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BA Athletics Club News Digest 5th June 2017


  • Sunday 11th June - Concorde Five - Race HQ Cranford Community College * - (see below and contact Roderick Hoffman)
  • Monday 19th June - T&F Vets League at Battersea from 18:30 (Steve Hillier)
  • Wednesday 21st June - T&F Rosenheim League at St Marys, Twickenham from 18:45 (Neil Frediani)
  • Wednesday 28th June - Club AGM - This is now confirmed to be at the Wraysbury Sailing Base - details next week.

New members and potential members of all fitness levels and abilities are welcome at all of these events.  The full diary of club featured events is on the club website at: Diary.shtml. Updated May 5th.

*Club Event Map: [Clickable link to Google Maps]

Not for you, no longer interested?  remove me please.

Difficulty viewing this email?  Read it off the website instead - Latest.shtml

Club Facebook Page "BARunner"

Concorde Five this Sunday

Concorde Five Race HQAs of this morning we had 71 runners entered into this event, which is roughly how many we have had a week in advance for the last couple of years when we've ended up with 90 finishers.  I believe that we'll have a club team for both the men and ladies (just) but higher priority from my point of view is the number of helpers and I've now had promised slightly more than the minimum so I'm happier.  There are many additional turns that could be marshalled so please let me know if you or someone you know can make it.

At this moment in time I don't have a volunteer for the critical job of lead cyclist - if you've got an idea on who could do this then please let me know ASAP. Roderick (

For runners and helpers the map below shows the layout for our new Race HQ at the Cranford Community College, including where the car park is - I don't expect the Concorde Centre to be open.  If you have already offered to help, but you didn't get my "volunteers" email last Friday, then please email me again.


  • Volunteers to arrive as soon after 09:00 as possible for a briefing in the Race HQ at 09:20.
  • The Kid's Fun Run starts at 10:00.
  • The 5 Mile Road Race starts at 10:30.
  • Marshals should be freed up by 12:00 which is also the time for the awards to be presented in the Race HQ.

Roderick (

24th May: "Traditional" Concorde Handicap Run and last Concorde Centre Social - additional

Last Concorde Centre Handicap participantsJanet sent me this photograph taken after the run...

Left to right (with the run attempted in brackets):- Alan Anderson (unknown), Simon Turton (unknown), John Taylor (Concorde 6), Tony Barnwell (The 6.6), Chris Kelly (The 10.3), Steve Newell (the 6.6), Janet Smith (Round the Block), Steve Hillier (RTB), Alice Banks (RTB), Trish McCabe (unknown), Neil Frediani (10.3), Denis Foxley (Cranford Park), Roderick Hoffman (Concorde Eight) and Joe Nolan (non-running).

Missing from the photograph are Gary Rushmer (10.3) and Dave Barnard (6) - Gary having driven off to recover Dave.  Harpreet Virk (6.6) and Piers Keenleyside (10.3) had also pre-entered but I can't remember if either actually ran on the evening.

Roderick Hoffman (

Man does Comrades Marathon - says "It's Hard"

I've been wanting to do this race for a long, long time, but was always a bit in awe of it. 86.73 km. 5250 ft ascent. It took me 38 years to enter a Marathon...  I did not want to underprepare - this would not be wise. Anyway, time flies, so over the last couple of years, I have entered some increasingly lengthy events, and this weekend I found myself in Durban, SA, for the 92nd running of the Comrades Marathon.

For those who donít know, it was setup after the First World War, which South Africans had to march up Africa just to get involved, in honour of the fallen Comrades, who didnít get to do the march home. It has some great history, stories, and characters, such as Bruce Fordyce, 9-time winner, and parkrun fan, and Vic Clapham, the founder, whose great grandson Antony was at some of the surrounding events. It runs from Durban up to Pietermaritzburg one year, and down again the next. Besides being long and hilly, itís also South Africaís most popular run - with 20,000 entries.

The winning time this year was 5:35:34, which is 3:53 mins/km - about 17.3 * 19:25 parkruns - not bad. Of the 17,031 that actually started, 13,851 finished this year - but they were not the only ones who made it to PMB. They were lucky enough to arrive before the 12-hour cut-off. Almost half the finishers arrive in that last hour, from 11 to 12, and as you might guess, that means there are plenty more ~ maybe another thousand ~ who get to the finish, but are too late, and are turned away, medal-less. Something to avoid after 86.72k! (There was a guy in my hotel who "did" 12:02 - no medal...).

The start was brilliant. My hotel was opposite the start, and the bag lorry was on the road between, so I simply crossed the road, dropped my bag, and went in to the pen. The preamble was fantastic. The loud music, at 5.30 am in the dark, made it feel like a rock concert and when they played the National Anthem - Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika - followed by the folk song Shoshaloza - everyone joining in - it brought a tear to my eye - never mind the segue into Chariots of Fire, which is of course, quite a tune.

There is a traditional cockcrow, and then a bang, and we were off - through the bright TV lights - and into the dark. After that, I'm tempted to say it was all downhill, but that would be hugely inaccurate. The run starts to climb immediately, and so I had no problem employing my "Hold Back" strategy. In fact, I was so effective, that before long I could see none of my fellow pen B runners, just pen C - in a trend that was to continue throughout the day. By halfway the C's had thinned out and I was amongst D's with E's and then F's etc. appearing.

I reassured myself that this was entirely to be expected, and that once we got the hills out of the way - most of the climb is in the first half - I would be able to get some time back on the undulations and downs of the second half.

By the time we reached the top of the fourth big hill - Inchanga (50km) I was realising that was not going to happen. I had been doing 10+min miles for the first half, and was feeling tired. I still believed I would be able to maintain 12 minute miles - for a sub-10 finish, so I kept going, but the undulations kept coming, and so despite the regular water / energade / coke / cream soda / bananas / oranges / some salted potatoes / cracker stations, I was running out of zip.

My Garmin only lasts for 9hours (which I knew would not be quite long enough!) but its main job was to keep me sensible over the first half, which it did. As it started to give out, 46.2 miles in 8:31, I figured that I had 10miles to do in 90 mins for a sub-10. I clearly remember deciding to commit to that, and set off with some kind of renewed enthusiasm.

Unfortunately, either because I picked up the pace fractionally, or whether it was going to happen anyway, I then started to cramp up.

My previous lack of experience of cramps didnít help, and all I could do was to slow down/walk to avoid them. After some time, I came across someone else with the same problem, and being given salt (in a bag like a sherbet dip) to treat them. So I dipped in too, and within another mile or so, was able to limp on at a sort of run.

By this time, everything was hurting, a lot, but I was able to console myself by remembering that no one had told me this was going to be easy, and they had all been right. I didnít want to leave anything in the tank, so despite looking slightly invalided, I tried to stumble into a run, whenever I wasnít actually going uphill - not that much of the time! I wished I had got something left when it turned out that there were stairs over the track to get to the hospitality tent, but not really, I felt happy at that point, even if I was impeding the able-bodied folks behind me.

Anyway, I managed it, in 10:19:26, despite the pacing variations along the way. That was similar to my initial expectations, before I got carried away with my seeding, pace calculators, and stray comments, it just took five big hills and their buddies to clarify it to me.

Another feature of the race, is that if you do both directions consecutively, you can get an extra, "back-to-back" medal - yeah. So I am really going to have to put some effort in for next year...

Chris Kelly

Also running in the event was Piers Keenleyside who finished in 11:01:52, and the speed graph below suggests that Piers had saved more in the tank that Chris had - or perhaps had a body more used to this type of torture.

Comrades Speed over the course

Club parkrun results for Saturday 3rd June

3rd June family & friends time parkrun commentary grade
Gareth Snook 23:30 Gorky Park 1st run in Russia. BApark #239 65%
Ian Cockram 24:05 Bedfont Lakes run #392 61%
Bob Bannister 24:47 Bedfont Lakes run #275, 234th at Bedfont 65%
Trish McCabe 27:58 Bedfont Lakes run #187 55%
David Duggan 28:46 Bedfont Lakes run #203 54%
Neil Frediani 29:16 Bedfont Lakes run #170, 112th a Bedfont 55%
Caroline Cockram volunteer Bedfont Lakes run director
Alice Banks 25:36 Black Park run #83, 9th at Black Park 75%
Joe Nolan 28:28 Black Park steadily recovering, 2017 best 57%
Roderick Hoffman 28:00 Brandon C P 1st run at Brandon, park #195 55%
Ian Cunningham 21:15 Bushy Park best time at Bushy this year 72%
Lesley Chamberlin 24:20 Bushy Park run #158, 44th at Bushy 76%
John Scaife 24:37 Catton run #89, 5th at Catton 67%
Kimberley Turner 27:25 Chichester run #13, 10th at Chichester 59%
Sarah Gordon 31:48 Congleton 1st run at Congleton 60%
Scott Davison 24:09 Crane Park run #206, 15th at Crane Park 59%
John Coffey 26:29 Crane Park first run at Crane since 2012 72%
Steve Taylor 25:16 Gunnersbury run #62, 17th at Gunnersbury 60%
Oliver Mathai 26:14 Gunnersbury run #40, first in 2017 63%
Alan Anderson 31:21 Gunnersbury run #460, 363rd/512 71%
Denis Foxley 25:57 Harrow run #73, 67th at Harrow 66%
Joan Foxley 37:32 Harrow run #63, 62nd at Harrow 57%
Kerstin Luksch 22:47 Homewood F-1, course pb 66%
Benita Scaife 33:02 Maidenhead run #76 60%
Chris Kelly 30:27 North Beach 1st run at Nth Beach(Durban) 49%
Piers Keenleyside 41:21 North Beach 3rd run at North Beach 39%
Kevin Holland 31:17 Poole run #78, 26th at Poole 56%
Steve Waite 27:12 Riddlesdown run #3, pb 63%
Richard Ruffell 21:46 Tring club course record 71%
Alan Friar 27:32 Woodley run #231, 67th at Woodley 66%

Our two runners entered for the Comrades (double) marathon in South Africa warmed up at the North Beach parkrun in Durban.  With youth on his side Chris Kelly (30:12) showed a clean pair of heels to Piers Keenleyside (41:21) but Piers retained the club course record (28:41) he set in 2014.  The attendances at North Beach are huge compared with UK parkruns.  Often over 1,500 and this week 2,081 (a new record for North Beach, and just nine runners behind the largest parkrun turnout ever).

Gareth Snook (23:30) was our other overseas tourist this week taking in Gorky Park in Moscow.  The course is a flat and fast out-and-back route right by the Moscow River with impressive best male (15:04), best female (17:26) and ďaverageĒ times of 24:48.  For those who were wondering what unknown runner (i.e. forgot barcode) is in Russian, look no further -  "Неизвестный".  Gareth was "Первый забег!" (first timer).  Parkrun Gorky Park attracts 30 to 50 runners each week at this time of year, rather fewer during the winter.  It has been going for over three years now.

Alice Banks (25:36) visited Black Park on pacer day (1st Saturday of each month) and recorded her best run there for three years.  Joe Nolan himself (28:28) who manages the pacers and is recovering from a painful foot injury recorded his time so far this year.  Richard Ruffell (21:46) lowered the club course record at Tring.  Steve Waite (27:12) improved his pb at Riddlesdown.  Former member and protťgť of Alan Anderson, Kerstin Luksch (22:47) lowered her pb at Homewood (Chertsey) while Ian Cunningham (21:15) ran his fastest time at Bushy Park so far this year.

Sarah Gordon (31:48) established a female club course record at Congleton.  That takes her personal tally on to 83 different parks.  Her brother, Roderick Hoffman (28:00), visited Brandon Country Park in Suffolk and took his total on to 195. He remains just one ahead of Gregory Bailey who is yet to repeat a parkrun anywhere (194/194).  They both intend to reach 200 this summer*.

John Coffey (26:29) was at Crane Park for the first time since 2012.  That time places him second in his new age group and 38 seconds faster than Alan Anderson who has only run there once, in 2012. 

Steve Newell

Updated club parkrun stats

Black Park pacers June 2017Black Park first Saturday of month pacer day (1 June)

622 runners (includes 31 pacers) and 107 new PBs. Slowly regaining my previous running form, I went with the 29 minute pacers and then kicked away from them at 3k to get a 'best in a long while of' 28m:28s.

Joe Nolan

As I was running at Brandon Country Park I wondered if we'd ever see Paul Brandon there?  Or perhaps Julie Barclay at Barclay parkrun near Hoddesdon?  Alice Banks at Alice Holt? Barry Walters at Barry Island?  Alan Anderson at Anderson? (particularly unlikely since it is a New Zealand parkrun). Simon Ashford at Ashford parkrun? Marion Woodhouse at Woodhouse? And Gary Rushmer could go close at either Rushmere or Rushmoor but has been to neither.  More tourist efforts required!

If you want to promote a special parkrun then let Steve or I know...

We have a trip to Salisbury in the unofficial diary for 17th June to meet up with Eddie Giles and my 200 tourist parkrun is planned to be at Beckenham on 22nd July - also my birthday. 

* I had considered managing a joint 200th with Gregory Bailey but he needs to miss a few over the next couple of months - including on the 22nd July.

Roderick Hoffman

Glute Stretch DemoJoe's Coaching Corner - Glute and Piriformis Stretch

Cross your right ankle just above your left knee and lower down into a squatting position. Hold onto a friend or a tree for balance if necessary. If comfortable, gently push down on your right knee and hold for 30 seconds. Repeat on opposite leg.

Joe Nolan

Joe at the Forest FiveJoe also sent in this photograph, being used by Bracknell Forest Runners to promote their tough Forest Five race on 21st June (see:
event/ForestFive) .  This probably doesn't show the best of styles - hunched shoulders, arms not at right angles nor working together - but at least Joe's head is up AND he is still smiling (so he must be relaxed). The caption is "the hill" Run it if you can, walk it if you need to, crawl it if you must...... but DO IT WITH A SMILE.

Janet and Laurie with London Business Houses ShieldCaption Competition

Another photograph taken on Janet's camera at the last Concorde Centre meeting.  It shows Janet Smith and Laurie Kelly holding the London Business Houses Shield that we had just retrieved from the Concorde Centre Trophy Cabinet.  But I'm sure that you can think of a better caption than that for the picture...

Mail me: Roderick (

Running Shorts

  • There were three runners in last week's half-term June Dream Mile - Matthew Stratful 6:07, Ian Cunningham 6:14 and Neil Frediani in 8:18.

Next Digest?

Results, news, pictures, feedback, jokes, stories - send it to the editor, Roderick Hoffman, at

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