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BA Athletics Club News Digest 12th December 2016


  • Wednesday 14th December - Winter 5 mile handicap from 18:00 at Heston Venue followed by social in the Queen's Head pub*
  • Wednesday 21st December - Parkway Mile followed by the Club's 35th Anniversary Event* (see below)
  • Thursday 29th December - Round Heathrow Airport Xmas Run from 12:00* (see below)

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: [long Google-map hyperlink you would not type in]

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 Page "BARunner"

RtA - Round Heathrow Airport Run - 29th December at Waterside at Midday

This run will circumnavigate the airport with little interaction with perimeter roads and A-roads. I have mapped 13 and 15 mile options and also if you take an Oyster card with you then you can stop at Hatton Cross halfway (7miles) and get the tube to T5 which is about a mile from the start/finish. A large amount of the course is on trails and in some places you can choose trail or road. We will set off at 12 midday promptly from Moor Lane at the back of the BA Waterside offices and run the courses anti-clockwise. The plan is to run it in approximately 2-2:30 hours and possibly [Ed: Probably] retire to the Five Bells pub in Harmondsworth village (or go back to work for some!).

To get to the start by road enter Moor Lane from Harmondsworth village - from the roundabout that connects A3044 Hatch Lane to Holloway Lane turn down High Street, pass the Five Bells pub on the right (next to the church), and after another 400m there is a narrow bridge and there is parking in the road on the right hand side both before and after the bridge - on a single yellow line but permitted outside of school starting and finishing times. 

If arriving from the South then take the A3044 up to the A4, cross at the lights (in the left lane) and turn left into Accommodation lane and park in the second car park on the left or around the corner into Moor Lane there is a small amount of on road parking . To walk to the start, turn right into Moor Lane at the end of Accommodation lane .

Course maps are at: for 15miles (Dark Green and Red in the extracted map below) and for 13miles (Dark Green and Light Green in the map).

Round Heathrow Courses

Please let me know at if you think that you might run it so that I can get in touch if there are any late changes.

Neil Frediani

Winter Solstice Parkway Mile Relay 2016 followed by Club's 35th Anniversary event - 21st December

Celebrate the longest night of the year by running half a mile alongside the A312 towards Hayes and then back again. In accordance with tradition Harry Wild will be the turnaround point. Meet at the pavilion at 6 p.m. before heading for the start at the Field of Hope (A312/M4 junction) via Church Road.

Entries (name and estimate of time to run the mile) to Steve Newell by midnight on 20th December. Steve will choose teams provide for as close a race as possible. Please let Steve know if you want to enter as a family or predetermined team.  This might be the last time that ladies can participate in the Brian Forrester challenge - to win a bottle of Champagne by running the mile in under six minutes.

Ed Based on the anniversary event acceptances I've currently estimated 31 potential runners for the mile (before dropouts) so I've challenged Steve to ensure that there are 35 runners to celebrate the 35 years of the club.  How he is going to sort out the teams for this - and how he ensures that the total run time gets us back to the clubhouse in plenty of time - is his problem but please assist him by confirming your availability and target time.  We NEED 35 runners.  There may be a half-mile option for some if required.

Steve Newell

The Mile will be followed by the club's 35th Anniversary event.

We've got 53 members and former members signed up for this but more are welcome - please let us know to expect you. 

  • Please bring any memorabilia that represents any aspect of the clubs' past thirty five years.
  • And don't forget that to participate in the Secret Santa you need to bring a wrapped family-friendly present of value 5 to contribute to the sack.
  • Food including mince pies will be provided.
  • The bar will be open as usual.  BA Clubs members - don't forget your discount card.  All others are welcome but may not get the discount.

Notify us that you intend to make it to our anniversary event - by email, Facebook, Morse code etc.  We need to know for the catering.

Roderick Hoffman

Who are you and what do you want?

I don't know how well you know how this club is run.  Perhaps you imagine that the club is run by long in the tooth, senior citizens who gather round a log fire once in a while and discuss new ways of spending the club's wealth.  Perhaps there is some truth in that. However every so often over the years the club committee asks itself how well it knows the club's membership and how well are the activities of the club meeting the needs or desires of those members.  More often than not the committee concludes that they don't know.  This usually leads to the design of a survey into who the members are and what they think the club should do for them.

I've been looking back over the records from such surveys...

I've found the results of a survey conducted back in 1990. On that occasion 30% said that they wanted to see greater emphasis on training evenings, and 33% said they wanted to see less emphasis on Triathlons.  I'm not sure that those wanting more structured training got their wish but certainly there is less of an emphasis on Triathlons these days (but we were VERY BIG on triathlons at that time). Also 53% said that the club members should be encouraged to enter 'club nominated' events and this probably led to the adoption of a Run-of-the-Month with entry co-ordinators that continues to this day - albeit with low take-up these days.

There was also a survey in 1999.  Amongst the written responses were suggestions that the club got into Triathlons.  Others suggested that new joiners were put off by the word "Athletics" in the club name and because all of our in-house events were races rather than fun events - and also perhaps we could have more training events.  The most popular activities were Road Running (rated by 67%) and Cross Country (37%) - and "Hashing was a popular third or fourth choice" [now - when did you last run a Hash?].  The lack of lady members led to the suggestion and adoption of a Ladies Captain - although it was also recommended that AH be excluded.

I organised a survey in 2011.  The results of this emphasised the need for good electronic communication and that led me to adopt the weekly digest for club news and announcements.  It was suggested that we could have more structured training (I've seen that suggestion before somewhere!).  To the question "What events do you partake in?" 50% of the respondees ticked the "Park Runs" {SIC} box.  This was a bit of a revelation at the time and led to the club introducing an every-other-month club visit to a different local parkrun. One direct consequence of that initiative was me becoming a renowned parkrun tourist!  Another consequence of that survey was the emphasis since to encourage new members from outside the British Airways/BA Clubs background.

So that was five years ago.  The club has changed a great deal since and we have been getting new members from new groups - such as from local parkruns and joining because of the London Marathon opportunities the club gets.  So does the committee know what the membership wants now?  We'd be foolish to think that we did, so in the New Year we'll have another survey to find out who our members are and what they want from the club.  I wouldn't expect radical change (do you really want structured training?) but I firmly predict that we'll learn something that will change what the club does or the way it does it. But I don't know what that change will be (so perhaps it will be the structured training!).

Roderick Hoffman obo the club committee

Club parkrun results for Saturday 10th December

10th December family & friends time parkrun commentary grade
Monica Alonso 28:06 Guildford run #71, 56th at Guildford 59%
Alice Banks 26:03 Maidenhead run #70 73%
Tony Barnwell 33:35 Northala Fields run #124 55%
Ben Chaytow 22:15 Crane Park run #153, 130th at Crane Park 61%
Caroline Cockram 30:10 Homewood run #249 54%
Ian Cockram 30:11 Homewood run #370 48%
John Coffey 26:46 Homewood run #220, 8th at Homewood 70%
Ian Cunningham 22:17 Bushy Park run #266 68%
Scott Davison 23:04 Bedfont Lakes run #189 61%
Linda Dodsworth 27:14 Orpington course pb, club record (F) 58%
Steve Dodsworth 23:51 Orpington course pb, club record 63%
Chris Evans 26:46 Bedfont Lakes run #149, 146th at Bedfont 56%
Denis Foxley 26:14 Harrow run #55 65%
Alan Friar 28:08 Reading run #220, 150th at Reading 64%
Sarah Gordon 24:30 Braunstone run #132, 37th at Braunstone 55%
Colin Haylock 19:26 Bushy Park run #62, 2nd run of 2016 74%
Roderick Hoffman 27:21 Portrush run #233, park #177 57%
Kevin Holland 30:51 Poole run #66, 22nd at Poole 56%
Lee Jenkins 25:14 Bracknell run #10, all at Bracknell 55%
Chris Kelly 21:07 Reading run #314 70%
John Lennon 26:55 Bedfont Lakes run #231, 209th at Bedfont 57%
Trish McCabe 25:51 Bushy Park course pb, parkrun uk pb 59%
Steve Newell 38:53 Ally Pally winter course, 3 sausage laps 47%
Gary Rushmer 19:59 Bedfont Lakes M-6, run #62 77%
Colin Russell 35:12 Oak Hill run #32, 31st at Oak Hill 54%
Sreeram Sethuraman 36:14 Upton Court run #97 37%
Helen Smith 29:56 Guildford run #30, 14th at Guildford 64%
Steve Taylor 24:29 Northala Fields run #53 62%
Emily Warbtn-Brown 26:25 Peckham Rye run #21 56%
Paul Watt 20:53 Rushmoor run #34 71%
John Scaife volunteer Maidenhead finish tokens
Benita Scaife volunteer Maidenhead barcode scanning
Alastair Heslop volunteer Guildford barcode scanning
David Duggan volunteer Bedfont Lakes run director

Gary Rushmer (19:59) led the way with a top ten finish over his home course at Bedfont Lakes.

Trish McCabe (25:51) has run over a 100 times at Bedfont but this week ventured over to the shrine at Bushy Park and came away with a course pb and indeed her fastest ever time at a parkrun in UK.  She has run faster, once, in Ireland (24:09) at Cootehill.

Steve (23:51) and Linda Dodsworth (27:14) who do most of their runs in the North of England were at Orpington.  Those times are the new club course records there.

Roderick Hoffman (27:21) travelled to Portrush in the North of Northern Ireland.  His first parkrun run entirely on sand!  Months of planning had gone into spotting a date when the tide would be low between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. on a Saturday.  Although the tidal range at Portrush is only a modest 2 metres the water had retreated sufficiently for an altitude of minus one metre to be recorded by his Garmin.  This suggests that the satellites really are very accurately positioned these days.

The editor would be very interested to hear from anyone who thinks they might have run at the highest parkrun by any member, home or abroad.  Or run at all - how far up (or down) Kilimanjaro is running possible?

Caroline Cockram (30:10) re-visited Homewood Park and now just 5km short of her "250" T-shirt.

Steve Newell

Updated club parkrun stats (modern .xlsx file)

Portrush parkrun

When I ran Great Notley parkrun I made a comment about a short stretch of the course through the sandpit. So to Portrush where the course is 100% through the sandpit! (other than when the tide is in and a short stretch of the course is run on the promenade). This presents some unique challenges for course set-up - depending on the tide the start/finish and turnaround points need to be positioned differently with the course being measured afresh each week - shortly before the off.  How close you run to the sea is up to you - too far towards the land and the sand is very soft, too close to the sea and you'll get your feet wet!  The other tourist who was there on Saturday ran it barefoot, which is nice to have as an option. The weather on Saturday was fine - sunny and the wind was only a problem on one stretch.  We speculated that one could visit Portrush in June and have far worse conditions for running.

Portrush parkrun

Northern Ireland parkrun Tourism opportunity

On this occasion I was in Northern Ireland for 24 hours but there is an option to do a parkrun on a day trip. The first BA flight of the day leaves Heathrow at 07:00 (hence you need to get there and through security before 06:25).  The flight lands at Belfast City Airport at 08:25 which is 65 minutes before the start of Belfast Victoria parkrun which is just a 1.9k warm-up jog from the airport.  After the parkrun and the usual coffee and cake (hopefully) at the Bowling Club, individuals can either return to the airport for the 12:10 return flight OR can make their way to the nearby Titanic Belfast exhibition to make a proper day out of it before the 15:05 or 18:10 return.  Commercial tickets, booked a couple of days ahead, are likely to cost just under 100. Let me know if you might be interested in this sometime in the New Year.

Roderick Hoffman

Running Shorts

KLM Beach Race

This is next Saturday so, guess what, I've trained for it this year!  This is the last call for anyone interested in joining me at it.

Roderick Hoffman

Wings for life World Run - 7th May, 2017

This is the run I do each year where the faster you run, the further you run, before David Coultard (or other celebrity driver) catches you in his car.  Again there are various locations round the world hosting this event, all with a simultaneous start at 12:00 BST.  The early bird entry fee is 25 and, except for the 4.17 VAT, 100% of the entry fee goes to Spinal Cord Research (Red Bull and other sponsors pay all of the event costs).  I'll be running from Cambridge again but check out the website for the other worldwide locations. .  The best distance I've managed over the three years I've been doing it is 11.37miles (18.30km) but anyone faster than me could find themselves running much further and for much longer. 

Roderick Hoffman

PS I'm setting myself the challenge to exceed my best result in this so far.  What is your big event challenge next year?  Write in and commit yourself!

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