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BA Athletics Club News Digest 13th November 2017


  • Saturday 18th November - Run of the Month - ASCA Cross Country Dublin,
  • Wednesday 22nd November - Winter Handicap, Cranford Community College/Queens Head,
  • Saturday 25th November - Club featured parkrun - Bedfont Lakes - all welcome, including parkrun virgins,
  • Note that next Wednesday, 15th November - there is nothing planned at any club location.

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 2nd November.

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

Not for you, no longer interested?  remove me please. / Difficulty viewing this? Read it from the website:- Latest.shtml

Club Facebook Page "BARunner"

Inclusions, with photos, please to Roderick Hoffman at

STOP PRESS - contents for this digest were finalised as my Oslo to London flight pushed back this evening.  Since BA aircraft don't yet have WiFi this means that two late submitted items will need to be held back to next week's issue.

New Club Survey - 2018 Events

Thank you to the first 27 respondents on the club survey. The graph below shows that, when asked or reminded, people respond within a couple of days.  Fourteen did so after the issue of last week's digest and then another eleven after a reminder on Facebook.  The survey remains open for the rest of the month so that the club committee can discuss all of its results at the next committee meeting on December 6th.

Some early observations:

16 people have said they will probably come to the proposed Christmas event at the Five Bells on December 20th.  That, and last week's quiz, is enough to make us confident that we can have the event there.  We'll need to decide the food option to go with but we'll let others state their opinions before we commit.

Ten people expressed interest in last Saturday's Cross Country matches and four others for subsequent matches. At least eight people have expressed interest in the BA sponsored Gatwick event - so clearly it is worth the club getting more information from BA and the event organisers for this event.

With the Green Belt Relay we've had five people say they want to run, and we can probably guess who they are, but also another five have expressed interest in finding out more - which may make it easier for us to put together a full team this year.  But so far no one has said they would like to help drive us round...well, we had to ask!   But seven people have expressed interest in relay events for another time of the year - something for us to think about.

Next year's WARR already has ten people saying they expect to make it and five expressing interest.  Victoria could be a big one for us next September.  More people have expressed interest in Track & Field than we had do our events last year - so hopefully we can find a way of turning interest into actuals.

And with the other questions we'll have to go through the comments to better understand the feedback returned.

Survey link:


Roderick Hoffman

Quiz Night outcome

The clubs annual quiz last week was considered a great success. We anticipated 25 attendees but on the night had nearer thirty and collected about £160 for the White Lodge charity.

Nine of us took part in a training exercise run beforehand, using the western half of the Dream Mile course.  The conditions were dry and very cold - which helped prevent us building up a sweat hence the lack of showers was less of a problem than it might have been.

We then tookover the upstairs function room of the Five Bells in Harmondsworth and had baked potatoes with a variety of fillings, and their appeared to be plenty left over at the end.

Then Linda and Steve ran their quiz with the usual format.  There were six team competing for the pretitious pretentious prestigious certificates.  There were three regular club teams, a team of Taylors (though two Taylors had to overflow onto one of the other teams), a team from Hayes and Harlington Runners and a local team from the Five Bells.

The result was very close - perhaps the narrowest margin we've seen between bottom and top - so either the overflowing Taylors boosted the efforts of the Hayes And Harlington Runners...or held them back sufficiently to keep things level.

Anyway, at the top a single point was the difference between the main Taylor team, and the Five Bells team - the winners being the Five Bells Team.  Sadly the "BA Winners" certificate is unlikely to get displayed behind the bar due to the potential conflict with the "No third runway" posters.

Roderick Hoffman

PS The day after the quiz I flew out to Sweden and eating in a Stockholm pub I realised they were having their pub quiz.  I have to say though that their quiz was a lot tougher than ours ... I didn't understand a single question.

Surrey League Matches 11th November results and reports

Ladies First!

The second ladies match of the season was held on 11 November at Nonsuch Park in Cheam. It was raining the night before and that morning, so we expected a good dose of mud. It did not disappoint!

I was early, got there just as the local parkrun was about to start. The start of the parkrun was the same as the start of the cross country, so instead of getting out and setting up, I stayed in my car drinking tea, avoiding the rain and the many parkrunners gathering at the start. I know, I could have joined in!

It was still raining when I finally set up under one of the trees near the start, and soon joined by Monica, Helen and Trish. I didn't know Trish was early too, and she ran the parkrun. This was also to be her first cross country race. The rain had drizzled down by start time, and running condition were good, weather-wise. It had been a while since I last run this course, because I was surprised by how flat it was. I had told Trish to expect hills!

Pos# Points Num Name Age group Club Time
1 15 --- SEN --- 20:59
83 93 Natalie Ruffell SEN C/C C/C 25:02
478 1082 Trish Mccabe V40 BAW BAW 34:22
506 1075 Clara Halket V55 BAW BAW 35:47
536 1304 Janet Cunningham V55 EAL 37:20
540 1086 Helen Smith V60 BAW BAW 37:55
544 1071 Monica Alonso V50 BAW BAW 38:11
570 1966 --- V40 --- 53:47

We did get a good serving of mud on some stretches, and on others surprisingly dry underfoot. Trish led the team in, and overall we scored 1191 points, 39th team out of 44, a great effort by all. It wouldn't be a cross country run without some nibbles and drinks at the end. On this occasion we had hot drinks, mince pies, biscuits and Monica's trademark bread pudding

Thanks to Tom Rowley and Richard Ruffell for shouting out encouragements, and stopped by for a chat. The next match is on Saturday, 13 January at Wimbledon Common. We will be celebrating two of our ladies' birthdays that day (if they decide to run), and there will be some warming drinks (some may contain alcohol!) and birthday cakes. Runners and supporters are welcome. It is likely we have to offer a volunteer to the host, so any help from non-lady runners welcome. I'll circulate details nearer the time.

Keep Running

Clara Halket (

Men Second

We managed to get a full team out although with a few changes of personnel from last month. A special welcome back to Richard Ruffell, our most travelled participant who managed to combine this race with a parkrun and spectating at the Ladies Cross Country (both at Nonsuch park) and thank you to Colin Haylock who decided at lunchtime to run and test his injured hamstring in the race to good effect. Also welcome to Tim Bellars competing in his first Surrey League event and getting some good practice in for next week when he is half of the BA ASCA cross country team.

parkrun seems to be used more and more as a warm up for cross country with at least 5 of us running or volunteering in the morning.

In the absence of our usual lead runner Paul Knechtl we had occasional runner Duncan Wright to lead the team home coming in 47th place in a time of 33:59 closely followed by Chris Kelly. Special mention for Steve Hillier who limped home after having achilles problems, get well soon Steve.

Full results:

Pos Pts Team A: Time
47 47 Duncan Wright 33:59
50 51 Chris Kelly 34:12
64 62 Colin Haylock 35:20
65 63 Gary Rushmer 35:21
70 67 Richard Ruffell 35:38
88 83 Barry Walters 37:10
96 89 Tim Bellars 37:34
98 91 Ian Cunningham 37:39
130 111 Neil Frediani 42:49
131 112 Graham Taylor 43:05
  Team B:
147 30 Steve Hillier 54:40
We came 10th out of 12 teams in the A league. At the time of writing, the cumulative league tables hadn’t been compiled.
Results are at:

My apologies for lack of post run treats so far this season, I will try and make up for it next month with Christmas
nibbles and yes, new runners are welcome at that event (less than 3 weeks away at Roundshaw Downs) especially with
the Taylor family being unavailable due to being double booked (well we haven’t had a December fixture for a few years
so I will let them off ☺)

Neil Frediani

ASCA Cross Country and Dublin parkrun 18th November - last call

Anyone else interested in doing this let me know ASAP - currently it is just me and Tim Bellars.  I need to register you for the ASCA event (including, but not only, for the run) and will be doing this on the Friday evening - cost 50euro.  Note that although the ASCA Cross Country is the excuse to be in Dublin we are not skipping our Saturday parkrun.  Tim and I will be doing the nearby Father Collins parkrun first, and we'll be joined at it by Ralph Behrens also.

Roderick Hoffman

Dream Mile 2nd November 2017 Results

02-Nov-17 Roderick Hoffman 08:01  
02-Nov-17 Jeremy Short 06:29
02-Nov-17 Neil Frediani 07:00
02-Nov-17 Simon Ashford 07:48

Perhaps more important than this month's results, or the observation that at Simon's rate of improvement, if continued for another two months, he will break the 4:30 mile record, is the news that the next Dream Mile will be on Thursday, December 7th, and should include seasonal Mince Pies and Mulled Wine at the finish.  I emphasis the word "should" but it is probably worth running in hope and anticipation.

Roderick Hoffman

Club parkrun results for Saturday 11th November

11th November family & friends time parkrun commentary grade
Anne Bannister 26:48 Bedfont Lakes run #156, 129th at Bedfont 71%
Bob Bannister 24:24 Bedfont Lakes run #290 66%
Chris Evans 23:44 Bedfont Lakes run #182 63%
Neil Frediani 26:26 Bedfont Lakes [XC], run #181, 118th at Bedfont 61%
David Duggan 29:04 Bedfont Lakes run #224 54%
Lesley Chamberlin 26:01 Bushy Park run #164, 49th at Bushy 73%
John Coffey 27:01 Bushy Park run #258 70%
Alice Banks 26:13 Cassiobury run #99, 1st at Cassiobury 74%
Jonathan Cox 23:23 Crane Park run #331, 41st at Crane 66%
Ben Chaytow 22:39 Crane Park run #171 61%
Tim Bellars 25:10 East Grinstead [XC], run #6, park #6, club record 59%
Caroline Cockram 24:39 Fulham Palace run #290, course pb 66%
Ian Cockram 24:05 Fulham Palace run #407, 3rd at Fulham 61%
Alan Anderson 31:58 Gunnersbury run #482 69%
Kerstin Luksch 22:20 Gunnersbury run #238 67%
Piers Keenleyside 26:27 Gunnersbury run #182 61%
Steve Newell 35:24 Gunnersbury run #288 52%
Petra Otto 34:17 March run #31, 28th at March 60%
Richard Ruffell 25:13 Nonsuch [XC], 1st run at Nonsuch, park #69 61%
Trish McCabe 30:38 Nonsuch [XC], run #208, 2nd at Nonsuch 50%
Chris Kelly 28:40 Reading [XC],  #356, 284th at Reading 52%
Julie Barclay 21:47 Rushmoor run #110 81%
Paul Watt 21:44 Rushmoor run #62 69%
Eddie Giles 27:33 Salisbury run #92, 16th at Salisbury 63%
Sarah Gordon 35:38 Skatas(Gothenburg) 1st run in Sweden, park #89 54%
Roderick Hoffman 29:45 Skatas(Gothenburg) 1st run in Sweden, park #211 53%
Denis Foxley volunteer Harrow timekeeper
Joan Foxley volunteer Harrow barcode scanner
Alastair Heslop volunteer Guildford barcode scanner

The cross country league Saturdays usually cause a slight dip in our attendance figures at parkrun and it was no different this time around although some chose a gentle parkrun followed by a determined effort in the Surrey League a few hours later (XC in comments box).  For the ladies, the venue (Nonsuch Park) allowed Trish McCabe two runs in the same place!

Tim Bellars (25:10) made it six parks in six runs by visiting East Grinstead which is very much a cross country style parkrun anyway. That time is the new club record there.

Alice Banks (26:13) visited Cassiobury parkrun in Watford for the first time.  She has now chalked up 25 different parks in 99 runs so her century is just one Saturday morning away [see below].

Roderick Hoffman (29:35) and his sister Sarah Gordon (35:38) ran their and the club's first Swedish parkruns at Skatås in Gothenburg.  That moves the club total onto 371 and their respective scores to 211 and 89.

Steve Newell

Updated club parkrun stats

parkrun add ons


I will be running my 100th parkrun at Maidenhead this Saturday, the 18th. If any of you would like to join me at Maidenhead, it would be great to see you, there will be cake!!!

Regards Alice Banks

Some results have been published for the Black Combe (HMP Haverigg) parkrun.  In the first run there were 24 finishers and in the second 13 - consisting of one "first timer" and 12 on their second run, with nine doing PBs.  The participants in the first week including four listed with previous parkrun experience - presumably staff and special visitors, and two of these were ladies.  All of the "first timers" were male and had surnames of UK place names - so presumably not their real names.  But it will be interesting when one of those runners becomes eligible to run at any of the other 450+ UK parkruns - will they retain their "inside" name so as to retain their counts towards free shirts?

In more important matters it has been announced that parkrun Germany is to start up on December 2nd with inaugural parkruns at three venues:

I'm planning on joining Ralph Behrens at Hannover on the 2nd - anyone else interested let me know.

Roderick Hoffman

London Marathon alternatives

The London Marathon ballot was oversubscribed by a factor of twenty to one - yes, twenty to one, so on average you'd expect to wait ten years to get an entry through the battot. The places that the running club has got available are also oversubscribed, by around two to one. This means that many of you who may want to run the London Marathon next year will end up disappointed.  But do not despair because there are alternatives available.  I invited Piers Keenleyside, one of our marathon addicts, to tell us more...

Unless you can run a fast marathon and get a good-for-age time or raise loads of money for a charity we all know that getting into the London Marathon is not easy. However there are thousands of marathons taking place annually around the world and BA employees, ex-BA employees and retired staff have access to cheap or even free airline tickets. Non-airline staff can also take advantage of recent falls in advance purchased ticket prices. So if you haven’t got into London you are in a good position to enter one of the other great city marathons of the world.

Some of you may know that I have done quite a lot of marathons and ultras (141 at the last count) with about 1/3rd of these run outside England. Finding marathons to enter outside London and overseas is not difficult if you have access to the internet and a good search engine. If you are not looking for a marathon in a specific place good places to browse for a marathon that takes you fancy can be found at:

I have found that it pays to plan ahead and book your marathon as early as possible as many races have race prices that rise the closer it is to race day. You can often save as much as 40% by entering early. Buying non-standby airline tickets early on is advisable for popular destinations and always much cheaper if bought well in advance. I often buy BA staff "Hotline" tickets – if bought early these are often cheaper than the staff ID90 fares! They include a hold bag as well which can make them cheaper than comparable Ryanair and Easyjet fares. If you are prepared to travel light and go from Luton, Stansted or Gatwick the Ryanairs etc. may also be a good bet.

I find a three night stay works well for attending marathons in Europe – I usually travel out on Friday morning and back late Monday afternoon. This gives you plenty of time for exploring new places as well as registering and running your marathon.

If you have entered a marathon requiring a long-haul flight it makes sense to combine this with a family holiday and stay for at least a week. If your other half is not a runner then make sure the destination has something to offer them – e.g. good beaches, stunning mountain scenery or shopping. They can usually be persuaded!

There are a handful of overseas marathons that are as difficult as London to get a place – mainly the 5 other ‘Marathon Majors’ – Boston, New York, Chicago, Tokyo and Berlin. Of these Tokyo is the hardest – with ballot odds worse than London and no Good For Age entries. Berlin is probably the easiest of these to get a place in – roughly a 50/50 in the ballot, with Chicago next easiest. New York and Boston are quite difficult – despite the eye-watering entry fees! If you really want to do one of these and have been unlucky in the ballots then paying for a sports tour may be the answer – try 209 Events or Sports Tours International.

My favourite marathons outside England are:

  • New York – great crowds, great city (but sky-high entry fee)
  • Scott Snowdonia Trail Marathon – toughest and most scenic marathon in the UK!
  • Marrakech – for winter sun and a very different culture
  • Comrades (South Africa) – easily the biggest and best road ultra in the world
  • Dingle (fly to Kerry in Ireland) – great scenic coastal route and good Irish pubs
  • Athens Authentic – the original - finish in the 2500 year old Panathenaic Stadium
  • Midnight Sun, Tromso – running in the far north when the sun never sets!
  • Mauritius – finishes on a palm fringed beach looking over the Indian Ocean
  • Chicago – a flat and fast Major – not too difficult to get in via ballot
  • Berlin – another flat and fast Major and again not too difficult to get in via ballot

Finally, if your marathon is not on a Saturday, check to see if there are any local parkruns that you could do as a warm-up!

Piers Keenleyside

George Munday 10 km

I thought that I’d give the club a little feedback on the inaugural George Munday 10 km, which was located near Wisbech. It was a superb race, held by the relatively newly founded club, Three Counties Running Club.

An incredibly fast, and totally flat course, with welcoming and encouraging marshals throughout the route. Had it not been for the very strong gales and the pretty cold temperature we have had today, I am sure that we all would have been able to run even faster.

After we all observed a 2-minute silence, it was off into the unknown, straight into an incredible headwind. It was very hard work today, constantly struggling against the gales for most of the time. The scenery was ‘probably’ very nice, a typical fenland scenery but, with everyone keeping their head down, me included, I don’t remember much of that at all. Instead, we all knuckled down to the job in hand, trying to overcome the very cold gales, just beavering on.

However, despite the gales, I managed to knock off yet another whopping 2 minutes 14 seconds from my previous best 10 km near Munich, finishing in a totally unexpected new PB (for this year) of 1:01:24. To say that I was chuffed to bits about that would be a total understatement!

We received a really great goody bag, which contained a high quality, heavy poppy medal, a pedometer, a bottle of water, a Mars bar and some sweets. Coffee, tea and cakes were waiting for us to grab afterwards, apart from the bananas at the finish. Oh, and we also enjoyed electronic timing, something we all appreciated very much. There was a total of 198 runners.

All in all a great, and very friendly atmosphere. So, if any of you are ever up in the Fens, then that 10 km would almost certainly guarantee you a PB, gales permitting!!!

Petra Otto

New York Marathon Results

Another club finisher in last week's New York City Marathon was Lissa Prichard in a time of 3:58:11.

Next Digest?

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

Club website:



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