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BA Athletics Club News Digest 5th October 2020

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

Events Calendar - online here

Unrestricted races are still few and far between 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. 

Roderick Hoffman

Diary and Events

In the distributed version of the digest you may need to click on the diary heading to open up the full online version. You can also access the diary from our website at

I've added the 39th World Airline Road Race virtual run. This 5k or 10k (in a WARR shirt) can be run anytime up to the 25th October.

Any difficulties, questions or suggestions - please get in touch via .

This Week's Events

Send me your results for instance by filling in the tables below and forwarding to

Solo / Shared Mile:

Run one mile and send me your time. I'll then produce a fancy graph showing your time this month compared to those of other people and previous runs this year. No one has offered to host a shared run so there isn't the option this month. 

Participant Location Day Start Time Duration/Time  Comment

Weekend Achievement:

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

Next Week's Midweek Challenge - We need your help for a record attempt!

This week we are asking you just to run a mile, but next week the midweek challenge may appear to be even easier, we simply want you to walk a mile, any mile, on any course and at any time in the week. Now, 35 of you registered results in this week's digest, up from last week's 24. The most we've ever had is about 48, in the week of the virtual marathon relay in April. However the club has got about 100 members and close friends, and this digest is distributed to the email addresses of at least 200 different people. So, next week, for the easy one-mile walk challenge let us see how many of us can submit a time. I would hope that the total will be a record nearer the 200 than to 24.

For some of you, completing a mile may be a challenge enough, but others will want a performance challenge as well. If you expect to quote a walk time of less than about ten minutes (so faster than 6mph) please "take steps" to ensure your walking style is valid.  We don't have enough officials with the club to assign judges for each walk attempt, so you have to self-monitor.

Now, would I teach a chicken to lay an egg? You all know how to walk, but powerwalking can be as alien to us as laying an egg:

  • A walk is a walk - one foot must be on the ground at all times. This means that as you step forward you will have both feet on the ground. Consciously think about that as you walk. Instead of "jumping" forward as you run, the walking technique is to pull yourself forward with the foot that is firmly on the ground.
  • Maintain an upright pose, don't lean forward. Use your arms, they will help you walk faster. Keep them bent at about 90-degrees and push your left arm forward as your right leg advances, right arm with your left leg. Your hand shouldn’t rise above your collarbone and shouldn’t cross the center of your body. Practice this in slow motion.
  • With each step land on your heel, pull yourself forward using the sole of the foot and then lift off from the heel. Use short strides and gradually increase the pace. Don't worry about your bum wriggling - don't exaggerate this, but don't try to stop it either.
  • Practice - powerwalking for a whole mile will use muscles like they haven't been used in years and you wouldn't want to injure yourself not-running. So make sure that you have practiced over a 1/4 mile distance on a previous day to undertaking the mile challenge.

In the results, I may highlight the time taken by participants but it may be to highlight the slowest since I suspect that they will have had the bigger challenge!

Please plan to take part in this record attempt next week.

Roderick Hoffman

Last Week's Midweek Challenge - Ross Barkley

You may have noticed that the training has paid off and Ross scored for his new club Aston Villa in the rout of Liverpool at the weekend.

The BA club has had five "Ross Barkley" runs over the last month, two by Eddie, and I've reproduced below all of the club results I'm aware of:

Date Runner Location Distance Total Time Running Time Comment
14-Jun Adrian Haines Lancing 5k 00:48:50 00:12:50 25x200m on road with 90s breaks
17-Jul Roderick Hoffman Northala Fields 5k 00:55:21 00:24:06 17 independent sprints of about 300m each
24-Jul Amanda Coombs Shepperton 5k 00:45:00 00:20:45 Sprint - I just ran hard until I’d had enough and stopped.
10-Aug Roderick Hoffman Northala Fields 5k 01:17:18 00:23:34 26 independent sprints of about 200m each
15-Aug Eddie Giles Treadmill 5k 00:28:29 00:23:29 500m x 10 , 30secs in between.
19-Aug Micheal Ball Osterley 5k 00:32:19 00:23:18
19-Aug Barry Walters Osterley 5k 00:27:04
19-Aug Steve Hillier Osterley 5k 00:37:52 00:28:52
06-Sep Eddie Giles Treadmill 5k 00:30:00 00:25:00 5x1000m with 1min rest between runs
26-Sep Barry Walters Swinley Forest 5k 00:29:00 00:25:00 5x5 minutes with 1 minute recovery
29-Sep Roderick Hoffman Spikes Bridge 5k 00:44:02 00:22:58 12x400m and 1x200m
29-Sep Eddie Giles Figsbury Ring 5k 00:32:14 00:24:14 5x1000m with 2min rest between runs
02-Oct Micheal Ball Byfleet 5k 00:23:21 Wet and windy. Random distances and pausing the watch at the stops

Note that there is no right-nor-wrong with the Ross Barkley. It is up to you to decide what works for you to fit in 5ks distance in a single session - either to achieve a good Ross Barkley time, or to undertake an exhausting training session that fits into your overall fitness plan. The Liverpool defenders are now adopting a 100x50m session over a 45minute duration, to be repeated 15 minutes later.

All Ross Barkley performances will now contribute to October's report, which will be published in the digest of 2nd November.

Roderick Hoffman

Virtual London Marathon 2020 (April's "Run-of-the-Month" #) Results

Results by club members and friends include the following. Well done to all. Apologies to those missed off - but please let me know.

Participant Number Time Route Comment
Fraser Cameron 10112 04:19:51 Basingstoke Canal The weather and the trail based route I chose, meant I had to zigzag and navigate around large flood patches.
Murray Hogge 13190 03:49:08 Around Reading
Frankie Hogge 13191 03:47:45 Around Reading
Mike Dennison 13882 04:04:45 Bushy Park I started with Maria but got left behind after about half way. I blame it on lack of training and the weather.
Clara Halket 14911 06:13:05 Lightwater Also officially "06:03:15". Started just after midnight in the winds and rain {and dark}.
Victoria Balandis 15355 03:59:36
Melanie Miller 16234 08:41:35 A wonderful shared experience running with everyone else and being virtual meant I wasn’t up against a ‘strict’ clock
Jain Reid 17868 05:13:00 Thames path Hammersmith to Tower Bridge and back My slowest marathon for some time but glad to have finished.
Sarah Freeman Smith 18410 05:31:20
Steve Barrington 20694 04:23:43
Emma Moreton 21861 04:24:29 Shepperton 2-mile river loop Thanks to an amazing support crew and different runners joining me for laps, today’s v.VLM was very enjoyable!
David Duggan 25436 05:39:19 Bushy Park "Hills" Strava crediting me with 5,591 feet of elevation!
Trish McCabe 26061 05:19:14 Hounslow, Bushy and Hampton Having run the hottest London Marathon on record I can now add the wettest to the collection.
Maria Jovani 26480 03:45:26 Bushy Park Not my fastest marathon, not my slowest, but it certainly was the wettest.
Piers Keenleyside 27511 06:56:26 Lammas and Walpole parks 50/50 jog/walk strategy. Worked quite well and I felt more comfortable than last week.
David Roberts 27593 We loved it ... apart from the weather!
Stephen Taylor 30072 04:43:49 Ealing parks Wet, cold and windy but having others run with me and some local support made it an easier run.
SJ Roberts 40987 We loved it ... apart from the weather!
Many of you have posted to Facebook and some have emailed reports and photos to Steve Hillier. I'll present some highlights in next week's digest but any considered reports sent to me will obviously take priority (since they'll require less effort from me).

Note that Clara ran from midnight because that was the only way she could fit a long run in prior to reporting for duty to operate a Heathrow to Dallas flight! Fancy walking the Atlantic Ocean just after completing a marathon! And she reported that her run was at "Lightwater" - nobody else reported anything about the water having being light.

Whilst running his marathon, or shortly afterwards, Stephen became a grandfather. So more than one family member had the hard work to do, and the congratulations to be recieved.

Roderick Hoffman

London Marathon 2021

Well done to everyone who took part in yesterday's Virtual Marathon.

Next year's race will be on Sunday 3 October 2021.  Entries are now open, and will close on Friday 9th October at 17:00.  BAAC receive an allocation of places for members and marshals who have been unsuccessful in this ballot.  We don't know how many we are likely to be given in 2021, but it is likely to be fewer than usual.

If you think you may want to run in next year's race, please apply to London Marathon this week.  Most 2020 runners have deferred their entries to 2021, so with fewer places left, competition for places will be fiercer than ever!

Enter online now:

Steve Hillier

Also Rans: SOLO Activity Achievements, Weekend 2nd to 5th October 2020

This week 17 members and friends reported activities in addition to the 18 who ran the vVLM, so 35 in all (plus other colleagues helped some of the vVLM runners without reporting in themselves - please correct this since I'm happy to credit you with club points #).

Colleague Activity Distance Course Start Time Run Time Comments
Amanda Coombs Running 6miles Shepperton # Sun 00:58:02 Ran 3 loops with Emma as part of her vVLM.
Andy Rayner Running Shortened XC Sun 00:37:00 Across flooded fields. Once committed I had to keep going! 'Big Muddy' but worse! Water waist high at one point!
Barry Walters Running 10k Ladyhill Park and back Sun am 00:53:43 This was a steady run on tarmac in unpleasant conditions.
Ben Cooper Running 3.79km BAMC (BA Maintenance Cardiff) Mon am 00:17:57 Very wet and windy but still much slower than expected.
Benita Scaife Running 5km Wycombe Rye freedom parkrun Sat 00:35:49 The Rye was boggy and the paths puddle-strewn but we paddled round.
Chris Kelly Running HalfM Devizes Half Marathon Sun am 01:43:03 First "real" race for a year. Multiple wave starts, Marshals, Medals.
Christine Munden Running 4.8km Wormwood Scrubs Sat   1km warmup, 1km fast, recovery, 2x600m + recovery, 2x300m + recovery, 1km cooldown.
Eddie Giles Running 1mile Treadmill Sat pm 00:07:53 Practice for this week's Solo Mile challenge.
Harry Wild Running Local Weekly 00:30:00 4x a week a mixture of short runs, 70m, 100m and 200m and walking. I need 30 sec. rest between the runs.
Joe Nolan Running 5k Black spark {sic} Sat am 00:31:50 Ed: It was so damp I'm surprised you got a spark at all ;-) .
John Scaife Running 5km Wycombe Rye freedom parkrun Sat 00:35:49 Retreated to a newly discovered coffee shop, The Front Room in Castle Street, recommended.
Maarten Stenham Running 10k Ashford / Laleham / Staines Sun pm 00:49:48
Michael Ball Duathlon 12miles/5miles Sun am 12 mile bike ride 5 mile run / walk and gym
Petra Otto Running 5k vOktoberfest Run Sun 00:38:21 On March parkrun course. Nearly five minutes improvement on last week!
Roderick Hoffman Running 23PBs Yeading Mon lunch 01:38:45 Orienteering to 23 local Post Boxes (all those in the 1:10000 area) over 14.19km
Simon Turton Running 12.94km Henley loop Fri pm 01:14:52 It was wet, muddy, undulating & almost dark in places in the woods.... I loved it!
Steve Hillier Running 4miles Local Sun 00:42:18 Via Rayners Lane lakes, Eastcote flood plain and South Ruislip swamp.

Roderick Hoffman

Kings Cross Street-O - September

Three of us took part in the first organised Street-O event of the season around Kings Cross. Our performances are as follows:

Participant controls points time penalties net points comment
Simon Turton 19 520 0:59:35 0 520 5th overall
Roderick Hoffman 15 430 1:05:14 -180 250 19th overall
Amanda Coombs 9+ 190 >1:00:00 n/a n/a Failed to get back to the start.
Simons course in the Street-O

There were 22 finishers in the event, not including those like Amanda who failed to get back to the start. The guy at the top scored 770 points from 30 controls with no time penalties. The map shows the course he took and also the course that Simo nran - Simon can be pleased that he did get one control that the winner didn't!

Both Amanda and I had problems getting some of the controls to register - particularly those at the foot of tall buildings. Kings Cross Street-O Control 26I was able to take a photograph of the answer at control "25" ("3 Pancras Square", below) yet my Garmin reports I circled it with a radius of 51metres - it needed to get to within 30m to register. Amanda's report is below. But, despite this, we both enjoyed the run. The picture left shows control "26", "The Hardy Tree".

The second event of the series is expected to be around Fitsrovia (so near and around Goodge Street tube station) and has been penciled in for Tuesday 13th October but will probably follow the same format with performances accepted to the end of October.

Roderick Hoffman

Amanda writes:

I have been away in London for a couple of days so thought I'd take the opportunity to try the Street-O on Wednesday evening. Now that I am home I can sit down and evaluate what went right and what went wrong!

Kings Cross Street-O Control 25I had planned an 8.53km route taking in 15 controls for 350 points, which I thought wasn't overly ambitious and would be achievable given my inexperience and the fact that I didn't know the area at all. I started off really well, getting the first 7 controls ahead of time. But yes, then came control "25". I ran round and round Pancras Square but was unable to pick up a bleep. Eventually I gave up but I was now running short of time. Next I ran through St Pancras station. I had previously Goggled the Paradigm statue (control 30) so I knew what it looked like, found it, ran round it but didn't pick up a bleep and wasn't credited with that either. I actually ran all the way round the statue, so would have claimed that too, had I finished the challenge.

Then two more successful controls, before it all went wrong! I couldn't find the sculpture of Thomas Coram (control 23) despite being outside the building. I gave up on that, saw Russell Square, ran in there to the centre, couldn't pick up control 54, slipped on the wet grass (yes, another accident, but I wasn't hurt this time), ran out of the square to try to find Birkbeck University (33) but the roads didn't correspond with my map. I was completely lost. I sat down, switched off the app and gave up.

When I got back to the hotel I looked at my route with Mike. He spotted that I hadn't been in Russell Square at all, I had been in Brunswick Square! Essentially, I lost concentration when I couldn't find 23 (hadn't run quite far enough for that control). I was dashing around in a panic because I was running out of time having wasted so much time in Pancras Square. What I should have done was stopped, taken a breather, looked at the map and my phone properly and taken back control of the situation. I am a little annoyed with myself because I very nearly got to the end of my route and back to the coffee shop, but oh well. 

Orienteering is a great concept and I have really enjoyed the planning and running (mostly) of the two I have done. I am never going to win because my sense of direction is not great and I am not fast enough, but it's great fun taking part.

Amanda Coombs

Five Mile Winter Handicap - Wednesday 21st October

The winter five mile handicap returns on Wednesday 21st October.

There is the hope that members will be able to run the established pavement route starting and finishing at the Bedfont Club and that the changing room/showers will be available.  It is also hoped that there will a socialising opportunity afterwards in the Bedfont Club bar or the Wellington Arms on the other side of Hatton Road.  Catering operations to be confirmed.  Covid-19 rules will apply and may well vary from month to month!  Bring a mask with you on the evening.

The handicap/target times in force after run 5 of the 2019/20 series will be used unless members request a revision of at least one minute.  New runners should send a predicted time to Steve Newell before starting a first run. Handicaps are then adjusted after every run.

A league table will be maintained throughout the winter.  The system rewards those who manage modest improvements month on month.  The best four scores out of a possible six will count towards the final result.

The normal format is for slower runners to start first and everyone else to follow so that there is close finish at 7 p.m.  For example a 9-minute miler will be expected to take 45 minutes and will start at 6.15 p.m.

There will also be a simple "walking" route of two and a quarter miles for those that prefer.

Program for the winter:

  • run1 Wednesday 21st October 2020 from 18:00 BST  sunset 17:54
  • run 2 Wednesday 18th November 2020 GMT  sunset 16:07
  • run 3 Wednesday 9th December 2020 GMT  sunset 15:56
  • run 4 Wednesday 27th January 2021 GMT  sunset 16:40
  • run 5 Wednesday 24th February 2021 GMT sunset  17:31
  • run 6 Wednesday 31st March 2021 BST  sunset  19:33

Steve Newell

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. The relevant law in England says that people can meet in groups of up to 6 or, in COVID secure circumstances, up to 30 or more:

  • 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 irrespective of distance, but you should follow social distancing guidance whilst you are there. Advice is still to avoid public transport and shared car journeys,
  • In England you may normally meet with up to five other persons for your exercise outside the home. Club organised events, in COVID secure circumstances, can include more. Do not share athletics equipment and continue to maintain the social distancing with anyone you do meet up with. You are recommended to minimise the total number of different people you meet with over the days and weeks,
  • 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.

For club shared activities we recommend the social distancing gap of 2metres although "1meter+" can be followed during the activity itself. Any club member can organise a shared activity. 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,
  • A risk assessment has to be raised based on this template (updated),
  • The considerations within the risk assessment must be followed,
  • After the run 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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