities will withhold permission.  Maybe the  briefing could be replaced by a blessing from the chaplain and a reminder that the gravest sin of all is to forget to bring your barcode. Or, maybe, just maybe, parkrunners won’t be allowed to start unless they are carrying a virus tracking device from start to finish. Download the NHS app and chip timing is a thing of the past as long as you are virus free and the timekeeper with blue teeth is oozing antibodies(?) This could be the beginning of the end.

Steve Newell

Running Shorts

  • This link: attachments/2020 Colour Quiz Answers.docx should take you to a file with the answers to Linda's Colours Quiz that we have documented so far. I've asked Linda for the remaining answers and I'll fill them in when I get them.
  • Our Virtual Relay team ended up raising £388 for White Lodge through the 2.6 challenge initative.

Triathlon News - Tokyo Olympics

The Games of the XXXII Olympiad (or maybe 699th for Ancient Greeks) have been rescheduled to take place in Tokyo from 23rd July to 8th August 2021.  According to the original timetable we would probably have known by now which triathletes we could expect to see lining up on the starting pontoon but everything is on hold due to the worldwide coronavirus pandemic.

We are probably all familiar with the way Track & Field athletes gain Olympic selection with three slots being available for each country in each event subject to individuals meeting a minimum standard (e.g. for the Marathon 2:11:30 for men and 2:29:30 for women).  To encourage everyone, each country may often be able to enter one athlete even if the qualifying standard hasn't been reached.

As with the Marathon, the Olympic triathlon competitions are straight finals and numbers are limited to the width of the pontoon used for the dive in start for the swim.  The men's and women's individual races (1500m swim, 40km bike and 10km run),are held separately but in Tokyo there will also be, for the first time, a mixed team relay with two males and two females each completing a swim (300m), bike (8km) and run (2km) before handing over to the next teammate.  Triathlon will also feature in the Paralympics with races over 750m swim, 20km bike and 5km run. The bike and run sections will feature handcycles and wheelchairs for some categories.  The open water swim will be held in the Odaiba Marine Park for all the events.

The 55 slots in the individual events are eagerly sought after and the max three per country rule still applies.  There is no qualification time as such as each course is unique so the system relies on world ranking positions on the close off date (now moved, we don't know for how long). Some athletes qualified by doing well in a test event held in Japan in 2019.  Generally you need to be the world top 140 to stand a chance of being considered.  Possibly the top 180 because the Olympic movement falls over backwards to be as inclusive as possible and would like to see at least one competitor from each continent.   As usual, anyone failing a dope test, in or out of competition, can forget about it.
The slots for the mixed relay will also depend on world relay rankings as there have been enough races over the last few years for these to become established.  We are likely to see the same athletes in the individual and relay races although I suspect there will be travelling reserves.

Alistair Brownlee (GB) won the triathlon in London (2012) and Rio de Janeiro (2016) and was certainly considering trying to achieve the hat trick.  He has ambitions to win the Ironman in Hawaii as well and has already qualified for the 2020 race scheduled for mid October, just a couple of weeks before WARR (not on the same island).  I wonder how the Yorkshire police treat him.  It must be difficult to differentiate between cycling to work and cycling at work.

Steve Newell

Wings for Life (virtual race)

So on Sunday I had entered the annual Wings for Life race. This is the one where David Coulthard gives the runners a thirty-minute head start before chasing after them in a racing car, initially at a slow speed but building up to 30km/h. The event takes place at dozens of venues around the world all starting at 12:00 UK time and raising money for research into spinal injuries.

Roderick on Wings 4 Life runObviously this year the physical races were cancelled, all around the world, but the event was still held but as a virtual event. I worked out that if I pushed myself I was capable of achieving 13km before being caught but, clearly, I needed a course that would be relatively clear of family groups and dog walkers. I planned to start across the far side of the retail estate I live by and head out to the A40 at the Polish War Memorial (over a hill to get to it) and then have the flat length of the A40 alongside RAF Northolt. This would take me about 6k out, I could then spend 1k in a convenient loop around North Hillingdon (but give the CoOp a wide berth) and have the 6k home to make up the 13k. This worked perfectly and I achieved the 13k with the APP on my phone announcing that I had been caught just after I'd passed my starting post. The only pedestrian congestion I'd encountered was at that finish point where there were two family groups passing as I approached but I did manage to avoid them. I was encouraged on the A40 by the sight, a literal mile away, of a bright yellow shirt identical to my own coming towards me. It was clearly someone who lived in Uxbridge who was doing the same event but in the opposite direction to me. We were able to exchange waves both on the way out and on the way back - and I've been able to find him on LinkedIn and send him the photo of himself as he approached me. It is really good when things like that work out.

In the overall event there were 77,103 registered of which at least 66,239 achieved times.  These came from 104 different countries and ran 924,960km between them and raised at least 2.8 million euro for the spinal cord injuries research. The leading lady ran 54.2k before being caught, the leading man was Ultra Runner Michael Taylor running near Cambridge who ran 69.9km in 4hrs 11minutes.


There is a dilemma here in that I've previously suggested that nobody should be running to extremes and that the most I'd be willing to report on by a club runner would be 15 miles, and 69.9km is clearly in excess of this. Now, I've got no problem with a club member doing a once a week four hour walk around the more sparsely frequented areas of Windsor Great Park (i.e. Chris). That puts the NHS under less pressure than a lockdown breaker visiting a friend's home for five minutes. But running for four hours, with tripping hazards and crossing roads when tired, is a much higher risk. I've also previously hinted at a concern over cyclists over two hours' walk away from home - but I'm happy to include them in our weekend exercise list on the unchecked assumption that they do have a contingency rescue plan from within their household. Hopefully the lockdown will start to be relaxed before the end of May and any apparent contradictions can be put aside.

Roderick Hoffman

Coronavirus Warning Footnote

In the UK exercise outside is still permitted because it will boost physical and mental health. The relevant law in England states, "No person may leave the place where they are living without reasonable excuse...a reasonable excuse includes the take exercise either alone or with other members of their household". The word "need" is not defined, and you could be challenged on your interpretation. In line with government guidance; whose purpose is your health, the health of those around you and reducing demand on NHS and other services; we advise you as follows:

  • Do not conduct a solo run if 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,
  • Do not conduct a solo run if you consider yourself to be, or others consider you to be, vulnerable, such as being elderly OR with pre-existing health conditions,
  • Do not travel unnecessarily far to a location for a run - use a local or nearby park or leisure route. Your judgment is needed on this point, for instance it could be that your nearest park is busy with other people, but you live a short drive away from empty open countryside,
  • Do not meet up with others to conduct a solo run,
  • As you run keep 2m away from all others - by default diverting around them (don't leave it up to them to avoid you),
  • Do not push yourself too far, this may weaken your defenses 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. For club solo events we will not include running distances of more than 15 mile length (25km),
  • If government instructions are updated to limit or prevent exercising outside your homes please respect such instructions - we should be fighting the virus, not authority.

If you are unwell yourself, potentially with 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.

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

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