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Barnet & District AC | Weekly Update 26th May 2020
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Barnet & District Weekly Update

The latest news for the BDAC Stags
Tributes to Howard Aiken from
 Steve Harris
 Nick Bingham
 Steve Chilton

If you have an anecdote or memory about Howard, please send it to Ros de la B  rosdelabertauche@yahoo.co.uk for inclusion in the Club Magazine

Get involved!
 – BDAC Weekly Time Trial
 – Saturday Morning Coffee and Chat

Mo 7
England Athletics’ Latest Advice
Steve Chiltons’ New Book
Personal Coaching Sessions

 – Training Sessions
 – Miscellany – Club Kit  / More Mile / Athletics Courses / Services

Steve Chilton’s Club History is here

Please mail contributions to website@barnetadac.com by 6pm each Tuesday

Tribute to Howard Aiken from Steve Harris

An anecdote that illustrates the type of character we older members miss about Howard.

We used to go for long runs out into Hertfordshire early on a Sunday morning starting from the Clubhouse off Victoria Road.

One hot morning, we were about half way round our route having come South along Warrengate Road, turned left at the bridge over Mimmshall Brook and up the steep hill into Hawkeshead Lane, when Howard announced that he knew where we could get a drink.

At the top of the hill, he ran up the front path of one of the bungalows on the right and knocked on the door, whilst the rest of us stood sheepishly in the front garden dripping with sweat. “Howard, how nice to see you!” exclaimed the elderly gentleman who had opened the door. “Come in and bring your friends” There was a barbeque going on in the back garden which we were invited to join. We explained our situation and settled for just some water although we were offered beers. After a short chat, we tactfully left.

We asked Howard whose house it was “Oh, that was the parents of an old girlfriend!” he replied. We asked when he’d last seen them “Oh, ages ago”. Howard must have been married for about 20 years as he had three grown up sons the oldest at Uni.

Steve Harris

Tribute to Howard Aiken from Nick Bingham

It seems strange that Howard has gone – he seemed so indestructible, for so long.

Only the Club old guard will remember Howard.  I joined in April 1991 (aged 46), when a whole bunch of runners about my age had been running together for a decade or more, a number drawn to running (as John Shirley was, for example) by the launch of the London Marathon in 1981.  By that time I knew that my main interest, and strength, was the longer distances; my favourite distances were ten miles and the half-marathon, and I was to discover only later that my best distance was the marathon. 

Here I owe a great debt to Howard.  There was at that time a group of up to a dozen or so who did long runs from the old clubhouse at Victoria Park every Sunday morning.  I was just good enough to train with them when I joined, improved vastly as everyone joining a club does; Howard and I became the two most hard-core regulars – I never willingly missed.

Howard (several years older than I am) was a wonderful runner – shuffling action, but ran like a machine.  He was famous for throwing in bursts of speed on the big hills on long runs: running up Hadley Road on the way back from Whitewebbs (which Howard introduced me to, and which I loved); going up to the Ridgeway en route for Coopers Lane Road, etc.  I couldn’t handle Howard on these bursts, and gave up trying.  It didn’t matter; he would wait for me at the top, like the perfect gentleman he was. 

I mentioned this to Steve Chilton (younger than I am; one of the old guard, who did his best running in his 30s, before he broke his ankle).  He smiled, and said that he could handle Howard, back then.  I suspect Dave Wilson and Derek Wood could too; must ask them; lucky them.

A Howard anecdote: my elder son James worked in a pub downtown (the Hobgoblin, Marylebone — `the Hob’) between leaving school and going to university in 2001.  His first night at the Hob was a Friday or Saturday.  He came back on Cloud Nine: he’d had women coming on to him all evening (he was young, handsome, new and unfamiliar).  I told this story to the bunch I was running with that Sunday.  Howard’s laconic comment: “Gets his good looks from his mother, does he?”

Howard’s one weakness as a runner was a preference for doing his distance training in racing flats.  I think as a direct result of this, he got badly injured, during a race (early to mid 90s), and had to drop out (as I was shocked to learn at the finish).  That, alas, was the end of the old Howard.  I barely saw him after that, and now he’s gone.

Nick Bingham   

Tribute to Howard Aiken from Steve Chilton

I was very saddened to hear of the passing on Sunday of Howard Aiken. He was one of the best marathon training mates ever and we spent many a long run together. He would enliven the long runs in too very different ways. Firstly, I have many memories of the banter on our Sunday longs, often consisting of him gently ribbing whoever was training that day – and for some reason I was a prime target! His second trick was to push on towards the end of runs, and we always rose to it and wouldn’t let him get back to the old clubhouse before us. As I go about life now I am often reminded of those long run routes – out to the top of Hampstead Heath and back; out along Dollis Brook to Arrandene Open Space or Scratchwood; or many, many times over Whitewebbs or the loop round Coopers Lane.

He was also an excellent club member, loving turning out for races, and always giving his best. He was so consistent you could measure yourself against him. For me, beat him and I have done well, ‘let’ him beat you and I haven’t, and would be teasingly reminded about it every training run till the next race! His gentle persona allowed him to get away it. He wasn’t one to broadcast his achievements, but in the London Marathon in 1985 he did 2-47-02. He also stretched out to longer distances, doing the Yorkshire Three Peaks with Jim Neville, Clive Goddard and myself (not as a race) one fabulous weekend; and competed in two-day mountain marathons, saying after one that, ‘it was much tougher than I had expected but that only added to the sense of achievement at having successfully completed it.’ Simple enjoyment.

He wrote a couple of humorous pieces for the club mag, including one in his early running days when he followed John Atkinson’s pre-race advice to jog, stretch and ‘use embrocation rubbed into the calves and thighs’. This application, just before the 1984 London Marathon had painful consequences as he strayed too far north, but didn’t stop him from Breaking-3 for the first time.

A fine man, lodged in the my memory banks in the compartment labelled ‘great friends’. RIP Howard

Steve Chilton

BDAC Time Trial week 7

Congratulations to Karen Murphy who won our age graded 10k challenge with a cracking 82.78%. Pats on the back go to Adrian and Des who also broke 80, and to Michelle Legate-Lines and Rosalind Isabella Thompson who set 10k ‘PBs’ – bring on the real races!
I loved seeing the entries for the Strava Art challenge. Keep an eye on the group for the reviews shortly!
The next challenge is a classic club session, the 3 mile time trial in Trent Park.
Rules: Solo/socially distanced run. Stay at least 2 metres away from anyone not from your household.
Route: From the white gate next to Go Ape, around the park to the clearing. See route map below…
Distance: Almost exactly 3 miles.
Closing date: You must declare your time in the link below or on Faceboook before 6pm on Sunday 31 May

Full results for last week, and all the details for this week in the link below:



Saturday morning virtual coffee and chat

Whilst we can’t meet in the park on a Saturday like normal, we can still keep in touch online.  Please grab a tea or coffee and join your clubmates at 11am every Saturday by clicking the link below.


Meeting ID: 851 213 945
Password: 123456

If you are using a phone or tablet you will need to download the Zoom app first.

President Mo’s Thoughts – 7

Here we are again, another week on – hopefully safe, alert or whatever new slogan we may have by now. You will be pleased to know that my ‘other half’ has recovered from his rant, after his lie down I gave him a hug & he was happy again.

This made me think that some of you will not have been able to have a hug with anyone for many weeks now. I’m in ‘lockdown’ with my solemate  (I was tempted to correct this) but prefer this spelling – Ed) of over 50 years and we can still hug, cuddle or whatever, we are lucky (or the ’other half’ may say unlucky – I haven’t consulted him on this), however for those separated from partners & loved ones, especially if they are living on their own at this time it is even harder. The human touch is something we have taken for granted in the past, from the first time that a parent holds a newborn baby until comforting someone in sickness or need.

Just think in the context of our club, how often have you shook hands, patted on the back or hugged a fellow athlete in congratulation or commiseration after a good/bad race or training session. Remember how good it felt, that someone cared, I hope that eventually we can get back to that again. I do worry though that when, or even if we get back to ‘normal’ that some people will have got so used to isolation that they will be too frightened to accept a friendly touch. Meanwhile, if you know of someone living on their own, think of picking up the phone & giving them a call, so at least they can hear a friendly voice & know that someone cares.

As I’ve already said, John & I are lucky that we are together during this time & that we are fit & active for our ages. We are unable to see our family at the moment as they live too far away, however we have a group of wonderful neighbours who are almost like family now. I think we may be having an influence on them too, many of them are now going out running & cycling, perhaps the sight of 2 over 70s out exercising most mornings made them realise they can do it too.

John & I do most of our training separately (I’m too slow for him!) but one change during ‘lockdown’ is that we do a speed session once a week together, often on the 250m grass track the council has kindly marked out on the local playing field. We have got into a routine now of doing this on Saturday morning & getting back in time to join the club ‘zoom‘ video session, replicating ‘normal’ Saturday mornings. The good thing is that we don’t waste time sitting in the car driving to & from Trent Park – it’s still not the same as a human touch though.

My thoughts are with you all, Stay Safe until we meet again.


England Athletics Latest Advice

Please see the latest advice from England Athletics issued in the last week. As is clearly set out it is unfortunately not yet possible for the club to re-start organised sessions.

We are aware that some members may now be starting to arrange to meet up and can only ask for you to follow this advice, stay alert and take care to remain socially distanced at all times.

We all hope and look forward to a time when we will be able to come together in larger groups.

This may well though lead to a need for additional run leaders, coaches for all age groups including Young Athletes to lead these sessions. If that could be you, be you a parent or member please do come forward and let Des Michael or one of our existing coaches know.


Steve Chilton’s New Book

The publishing industry is in difficulties – printing, distribution and selling are seriously disrupted. Publishers are cutting books from their schedules. If you have ANY intention of buying my forthcoming book on Billy Bland then please pre-order now:


I need to show my publisher the strength of interest in the book.

Info: All or Nothing At All is the life story of Billy Bland, fellrunner extrordinaire and holder of many records including that of the Bob Graham Round until it was broken by the foreword author of this book, Kilian Jornet. It is also the story of Borrowdale in the English Lake District, describing its people, their character and their lifestyle, into which fellrunning is unmistakably woven. Filled with stories of competition and rich in northern humour, All or Nothing At All is testimony to the life spent in the fells by one of their greatest champions, Billy Bland.

Steve Chilton

Personal Coaching Sessions

Don’t “just do it”, do it RIGHT!

In line with the latest Guidance from England Athletics (EA), qualified coaches can now deliver sessions with ONE athlete, whilst maintaining the two metres physical distance rule. Provided we comply with all the provisions of the Guidance; https://www.englandathletics.org/athletics-and-running/news/guidance-update-for-restricted-return-to-activity-for-coaches-leaders-athletes-runners-and-facilities, we will continue to be covered under EA’s public liability insurance.

Whilst restrictions remain on group (more than one athlete) sessions, I’m offering ALL FULLY PAID UP Members a FREE personalised coaching session, including a complete head-to-toe analysis of your running “form”, identifying barriers currently limiting your potential to improve. I’ve been delivering these sessions professionally with a private Company for some time and received many favourable testimonials.

Sessions will take place in Trent Park, Oak Hill Park or Victoria Park and will last one hour, at a time to suit you, commencing on the hour from 09:00 to 18:00, any day. ALL abilities welcome.

Contact: des.michael@tiscali.co.uk or 07768 485469 to book your session.

Stay safe,

Des (Club Coaching Co-ordinator)

Training Sessions

The outline of the training sessions is on the club website: Training; Training Sessions

Richard/Des/Steve’s calendar of sessions are on the website: Training; Training Calendar

Maggie’s and updates from all coaches are posted adhocly to the club Facebook Page 

Club Kit

Some new items of club kit have been added to our selection at Ipro sports. They include a shoe bag, ideal for spikes or road racers, some red sprinter style lycra shorts, and jogging bottoms with the club badge. Please see the full range at https://www.iprosports.co.uk/club-zone/barnet-district-ac/. Please be aware that there is usually a waiting time of around a month for delivery of most of these items because they are made to order.

We have entered into a partnership with iProsports to provide a range of club kit. The link below will take you to our Club Zone on the iProsports website. There you will find an initial range of items available for direct purchase through the website for delivery to your home or your preferred delivery address, with payment by credit card or Paypal.


Initially we have launched without ‘red’ shorts, as we have yet to agree on styles, and these will follow.

We will be looking to add extra sizes for Young athletes and other kit, with some blue options.

As outlined in the Club Magazine, club vests are currently being managed by our fantastic Membership Secretary team and orders can be made via their email address: membership@barnetadac.com and remain keenly priced at £15.00.

More Mile Discount

A reminder to members – please encourage family & friends to use the more20 code on www.moremile.co.uk & take advantage of a 20% discount – the more it is used the more the club can get back. Moremile kit is of good quality & very good value for money especially with the discount.

Happy Shopping

England Athletics Courses

For all the latest England Athletics Courses and Workshops visit:

Coach/Officials’ Education courses:

England Athletics events & workshops:

The club will reimburse course fees for those who apply their qualifications for the benefit of the club.


Osteopaths / Sports injury rehab – Nikki Waker – www.brookmansparkosteos.co.uk

Signed fellrunning books – Steve Chilton – https://itsahill.wordpress.com/
Thanks for reading this week’s update

Please send news to website@barnetadac.com and results to results@barnetadac.com by 6pm each Tuesday for that week’s newsletter.
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