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BA Athletics Club News Digest 9th May 2016


  • Sunday 15th May - BAAC Track&Field Championships and Fun Day at Thames Valley Athletics Track at Eton from 12:00* (see below)
  • Monday 23rd May - Track&Field club "Grand Prix" 1500m and Shot - Hillingdon Track 18:00*
  • Monday 30th May - Vitality 10000, Central London - 10:00 - Volunteers needed.

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.

*Club Event Map:

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

Difficulty viewing this email?  Read it off the website instead - Latest.shtml. Running related gossip and chat: Facebook "BA Runner" (link:

 British Airways AC Track & Field Championship and Family Fun Day - Sunday 15th May 2016

This is your opportunity to take part in any (or all!) of a range of Track and Field events and you can bring your colleagues, friends and family also. Participation is more important than achievement and instruction will be given before any event. Sunshine has been ordered for the day (but cannot be guaranteed). Participation is free for both members and non-members though is at your own risk.

Thames Valley Athletics Centre, Pococks Lane, Eton SL4 6HN (See club map).

Start Time     Event
12.30              Discus*
13.00               800m
13.15                Triple Jump*
13.45                  200m
14.00                  Shot Putt
14.00         Balloon & Egg and Spoon race
14.15           400m*
14.30           Wellie Wanging
15.00            Javelin*
15.15              1000m
15.15              Age 7 and under 50m sprint
15.20               Age 8-10 years 80m sprint
15.45       100m*
16.00        Hammer
16.30         1500m*
16.45          Presentation & close

 *Superstars Event-an open competition for anyone who wishes to participate in a variety of both track & field events, to parade their athletic prowess!! All 6 events must be covered to be Superstar Champion.

Hope to see you all there.

 Eddie Giles (

Speedbird Ladies 4th May 2016 Results

The 2016 Speedbird Ladies race in progress.

The force was with us to the tune of 39 entrants in this year's ladies race on a fine evening on Harmondsworth Moor.  This was the highest attendance for many years so a big thank you to those who have publicised this event at parkruns and other events.

Lydia O'Donoghue won the race and was presented with a new Speedbird Ladies trophy.

Place Time Name Team Race Age Category No Place
1 0:20:39 O'DONOGHUE, Lydia West Four Harriers SL 42 1
2 0:20:53 JOVANI, Maria Runnymede Runners LV35 8 2
3 0:22:29 JONES, Carol Ealing, Southall & Middlesex LV55 4 3
4 0:22:51 LEPPARD, Caroline Hart Road Runners SL 6 4
5 0:23:02 FITTON, Judy Runnymede Runners LV45 35 5
6 0:23:16 DAVIDSON, Sharon Purple Patch Runners LV35 19 6
13 0:24:14 HELSDON, Deby British Airways LV35 30 13
25 0:28:33 McCABE, Trish British Airways LV35 25 25
28 0:28:59 ALONSO, Monica British Airways LV45 7 28
30 0:29:25 MUNDEN, Christine Thames Valley Harriers LV45 3 30

Runnymede Runners comfortably won the team prize followed by "Ealing, Southall & Middlesex" then Shepperton Running Club and five other teams. The British Airways team of Deby Helsdon, Trish McCabe and Monica Alonso was seventh.

Full results on the website:

A VERY BIG THANK YOU to all the volunteers who turned up at last week's Speedbird 5K, without whom we wouldn't have been able to man all the marshal points. I apologise in advance if I'd missed you out, in no particular order:

Brian Forrester       Paddy O'Shea        Alastair Heslop              Chris Kelly
Steve Hillier            Tom Rowley            Tony Barnwell                 Nick Edge
Harry Wilde             Paul Brandon          Alan Anderson               Dave Duggan
Ian Cockram           Mark Taylor             Joe Nolan                        Roderick Hoffman      
Gary Rushmer        Steve Taylor            Neil Frediani

Much appreciated,

Steve Newell and Clara Halket

Thanks received...

Thank you very much to you and your team. It was a lovely run and very well organised too. Hope to see you next year., Best wishes, Julie Hart Road Runners.

Thanks ever so much to you and your team for another fantastic race this evening! I always enjoy it and wouldn't like to miss it, and was pleased to have a good run today though still "recovering" from the London Marathon! That the results are here in my inbox, waiting for me when I arrived home from the race, just solidifies its special place in my mind!! Thank you again, and I look forward to seeing you all there again next year! (If not at the Concorde 5!). Cheers, Sharon

Many thanks to you and the rest of the BA Running Club team for a brilliantly organised events and lovely supportive marshals. Really enjoyed the course and was totally made up by the rose at the end! Please pass on thanks from Burnham Joggers ladies. Jenny

Just a short email to say thank you for organising last night's event. It was a thoroughly enjoyable event and everyone was really friendly and made me feel very welcome. Please pass on my gratitude to all of the BA team of volunteers and marshals. This was my first official BA race but certainly won't be my last. I intend to sign up for the Concorde 5 mile race next month and shall be inviting some friends to attend also.  Best Regards,  Trish McCabe

Westminster Bridges Relay, Wednesday 22nd June 7.30 pm Start

This year the annual Bridges relay will be on Wednesday 22nd June starting at 7.30pm. This is run along the Thames and over a couple of bridges, a 2.3 mile loop, with teams of 3 (all ladies) or 4 for mixed or all men. This is so popular that places are now limited so if we wish to enter we need to do so quickly.  It is always a fun event, with a competitive edge, be that just between the team members, between teams if we have more than one, or just against the very big clock, aka Big Ben. If you are interested please let me know ASAP, I will be looking to put an entry in by 15th May latest, sooner if I can.

Replies to

Richard Ruffell

The course is shown in the map on this page (of another event that uses the same circuit):

May Dream Mile Results - 5th May 2016

Hi All,

An almost perfect day for the mile saw some amazing times. For once the runners benefitted from a slight tail wind apart from a small section approaching Compass Centre. The temperature was a mere 19 degrees, thus pleasantly warm rather than too hot. So the conditions lead to most people running their fastest time of the year and there were 2 PBs. Billy Parker-Brown, before operating a flight later that evening to Dubai, recorded a time of 5:22, which was a 57 second PB. Not to be outdone Colin Russell returned after a one month break for the marathon to record a 6th successive PB. He recorded a time of 6:05, which is 25 seconds faster than 2 months ago and nearly 1:45 faster than his first recorded time. I wonder when the PBs will stop and how low can he go It was also good to see Deby Helsdon and Vaneeta Cro making their first appearances of 2016.

Previous Best Time Earlier time 08-Jan-15 04-Feb-16 03-Mar-16 07-Apr-16 05-May-16 Difference New Best Time
Billy Parker-Brown 00:06:19 00:05:22 -57 seconds 00:05:22
Matthew Stratful 00:05:43 00:05:49 00:06:39 00:05:45 -54 seconds 00:05:43
Paul Knechtl 00:04:56 00:05:29 00:06:19 00:05:35 00:05:25 00:05:34 00:05:00 -34 seconds 00:04:56
Sharon Kassemzadeh 00:06:47 00:06:51 00:08:12 00:07:26 00:07:16 00:07:22 00:06:55 -27 seconds 00:06:47
Colin Russell 00:07:07 00:07:07 00:07:05 00:06:35 00:06:30 00:06:05 -25 seconds 00:06:05
Ian Cunningham 00:05:52 00:06:12 00:06:34 00:06:10 -24 seconds 00:05:52
Deby Helsdon 00:06:21 00:07:13 00:06:53 -20 seconds 00:06:21
Vaneeta Cro 00:11:38 00:12:59 00:15:10 +131 seconds 00:11:38

Next event will be 2nd June 2016.

Paul Knechtl

Club parkrun results for Saturday 7th May 2016

7th May family & friends time parkrun commentary grade
James Glover 24:49 Alice Holt run #19, 4th at Alice Holt 59%
Scott Davison 21:31 Bedfont Lakes run #161 62%
Chris Evans 23:56 Bedfont Lakes run #144 62%
Neil; Frediani 28:44 Bedfont Lakes run #142 55%
Gary Rushmer 21:11 Bedfont Lakes run #57, 10th (M-9) 73%
Joe Nolan 28:16 Black Park run #266, & volunteer coordinator 57%
Steve Newell 34:58 Brentwood run #220, park #72 52%
John Coffey 25:29 Bushy Park run #210 73%
Jonathan Cox 21:38 Bushy Park run #272 71%
Ian Cunningham 21:33 Bushy Park run #242, 2016 best at Bushy, finished ahead of 1,105 others! 70%
Natalie Ruffell 20:41 Cassiobury F-3, first run at Cassiobury, club ladies record 72%
Richard Ruffell 20:07 Cassiobury course pb, club record 76%
Alan Anderson 30:21 Gunnersbury run #409 69%
Kerstin Luksch 21:21 Gunnersbury F-3 70%
Steve Dodsworth 23:05 Harrogate run #67, parkrun pb 65%
Linda Dodsworth 26:35 Harrogate run #62, 23rd at Harrogate 59%
Ian Cockram 24:38 Harrow run #346 59%
Caroline Cockram 27:12 Harrow course pb 60%
David Duggan 27:07 Harrow course pb & volunteer coordinator at Bedfont! 57%
Denis Foxley 25:25 Harrow run #37 67%
Joan Foxley 35:38 Harrow run #30 60%
Fiona Smith 29:24 Harrow parkrun pb, run #36 53%
Alice Banks 26:16 Maidenhead run #56, 30th at Maidenhead & token sorting 72%
Benita Scaife 31:43 Maidenhead run #36 61%
John Scaife 31:44 Maidenhead run #43 51%
Tony Barnwell 34:13 Northala Fields run #105, 8th at Northala 54%
Chris Kelly 19:57 Reading run #289, 25th / 360 74%
Roderick Hoffman 27:56 Tooting Common park #152 55%
Eddie Giles 26:08 Upton Court run #68 65%
Sreeram Sethuraman 27:42 Upton Court run #78, best time this year 48%
Alan Friar 26:56 Woodley run #197, 55th at Woodley 66%

The summery weather brought out runners by the score this week and several runs had their biggest fields ever.  Several members also ran faster than for a while.

Richard Ruffell (20:07) set a course pb and new club record at Cassiobury Park in Watford.  His daughter Natalie (20:41) wasn't far behind.  It was her first outing at Cassiobury.

Gary Rushmer (21:11) made a rare appearance at Bedfont Lakes where Scott Davison (22:31) had his best run this year.  Curiously David Duggan (27:07) was credited as being volunteer coordinator at Bedfont while actually running a pb at Harrow.  Mobile communications are wonderful. Just don't get the idea that these events run themselves. [Ed: David Duggan was also recorded with a pb and as first finisher at parkrun de la Ramee (Toulouse) but perhaps that was his namesake!].

Steve Dodsworth (23:05) ran a parkrun pb at Harrogate on his 24th appearance there.  Ian Cunningham (21:33) recorded his best of the year at Bushy Park where the attendance was 1,240 so Ian finished ahead of (but didn't beat) 1,105 parkrunners (not including Paul Sinton-Hewett, 20:51).  Denis Foxley (25:25) was one of a record turnout of 228 at Harrow while Sreeram Sethuraman (27:42) was also in his best form of the year.

Roderick Hoffman (27:56) made his first visit to Tooting Common where the attendance of 457 beat the previous record by a wide margin so I imagine the narrow start was extremely congested.  Wandsworth borough clearly needs more parkruns and with a change of political mood among voters maybe something can be done.  Local MP, and marathon runner, Sadiq Khan keenly supported the introduction of the Tooting parkrun but is now resigning from the post to take up that of London Mayor so watch this space...

Steve Newell (34:58) used his freedom pass to its limits taking trains (and his bike) to Brentwood, Essex (TFL Zone 9), one of the few places pensioners can travel to for free beyond the M25.  The 5km hilly bike ride to South Weald Country Park was, if anything, even more demanding that the "undulating" cross country course.  A great morning out in the sunshine.

Hertfordshire is on its way to becoming the parkrun capital of England.  Two more runs are scheduled to start in the county this month.  Ellenbrook Fields at the De Havilland university campus in Hatfield opens up on 21st May followed by a two-lap-round-the-lakes at Stevenage on 28th.  Both parks are close to junctions on the A1(M).

Steve Newell (

Updated parkrun stats:

Steve Newell

parkrun Growth

The 457 at Tooting Common was a record by a large margin boosted by nearby Brockwell being cancelled.  Nevertheless the attendance numbers have averaged over 400 across the previous four weeks. As finishers kept coming across the line the finish team started rehearsing their procedures for when the stopwatches record their maximum finishers and for when the final token #500 was handed over.  It wasn't necessary on this occasion but they wanted to be ready. 

Elsewhere at Cannon Hill in Birmingham the contingency plans were needed because they had 1,016 finishers (over 200 more than their previous record), the last 16 finishers were given handwritten tokens.  The team knew it was coming - this was a second anniversary memorial event for one of the team who had died suddenly at the age of 43, boosted by two local clubs doing a mob match at the parkrun. Over 1,000 was raised for the British Heart Foundation. 

Cannon Hill now has the record UK attendance outside Bushy.  Previously Southampton had the record but their parkrun was cancelled last Saturday.  Not surprisingly the two nearest parkruns Eastleigh and Netley Abbey also recorded record attendances. 

In all a record 92,956 people ran a parkrun in the UK last Saturday (up over 4,000) and worldwide 131,246 did so - and nearly 10% of those (12,018) were doing their first recorded parkrun.

However a total of only 48 runners ran the four French parkruns including just 3 at la Ramee. I'm considering trying for another podium finish this Saturday unless anyone else joins me in Toulouse.

Roderick Hoffman

Rowley Report (submitted last week)

Rushmoor parkrun 30th April / Frimley Park 10k 1st May

After the previous weeks' close time between Julie and Paul the plan this week was for Julie to pace Paul up to 400m from home to help him duck under 22.00 for the first time then Paul being very good over 400m he was to breakaway.  All went well then Paul changed gear with 400m to go and he finished in 21.41. Just behind Julie equaled her course record of 21.50  

Frimley Park 10k 1st May, Julie ran her fastest 10k for two years to finish in 44.00 also winning 1st vet prize in 66th place out of 982.

Tom Rowley

Running Longs

Avenue of the Giants Half Marathon - 1st May 2016

Last week's digest focused on the London Marathon - stories of achievement and a hurry-up to get your entries in for next year's event.  Meanwhile, as I was putting the digest together, I was recovering from my own event - albeit only a half marathon. I didn't mention the event last week for the simple reason that my attitude would have been out of kilter with the London Marathon stories.  Let me explain, an urban marathon, like the London, has some merits over the Avenue of the Giants event - primarily being in one's backyard and with crowds of friends, family and strangers urging you on.  But the Avenue of the Giants more than makes up for that with qualities that the London cannot have: Air, Light, Shelter, Quietness to name but four.

Air: The entire time that you are running you are breathing in the forest air - anytime you want you can just take in a deep breath with no pollution, no urban dust, no diesel particles just pure, unadulterated, oxygen enriched forest air.

Light:  Under the forest canopy, soothing on the retinas and the only garish colours being the colours of the kit that you and the other runners have brought into the forest. Everything else consists of shades of green - you probably hadn't realised that there was so much green in the whole universe.

Shelter:  From the elements - no wind, no excessive heat or cold, the sun excluded from all but the occasional clearing. Apparently it rained last year but under the trees you wouldn't have noticed or minded.

Quietness:  No traffic noise. No aeroplanes overhead. No loud music. What noise there was of the runners around you was softened by the foliage around.

Therapeutic too:  Whenever you felt a pain within your body the cure was to look ahead and to spy a tree 100 meters ahead. Then look up and up and up and realises that the tree was as tall as it was ahead.  And admire the tree from top to base and then realise that in no time you had closed that 100 meter gap and you couldn't remember what it was you were trying to distract yourself from. 

This was easily my most enjoyable half marathon, of the twenty or more that I've done in the past. I had felt that I was capable of running at 6 minute km pace and that would have delivered a time around 2hr 6min but I expected to hit problems and slow by five minutes or so by the end.  I was aware that there was one climb on the course - at twelve miles up onto the overpass over the big road, like the bridge over the M4 outside the Concorde Centre. But I didn't slow down, I ran all of the way up that hill and recorded my best km time over the 21st and last km (downhill to the finish).  I crossed the line to record a time of 2 hours 3 minutes and 28 seconds - so two and a half minutes faster than I thought I was capable of.

The event is very well organised. There is also a marathon and a 10k and these are timed so that, with the Marathon for instance, it sets of one hour before the Half and the first half distance is on a different out and back course. You then join the Half Marathon course and if you are running well you'll have the psychological boost of catching and overtaking the slower Half Marathon runners.  Apart from the mentioned climb the course of the half is very gently undulating.   At the end you get an impressive medal to add to the T Shirt and clothes bag received at registration. There is also Free Beer and food as well as the usual water and bananas. OK, so it is a bit of a trek to get to the event - a flight to San Francisco followed by a four to five hour drive - but as an event it easily beat all of the urban halves I've done.

I'll also report that Peter Torre, a Concorde Five regular, finished the 10k in just under the hour.  It has been Peter over the last couple of years who had sold me on the virtues of this event.

Roderick Hoffman

Wings for Life World Run 2016 - 8th May 2016

This is the event where 89,917 runners set off at the same time from 34 different locations worldwide.  "at the same time" means for instance 12 noon in Cambridge, where I was, and 9pm in Melbourne, Australia.  Half an hour after the runners start cars set off to chase the runners down, the cars going slowly at first but gradually increasing in speed.  The event finishes for each runner when they are overtaken by the catcher cars.  This means that the slower runners finish first, after only a few kms whereas the better runners can keep going and going and going.

This really is a great event and I don't understand why others in the club haven't tried it. This was my third run but I wasn't quite with it on Sunday - perhaps because of the high temperatures (12noon start remember) or perhaps because I'd yet to recover from the half marathon last Sunday or the journey back from California.  So this year I only managed 11.14km (just under 7 miles compared to last year's 11) finishing 1,232nd of the 2,002 competitors who set off from Cambridge. Perhaps the only high-spot was giving the catcher car driver, David Caulthard, a high five at the start and then his navigator at the end as David drove past. Pity I wasn't able to be a bigger gap between the two.  It was a very well supported event with the inhabitants of Cambridgeshire coming out of their houses with hosepipes sprinkling water all over the passing runners - water consumption across the country must have hit an all-time high!

The winner at Cambridge was ultra-runner Steve Way who covered an impressive 63.75k (40 miles). The world winner was Giorgio Calcaterra in Italy who covered an incredible 88.44k (I had been caught, had walked on 2.5k to the next bus point, been bussed back to the centre of Cambridge, had queued for my finishers pack, then my baggage and then my free beer which I drank, I then went via Sainsbury's to the park and ride bus which I rode back to the car park, I then drove the 90 minute drive back home and was then able to watch Calcaterra still running in Italy!).  The second longest runner was in Canada (starting alongside Niagara Falls) and the third was in Santiago, Chile. 

Of the ladies the best at Cambridge was Olympic Marathon runner Caitriona Jennings ran over 55k (34 miles) but worldwide Kaori Yoshida ran over 65k in Japan.

Between us we ran over a million miles and raised of the order of 6.6 million for research into cures for spinal injuries.

Next year's event is on 7th May 2017 with 33 locations already announced.  Enter now and set your ambition:  [I'm seriously considering Niagara for next year].

Roderick Hoffman

Finally - Don't forget that the next Street-O event is on Wednesday 11th May at Notting Hill - check for details and don't forget to tell them that you are coming.

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