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BA Athletics Club News Digest 18th May 2020

Events - see below:

Inclusions, with photos, please to Roderick Hoffman at

Solo Events Calendar

Week of Monday… Midweek Challenge Weekend Challenge Weekend Solo Run
11th May Solo Pairs Scrabble Scramble [see below] Green Belt Relay solo
team run # [ROM]
Best weekend achievement (if not in relay)
18th May Track-on-Field [T&F GP day]
1500/800/400/200/100 # [CIE]
none Best weekend exercise achievement
25th May Virtuality 5k none Best weekend exercise achievement
1st June Solo Mile none Best weekend exercise achievement
8th June Street Spelling? none Best weekend exercise achievement
15th June Track-on-Field
Run-of-the-Month # (tba) Best weekend exercise achievement
22nd June tba I Spy? none Best weekend exercise achievement
29th June tba none Best weekend exercise achievement

All side-by-side races are off until at least the end of June, but the club continues to operate with the Solo runs listed above - these ARE still permitted but see the Coronavirus footnote at the end of this digest.

* Please suggest formats for runs with the "tba" in the above table.

Roderick Hoffman

Midweek Challenges

This week we have our Track-on-Field challenge and this is the Club In-house Event # for May:

Today, Monday, we had planned to hold a club Track&Field evening with various running, jumping and throwing events. Due to the Coronavirus we've thrown out the idea of the jumps and we've had to take a high jump to the throws but we can still do the runs. So this week's "Midweek Challenge" are the shorter distances - 1,500m, 800m, 400m, 200m, and 100m runs. And notice the use of the word "and" in that sentence, rather the word "or". In one exercise session see how many of these five events you can do, at speed and with the objective of better than halving your time from one to the next (so if you run an 8 minute 1,500m, try to do under 4 minutes for the 800m, well under 2 minutes for the 400m, perhaps 50s for the 200m, and 20s or less for the 100m).  You don't have to do all of the events, you can do those you do in any order and you can do them on any day up to and including Friday BUT all the ones recorded need to be done in the same exercise session (you can't do some one day, and the rest the next). This event is called "Track on Field" because it may be that your local parks and paths are too busy to contemplate doing short sprints hence you may have to find a quieter field for them. You will need a watch and you may be able to visit a quiet but open stadium (like Feltham's) or use a park with a path with 100m posts or you will need to have a GPS watch measuring in meters - some watches may have useful "auto-lap" capabilities. Treadmills are allowed, but you must be running or walking. Send me the results, for instance by filling in the table below and forwarding to

Name Date 1500m time 800m time 400m time 200m time 100m time Comment:
  Submit by the end of FRIDAY please, so that I can tabulate the results over the weekend.

Then next week:

The BAAC Virtuality 5K [It would have been the week of the Vitality 10k]

Date – 27th May / Time – 6PM / Course – a 5k course near you.

The Virtuality 5K is a virtual race scheduled to start at 6pm on the 27th May. All runners should be prepared to start at the same time. The only exception will be for key workers or shift workers who, if they ask really nicely, will be allowed to complete their 5k run beforehand (NOT after) to get their time included in the results.

You will need to plan a 5k route near to where you live. The route needs to be as close to 5k as you can make it so use a GPS watch or route mapping website to create your 5k route and be familiar with your route and where the start and finish point is. Or use your GPS watch as you run so that you know when you have covered 5k. Don’t arrange to meet up with other runners to run the same route unless permitted by current social distancing rules and recommendations. Runners will mostly be running different routes so even if you run in a playing field it won't be a level playing field.

All runners will need to be able to use WhatsApp and have access to it at the start and end of the race.

Send Steve Taylor the following details at least two days before the event and preferable earlier. Entries close on 25th May.

Name – Age (on 27th May) – Gender – Mobile number.

Steve will create a WhatsApp group of all the runners specifically for this race and the start of the race will be announced on this group.  You will be given a runner number by Steve to use in the WhatsApp group. Remember your runner number, you will need it to announce when you finish the race, there won’t be any bibs.

At 6pm on race day the start will be announced with a GO message at exactly 6pm. There will be countdown messages from an hour leading up to the start so that you’re prepared and can check that you’re receiving messages.

Start running as soon as the GO message is received and not before.

Once you have finished your 5k run, message the WhatsApp group with just your runner number, e.g. "22" (no times, no pictures, just your number).

The order that the runner numbers appear in the group will be the provisional finish order of the race so once you have completed your distance and stopped your watch you need to grab your phone and message your number as quickly as possible. The only exception is for key workers and shift workers who can submit their time to Steve beforehand if they are unable to run at 6pm on the 27th due to work commitments - BUT to avoid disqualification don't tell anyone else your time.

After all runners have finished the race Steve will message that the race is ended and runners can then message me with their number and finish time for him to crosscheck with and include in the results, e.g. "Runner 22 – Time 25:45 - at Bedfont Lakes". Don’t message your time until the race is ended to avoid any congestion on the messaging group. Steve will merge the times with times from any key workers and message back the full results.

The winner and/or gender age group winners will receive top bragging rights and a place in the BAAC digest.

The WhatsApp group will be deleted within two weeks of the end of the race.

This is a new format so if it all goes wrong on the day then we’ve all had a good 5K run anyway.

Steve Taylor (

Roderick Hoffman

Green Belt Relay (virtual) 16th / 17th May # Results & Report

Day Stage Start Miles Team Runner Time Selective WhatsApp Comments
Sat 1 08:30 12.7 R Maria Jovani 01:34:48 First (and last) lady. Ran from Feltham to Richmond.
Sat 1 08:30 12.7 I Stephen Taylor 02:01:32 Ran Grand Union canal / Brent River loop
Sat 2 09:42 9.42 R Neil Frediani 01:33:24
Sat 2 09:42 9.42 I Clara Halket 01:32:53 Roads and trails.
Sat 3 10:37 11.2 R Richard Ruffell 01:29:12 Ran actual stage 3 though got the start wrong so ran slightly further.
Sat 3 10:37 11.2 I Jain Reid 01:51:22
Sat 4 11:40 11.5 R Chris Kelly 01:25:10 Run was nice, to/from Wargrave.
Sat 4 11:40 11.5 I Kaz Be 01:46:52 Running at Wallsend near Newcastle.
Sat 5 12:53 13.5 R Mike Dennison 01:42:56
Sat 5 12:53 13.5 I Dave Dixon 01:29:23 Hackney Marshes, so very flat
Sat 6 14:08 8.5 R Roderick Hoffman 01:27:22 Started sufficiently well to be happy to post 31:05 at the 5k point as my weekend "non-parkrun" time.
Sat 6 14:08 8.5 I Suzy Carver 01:10:47 All good except for mile 3 when my lunch nearly made a reappearance!
Sat 7 14:56 11.6 R Gary Rushmer 01:31:40 Found that tough today, maybe having started work at 04.30 didn't help, but I'm not using that as an excuse.
Sat 7 14:56 11.6 I ^^^^^^^^^^^^^ 01:31:40
Sat 8 16:03 10.65 R Murray Hogge 01:19:33 Reading
Sat 8 16:03 10.65 I Simon Turton 01:27:51 Twyford
Sat 9 17:02 10.2 R Frankie Hogge 01:18:18 Reading
Sat 9 17:02 10.2 I Louise Crosby 01:26:37
Sat 10 18:02 9 R Duncan Wright 01:02:55 In the Green (and wet) Valley in the South of France.
Sat 10 18:02 9 I Christine Munden 01:46:00 Following a nightshift I felt disorientated and nauseous on just 5 hours sleep. And the sunshine! My eyes could not get accustomed to the light.
Sat 11 18:48 7.5 R Vicky McFarlin 01:00:36 Went too fast in my first two miles. I’m pleased with that though
Sat 11 18:48 7.5 I Amanda Coombs 01:10:57 lovely evening for a run
Sun 12 08:00 10.75 R Gary Rushmer 01:22:43 To and around Bedfont Lakes
Sun 12 08:00 10.75 I Paul Davis 01:19:55 Round Heathrow
Sun 13 09:04 6.6 R Neil Frediani 01:03:33 It was good, started too quick as always. Nice 'n flat
Sun 13 09:04 6.6 I Amanda Coombs 00:57:55 I had planned my route, but realised fairly early on that I’d mapped 6.6km! So I doubled back and ran the same boring route in reverse.
Sun 14 09:41 8.2 R Maria Jovani 00:59:50 Beat the official BA stage record
Sun 14 09:41 8.2 I Clara Halket 01:23:41 Slower today, legs refused to cooperate!
Sun 15 10:40 9.4 R Chris Kelly 01:08:32 Crossed paths with Frankie on the next leg!
Sun 15 10:40 9.4 I Trish McCabe 01:33:30 Lonely run without WhatsApp.
Sun 16 11:34 13.1 R Frankie Hogge 01:50:51 Legs gave up
Sun 16 11:34 13.1 I Maarten Stenham 01:50:04
Sun 17 12:54 10.5 R Murray Hogge 01:19:42 Bit slower, team, sorry
Sun 17 12:54 10.5 I Jacqui Musselwhite 01:32:49 Oh my that was hard. Last mile was tough but enjoyed the pain.
Sun 18 13:53 9.7 R Mike Dennison 01:11:25 Well inside official BA record. Bushy Park - rather busy in places, especially round the various park entrances, but mostly not too bad.
Sun 18 13:53 9.7 I Louise Crosby 01:24:28 Beat official BA record. Hot one, windy and crowded,  but mostly the legs did not want to move,  uphill was a real slog! I'll have enjoyed in in an hour or so
Sun 19 14:49 8.4 R Roderick Hoffman 01:33:08 Nothing in the tank after 5k.
Sun 19 14:49 8.4 I Kaz Be 01:19:07 Chilly Newcastle. Course a little more hilly today. I've really enjoyed the challenge.
Sun 20 15:43 6 R Vicky McFarlin 00:46:24 All done. Legs a bit sore but mostly flat and down hill.
Sun 20 15:43 6 I Suzy Carver 00:57:23
Sun 21 16:17 8.4 R Richard Ruffell 01:00:26
Sun 21 16:17 8.4 I Jain Reid 01:19:59 Chiswick Mall bad so diverted to A4. Not quite as pretty. Back streets past Craven Cottage great. The odd swarm of Boris Bikes and kids riding with pints of beer in one hand. Avoided the people along the river and on the grass in Fulham Palace Park. Had the whole road to myself.
Sun 22 17:04 9.15 R Duncan Wright 01:05:28 [before the run] Legs, especially the knees are in a terrible state. And it is raining again in the South of France.  [after] The legs were creaking.
Sun 22 17:04 9.15 I Dave Dixon 01:00:20 Wobbly legs

virtual GBR relay mapIt has to be said that that was a wonderful weekend and a great achievement to boot (or running shoe). In total 25 of us ran stages of a virtual Green Belt Relay with 18 of us doing two stages. Most of us were running in the Thames Valley, mainly in planned routes of the right length around our homes but a few of us engineered to run close to the actual stages of the Green Belt Relay. The London weather was hot and got hotter throughout the weekend. But we also included Kas running in Wallsend near Newcastle which on the Sunday was chilly and Duncan Wright running in the glorious South-of-France where it rained throughout his two runs.

The Regulars team ("R" in the table) managed to get round in a total time of 28hours, 46minutes and 49seconds. The Irregulars team ("I", and including some regulars) made it in 31hours 47:05. Gary's stage 7 run counted for both teams and a couple of the runners have been given GBR cut-off times for their performances.

We are aware that the Ranelagh club organised something similar for their GBR regulars but those of us who did run on actual GBR stages each reported no one appearing to be running the stage. Zoom meeting after Virtual GBR

Now, although we were all running solo, this was a very communal run with a great deal of chatter and picture sharing on the WhatsApp group from before the off to well after the finish, and then many of us joined in a Zoom video meeting as we recuperated afterwards (or in Neil's case, as he cooked potatoes).

We can only speculate on whether we'll have enough demand next year to supply two Green Belt Relay teams, or discover that the concept of virtual runs has caught on so much we can't even muster one.

Roderick Hoffman

Midweek Challenge Scrabble Scramble 2020 - Results

Odd shift patterns, injuries and last-minute interest led to a real mix of competition for last week’s challenge.  The concept called for a pair of runners to each travel as far as possible in forty minutes, to earn themselves a Scrabble tile for each kilometre completed.  The pair then had to come up with the highest scoring combination of words on a Scrabble board.  Simple!

To involve as many as possible, the event was extended to include walkers (more time allowed), rowers and cyclists (less time allowed).  Late entries meant we had a trio and a singleton (all suitably handicapped).  On Wednesday the socially distanced results started to roll in, with the first announced at 9am and the last run completed shortly before midnight. 

Scrabble 1, 2, 3Mike Dennison had the best run, completing 9.1 km in forty minutes, just ahead of Gary Rushmer’s 8.9km.  Jacqui Musselwhite was the leading lady runner with 8km.  As well as the runners, we also had one cyclist, one turbo cyclist, one rower and two walkers.

For those of you who enjoy Scrabble, seven letters constitute a normal portion size.  Imagine dealing with a feast of up to 16 letters, aiming to get the best out of every double word or triple letter square.  Word length was capped at seven, with no blank tiles and no penalties for unused letters. 

During Wednesday evening, sets of random letters were e-handed out to the pairs.  The ancient rules of the game began to be explored, with the unusual option of a “double double word score” being chased.  Words had to be found in a dictionary, but what is a standard dictionary?
Throughout Thursday, the pairs puzzled away by phone, email or videolink.  Many combinations were shared and rejected as new inspiration emerged.  In the end, mental exhaustion took over as phrases like, “I can’t stare at this board any more”, “What am I supposed to do with ten vowels” and “Can I have a U for my Q?” became common.

I had expected a score of 70 to be very competitive, so when three 90+ scores rolled in, I was surprised.  Perhaps it was a mistake giving the runners a night’s rest before tackling the letters, because soon after, three 110+ scores emerged.  Before you ask, all words used are in the dictionary, have a meaning and aren’t names or abbreviations…it’s just that we don’t use them very much.  The top three results were:

  • 3rd, Steve Taylor, 114 points
  • 2nd, Chris, Sarah and Becca Kelly, 122 points
  • 1st, Jain Reid and Gary Rushmer, 126 points

Full results [note that the "words in a sentence" was an optional follow-on proposed by Roderick on Facebook]

Individual km Team km Tiles Points
1st Gary Rushmer Run 8.9 16.4 16 126
Jain Reid Run 7.5
2nd Chris Kelly Run 6.5 16.0 16 122
Sarah Kelly Run 4.1
Becca Kelly Run 5.4
"LO and behold AS the COOL JACKDAW trips, but JEER not!"
3rd Steve Taylor Cycle 14.0 14.0 14 114
" 'AW, TA for the ZA', said Susie the FLOOZIE, who looked hotter in her COTTA. "
4th Steve Newell Row 7.2 13.1 13 99
Piers Keenleyside Walk 5.9
"EEK said the witness as the judge decided to REJOURN the court and take lunch at his BOWER in the woods"
5th Paul Brandon Turbo cycle 8.4 14.3 14 95
Sarah Gordon Run 6.0
"If you wish to earn enough money to buy a TOPAZ ring or two I suggest you OZONATE orange juice by bubbling ozone through a PEA sized piece of AA!"
6th Mike Dennison Run 9.1 15.8 15 94
Christine Munden Run 6.8
7th Jacqui Musselwhite Run 8.0 15.6 15 80
Amanda Coombs Run 7.6
"Would it BE a JOLT to find the KILLERS new track on a LOOP?"
8th Roderick Hoffman Run 7.0 14.6 14 79
Trish McCabe Run 7.6
"Trish and I didn't LAG but did PANT after our run through the FESTIVE FOG."
9th Barry Walters Run 7.5 14.3 14 71
Alice Banks Run 6.8
10th Simon Turton Run 8.1 14.3 14 45
Janet Smith Walk 6.2
"AS it happens, we went for TEA a while AGO. I recall the PIE was the size of a POSTAGE stamp."
11th Harjit Jhooti Run 7.1 12.8 12 41
Melanie Miller Run 5.7
"I told Melanie I’m too tired to run, at BEDTIME a LOUT LIT fireworks and kept me awake."
12th Maarten Stenham Cycle 5.8 11.6 11 40
Jakob Stenham Cycle 5.8

Steve Hillier

SOLO activity achievement weekend 15th to 18th May 2020

Obviously fewer this week registered a "weekend achievement" because of the 25 of us doing the virtual Green Belt Relay. Between the two events we had a record number of 37 recording weekend achievements.

Colleague Activity Distance Course Start Time Run Time Comments
Alan Friar Running 2k University of Reading playing field Sun am 00:11:42 Just another 3k to make a parkrun distance
Andy Rayner Running 4miles XC Sat 00:47:48 Faster than the midweek 47:56 which had itself been a PB.
Barry Walters Running 5k The Lookout, Bracknell Sat am 00:27:49 Good tempo run
Chris Stockwell Walking 11miles Windsor Great Park Sat early Many more people about. Followed up with 10.4miles on Sunday with fewer people and one fox.
Keith Johnson Running 5k Non ParkRun Course Around Highfield In St Albans Sat am 00:24:19
Michael Ball Running Track Track-on-Field practice Sun Training for this week's Midweek Challenge! 1500 in 7.04, 800 in 3.33, 400 in 1.32,  200 in 38.4 and 100 in 17.2
Paul Brandon Turbo Cycling 12.8m/20.6k My Garage Sun PM 00:52:05 2 minute intervals with 2 minute recovery and cheesy music :)
Paul Watt Running 5k Frimley Lodge freedom run Sat 00:20:54
Petra Otto Running 7.8km Up and down week (and lots of gardening)
Scott Davison Running 10k Overlap with Staines 10k route Sun pm 00:53:46 It would have been the Staines 10k that day.
Steve Hillier Running 5.1k Roxbourne Park and Eastcote. Sun? 00:33:04
Steve Newell indoor Rowing 6800m Home Sat am 00:27:54.9 Course PB

Same again next weekend.  Submit your best exercise achievement of the 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}

parkrun Update

Steve Newell has heard from Alan Anderson and can confirm that he is out and about most days, including going for walks with Anne. By this time next week he'll be in a new parkrun age group - 85 to 89 - so upon parkrun's return he'll be aiming to set a new set of records.

Coronavirus Warning Footnote [no change from last week]

In the UK exercise outside is still permitted because it will boost physical and mental health. The relevant law in England states, "No person may leave the place where they are living without reasonable excuse...a reasonable excuse includes the take exercise either alone or with other members of their household". The word "need" is not defined, and you could be challenged on your interpretation. In line with government guidance; whose purpose is your health, the health of those around you and reducing demand on NHS and other services; we advise you as follows:

  • Do not conduct a solo run 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,
  • Do not conduct a solo run if you consider yourself to be, or others consider you 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 should follow social distancing guidance whilst you are there,
  • Do not meet up with others to conduct a solo run,
  • As you run keep 2m away from all others - by default diverting around them (don't leave it up to them to avoid you),
  • Do not push yourself too far, this may weaken your defenses 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. For club solo events we will not include running distances of more than 15mile length (25km),
  • If government instructions are updated to limit or prevent exercising outside your homes please respect such instructions - we should be fighting the virus, not authority.

If you are unwell yourself, potentially with 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.

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

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