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BA Athletics Club News Digest 24th August 2020

I'm not at home this week so this digest may be slightly compromised in its construction and distribution.  For future weeks: inclusions, with photos, please to Roderick Hoffman at

Events Calendar

Week of MondayÖ Midweek Challenge Club Event Weekend Solo Run
17th August Track x5 or Ross Barkley 5k Street-O Norbiton (results below)
NOW run Osterley (report below)
Best weekend exercise achievement
24th August Scrabble Rescramble (see below)  Best weekend exercise achievement
31st August none 2nd Sept. Speedbird Ladies (CIE)Best weekend exercise achievement
7th September Solo Mile Shared Mile - Bushy (tbc)Best weekend exercise achievement
14th September Equinox 5k (probably solo) 16th Sept. NOW Wimbledon (tbc)Best weekend exercise achievement
21st September Track-on-Field / Ross Barkley Victoria Dock (see below)Best weekend exercise achievement
28th September     

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

Reminder - Speedbird Ladies Race on 2nd September on Harmondsworth Moor

This is still planned for 2nd September but still not yet confirmed by all relevant bodies.  We would like all members to get behind this if they can. Ladies should sign-up to run, Gents should sign-up to help or marshal.

The event needs to follow Covid secure processes but should be an enjoyable and rewarding experience nevertheless. The format will be like the time-trial pilot we ran on 29th July. The course will be a single loop of just over 4k and runners will be set off at twenty second intervals with the first runner starting at 18:30 and the last by about 18:50. There won't be the usual medals and prizes at an awards ceremony afterwards, but there won't be a race entry fee either (though we will recommend a charity donation instead).

This year's Ladies Race is "Invitation Only" - for club members, runners from previous years and those of clubs we have members associated with. If anyone would like to invite someone beyond that list, please contact Steve first to check how we are doing on numbers. There is a maximum field size of 60. It is a condition of participation (and of our race license) that all entrants, marshals and spectators must be registered in advance with contact details that will be passed on to "Test and Trace" if required.

Runners and spectators contact Steve Taylor - and include your contact details and a representative 5k time for seeding purposes.

Marshals please contact Roderick Hoffman.

Note that the event won't be held if it isn't confirmed by all relevant bodies, and that even if permission is given the event could be cancelled at short notice.

More details including course map:

NOW Event - Osterley Park on Wednesday 19th September

Last Wednesday saw a Dirty Dozen Covid-clean Twelve attend our first NOW event for over six months at Osterley Park. Pictured, on our best social distancing behaviour, are (left to right) Bob Bannister, Steve Newell, Barry Walters, John Scaife, Piers Keenleyside, Michael Ball, Roderick Hoffman, Amanda Coombs, Dennis Foxley, Benita Scaife, Steve Hillier and Janet Smith. Amanda's Mike took the photo.

We also chatted with the NT General Manager for Osterley and he made us most welcome - inviting us to send him registration numbers for the car park next time we wanted to drop by. Truth is he is missing the parkrun crowd!

We all ran, or at least traversed, the Osterley parkrun circuit. Most did two laps, SteveN and myself doing just the one. Of those doing the full 5k some did it "straight", others did it as a Ross Barclay.

Performances include:

Participant Event Time
Barry Walters RB 5k 27:04
Steve Hillier RB 5k 28:52
Michael Ball RB 5k 23:18
Roderick Hoffman 2.5k walk 22:16
Steve Newell RB 2.5k 20:24
Denis Foxley RB 5k 26ish
Bob Bannister RB 5k 22:07

Another NOW event is being considered for Wimbledon, meet near the windmill, for Wednesday 16th September. It is possible that we'll have a formal club challenge that week of an "Equinox" 5k so the Wimbledon NOW run could count for that.

This week's events

Last week's "normal" midweek challenge was the "Track on Field" 1500m, 800m, 400m, 200m and 100m set or alternately the Ross Barkley 5k. That is continuing this week with results to be included in next week's digest.

Norbiton Street-O Results

Six colleagues coped with the MapRunF app and the Norbiton Street-O map and recorded a result.

Participant Controls Time Distance (km) Points Scored Comment
Simon Turton 24 1:00:57 12.08 820-30=790 Had a time penalty but still outscored the rest of us.
Mike Dennison 23 0:57:26 11.59 740 "Overall, I enjoyed it, but obviously could do to work on my route planning."
Roderick Hoffman 17 0:55:25 8.13 540 Run a couple of weeks ago on a very hot day. I was quite happy to stop four and a half minutes early to get an ice-cream.
Amanda Coombs 13 0:57:18 8.71 450 "I have never done anything like this before. I made a few mistakes, but I'll take the score and I don't feel I could have done any better for a first attempt. Good fun."
Harjit Jhooti / Melanie Miller 9   5.71 230 "Only 9 controls completed but that was 'cos we r newbies to the area only ever run up n down the big hill and lost bit of time re street direction but good first experience."
I've attached an image of the course I took, as an example. I started and finished at the green control labeled "S1/F1" and ran clockwise visiting all of the controls shown in green, not visiting those in pink. Notice that i could revisit the course and do a very different run and perhaps score more points.

The app and course remain available so participants can do this again and new participants can also see what they can achieve. Similar Street-O courses are available for the Wimbledon and Battersea areas and there are also Marlow and other Thames Valley maps. See the back issues of these digests for instructions on the App.

The app can also be used for more traditional Orienteering formats.

Roderick Hoffman

Midweek Challenge - Scrabble Rescramble (reminder)

This weekís midweek challenge returns to an event staged in April, which kept the legs, arms and brains of 24 competitors busy.

The event is open to runners, walkers, rowers and cyclists (outdoors and static).  You will be allocated into teams of two.  Your team aim will be to of collect as many Scrabble tiles as possible, then turn them into the highest scoring word or set of words.  Hereís the plan:

  • Tuesday 25th:  Let me know you want to enter, by 1700 at the latest:  By midnight I will have let you know who your partner is going to be.
  • Wednesday 26th:  Each of you should run for 40 minutes, walk for an hour, row for 30 minutes or cycle for 20 minutes.  As soon as you have finished your exercise, email me your distance covered in kilometres.  I will send each team one Scrabble tile for each combined kilometre completed, together with a template board to fill in. 
  • Thursday 27th:  As a team, fill in the Scrabble board with the highest scoring combination of words you can think of, and return to me by midnight.  Maximum individual word length is seven letters. 

I hope that makes sense! 

Steve Hillier

PS When Steve sent this to me he only had the five entrants plus myself - BW, JSm, PB, RH, SN, STu.

St Albans 10k - a real event!

On Sunday, Julie and I ran in the St. Albans 10k. It was our first competitive 10k this year and we were very impressed with the organisation and communications that allowed it to take place. There were many changes to what we would normally experience that were necessary to obtain the official authorities and approvals.

You initially had to declare an anticipated finish time and those who declared sub-50 started at 09:00 and the over-50 minute runners at 10:15.
The race numbers were colour coded and you entered a holding-pen near the start line in accordance to the colour of your number and these pens were time-seeded. There were six colours and therefore six holding-pens and within each were 50 runners. Each pen had two toilets with hand sanitiser.

We both declared 45 minutes and had green numbers and had to wait in pen number 5 which was coded green.

Pens 1-4 were for runners who had declared quicker finish times and pen one started proceedings at 09:00. As mentioned, there were 50 in each pen but runners were started in groups of ten with 20 second intervals.

Julie and I were green numbers 407 and 408 within the green pen housing 401-450, as numbers were also seeded. We had declared the same time and so were therefore starting together....we eventually got underway at 09:12.

Distancing was the big concern and nothing more could have been done. In short, it was organised based on the times declared by the runners....the event was split into two races, directed into colour-coded holding-pens, split into groups of ten that started 20 seconds apart.
It took a while to get everybody running but we all knew what was required and the associated reasons. It took a while for the results to be confirmed as there was no official start and chip-timing was the only way to accurately record timings.

The course was flat with km markers, mainly on tarmac path and very well marshalled.

Everybody thoroughly enjoyed the event and were really thankful to be part of an organised race after so much time.

We are already looking forward to next year's event.

Paul Watt & Julie Barclay

Net Pos Race No Name Net Time Category Net Cat Pos Gender Net Gender Pos Club
1 3 ... 00:32:02 Senior U40 1 Male 1 ...
8 242 ... 00:33:36 Lady U40 1 Female 1 ...
187 407 PAUL WATT 00:44:28 M50 36 Male 166 BRITISH AIRWAYS AC
218 408 Julie Barclay 00:47:09 W50 2 Female 31 BRITISH AIRWAYS AC

575 finishers. The results were a bit difficult to process, including being in two halves, so apologies to anyone missed.

SOLO Activity Achievement Weekend 21st to 24th August 2020

This week 26 colleagues reported activities with a total running/walking distance of 335kms, a new record for the group. People must be training for marathons...or really long walks. The graph excludes some of our relay events undertaken on weekends.


Colleague Activity Distance Course Start Time Run Time Comments
Amanda Coombs Turbo Cycling 40k Sun late 01:25:27 Received my race pack for the Blenheim Palace Triathlon this morning, so it looks like itís going ahead on 12/13.
Andy Rayner Running XC Sat 00:50:32 Just the one this week
Barry Walters Running 13km Swinley Forest and heathland  Sun am 01:10:41 Steady run over a different course in good conditions.
Ben Cooper Walking 2.43km Fowery (Cornwall) Sun pm 00:41:52 A family walk around some of the sights of Fowey in Cornwall
Benita Scaife Mixed Run/Walk 26.2miles 2020 Sri Chinmoy marathon Sat 06:04:00 Virtual event so own course from home (Pinkneys Green) to Datchet run and walk back.  Benita's first marathon.
Chris Stockwell Walking 14miles Around Fifield, Holyport and beyond Sun am 04:30:00 There are plenty of blackberries, sloes and crab apples about, unfortunately I didnít have a suitable container with me for blackberry picking.
Clara Halket Running 7km Home Sat am 00:47:57 Cardio workout this morning. 7km run, 15min each hoopla hooping, skipping and climbing
Denis Foxley Running 5.5miles Ruislip Woods and Common Sun 01:01:00
Eddie Giles Running 5k Treadmill in Gym Sun midday 00:26:53 Crashing down with rain so headed to the gym. Also 200m swim in 10mins.
Harjit Jhooti Walking 19.68km Broxbourne Sat 04:06:29 Broxbourne and River Lea
Jacqui Musselwhite Running 3.16km Woking park Sat 00:16:12 A really good meet up with Julie Barclay, Paul Watt and Kay Trinder for a 5k for them but a cautious 3.16k (2laps) for me. Tom Rowley timed. Also cycled there and back.
Jain Reid Running 14.72km North Downs Sun 01:46:49 A nice circular route from Coulsdon South if a little hillier than expected after last weekends run. Liking this cooler weather!
Joe Nolan Running 5k Blackpark Sat am 00:30:46 Another nostalgic BP run with a few of the pacing squad ..... 1sec quicker than last week !
John Scaife Mixed Run/Walk 26.2miles 2020 Sri Chinmoy marathon Sat 06:04:00 Virtual event so own course from home (Pinkneys Green) to Datchet run and walk back. John's first since New York 1990.
Julie Barclay Running 10k St Albans 10k Sun am 00:47:09 See report
Kelly Davis Running 12.09km Bushy 01:36:00 A bit of a turkey trot? (see course image below)
Melanie Miller Cycling 57.55km Downs Link Sat 04:01:09 This wos tough, 7 hours in the saddle, completely off-road on gravel tracks with strong head-winds hence low ave mileage...but I made
Michael Ball Running 3km Track on Field 00:13:42 Details next week
Mike Dennison Running 30.12km Richmond to Tower Bridge Sat am 02:52:19 To Tower Bridge, in time to see it raise at 10:15 (before it got stuck in the afternoon!). The weather was good - slight wind mostly behind us, nice temperature - and good company with Kathy and Maria.
Paul Watt Running 10k St Albans 10k Sun am 00:44:28 See report
Petra Otto Running 2.5miles Local Sat Not much to report other than 5x 1-hour gym, plus 1.25 miles to run there and back home again.
Roderick Hoffman Walking 31.34 National Forest Way Sat 05:47:00 Ashby to Ticknall and back via Hartshorne
Simon Turton Running 11.3km Thames Valley Orienteers Street-O (Marlow) Sat pm 00:58:45 Undulating and windy but stayed dry and happy with 11.3km in 58:45mins (470 points out of a possible 600 points).
Stephen Taylor Running 16.3miles Ealing to Richmond and back Sat am 03:01:12 A slightly longer run than was in the plan.
Steve Hillier Running 5.1k Local Sun pm 00:33:05 Warm and a little breezy.
Steve Newell Indoor Rowing 6800m Sat 28:38.9 Good warm-up to get 7 scramble letters midweek.

The photograph on the left shows Simon at the end of his run at the start/finish in Higginson Park, being photo-bombed by no less than Sir Steve Redgrave!

Petra reports "Unfortunately, I had fallen off my ladder, so Iím still licking my wounds on my back, left elbow and lump at the bottom of my head. Otherwise, allís well!!! "

And on the right is Kelly's Turkey.

Please submit your best exercise achievement of next weekend by filling in the following form and sending it to me OR replying to the message on Facebook (or any other messaging format to me):

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

Roderick Hoffman {submit by 5pm on Monday}

Victoria Dock 5k - 25th or 26th September

I announced previously an intention to run at Victoria Dock around the ten-year anniversary of the 2010 WARR event. Anyone is welcome to join me. It is now obvious that UK parkrun won't be back by then so we don't have the option of simply running the Victoria Dock parkrun on Saturday 26th September. So instead we have to decide whether to do our own run that morning, or to do a run on the actual anniversary date on Friday 25th September (obviously a working day so not convenient for some, and we'd have to meet later in the day to avoid travelling in the rush hour). Let me know if you might be interested in attending on either date and, if so, which would be your preference. We may also need to compromise on the exact course run but I'm sure we'll cope.

Roderick Hoffman

Relaxation of Covid-19 Restrictions

England Athletics have revised their guide to competitive track & field events with a slight relaxation of the restrictions - including accepting that it can be relatively safe to run in adjacent lanes. See:

Summary of Changes (for competitions from 22 Aug):

  • Up to 12 athletes in horizontal jumps
  • Up to 12 athletes in vertical jumps
  • Up to 12 athletes in all throws
  • Up to 8 athletes in sprint events including {up to 8 teams in} sprint and 4x400m relays {the limitation is the number of lanes available}.
  • Up to 12 athletes in middle distance events
  • Racing on track limited to {distances up to} 3000m and 3000m Steeplechase {i.e. it is not safe to run 5000m on the track! Their reasoning on this is that you could be spending greater than 15minutes running in the outbreaths of another runner}

Running shorts

Last week I had messages from two club members we don't hear from very often - Georges Tychowski and Malcolm Field. Both were too modest to boast about their recent exercise achievements, but it was good to hear from them.

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 30:

  • Do not exercise outside the house if 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 meet with up to five other persons for your exercise outside the home, and in some situations up to 30. Club organised events 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 the club shared activities we need to continue to work with the social distancing gap of 2metres. Any member can organise a shared activity by following the England Athletics guidance, filling in the risk assessment form and notifying myself or Steve Hillier that you have done so in advance of the event.

Next Digest - Results, news, pictures, feedback, jokes, stories - send them to the editor, Roderick Hoffman, at

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