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BA Athletics Club News Digest 11th January 2021

 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.  Due to the Tier 4 lockdown all shared runs are off the agenda until March or April.

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.

Solo / Shared Mile (submit before Monday18th January):

Run one mile and send me your time or add the details to the Facebook prompt. I'll then produce a fancy graph showing your time this month compared to those of other people and previous runs this year. 

Participant Location Date Start Time Duration/Time Comment

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

Next Week's Midweek Challenge - The Cooper Test (12 minutes)

In 1968, with the war in Vietnam in full swing, Dr. Kenneth Cooper (US Army) developed a test to measure the aerobic fitness of military personnel and provide an estimate of VO2 Max.  It is still in use today.  In 1976 when the London Marathon was hardly even on the drawing board Chris Brasher wrote an article in a Sunday newspaper bemoaning the poor state of fitness of the British nation and urged readers to give it a try.

Basically the test is very simple;  See how far you can run in 12 minutes (to the nearest 10 metres or 11 yards).  The time, along with gender and age, can then be used to calculate VO2 max and a general rating (e.g. good, average, poor).

Ideally the test is carried out at a 400m/440yd running track with markers on the inside of lane 1 every 10m.  Athletes (or raw recruits) should warm-up for at least 10 minutes and be advised not to start to too fast as those who maintain a good but sustainable pace will obtain the best results.

In 1976, several years before BAAC was founded, a group of computer programmers in BA (then in the process of being merged from BOAC and BEA) at South Ruislip tried the test one lunchtime and it was hoped to return to the same track this month to commemorate the 45th anniversary.  The current lockdown rules, which may be even more severe by the time we reach next Wednesday, mean that this will have to be postponed.

If anyone can be absolutely sure that it is safe to do so then find an isolated suitable flat circuit, start a GPS watch, run for 12 minutes and send your result to Steve Newell (time, gender and age).  Please act responsibly and don't set off too fast!

Steve Newell

Ed: Those of us running the mile this week will in effect have had a good practice for a 12 minute run.

Some Recent Photos

I didn't have time last week to prepare and include photos submitted so in this relatively light content week I'll make amends. Some of these are stolen from Facebook.

Emma VLM finish
Emma Morton finishing the Virtual London Marathon on the wettest day ever!
Piers Doha Marathon
Piers Keenleyside at the Doha Marathon - actually in Qatar (in January) but also on a very wet day!
Ian Red Rock Canyon Marathon
Ian Cunningham at the Red Rock Canyon Marathon near Las a torrential downpour. Ed: I detect a common theme here.
Michael at Lee Valley Indoors
Michael Ball staying in the dry - at the London Indoor Championships at the Lee Valley Indoor Stadium in January.
Janet throwing the Hammer
Janet throwing a W55 Hammer PB in October.
Adrian 800m race
Adrian Haines in his 2:08 800m race in Worthing (inside lane, in the vest of his first claim club).
Amanda at Blenheim Palace
Amanda Coombs at Blenheim Palace Triathlons in September.
Alexandra at Surrey Mercer halfAlexandra Foster at the Surrey Mercer Half in March.
Mike & Maria at the Big Half
Mike Dennison and Maria Jovani at the Big Half in March.
Jain Reid SVP 50k trail run
Jain Reid enjoying the SVP 50k trail run in August.
Jagjit Runner Jagjit at the Hospital
Then two pictures of Jagjit Singh - one in his runner guise and another delivering supplies to Hillingdon Hospital.
Scaife's Flood
John and Benita Scaife's flooded floodplain (Cock Marsh) from last week.
Neil's northern snow
Neil Fredianni's snowy picture from this weekend's run.

Roderick Hoffman

SOLO Activity Achievements, Weekend 8th to 11th January 2021

This week 17 members and friends reported activities.  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
Adrian Haines Running 5miles West Grinstead Fri 00:30:25 A tad slower than previously, but the surface was quite squelchy from morning frost melting. Followed by 5 mile warm down.
Amanda Coombs Running 9.76km Shepperton Post Boxes Mon lunch 00:58:30 Local Street-O: Iím happy to say I found all of the postboxes marked on the map and was back home within the hour.
Andy Rayner Running 2.2miles Local Sat 00:30:30 Did the same on Thursday as an untimed fast walk.
Barry Walters Running 6km Savernake Park Sat am 00:37:29 Ran over the Coral Reef bridge to Savernake Park and back. New watch so time recorded.
Ben Cooper Running 5.05km Vale of Glamorgan Sat & Sun 00:24:09 Groundhog Day timing! I finally bought myself a Garmin so I have a million stats to entertain myself with now.
Denis Foxley Running 5miles Ruislip Woods and golf course 00:58:00
Emma Moreton Running 6.7km Mon am 00:34:53 4 x 1km with 2 min rests (plus warm-up and cool-down). It was hard to get motivated but I hit a consistent speed and felt great after!
Julie Barclay Running 14.9km Basingstoke Canal Sun 01:14:00 Stage two of Canal run. Brookwood to Ash lock (with Paul).
Kelly Davis Running 4miles Stanwell Sat 00:46:54 First 4 miles in forever and I'm chuffed I managed it and at under 12min miles for all 4 miles.
Michael Ball Hill Sprints Woking Sun 6 x 25second hill sprints, dark and very cold
Mike Dennison Running 12.6km Towards Lower Sunbury Sun am 01:00:00 Avoiding busy Bushy Park, took a quieter route.  A couple of places I had to walk due to walkers on narrow paths, but mostly it was pretty quiet, though cold!
Neil Frediani Mixed Run/Walk 9.25miles Up north somewhere Mon am 02:44:00 In -6c at sunrise in deep snow. Lots of walking and photo stops.
Paul Watt Running 5km Rushmoor Freedom Run Sat 00:20:33 Solo
Roderick Hoffman Running 15.4km Dormer's Wells Post Boxes Fri 01:48:00 Local Street-O (see below).
Sarah Gordon Running 5km Local Sun am 00:36:21 parkrun(not), getting harder to get out of the house on a Sunday morning, but need to know I can still run 5k when parkrun restarts. I used to be faster.
Stephen Taylor Running 9.77miles Dormer's Wells Post Boxes Sun pm 01:44:27 Local Street-O (see below). From my front door, I also ran past the house I grew up in, and my old secondary school, so I ran along some very familiar roads.
Steve Hillier Running 5km South Ruislip 00:33:33 Also a two mile run, a gentle five mile potter through Ruislip on our bikes, and a tougher tramp through very muddy and not flat, but quiet, Mad Bess Woods.

17 isn't very many - I hope that our New Year's resolutions haven't already failed - but there was in addition an apology from Piers for being unable to do anything this weekend or next because he is on a strictly monitored medical trial (the enforced rest, may, do him good)! Also, I know that Steve Newell is allowing his recent Covid-19 vaccination to bed in.

Roderick Hoffman

And too late for inclusion, but Harjit appears to have walked the airport perimeter today.

Street-O Training - long runs in (relatively) small areas

Dormer's Wells Street-OSteve Taylor and I ran the same Street-O course last week and I've highlighted our courses on the map to discuss Street Orienteering techniques.

We did the same course, travelling to each of the control points on the map (each was a postbox) but we were free to choose which streets or paths we used and in which order we went through the controls. You can see that generally we chose to go the same way - where the path between the numbered controls is shown in green. But there were a number of differences where my route is shown in red and Steve's route in blue.

For the narrative I'm starting from control '12' and I'm going anti-clockwise. To get to control '8' Steve went by road and a familiar to him path (under Brunel's Viaduct, for those who know the area). I went on public paths across the golf course. This was a more direct route, therefore shorter, but softer underfoot and riskier and therefore slower pace (I say riskier - there were no golfers since the course was closed, indeed the previous day I had encountered a golfer in my local park so perhaps the golf course was safer, but the short cut had a higher risk of going off on the wrong path and the GPS track does reveal that I did deviate from the official path at one point). Steve was running later in the day than me - and navigating the golf course in the dark might have been very time costly! From '8' to '17' we both went off map. This was permitted in this private event. Sometimes going off map won't be allowed in Street-O events. After control '17' we did the controls in a different order - Steve went to control '9' before '21' whereas I went straight to '21' and added '9' in between '16' and '7'. Probably Steve's route was slightly shorter - I chose not to go that way because I consider that road to be a steeper uphill than going the other way around! Later, between '10' and '4' I found an area of grass I could cut the corner with but again whilst this was shorter it was softer and therefore potentially slower pace and more tiring. Between '3' and '20' Steve's route was better - but in my defense I did this run first and incorporated an additional control NE of '20' but found that that postbox had been removed so corrected the map before Steve got to run it. In total I ran 0.2miles less than Steve but he finished about 3.5minutes faster. But more importantly, we both enjoyed the run and the additional challenge that navigation presented us with.

If you would like the opportunity to do a similar long run in a small area local to yourself tell me a postcode or location you'd like to include on the map and I'll do the rest. Obviously I generated many of these maps last April, but I'm happy to provide a second map for people who have memorised the quickest routes between their local postboxes or who want a map that covers an area between them and another running colleague. Doing a whole map will require running for 10km to 15km depending on how populous your area is though you can also do it as a more restrictive one hour challenge.

Amanda did one of my maps today, and I note that it includes a postbox that Emma Moreton ran past on her run today.

Roderick Hoffman

New shoes for the Midweek Challenges?

Dave Barnard spotted that Sebastian Coe (these days the World Athletics chief) isn't worried about the enhanced performance of the latest shoes. So don't feel ashamed to use yours in this week's mile and next week's Cooper Test...though only if you have a suitable track available to you.

Did you see this? I remember when foam-soled shoes came out, Áa 1958. The early ones had no outer layer, so wore out in no time. But they were very soft and light!

Subject: Nike track spikesí advantage, records

Sebastian Coe shrugs off concerns that Nike track spikes give unfair advantage:

Dave Barnard

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.

  • 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 are advised to stay 'local' (defined as "in the village, town, or part of the city where you live."), you are also advised to minimise the amount of time spent outside your home and you should follow social distancing guidance whilst you are out. Further advice is to reduce public transport and shared car journeys and do not cross the "Tier 3" boundary (in either direction).
  • Tier 4 rules only allow you to exercise on your own, with people in your linked household (bubble), as part of child care or with one other person. You are advised to exercise just once per day and to minimise the variety of people you meet over the weeks of lockdown. Exercising your pet is allowed in addition, but only on your own.
  • 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.

Shared club activities are not permitted in Tier 4.  For when the situation changes any club member may be permitted to organise a shared activity. We recommend the social distancing gap of 2metres although "1meter+" can be followed during the activity itself.  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, and the activity, should not cross the "Tier 3" boundary or the "Tier 4" boundary (in either directions).
  • A risk assessment has to be raised based on this template,
  • The considerations within the risk assessment must be followed,
  • After the activity 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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