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BA Athletics Club News Digest 23rd December 2019


  • Monday 30th December - Round Heathrow Airport Run (date and start time to be confirmed)
  • Saturday 11th January Men's and Ladies Cross Countries - details to be confirmed # (2020 year)
  • Wednesday 22nd January Five Mile Handicap at Bedfont Club from 18:00 #

Our next Bedfont Club meeting will be on Wednesday 8th January for ad hoc runs and 22nd (Handicap). All members are welcome.

New members and potential members of all fitness levels and abilities are welcome at most of our events. The full diary of club featured events is on the club website at: Diary.shtml. Last updated: 1st November.

* Club Event Map: [Clickable link to Google Maps] (parkrun details updated 18th November 2019) / # Club Points event.

Facebook: (formal "front window" club page), BA Runner Facebook Group (informal "back office" - ask to join).

Inclusions, with photos, please to Roderick Hoffman at

Bedfont Christmas Mile Relay #

The pre-Christmas Bash mile run at Bedfont attracted ten runners who were arranged in five teams of two - seeded to spread the runners along the rather narrow footpath in Hatton Road.  The same "L" shaped course as last year was used with the first and fourth quarters along the pavement in Hatton Road and the second and third quarters up and down the footpath/cycle track between the allotments and primary school.

The weather was cool with a light drizzle and so not ideal for those wearing spectacles.  Gary Rushmer (6:11) was the first back to the changeover point and set a new course record (improving on the 6:24 by Simon Turton last year).  Second leg runners lined up in reverse ranking order in the hope of producing a close finish.  We welcomed two prospective members (Harjit Jhooti and Melanie Miller) who entered into the spirit of the occasion. Reassuringly, Harjit's new GPS watch confirmed the distance as 1.61km.


  • Gary Rushmer (6:11),
  • Chris Kelly (6:37),
  • Tim Bellars (7:00),
  • Steve Taylor (7:37),
  • Graham Taylor (7:44),
  • Piers Keenleyside (8:33),
  • Neil Frediani (8:35),
  • Steve Hillier (8:55),
  • Harjit Jhooti (10:11),
  • Melanie Miller (10:27).

Steve Newell

# More Club Points Recognition

The Xmas Mile was the last points scoring event in this year's Round-the-Block club participation competition.  Next week's digest will include a summary of the year and reveal the top three club participants.

Since I last reported on this, three additional members have achieved ten points over the year so congratulations and thanks go out to:

  •  Steve Taylor,
  • Mike Dennison,
  •  and Maria Jovani.

Roderick Hoffman obo the whole club and its operating committee

SPOTY associations

Steve Hillier...

Two tenuous claims here.

1972 winner Mary Peters was guest of honour at the World Corporate Games track (not diving!) event in 1992 at Crystal Palace.  She handed out the medals. (My sprinting talent ensured that I disappeared at the semi-final stage).  She then spent time mingling with the competitors and families, and had a long chat with my two young sons.  She was very generous with her time, a lovely lady.

2017 winner Sir Mo Farah went to the same school as me (Isleworth), about 30 years after me.  He was also a member of Hounslow AC when I joined them as a second claim to start hammer training.  He was famous for setting off in the longer track runs at an enormous rate, running out of puff, and walking for a bit before setting off again to win the race by a big margin.  He was in the same Hounslow AC junior team as my son Toby, travelling all over the southeast of England. [Ed: I also remember that on the second ever club featured parkrun, in Bushy Park on 6th August 2011, Mo Farah ran and cheered us all on - though sadly he was running in the reverse direction and not in the parkrun itself].

….not forgetting Linford Christie.....didn't we run at his stadium for a BAAC T&F champs?

Steve Hillier

Steve Newell...

I have two instances worth reporting:

I) in the winter 1962/63 (loads of snow, etc) I was in my first year at St Andrews university in Scotland and soon got into the swimming team as a breaststroker.  We had matches home and away against the other three Scottish universities (Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow). Any diaries from that era have been lost so I'm not going to make even a guess at a date but I remember going to the excellent Bon Accord pool in Aberdeen on a freezing cold day (outside).  Ian Black (SPOTY 1958), possibly in his final year by then - I don't remember him the following season, was in the Aberdeen team that day and swimming butterfly and maybe freestyle in the relay.  I'm not claiming to have raced against him directly but I was at the same pool on the same day in the same competition!

The pool was 120 feet long and 15 feet deep at the end with diving boards.  Normally our races were in multiples of 50 yards so all events except the 200 yard ones were different to usual.  The goalkeeper in the water polo team couldn't stand on the bottom.  The pool is still there but not currently operational.  It must have been state of the art in 1940.

2) Indisputable claim from this year.  I was at Clapham Common parkrun on 31/08/2019.  It was crowded and I started near the back, taking quite a while to get over the start line. A certain Kelly Holmes (SPOTY 2004) was running there that day.  She had made a short speech before we started.  She probably lapped me, certainly finished (1st female) so far ahead she had time to get her barcode scanned and then appear across the course to encourage the stragglers like me on their second lap.

A near miss some might claim (e.g. Alan Anderson, Piers Keenleyside) - Seb Coe (SPOTY 1979) was at Gunnersbury parkrun on 14th September and was seen running the course (in about 24 mins).  He failed to produce a barcode and so doesn't appear in the results.  There was a photo of him with Alan Anderson (but I can't find it!).

Steve Newell

Roderick Hoffman...

Roderick with Jessica EnnisMe with Jessica Ennis at a BA organised sports check-up in Sheffield in May 2012. This included warming up on the indoor track. Sadly, Jessica was runner-up that year to Bradley Wiggins (PS I wouldn’t have swapped Jessica for Bradley!). Jessica was also placed third in 2009 and 2010.

Roderick Hoffman

Roderick with Jessica Ennis

Richard Ruffell...

I thought we would do a Ruffell family entry into your SPOTY links.....

So for me, I ran the London Marathon in 2013, when Paula also ran, the year she set the world record. She was a SPOTY winner the year before.

For Natalie, she was a Toffee girl way back in about 1991 when Everton played Newcastle.  While not technically on the pitch during the game, she was during the warm up and went round throwing toffees to the fans. When she got back to the tunnel Paul Gascoigne was also just going down the tunnel after finishing his own warm up and asked her for a toffee, but she had run out!  Paul was not happy!!!  Paul was SPOTY winner in 1990.  Short story behind this, I took Natalie and James (as was) to meet the team on a Friday night pre a game the next day v Charlton Athletic, a meeting set up by the London branch of the Everton Supporters club. When we arrived there was the whole Everton team and management but only about 6 fans, of which we were 3!  So we (well me) spent an hour or so chatting to the players, including Duncan Ferguson and Walter Smith the manager. Some of the players and my kids got bored so started playing a game of football in the room we were in, which was a large room in the hotel. Natalie, taking a shot, somewhat miscued, the ball flew off into a load of teacups (about 100 of them) stacked on a table. As you can imagine the ball won, and there was lots of broken china everywhere.  Natalie burst into tears and was inconsolable. About 10 minutes later Steve Watson, who was part of the game, came back down with a shirt signed by the whole team for her, and Natalie and James were invited to be ball boy and Toffee girl at a game at Goodison a few weeks later!

For James (as was), as well as ball boy as above for Natalie has his own entry. Back in about 2004 James went to a summer athletics training day at Brunel, which was a running training day for kids during the school summer holidays based at their track in Uxbridge.  And special coach for the day was the then "up and coming" Mo Farah.  He did not make to SPOTY fame till 2017.  While not a race as such, they certainly ran around the track together a few times!  We do have a nice photo of James and Mo together.

And finally one for Bridget, This one is a bit tenuous as far as being on the field of play, but Bridget as a project she did with her company, did the logo and branding for We Are England for the 2010 World Athletic Championships in Delhi. Bridget's main client who she met and worked closely with was one Dame Kelly Holmes, SPOTY winner back in 2004.  Never on the field of play together, but this was the best I could manage for Bridget!

Richard Ruffell

At the moment Steve Newell's offer of a pint of Fuller's beer (from the Brewery Shop) for the most interesting and convincing claim to have shared a 'field of play' with a Sports Personality of the Year winner appears to be safely with himself (provided he can find a way to denounce Richard's claim). Let him know quickly of your claim, else the beer will probably be drunk on Christmas Day! See also:

Big Half 2020

Our club supports the London Marathon organisation in marshalling five events during the year, and in return we receive a generous allocation of guaranteed entries.  Marshalling each event is hard work, but fun and rewarding, and gives you the best possible view of the race.

Our first opportunity of 2020 takes place on Sunday 1st March in Greenwich, when we will man a crossing near the finish of the Big Half, close to the Cutty Sark.   We need twenty volunteers who are prepared to give up their morning.  If demand is sufficient, we will lay on transport from the Bedfont area to Greenwich.

Please could you think about offering your time for this event, and contact me as soon as possible so that we can put together a marshalling team.


Steve Hillier

Club parkrun results for Saturday 21st December 2019

Member 21st December parkrun Pos Time Grade PB Comment
TRUE Paul PRESCOTT Bedfont Lakes 8 00:21:11 60.98% M-8
TRUE Neil FREDIANI Bedfont Lakes 89 00:30:12 54.03%
TRUE David DUGGAN Bedfont Lakes 101 00:31:07 51.10%
TRUE Joe NOLAN Black Park 358 00:31:41 52.45% run #346, 212th at Black Park
TRUE Ian CUNNINGHAM Bushy Park 247 00:23:28 66.62%
TRUE Paul TIMMS Cirencester 31 00:26:22 58.79% 22nd run at Cirencester
TRUE Caroline Cockram Clumber Park 67 00:25:47 65.03% club record, park #84
TRUE Ian Cockram Clumber Park 68 00:25:47 58.11% club record, park #84
TRUE James Shoulder Crane Park 5 00:19:07 67.48% PB   M-5, parkrun pb, club record
TRUE Bob Bannister Crane Park 59 00:24:54 66.13%
TRUE Scott DAVISON Crane Park 50 00:24:19 59.70%
TRUE Ben Chaytow Crane Park Run 400 run director (plus many family members)
TRUE David Williams Fulham Palace 205 00:25:48 53.68% run #135, 10th at Fulham Palace
TRUE Steve NEWELL Gunnersbury backup timekeeper (photo evidence operative)
TRUE Piers KEENLEYSIDE Gunnersbury marshal and guardian of A. Anderson 3km marker
TRUE Maarten Stenham Hanworth 19 00:25:46 53.75%
TRUE Denis Foxley Harrow 145 00:29:37 59.54% course varied due to floods
FALSE Joan FOXLEY Harrow 226 00:39:38 57.11%
TRUE Alice BANKS Henley-on-Thames 55 00:33:14 60.08% run #156, 5th at Henley-on-Thames
TRUE Benita Scaife Maidenhead 228 00:32:39 62.07%
TRUE John Scaife Maidenhead 229 00:32:39 51.35%
TRUE Stephen K TAYLOR Northala Fields 96 00:27:33 56.26% run #125, 86th at Northala
TRUE Alan & Ann ANDERSON Osterley 316 00:47:19 57.66% assisted
TRUE Alan ANDERSON Osterley 317 00:47:21 49.63%
TRUE Jain Reid Richmond Park 244 00:29:45 59.27% run #66, 62nd at Richmond Park
TRUE Mike Dennison Rickmansworth 18 00:19:40 82.29% 1st run at Rickmansworth, equals club record
TRUE Maria Jovani Rickmansworth 35 00:20:29 76.24% 1st run at Rickmansworth, club record (F)
TRUE Marion WOODHOUSE Rickmansworth 378 00:34:30 52.46% 14th run at Rickmansworth
TRUE Tony BARNWELL Rickmansworth 447 00:46:10 42.60% 24th run at Rickmansworth
TRUE Christopher T KELLY Sandhurst Memorial 166 00:39:13 38.84% 1st run at Sandhurst Memorial
TRUE Kay Trinder Soham Village College 9 00:22:19 79.01% F-1, BApark #547, age cat record, club record
TRUE Keith Johnson St Albans 403 00:31:57 45.80% run #37, 15th at St Albans
TRUE Murray HOGGE Woodley 83 00:23:28 67.76% run #49, 1st at Woodley, park #4
TRUE Frankie HOGGE Woodley 82 00:23:27 63.11% run #278, 1st at Woodley, park #5

The wet weather continued to spoil the weekend for many parkrunnners.  As early as Thursday afternoon the runs at Brooklands, Hazelwood, Higginson and Reading had already been called off because of waterlogged courses.  By Friday afternoon, Aylesbury, Bracknell, Guildford, Woking, Salisbury and Squerryes Winery had been added.  By Saturday morning the UK total totted up to 75, and it was noted that the 11 nearest parkruns to the epicenter at Bicester were all cancelled (see map:  ).  In spite of all the difficulties another four people completed their 500th run, beating the end of decade target they had set themselves.  There are three more on 498 or 499 who could just make it.

Ben Chaytow was the run director at Crane Park and seemed to be supported by most of his family who “volunteered” for the 400th edition of parkrun there.  The fast-improving James Shoulder (19:07) was our first member to cross the line recording his fourth consecutive course pb at Crane and indeed a lifetime parkrun pb.  That is the new club course record although it should be noted that 34 times Dream Miler Jeremy Short, whose membership continuity has been somewhat erratic, did run the course in 18:24 back in 2014. Crane Park was the 33rd parkrun run by club members when John Coffey ran there on 7th July 2012, on run #5. Since then a total of 33 club runners have run there a total of 357 times. Maria Jovani holds the fastest lady record (20:11) and Mike Dennison the best age grade (80.78%).

Our fastest runner this week was Mike Dennison (19:40, 82.29%) at Rickmansworth, running there for the first time.  That time puts him 3rd/240 in the VM60-64 group there. His time matches John Taylor’s best time at Rickmansworth in September 2018.  Maria Jovani (20:19), also visiting for the first time, set a new female club record. The floods at Reading sent regulars Chris Kelly (39:13) to Sandhurst and Frankie and Murray Hogge (23:28) to Woodley, all for their first runs over a strange course.  Alice Banks (33:14) found the going rather difficult in the damp conditions at Henley.  The only pb there was by a teenage boy who hadn’t been there for over a year.

Kay Trinder (20:19) broke new ground at Soham Village College in Cambridgeshire taking the club total on to 547. Caroline and Ian Cockram (both 25:47) set new club records at Clumber Park in Nottinghamshire.

Several parkruns are putting on extra runs on Christmas Day, mostly at the usual time of 9 a.m..  parkruns close to Heathrow include Rickmansworth, Bushy, Crane, Richmond Park, Northala Fields, Old Deer Park, Banstead Woods, Dinton Pastures, Homewood, Rushmoor, Frimley Lodge, Maidenhead, Guildford, Prospect Park and Woodley.  Ed: The list is subject to weather related cancellation and also remember that park facilities may not be open on Christmas Day, but on the other hand they may be open and attendees may bring lots of cakes and other goodies. Northala Fields tends to be in the "Open and in spirit" category.  For the full list check:
which also includes the New Year’s Day runs which have variable start times.  More about that next week. The UK special events parkruns are mapped out here, with their start times:

Steve Newell

Steve's parkrun stats - club parkrun stats

Full club parkrun database - {read access to new club parkrun database} - Download and explore.

Steve Newell

Confirmation of the Adoption of Imperial Distances

A poorly reported consequence of the recent election result is that of approved running distances. Since 5k is no longer a distance approved by English Athletics (other than 5,000m on a track) all UK parkruns are going to have to be re-measured at 3 miles. This will take effect after the end of March 2020. All participants should be pleased at this news since as well as the distance being slightly shorter and therefor easier to run it should lead to a flood of PB times.

Ed: Well, I did hint that I would have to make up news if insufficient was sent in.

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

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