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BA Athletics Club News Digest 7th December 2020

 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.

Club Event Map: [Clickable link to Google Maps]

Roderick Hoffman

This week's Events

Please help me by sending me 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.

Solo / Shared Mile (submit by end of Friday 13th December):

Run one mile and send me your time or add the details to the Facebook prompt. 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 proposed a shared run option this month. 

Participant Location Date Start Time Duration/Time Comment

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

Ross Barkley Results

Reminder - the Ross Barkley is where you cover the 5km distance in a single session but split it down into short lengths or sprints with good recoveries between each section. You should still run a net flat course and shouldn't use the prevailing wind for your advantage!

Date Runner Location Running Time Total Time Recent 5k Performance Comment
14-Nov-20 Roderick Hoffman Feltham Track 00:25:00 00:41:09 00:30:16 121% 12 laps in lane 4 / Gusty wind and wet
27-Nov-20 Steve Hillier Rayners Lane 00:25:19 01:00:00 00:33:51 134% I tried to even out the legs this time, with all of them around 300m rather than what I did last time. It seems to have worked. Tired but pleased.
02-Dec-20 Mike Dennison Bushy Park 00:17:54 00:37:14 00:20:39 115% 10 x 500m intervals
01-Dec-20 Micheal Ball Brooklands 00:24:21 00:27:34 113%
05-Dec-20 Eddie Giles Treadmill 00:20:15 00:28:30 141% 11 x 400m then 6 x 100m. Shattered!!

At Steve's suggestion I have compared the Ross Barkley time to a recent 5k time run by each individual. This enables the calculation of a "performance" figure. I would suggest that this shows the efficiency of the "Ross Barkley technique" as well as the effort of the runner - i.e. shorter lengths and longer recoveries will lead to better performances. However, Eddie clearly excelled the other four of us this month. The next Ross Barkley report will be in the digest of the 4th or 11th of January.

Roderick Hoffman

Winter Five Mile Handicap - This Wednesday #

This will be the second run of this year's Five Mile Handicap series. Please let me know to expect you and then arrive in time to get ready for your run - setting off so that you finish at around 19:00. Five Mile Handicap Course

This year's course is shown in the map. The two and a half mile circuit to be used is easy to navigate, avoids crowded areas and it only has the one traffic light controlled junction to cross - that of Tesco first reached at one mile. You will cross that junction twice so make the assumption that you will be held up once. In terms of navigation just keep turning right, apart from that Tesco entrance and the five or so small roads prior to the clearly labelled "Kingston Avenue" (shortly after you pass "The Beehive" pub on the left). The course has been accurately measured at two and a half miles in length and we will expect runners to do two clockwise laps to make up the five mile distance and walkers to do one lap.

The concept is that each person will start their run or walk at the appropriate time so that if they run to form they will finish at exactly 7pm. Steve Newell will assign points according to how closely to your predicted time you finish. The handicap should be run without consulting your watch, though you may wear them for your own records. Start times will be indicated on the club clock which will be counting down time so that it would reach zero at 8pm. If you expect to run five miles in 55 minutes then your start time will be when the clock shows 01:55:00.  If you then finish in 58 minutes the clock would then be showing 00:57:00 hence we'd see that you were three minutes slow.

Wednesday's weather forecast is to be cool, 4 degrees, with a small chance (7%) of light rain but little wind. It will of course be dark so please wear your night running gear including head torches if you have one.

We ask that you arrive ready to run but if you need to change out of work gear then the club changing rooms will be open from about 17:30. After your run you are welcome to use the changing rooms and showers but we need to have some Covid-19 controls. The men's changing room incorporates both the "Home" and "Away" changing rooms and our assessment is that each of these can accommodate five men at one time. Ladies will use the referee's changing room (that has also been revamped) but recommended use should be one at a time.

The event will run more smoothly if we know who will be coming so please advise us if you are considering attendance - we'd rather allow for you and have you not turn up than the other way around. So, let us know your likely attendance, whether you'd be doing the five mile two-lap course or just the one lap, what you would estimate your run/walk time to be and whether you are likely to use the showers afterwards.

Covid Tier 2 controls mean that we are not allowed to socialise after the run - although the Duke of Wellington is available across the road should you want to celebrate your run within your bubble with a substantial meal and optional drink.

Roderick Hoffman (click to respond)

Christmas Collaboration Event - Sat 12th to Wed 16th December - 'Letters' join together ("Let Us", get it?) ! #

XMAS LettersAt the moment I've got about 20 volunteers willing to draw GPS/Phone Tracking letters in their run or walk between Saturday and the following Wednesday. I've also heard from a number of individuals, who don't have tracking capability, who have offered to draw the spaces we need between the words. The initials of the volunteers for letters are:

AC (+M), PK, JSm, EM, MD, MM, AB, JR (+LC, SS & ST), MJ, ST, SG, SN, HJ, B&JSc, CS and RH. [If I've missed you from this list - please remind me]

On Tuesday or Wednesday I'll be sending out further details to those I've heard from, including the letter I'd like them to draw, but first of all I'd like to get a few more volunteers - my target is to get nearer 30. Please let me know that you are up to this. In total we'll have a good selection of letters drawn and we can then have a competition on the Wednesday evening to rearrange some or all of the letters into a good phase or sentence.

Let me know you can draw a letter > Roderick Hoffman

# Club Round-the-Block Points Update

I've updated the Round-the-Block points table with participation at recent club events and we are delighted to give recognition to Amanda Coombs who has now achieved the ten point threshold, the eighth club member to do so this year. The "year" ends at the end of December so there are just three events left to enable other to join us at the top - the three events being this week's Five Mile Handicap, the Collaboration Event for next week (see above) and then the Round Heathrow Event described below. There are three members who should be trying to fit in one or two of these but I'm not saying who, until they achieve the level!

Roderick Hoffman

Round Heathrow Event on Wednesday 30th December #

Round Heathrow CourseIt has become traditional for us to have a round Heathrow event on a midweek day between Christmas and New Year. This year's event will be on 30th December and all are welcome.

The total course is approximately 19km long and is shown in the picture though this is subject to revision on the day (we are allowed to get lost, provided we find the course again later). Some sections may be muddy. Very few sections have traffic - in particular the section south of the airport is between the two rivers so completely traffic free.

Where we will start and finish is yet to be determined and it could be that we have more than one start location with some participants joining in when we reach them. And/or some may run the route clockwise verses the more traditional anti-clockwise. It may be possible to set up an official refreshment point. Some participants may plan to do only a portion of the circuit. Get in touch, express interest and we'll talk things through.

This year's event can be either a walk or a run. The walkers will probably start at 11am and the runners at 12am. The walkers will probably stick together. The runners may do so also - provided their natural speeds are similar.

Sadly we probably won't be able to socialise together in one of the pubs afterwards, though individuals can seek nourishment and refreshments in the company of their bubbles.

Roderick Hoffman

SOLO Activity Achievements, Weekend 4th to 7th December 2020

This week 25 members and friends reported activities.  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.

Colleague Activity Distance Course Start Time Duration Comments
Tony Barnwell Running 5km Grange Fields, Widmer End Thur 00:34:43 Dry conditions, flat course
Steve Hillier Running 5km South Ruislip Roads 00:33:51 Same course as Ross Barkley (see above). Also 2 miles walk in Pitshanger Park and 3 cycles totalling 22miles (with long climb to Herefield)
Stephen Taylor Running 4.47miles Hanwell Sat am 00:45:09 Still recovering from covid so taking it easy and four miles felt like plenty.
Roderick Hoffman Running 5k Northala Fields/Rectory Park Mon lunch 00:31:38
Petra Otto Running 5.2miles Whittlesey Parkrun route Sun pm 01:28:54 Freezing cold, wet and muddy ground. First jog since injections into my back 10 days ago - and no discomfort during, or after.
Paul Watt Running 5k Dorney Lake Sat 00:20:45
Neil Frediani Running 10k Chopwell Plantations Sat am 01:04:41 Set off too fast, usual errors. Also a faster 5.3miles on top of a hill on Sunday.
Mike Dennison Running 17.38km Home to Bushy…the long way Sun am 01:28:53 Via Walton Bridge to meet up with Maria. Slightly damp in the air, cold, and pretty muddy on the towpath, but also some sunshine and overall an enjoyable run!
Michael Ball Sprints Woking track Sun 150 120 80 120 150 mtres 5min between runs
Melanie Miller Walking 18km Around Shoreham-on-Sea via Bamber Castle & Steyning Sat lunch 03:56:00 With prolonged intervals of rain ☔️ come the afternoon.
Maria Jovani Running 13.11miles Staines to Bushy, Bridge to Bridge Sun am 01:44:41 I took the train from Feltham to Staines to start my run at Staines Bridge, along the Thames all the way to Hampton Court Bridge. Nice to meet Mike at half way.
Julie Barclay Running 5k Dorney Lake Sat 00:22:36
John Scaife Running 5miles Maidenhead and Thames Path Sat 00:56:25 From Braywick park, south to Bray, through the churchyard and down Old Mill Lane until reaching the new (smart motorway) bridge taking Monkey Island Lane over the M4...
Jain Reid Running 11km Richmond Park Sun pm 01:39:17  Perfect timing in Richmond Park - blue skies then the fabulous colours of the sun on the bracken and trees.
Harjit Jhooti Walking 17.63km Chilterns Sat am 05:06:26 Mud and hills galore as far as the eye could see.
Emma Moreton Running 10k Weybridge 10k (virtual) Sat am 00:47:45 Winter Weybridge Virtual 10k on Saturday morning. I followed the official route and didn’t get lost.
Eddie Giles Treadmill 10k 2x Ross Barkley runs Sat am/pm 00:45:15 5x1000m with recovery achieved 25minutes but thought I could do better - see above for the afternoon's performance.
Denis Foxley Running 4.5miles Around Pinner and the Celandine Trail 00:49:00
David Duggan Running 5km Bushy Park Chestnut Avenue Sun am 00:30:54 Fastest non-downhill 5km of lockdown. Also a sedate 9km on Saturday in 75 minutes.
Clara Halket Mixed Run/Walk 10.31km Army Trails Fri 01:15:23 Covers the runways of Bournemouth, Stansted, Exeter, Aberdeen and Caernarton for the "Run the Runways" Challenge for Aviation Action.
Christine Munden Running Holland Park Mon pm Training Session {photo below}
Benita Scaife Running 5miles Maidenhead and Thames Path Sat 00:56:25 ...At this point we crossed the river and headed north, following a slippery Thames Path to Maidenhead Bridge and finishing in town.
Andy Rayner Running 2.3miles Sun 00:32:30 Also 30:30 for a slightly shorter2.2miles run on Thursday.
Amanda Coombs Running 4miles Shepperton/Sunbury loop Sat pm 00:45:00 No challenges this weekend, so a run in the sunshine without GPS. The Sunbury Walled Garden is looking lovely, and the Millennium Embroidery Gallery and Café have reopened.
Alexandra Foster Running 10k Weybridge 10k (virtual) Sat am 01:15:14 Official Virtual Weybridge 10k (using App). Lovely chilly start to Saturday morning.
Christine at Holland Park

You will have seen in previous weeks that Jain and Piers are both trying the MAF method. Jain added the comment this week "Still persevering with MAF. I can now officially walk much faster than I can run. Struggling to make sense of it but I'm trusting in the science!".  Piers meanwhile was perhaps more successful at keeping his MAF low since he didn't submit a run at all. Perhaps someone could explain or provide a link to an article on the subject.

Christine's submission was late this evening but did include this photograph. My suggested caption is "Go, on your marks, get set" but perhaps you have another idea. Fell free to send in alternative captions, or other photographs that could have humorous captions added. After all it is the season to be jolly.

Roderick Hoffman

Bob Graham Round

The Bob Graham Round is a fell running challenge in the English Lake District to conquer the 42 fells.

 “It was back in March that I decided I’d do a Bob Graham Round. As soon as it became apparent that there’d be no racing for the foreseeable future, it was the obvious thing to do.”

That is how Beth Pascall starts her report on setting a new Ladies’ Record in July, in Fellrunner.  She took 14 hours 34 minutes, taking 50 minutes off the record for the 42 peaks.

The Men’s record set in 2018 by a Spaniard, Kilian Jornet, is 12:52.

Bob Graham ran it in 1932 in under 24 hours, & no one beat his time for about 28 years!

I used to think of a BAOR {British Airways Operational Research department} attempt to do it over 3 days, but never got it organised. We would probably have failed, as it’s about 70 miles & 27,000 feet of climb.

David Barnard

Triathlon News - PTO Daytona Challenge

The Professional Triathletes Organisation held the inaugural championships as part of the Challenge Daytona weekend in Florida on 6th December.  61 Men and 56 women raced separately but over the same distances (swim 1.24 miles, bike 49.52 miles, run 10.78 miles).
The women's race was held first and won by Paula Findlay of Canada in 3:24:55.  The leading British contender was Fenella Langridge  who finished 7th in 3:33:42, followed by Kimberley Morrison (13th, 3:36:31) and 2014 Commonwealth Games gold medallist Jodie Stimpson (15th, 3:36:38).  The leading women were averaging 26-27 mph on the multi lap bike ride. 41 women finished the race but one was disqualified (having finished!).

In the men's race pre-race favourite and Olympic champion Alistair Brownlee had a good swim and was leading throughout most of the bike ride averaging over 29 mph.  After a mile and a half of the run he was back in the lead but soon afterwards pulled up with severe leg cramps and retired. Gustav Iden (USA) who had been over a minute behind at the start of the run took up the running with eight miles to go and held on to win in 3:05:06 ahead of the fast finishing Matthew Hanson (3:05:57) who had overtaken the leading British competitor, George Goodwin (3rd, 3:06:09) in the closing miles.  46 men finished, 15 didn't. Five men completed the almost eleven mile run in under an hour.

The male and female winners each won $100,000 and all the leading triathletes were well rewarded. Everyone outside the top 20 who finished got $2,500.

Steve Newell

parkrun News

255 events recorded results last Saturday. parkrun restarted in South Australia - so the only Australian states where it has not restarted are New South Wales (due 19th December) and Victoria (not yet announced).

Coronavirus Warning Footnote [changes from last week underlined or struck-through]

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 irrespective of distance, but you should follow social distancing guidance whilst you are there. Advice is to reduce public transport and shared car journeys and do not cross the "Tier 3" boundary (in either direction),
  • The current English lockdown restrictions allow you to run on your own, with people in your linked household (or "bubble"), as part of child-care or with one other person
  • 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,
  • Participants should not cross the "Tier 3" boundary (in either direction),
  • A risk assessment has to be raised based on this template,
  • 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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