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BA Athletics Club News Digest 21st September 2020

 For future weeks: inclusions, with photos, please to Roderick Hoffman at

Events Calendar - online here

Unrestricted races are still few and far between 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. 

Roderick Hoffman

New Diary

In the distributed version of the digest you may need to click on the diary heading to open up the full online version. You can also access the diary from our website at

Use the diary to understand and plan which club events you will be participating in. Using the icon towards the top right you can swap between "List", "4 weeks" and other views.  More detail is provided by clicking on the diary entries and for some you can even "Sign up" to indicate an intention to attend the event. You can also add your own events - these will under the calendar heading "Colleague Run". Please do this if you are planning a run later in the week or beyond and you'd be quite happy for others to join you.

Remember during this period that runs with more than six participants have to be properly authorised. If you are joining in a club or colleague run please ensure that you have told them and also, for non-BAAC members, that you have provided them with your contact details. And remember that there have still been no confirmed reports of coronavirus being passed on outside between runners. We may be heading for another lockdown but the reason for that isn't because of runs in parks.

If you look at October's runs you'll note that I've put in two external virtual events - the Vitality London 10,000 (as our Run-of-the-Month) and the Marlow Striders virtual half and seven mile runs. Details including how to enter are in the diary items. If you want other races to know what you've got to do.

Any difficulties, questions or suggestions - please get in touch via .

This Week's Events

You could be very busy with club runs this week! Kelly Davis is organising a run around the Bedfont Lakes parkrun course from 18:30 tomorrow, Tuesday. Please tell Kelly or me if you intend to attend. Then on Friday starting at 11:00am I'm celebrating the ten-year anniversary of BA hosting the World Airline Road Race by running 5k on the same course at Victoria Docks in East London. At the moment it is only Steve Newell and myself expected but let me know if you can also make it.

This week the midweek challenge is the Track-on-Field event and next week it is the Ross Barkley 5k challenge. Both of these can be undertaken on any day during each month although I'll group together the month's results after the last Friday of the month (Track-on-Field) and after the last day of the month (Ross Barkley).

As usual we have the "best weekend achievement" over next weekend although I'm expecting distances to be short and paces to be controlled just one week ahead of many people doing the virtual London Marathon the following weekend.

The Kings Cross Street-O is also available every day up until the end of the month. Simon Turton has already done his run and I know that others are planned.

So, a busy week. And I wonder whose name will feature the most in next week's digest?  Send me your results for instance by filling in the tables below and forwarding to


Name Date 1500m time 800m time 400m time 200m time 100m time Comment:

Weekend Achievement:

Your Name Event Distance Location Day/Start Time or Duration Details or comment, and other achievements
e.g. Running  
Roderick Hoffman

News from BA Clubs - Bedfont

We've been notified that we can now use the refurbished changing rooms at Bedfont (at the Bedfont & Feltham Football and Social Club in Hatton Road). The club committee will discuss this at our next meeting and decide whether and how to return to club runs.

Roderick Hoffman

Last Week's Midweek Challenge - 5k Pacing

September Paced Run resultsSeven of us attempted the paced run challenge. This was to state what pace we would run a 5k in and then try to run that pace throughout, without looking at our watches though with those watches recording the kms or miles to see how well we did.

So, this presented us with three challenges:

  • How fit were we?
  • How can we regulate our speed over the uphill and downhill sections of the courses we were running?
  • How could we cope with the difference between ground speed and air speed on what turned out to be a windy week?

The table below and the graph above shows the results for the seven of us that attempted this. The first point displayed is the pace we said we would run at, the second point is the pace we averaged throughout the five km and the remaining points are the paces over each km (or mile in Scott's case).

I failed on the first challenge - assessing my own fitness. Returning from injury I turned out to be much fitter than I thought I was by finishing 2.5 minutes faster than my target. I had chosen a flat course (even missing out the 100m long downhill section of the Northala Fields course!) and I coped admirably with the different wind speeds running slightly slow in the first km but then almost identically in the last four (indeed, the 2 seconds slower in the fourth km can be put down to me having to retrieve my cap that had blown off).

Amanda discovered that she wasn't as fit as she thought - still recovering from her Triathlon efforts documented later. Everyone else were quite good on their fitness judgment, spot on in Stephen's case and almost so from Scott. Mike and Scott got steadily faster during the run, most of the others had their ups and downs. This proved an interesting exercise and I'll repeat this later on in the year where hopefully a few more of us will have a go and sticking to a constant pace.

Runner Target Pace Actual Pace SpL1 SpL2 SpL3 SpL4 SpL5 Notes
Roderick Hoffman 06:30 06:00 06:08 05:58 05:58 06:00 05:57 Northala parkrun variant. Losing my cap cost me 2s in L4
Simon Turton 05:00 04:55 04:59 04:59 05:01 04:39 04:50 Looks like I got a bit carried away from 3km.
Scott Davison 05:06 05:05 05:15   05:04 04:53 Not good pace thou a tad windy on Bedfont parkrun hill.
Amanda Coombs 06:00 06:24 06:31 06:30 06:16 06:20 06:21  I knew the pacing was off as I was running, but I couldn’t do anything about it because I had hurt my neck!
Stephen Taylor 05:12 05:12 05:04 04:59 05:12 05:28 05:14 At Northala Fields it was a bit windy on the return stretch from Rectory Park.
Mike Dennison 05:00 04:53 05:07 04:58 04:53 04:50 04:40 I started out reasonably, but got faster instead of keeping the pace.
Joe Nolan 06:12 05:57 06:23 06:00 05:39 05:58 05:44 Upton parkrun course

Roderick Hoffman

Wimbledon NOW runnersWimbledon Windmill Wander Write-up

I had described this in advance as a "Wander" simply to be an alliterative headline, but it can be used to describe the course we ran. We had attempted to run the Wimbledon parkrun course. But none of us knew it. And it was not marked. And Steve's map didn't show part of the course. And data phone signals failed within the woods. And the map on the parkrun website is impossible*.

But the seven of us managed to have a delightful run with six of us doing a shortened form of the parkrun course in two and a bit laps whilst Steve did a reverse walk of one lap.

And we had a nice lunch stop at the cafe afterwards.

Roderick Hoffman

* I revisited Wimbledon Common on Saturday and with more technology on board I attempted to walk around the parkrun website drawn course and I can confirm that it is impossible to get from the start to the finish using the woodland paths. By that I mean the stretch you do three times in the two and a bit laps. The drawn course links two points with a straight line that doesn't correspond to a real path. Either the map is wrong or there has been some remarkable growth since lockdown started!

Wimbledon NOW woodland

SOLO Activity Achievement Weekend 18th to 21st September 2020

This week 27 members and friends reported activities.

Colleague Activity Distance Course Start Time Run Time Comments
Amanda Coombs Running 5k Sun 00:29:44 Much more successful 5K in 30 mins pace challenge.
Andy Rayner Running 4miles XC Thur 00:49:20 At Weymouth for the weekend so exercise restricted to sea swimming.
Barry Walters Running 11km Swinley Forest and Heathland Sat am 01:02:13 This was a real struggle as I lacked energy and felt lethargic, but at least I finished it.
Ben Cooper Running 3.79km BAMC (BA Maintenance Cardiff) Mon 00:17:11 P.B. !!! Also ran 18.03 (Fri) 17.47 (Sat) 17.50 (Sun)
Benita Scaife Running 6miles Maidenhead Thames Path Sat am 01:05:29
Chris Stockwell Walking 10.1miles Windsor Great Park Sat lunchtime 02:56:00 Time excludes a stop to get a flu jab. I have just passed 1000 miles of “boots on” walking for this year.
Christine Munden Running 7km Group session Sat pm 2k warm-up. 800m, 1000m, 1000m, 800m with four minutes rest between. 9/10 effort for this section. 1km warm-down.
Dave Barnard Walking 9km Local midweek 00:42:00 Well, I used to try and break 42’ for, these days my time is nearer two hours.
Eddie Giles Running 5k Treadmill Sun pm 00:29:20 What a week!  Blood tests, Dentist, Flu jab, and survived !!
Eddie Ketterick Cycling 48miles Staines to Dinton Sun am 03:30:00 Staines to Dinton and back.
Emma Moreton Running 20miles Shepperton to Hampton Court loop Fri 02:54:00 Final long run for London. It felt pretty good and I am happy with that!
Harjit Jhooti Running 21.2km Walton to Hampton Court and back Sun pm 02:21:43 A little towpath run.
Joe Nolan Running 5k Black Park freedom parkrun Sat am 00:31:44 Gentle canter with friends.
John Scaife Running 6miles Maidenhead Thames Path Sat am 01:05:29 Run enhanced by flat arches (see Facebook).
Keith Johnson Running 10k v Stevenage 10k Sun am 00:49:14 It would have been the Stevenage 10K but due to Covid it became a “virtual” event; my course was in Minehead in Somerset.
Kelly Davis Running 3.5miles Reservoir loop Sat 00:41:47 With coach Chloe, been feeling a little pain in my right heal so I took it easy.
Maria Jovani Running 9.5miles Richmond/Kingston River Loop Sat am 01:16:00 Planning v London Marathon route. With Mike Dennison and also saw Trish on a long run.
Michael Ball Running Fri 6x80 metre hill sprints gym and 12 mile bike ride.
Mike Dennison Running 15.33km Richmond/Kingston River Loop Sat am 01:16:59 Almost the Cabbage Patch route. With Maria Jovani.
Paul Watt Running 5k Rushmoor Freedom Run Sat 00:20:48
Petra Otto Running 4.8km March Nature Reserve Plus 12km trail walk and 4x hard workout in gym.
Roderick Hoffman Running 9.17km Norbiton Street-O Sun am 01:01:24 Repeat run scoring 60points more than previously despite 60 time penalties.
Sarah Gordon Running 10k v Milton Keynes 10k Sat am See report below
Scott Davison Running 5k Bedfont Parks Freedom parkrun Sat 00:23:40 Really happy with time.
Simon Turton Running 13km Chiltern Hills Fri 01:14:19 An undulating run around the Chilterns NW of Henley. Making the most of the light evening weather.
Stephen Taylor Running 13.18miles v Ealing Half Marathon Sat am 02:13:33 Starting to taper for the London Marathon.
Steve Hillier Running 5.1k Eastcote Sat evening 00:34:10 Perhaps for the last time this year I waited until it was cool before running.  By which time it was very dark in the park!

Roderick Hoffman {submit by 5pm on Monday}

Blenheim Palace Triathlon – Race Report

This event was originally scheduled for May but was postponed to mid-September. For many months I didn’t believe that the UK’s second-largest triathlon could take place in these extraordinary times. However, the Palace granted permission, and with extensive planning and a Covid-secure race licence issued by British Triathlon, it went ahead.

Blenheim Palace is the most stunning of venues. The huge transition area is laid out in front of the palace, and the lake and extensive grounds are perfect for triathlon. 7,000 competitors usually take part – many first-timers – although numbers were reduced this year.

I had entered the ‘Weekend Warrior’: complete as many sprint triathlons as you can during the racing hours of the weekend. I was only able to compete on Saturday because I was taking my son back to university on Sunday, but nevertheless I had a place rolled over and decided to give it a go.

The Warriors had their own transition area, with portaloos, water dispensers and plenty of hand sanitiser. There was no on-course nutrition this year, no changing facilities or post-race massage. Each participant was allowed one spectator only (pre-booked). We had been sent a YouTube race briefing, and were given an extra briefing at the start… and then we were off!

Amanda Coombs at Blenham Palace TriathlonEach triathlon consists of a 750m swim in the lake (wetsuit compulsory), followed by a 0.4km uphill run in the wetsuit to transition, which certainly saps the legs! No mass start this year; competitors were pulsed out from the pontoon in 5-second intervals. Onto the bike for a 19.8km scenic but hilly course in the palace grounds, then back to transition for a ‘quick’ change into running shoes for a 5.4km run, which wasn’t flat either! Once through the finishing gantry, the chip timing stops, you collect a medal and then run/walk/crawl the 1.1km back to the swim start where hopefully your assistant is waiting with your wetsuit, cap and goggles. My husband had agreed to help for the day, and did a grand job between swims drying out the wetsuit as much as possible (we were lucky with the weather) and generally helping me with logistics. Most Warriors had assistants, but the few that didn’t had the extra detour via transition after each finish.

Back at the lake - over the timing mat and into the water, the fun begins again!

I was happy to complete four triathlons in the time available on Saturday; a total of 3km swimming, 79.2km cycling and 21.6km running (not counting  the extra 5.3km covered). The format is exhausting. Continuous swim-bike-runs are mentally taxing as well as physically challenging. By the fourth triathlon I could barely remove my wetsuit as I had nothing left in my legs, but somehow I managed to get going again.

It was a fabulous event, but on my way home I said “Never again”! However, as I write this, and having viewed the results, I see that I was the only female in my age group to complete four triathlons on Saturday. There is unfinished business, and I have registered my interest for next year!

The eventual winner completed a phenomenal six triathlons on Saturday and five on Sunday, a new event record.

Huge thanks to the organisers and to the hundreds of volunteers who staged such a fantastic weekend.

Amanda Coombs

Milton Keynes 10k Saturday 19th Sept

MK10k MarkersLast year I enjoyed my run in Milton Keynes so much that I signed up to do a 5k and 10k early in 2020. Covid came and changes were made to the arrangements. I did the 5k Run virtually, that is I ran a 5k race locally, uploaded the details and was sent my medal. Other races were deferred until this autumn but the failure of lockdown to eradicate Covid meant another plan was made. Bit of a mouthful but they ‘re-imagined’ the concept of a mass run by setting up a measured route, enveloping an app based route guidance and recording system, plastered the route with tiny direction labels and gave competitors a 3 week window to do the run.

MK10k MedalsSo early this morning I got up and drove down to Willen Lake. I found the start - there were no local indications of the start at all, I used the centre of the what3words point.

I then ran twice round the lake on my own, occasionally I had passing interactions with dog walkers, cyclists and morning joggers. But it was nothing like the social running events I enjoyed last year. Lovely morning though as I ran past the pagoda, the stone circles, through a lovely plantation of poplar trees and spotted a heron looking for breakfast.

The end was particularly anticlimactic. There seemed a mismatch between my understanding of the event length and the app. It didn’t give me a countdown to the end, told me I had run 10k but only when I carried on moving forward to take another photo decided to suggest I ran to the next lamppost and finished as I passed it.

Instead of enthusiastic volunteers putting a medal round my neck and paying me with water and other healthy goodies I had to drive to the other side of the city, put on my mask and go into a running shop to collect my tee shirt and medals. I enjoyed my run but I don’t think it’s going to catch on.

Sarah Gordon

parkrun report 19th September 2020 (!)

parkrun events in New Zealand sprung back into life in July but were suspended again after the runs on 8th August.  Outside Auckland, Covid19 seems to be on the retreat again and parkrun could start again as early as next Saturday.  The original policy declared by parkrun HQ for parkruns to be restarted whole countries at a time has been abandoned.

Over in Australia, Melbourne has been badly infected by the coronavirus but Western Australia and the Northern Territory far less so.  This weekend the three parkruns in and around Darwin restarted at 7 a.m. on Saturday with 185 runners at Nightcliff (pre-lockdown 229), 97 at Darwin (104) and 95 at Palmerston (101).

Many time zones to the West, the parkrun at Cape Pembroke Lighthouse in the Falkland Islands burst back into life at 9 a.m.  The weather was extremely bracing and everyone must feel for the four volunteers plus the tailwalker who managed to fend off frostbitten fingers long enough to record the times and positions for the thirty finishers and clear up the out and back course afterwards. There were 31 finishers (39 pre-lockdown). Ed: It was about time "parkrun Limited" allowed Cape Pembroke Lighthouse to restart. After all, although there have been 13 confirmed cases of Coronavirus in the Falklands, the most recent one was on 25th April.

There is now some optimism regarding a parkrun restart in UK by the end of October but there still some hurdles to be overcome.  Not all landowners may give permission right away and the devolved nations may not all want to (or have to) start at the same time.  If your borough is locked down and your local parkrun is cancelled then you will probably miss out that week.  Boris Johnson, now under orders to lose some weight and get fit, will be able to choose between Westminster (no parkrun), constituency Uxbridge (no parkrun) and Chequers (Wendover Woods – quite a tough one! Ed: There will also shortly be Church Mead at Amersham, halfway between Uxbridge and Chequers which looks like being even tougher!).  There is reason to believe that Hillingdon Borough may one day get a nice flat one he can attend from time to time – maybe pushing a baby buggy! Ed: Anyone interested in being involved in planning for a Hillingdon parkrun please drop me a line.

Steve Newell


Kilian Jornet’s: "Above the clouds, how I carved my own path to the top of the world".

Highly recommended. He seems to be the world’s top mountain & trail runner at present, breaking records for things like the Pennine Way, the Bob Graham round, and Everest without oxygen. A refreshing personal account of his way of life and attitudes to mountains, and to training and competing.

Dave Barnard

Coronavirus Warning Footnote [changes from last week underlined or struck-through] (no changes)

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 relevant law in England says that people can meet in groups of up to 6 or, in COVID secure circumstances, 30 or more:

  • 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 still to avoid public transport and shared car journeys,
  • In England you may normally meet with up to five other persons for your exercise outside the home. Club organised events, in COVID secure circumstances, can include more. Do not share athletics equipment and continue to maintain the social distancing with anyone you do meet up with. You are recommended to minimise the total number of different people you meet with over the days and weeks,
  • 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,
  • A risk assessment has to be raised based on this template (updated),
  • 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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