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BA Athletics Club News Digest 14th 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. The switch of London to Tier 3 makes very little difference.

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.

This week's midweek challenge is the Christmas Collaboration described below. Next week it is the return of Track-on-Field so feel free to get your sprint fix in early.

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

Club Christmas Social this Wednesday from 8pm with the Hillier Christmas Quiz, via ZOOM.

Wednesday evening sees the first staging of an online Christmas Athletics Social.  The big green sack will not be available to give/receive your Christmas gifts, but the social will include a (shortened) quiz.  

Feel free to cram the area in front of your laptop with fellow bubble occupants, or log in alone.  There will be questions for everyone.  It is planned to be an evening of fun, not a naming and shaming event.

Here are the access details:

Zoom Example pictureNote that of the optional requirements the Party Hats can be provided by the ZOOM functionality itself (see picture) - during the zoom meeting click on the "^" to the right of the "Stop Video" icon, select "Choose Video Filter" from the list of options and have fun with the Video Filters displayed. Click on the "X" in top right to close the Settings window. And if, like me, you don't like your wallpaper or can't be bothered to put all of your athletics books / running medals onto the bookshelf behind you then you can also set a Virtual Background. From the ZOOM screen the buttons for "Chat" (for text chat) and "Reactions" (e.g. to raise your hand) may also be useful to explore. Do have fun...but be careful not to miss any of the quiz questions whilst you are doing so!

The meeting proper will start at 8pm (20:00) however Steve Taylor will open the doors from 7:45pm (19:45) to give anyone who hasn't used the ZOOM functionality before some time to find their feet and sound controls. Don't be worried about the prospect - most people find ZOOM works for them and on their technology surprisingly well (I mean, even Boris Johnson manages to use it!). We haven't mentioned an end time but I doubt that the quiz and meeting will crash the 10pm news.

Please - the more the merrier! (and the more wine and beer the merrier too)

Roderick Hoffman obo Steve and Linda Hillier (Quiz Masters), and Steve Taylor (Zoom Master)

Ask Technical Questions of Steve Taylor

Winter Five Mile Handicap - Run 3 results #

The weather conditions were benign for a December evening at Bedfont and the roadworks in Faggs Road which had threatened to make life difficult for runners had mercifully been completed a few days before.  Some were running the course for the first time and enjoyed the relative simplicity of the route and the two-lap design was well received {Ed: Including from the timekeeper who was able to look out for the runners at the end of their first lap}.  Julie Barclay (38:00) and Paul Watt (34:48) improved the course records set in October.

Run 3 09-Dec-20 target actual difference points new target
Amanda Coombs 45:00 44:36 00:24 25 44:30
Steve Taylor 45:00 44:05 00:55 21 44:00
Maarten Stenham 38:00 36:03 01:57 18 36:00
Julie Barclay 40:00 38:00 02:00 16 38:00
Paul Watt 37:00 34:48 02:12 15 34:45
Roderick Hoffman 47:30 52:06 04:36 14 50:00

The next round will be on the last Wednesday in January (subject to any Covid19 restrictions in force at that stage).  Members and guests who would prefer a brisk walk can just do one lap starting at 15 minutes past the hour. 

Five Mile Handicap Survey

We had seven attendees for last week's Five Mile Handicap and we all enjoyed the new two-lap course. We met in person in the dark, cold, damp carpark of the Bedfont Club from 18:00 and, due to Covid Tier restrictions, with no prospect of meeting afterwards in the clubhouse or in the pub across the road. We had also had seven attendees for the first run in October and this is down from the numbers at the end of the last winter series which had 12 and 10 runners in Jan and Feb. There are three more handicap runs scheduled for January, February and March 2021. We would like to have more attendees and are prepared to do things differently to encourage attendance. We could decide to run at lunchtime in the light, and/or we could make the events virtual events allowing anyone to run on their own course, for instance from their own homes.

I asked this question on Facebook last week and have had a few responses.  Seven people have said that they are likely to attend one or more of the next three events. Two people have said they would be more likely to attend if the event was held at lunchtime. Two people have said that they would be more likely to run if there was a virtual run option. Also see the Facebook post: Facebook/groups/636199849751546/permalink/3668263173211850/

Not everyone uses Facebook. Do you have a view on this? Let us know.

Roderick Hoffman (click to respond)

Monthly Mile Results

Club Mile results for DecemberJust six participants this month although Steve Hillier and Roderick Hoffman continued their record of having participated every month since we started these solo runs.

But whilst most of us were slower this cold, wet, blustery December Eddie Giles is continuing to get faster and faster - would anyone bet against him beating 7minutes in January?

The next monthly mile is a late one, in the week of Thursday 14th January.

Roderick Hoffman

Christmas Collaboration Event - Sat 12th to Wed 16th December #

At the last count 29 volunteers had agreed to trace out letters in their runs and walks before 5pm this Wednesday and 16 had already posted or sent their letters.

What happens next? Between 5pm and 6pm I'll send a message out to the Digest distribution list which will include all of the letters drawn. These form a set of letters for a fun anagram competition that will run throughout the evening and will be featured at the end of the Zoom Christmas Event and in next week's digest. Everyone will be encouraged to form a phase or sentence from the letters and email them back to me for inclusion in the competition/entertainment.

Let me know you can draw a letter or if you have already offered but not heard back from me, or if you don't think you'll manage to draw your letter (I have Wednesday afternoon put aside if needed!):

 > Roderick Hoffman

SOLO Activity Achievements, Weekend 11th to 14th December 2020

This week 20 members and friends reported activities and an overlapping 16 gave me letters (not listed here).  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
Alice Banks Running 5miles Marlow Common Sat am With a fellow Marlow Strider. We finished with a warming coffee at Marlow sports club, socially distanced from lots of little people playing hockey and football!
Andy Rayner Running 2.2miles Thur 00:31:30
Benita Scaife Running 4miles Shoppenhangers Route 00:57:22 Time includes time taken to draw letters for Club Collaboration event.
Bob Bannister Running 10km Bushy Park Sun am 00:47:20 Combined with Runnymede Runners 10k Club Championships (Virtual Race)
Chris Kelly Running 10km Chipperfield 00:47:54 With my daughter Becca, her first 'race'. Followed by a visit to the Two Brewers (well known as the GBR Stage 6 changeover).
Christine Munden Steps Westfield Shopping Centre Fri pm 01:00:00 Westfield (White City end), we ran up the steps two at a time x 10. Got a few bemused looks off shoppers.
Denis Foxley Running Ruislip Woods With Joan. We started and finished together, but parted company in the middle before meeting up again near the finish.
Emma Moreton Running 11miles Shepperton Sat am 01:31:00  Prep. for the Great Welsh Half (virtual race)
Harjit Jhooti Walking 19.06km Hampton Court to Teddington return Mon am 04:32:21 In the rain.
Jacqui Musselwhite Running 5k Rushmoor Freedom Run Sat am 00:25:40 With my daughter. 2nd of the week after 27:32 5k around Knaphill on Wednesday.
Jain Reid Running Richmond Park Sat 01:00:00 Orienteering dressed as Santa - a group of us socially distanced in pairs. Great fun but Garmin died after 3k. Sunday I did a 12.5k local riverside MAF run/walk.
John Scaife Running 4miles Shoppenhangers Route 00:57:22 Time includes time taken to draw letters for Club Collaboration event.
Melanie Miller Mixed Run/Walk 22.04km Quicksilver Run/Walk Sun 04:15:48 Started off as a run, deteriorated into a walk when the weather turned most foul and the towpath became unrunable but 1/2M all done even if it took 1/2 the day.
Michael Ball Sprints Horsell Common, Woking Sun 5x300 mtr trail course 5 min between runs and gym
Neil Frediani Running 5.51miles Lockhaugh Sat 00:55:24 Also 6.9miles on Saturday to do a recce of this route for today's virtual race.  Did it in the dark, mud and rain.
Roderick Hoffman Running 5k Osterly parkrun course Mon lunch 00:32:04 P'Osterley for Christmas
Simon Turton Running 9.5km Penn Wood (High Wycombe) Sun am 01:21:00 Solo-O training exercise with tape marking the control sites. Navigation good and got back into pace counting. Wet and muddy but enjoyable.
Stephen Taylor Running 7.39miles Ealing parks Sun am 01:22:29 A gentle run through a few Ealing parks. Hoping to up the miles a bit next weekend.
Steve Hillier Running 5km Local Sat 00:34:30 Slowest this year.  It's all cunning preparation for running a PB next weekend!  Watch this space.
Tony Barnwell Running 5km Grange Fields, Widmer End Thur 00:33:09 Dry conditions, flat course [time reported as 33.90mins]

Jain as SantaForgive my Osterley pun, I'll blame a friend who commented on my Facebook photo (though he was blaming someone else). To make amends here is a picture of Jain as Santa, perhaps before rather than after the Orienteering run?

Roderick Hoffman


I asked last week for information on MAF.

The MAF Method is summarised here - but for the full detail you really need to read the book The Maffetone Method: The Holistic, Low-Stress, No-Pain Way to Exceptional Fitness.

The overall method is more holistic but the main focus from Jain and Piers is on the heart rate training...and fat burning.

Cutting it down to absolute basics the MAF heart rate is 180 minus age 122 in my case. The idea is that you do the vast majority of your training at this heart rate. The logic is twofold - you’ll get injured less as you’re stressing your body less and over two to three months your body learns to use your fat as fuel rather than glycogen so you can run longer ... and you end up running faster but consuming no more energy.
It’s worth saying that the “fat” isn’t necessarily the fat you want it to burn … there are a lot of fat reserves elsewhere in the body.

In a lot of ways the method has a lot in common with other plans that stress a strong aerobic base and under-stress higher intensity workouts. By luck my Comrades training fitted this pattern and I had a pretty good outcome!


Ian Cunningham

Hillingdon Track

I've managed to talk to Chris Parker, who works for GLL (Greenwich Leisure Limited).  They now manage the track at Hillingdon.  The current situation is as follows:
Hillingdon AC have put together Risk Assessments and have the track booked on Tues/Thu/Sun.  A one way system for entry/exit of the stadium facilities has been introduced.  

The facility is available to book on Mon/Wed/Fri for a club at a cost of £38 per hour, on provision of club insurance and risk assessment.  The only casual booking available is on Sunday mornings, 9-12, at a cost of £3.80 per hour, by booking through the website or app.


Steve Hillier

Triathlon News - "255" Challenge

A new event has just been launched for those who are beginning to find the Ironman distances a little bit too easy to handle. The "255" triathlon will be held in West Sussex and feature a 5km swim (4 laps of Westhampnett lake), 200km cycling (52 laps of Goodwood Race Track) and 50km running round the outer perimeter path (10 laps including a pit stop opportunity every lap). The organisers will count the laps for you so no need to worry about that all day.  The race is scheduled for 8th August 2021 and only 300 entries will be accepted (£360). You will have a max of 18 hours to reach the chequered flag. More details from .

Steve Newell

parkrun News

267 events recorded results last Saturday, a modest increase on the week before due to 13 Russian parkruns starting up.  Next weekend New South Wales parkruns restart. Victoria is still dragging its heels, with no resumption being announced despite it being over six weeks since the most recent locally transmitted case of Covid-19 being detected. parkrun being back in other countries around the world is good news for those wanting parkrun to return in the UK - particularly for those countries which have a background level of locally transmitted Covid-19 (Japan and Russia). 267 is well short of the maximum 1653 events recorded on 11th January although interestingly there are now 1845 parkruns listed in the database including over 100 that are yet to have their inaugural run.

Roderick Hoffman

Open Water Swimming News

A new open water swimming venue has opened at Chattern Hill Orchard Lake, Bedfont Lakes (Southside), known as The Haven.  This is in the area on the other side of the railway tracks from where Bedfont Lakes parkrun operates with access from Challenge Road round the back of the Young Offenders Institution (which of course has its own rather private parkrun  - by invitation only).

It will be open on Saturday mornings making a morning of swim and run a possibility when life returns to normal.  The cost of a swim will be £6 (or a 10-swim season ticket for £55). Swimmers will have to be members of NOWCA and buy a chipped rubber wristband which works rather like a parkrun barcode and costs £12.  Wristbands are issued to newcomers on their visit to a site and are valid at many NOWCA venues round the country including Royal Victoria Dock.

Don't imagine for a moment that you will have to wait six months to try it out,  A pre-Christmas Dip is planned for Saturday 19th December between 0900 and 1300 (£10 including warming refreshments). Expect the water temperature to be less than 10 deg. C.  Advice on swimming in really cold water will be provided. For more details see Or download the ACTiO app.  If you attend the swim please send a report of your experience to

Who knows, this might be start of something big.  BA Clubs could be hosting the first ASCA open water swimming championships next summer.

Steve Newell

Ed: I don't think that the switch from Tier 2 to Tier 3 makes any difference.

Christmas Greetings

The first of many perhaps...

  • We wish you all at the club a very Merry Christmas and hopefully a return to parkruns, track etc. in 2021. Lesley & Eddie Giles

Submit your message for Christmas or the New Year

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. The switch of London from Tier 2 to Tier 3 makes no difference when it comes to outside exercise.

  • 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

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

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