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COVID Guidance update

Now that the lockdown is over and we are returning to running it is important that we all adhere to the guidance issued by England Athletics and the UK Government.

EA advise that in Tier 2 outdoor organised coached activities for adults and children, carried out within a COVID secure environment, are allowed. Numbers are not limited in such groups but coaches must not exceed a ratio of one coach to twelve runners. Runners should avoid socialising before and after the session. Unorganised and non coached activity is permitted but are required to follow the rule of 6 and socialising before and after should be avoided.

The UK Government advise that you can only meet indoors with people you live with or have formed a support bubble with. You can see people you do not live with outdoors in groups of up to 6 people. You should continue to follow guidance on social distancing when you meet.

The clubhouse will be open on a Tuesday and Thursday for toilet facilities only. On a Sunday the patio area will be open for socialising in groups of no more than 6 people observing social distancing with table service only. Under no circumstances should you congregate inside the clubhouse unless it is with someone with whom you live. If you are waiting for your session to start you should wait outside or in your car. Come prepared for all weathers!

Please take personal responsibility for following this guidance, it is not the job of club officials to have to enforce it. This will ensure that you are keeping yourself and fellow club members safe. 

Dave Smith, Club Chair

Ruilsip Run Hub – 0 to 5k Beginners Programme January 2021 – POSTPONED

Unfortunately, our next 0-5k course is postponed due to the current COVID-19 restrictions. As soon as restrictions are lifted the course will be rescheduled. 

Hillingdon Athletic Club is pleased to announce our next Ruislip Run Hub 0 to 5k beginners programme. Our next course starts on Saturday 9th January at 11am and will run every Saturday for 8 weeks.

The cost is just £2.50 a session and you will be fully supported by qualified England Athletics Run Leaders every week.

More information and where to book sessions can be found here.

Gavin’s Virtual Marathon Challenge Results

I tell you, you lot are a psychologist’s dream! says Gavin Collett.

Lockdown 2.0 Week 1, go out and run 5K at anytime in the week, 29 finishers.

Week 3, cover 26.2 miles anyhow you like at anytime in the week, 35 finishers.

Analyse that!

First of all congratulations to James Laing, our winner in 2:28:27. James had been due to participate in the Dorney Marathon last Sunday, but for our challenge he spread his effort over three days:

Mon – 11.2 miles in 1:04:47

Tue – 5 x 1 mile (off 1 min recovery) in 26:00

Wed – 10 miles in 57:40

I would suggest there was still plenty of room for improvement there for James, but also note a magnificent effort by Shaun Lazzari with 2:33:14 for second place.

It was very interesting to learn of the differing approaches to this challenge.

Madsters of the week goes to Debbie Brown, Dennis Carey and Steve Edwards who knocked off the challenge in one go (see previous note about psychologist’s!).

Then there was those who rose to the challenge of covering that far in a week, as in they don’t normally run that far. In this category, step forward Doug Milsom, 81 years young, an inspiration to us all. Quote: “Age grade if I’d run it in one chunk: 60%. A bit disappointing!”

For some it was about survival and took to off-road, slower but kinder on the body.

And then there were the competitive souls amongst us, who plotted and schemed and, arguably, out-performed. I even had reports of someone doing reps DOWN Honey Hill!

Prime examples were Andy Wood (thanks for the spreadsheet) and Iain Betson (first vet), who claimed several scalps they will be delighted with.

Zoe Dobbs (Martin who?) rose to the challenge to pip Kathy Carruthers for first woman, whist Pauline Fischer should be rightfully chuffed with her effort.

A selection of quotes from the week for you:

  • Ran a full marathon distance today with Dennis, am sure you have seen his video already on Facebook, never a dull moment with him around the crazy man!!! 
  • Feeling quite pleased with myself!
  • To be honest I was both very pleased and surprised how I felt.
  • I surprised myself and managed to complete it, thanks to having a running buddy for all but the last 5k. I would never have run a 12 miler without this challenge!
  • Grateful thanks to you Gavin for providing the motivation, and to the inventor of compression socks for enabling my calf muscles to just about last out!
  • Your marathon challenge this week made me do the highest weekly mileage in ages! Thank you for setting the challenge. Through it I found a new long route round Ruislip woods and fields!  It also underlined for me again how great it is to have them on our doorstep, a place of infinite variety with each season and a forgiving running surface which allows my old feet to do long runs.
  • For some extraordinary reason I ran the full distance in woods, over cross country courses, and Parkruns. Not the best way to achieve a fast time!!!!!!
  • I did some Excel jiggery pokery
  • Thanks Gavin, as always I really enjoyed the challenge you set.
  • Split into 8 activities across 6 days. Glad that week’s over!
  • Not sure how that’s comparable but it’s the effort that counts I guess?!
  • An interesting exercise. I have to remember that it was a lot easier for me than for anyone with a full-time job so I could split it over 6 days. Some of the days I went over somewhat muddy countryside and sometimes it was on roads, and it was interesting to see the differences that led to in speeds.
  • This was a fun, but (potentially) gruelling challenge!  A marathon in a week sounds easy, but however many reps you do, if you ‘race’ them, it’s a tough week.  4 x 10k in 7 days at something near a 10k race pace, is tough for example. I thought I’d try to do it in 5k’s, but mix them up a bit.  I perhaps started a bit too conservatively, but towards the end I was struggling for energy for 5k’s, but ok for shorter reps! The challenge allowed for different strategies, so it was interesting seeing how other people were doing along the way – wondering if they had over/under paced, or if I had in comparison! Thanks for the great challenge Gavin, but I’m looking forward to putting my feet up for a bit!
  • Thank you for organising my kind of marathon-3 separate runs on a pancake flat surface!

And so to what looks like (hopefully) the last week of our Virtual Challenges, the Hillingdon ‘5’, 5 miles or 8.05K. None of that multi-day nonsense this week, back to one-off efforts! Your permitted period of exercise can be taken from home, in the woods, round your garden, anywhere permitted under government guidelines. Then send your time (minutes & seconds) and date of birth by email to gavin.collett@jti.com by midnight next Wednesday 2nd December and I’ll produce a “race” result next Thursday.

There is no need to send me any proof, description of course or links to any others site such as Garmin, Strava, I won’t open them. I trust you all!

Any ages, any standard, for members, friends and family of Hillingdon AC.

Did you know? Hillingdon AC used to organise one of the premier 5 mile road races in the country. The course was not flat, one lap of the old Finchley ‘20’ course, but gained a reputation as an outstanding race that top athletes travelled far and wide to compete in. It was held 35 times between 1968 and 2004 and winners included Dave Bedford, Tony Simmons, Julian Goater and Eamonn Martin. The course record was 22:41 by Rob Denmark in 1995 and the Hillingdon AC record 23:01 by Tony Jackson in 1991.

There was also a separate Hillingdon Ladies ‘5’, held nine time between 1980 and 1992. The course record was 26:59 by Anne Ford in 1985, though Liz Yelling ran 26:09 in a mixed race in 2000.

Both races fell victim to the increased traffic on the roads that prevented 400 runners blocking it off, even for just 45 minutes.

Good luck with this week’s challenge and I’ll hopefully see you all soon!


November 2020 Week 3 Virtual Marathon

Gavin’s Virtual 10k results

A fifty per cent improvement on last week’s 5K finishers as 45 took the challenge this week, bolstered by some of our friends at Hillingdon TriStars, reports Gavin Collett.

Charlie Edwards had won a tight affair over the 5K last week, but had to settle for fifth this time with his 38:27. Shaun Lazzari took bronze last week but turned his 17:38 into an impressive 35:57 over double the distance, whilst Jack McVann recorded 37:53 in his debut 10K. Jon Hicks was first veteran with 38:09, though TriStar Marcel Kunecki recorded a promising 38:37 and will turn 40 next month. However, an element of order was brought to the new kids on the block as James Laing returned to the fray with an impressive 34:13 for victory!

Some of our faster women seemed to have gone missing during lockdown leaving the way for Watford Harrier Claire Bentley (Martin Searle’s niece) to be fastest female in 44:43, whilst Mel Spencer continued her impressive form in second, first veteran.

Mike Illing restored some male pride in the upper age groups, though Lesley Conway was only a minute behind.

Elsewhere in the field, it may be Virtual but those battles still emerge! A returning Andy Mansi ten seconds in front of John Bignell, Martin Searle locking horns with the Dobbs x 2, etc.

Special mention to Trevor Steeples on his comeback from serious leg breaks when knocked from his bike earlier this year.

This marks the halfway point of our lockdown virtual races (hopefully!). This week’s challenge is a bit different. It is the fastest marathon distance (26 miles 385 yards or 42.19 kilometres) you run/walk throughout the week in total; it is not a one-off attempt, your marathon could be run in one go (why?!), two lots of 13 and a bit, two ten milers plus a 10K, seven runs of just under 4 miles, or any other combination of your choice, it’s entirely up to you. I can visualise the spreadsheets being compiled by the likes of Andy Wood and Martin Searle as I write this!

Your permitted period of exercise can be taken from home, in the woods, round your garden, anywhere permitted under government guidelines.

Then send your time (minutes & seconds) for the whole distance and date of birth by email to gavin.collett@jti.com by midnight next Wednesday 25th November race and I’ll produce a “race” result next Thursday.

There is no need to send me any proof, description of course or links to any others site such as Garmin, Strava, I won’t open them. I trust you all! However, this week I am quite intrigued as to how you go about it, but no need for vast essays or thesis and it isn’t compulsory!

Any ages, any standard, for members, friends and family of Hillingdon AC.

November 2020 Week 2 Virtual 10K


0k to 5k – Save the dates

Following the success of our first 0k to 5k we are already planning our next HAC Run Hub beginners group sessions.


  • Get fit with an 8 week structured 0-5k programme
  • England Athletics qualified run leaders
  • No pressure – walk/run at your own pace in a fun environment
  • Make new friends along the way and experience being part of a running group
  • Experience the “feel good factor” and all the amazing benefits that exercising brings – great for mental wellbeing, confidence boosting, improvement in your overall health to name just a few!


Our first course starts on Saturday 9th January 2021 and will run every Saturday for 8 weeks. Times to be confirmed. Its costs just £2.50 a session and you will be fully supported by qualified England Athletics Run Leaders every week.


Hillingdon Athletics Club, 206 Bury Street, Ruislip, Middlesex HA4 7TJ


Watch this space and keep an eye on our social media over the next few weeks for more details and how to book.

Gavin’s Virtual 5k results

Slightly light on participants from what I would have envisaged given the vast numbers that had been trying to attend my training sessions prior to Lockdown 2.0 and the 58 that finished the last Virtual 5K in July when there was only one day to do it, reports Gavin Collett.
But thanks to all those that could be asked!
However, what a race up front with just three seconds separating the first three with Charlie Edwards taking the spoils narrowly from Jack McVann and Shaun Lazzari.
Jon Hicks recorded a pb to finish first vet in fourth position, whilst Mel Spencer hit the treadmill in Greece to be leading lady.
Lesley Conway pounded the tarmac of King’s College track to finish first over 60 of either sex.
Week 2’s challenge is 10K. You have until next Wednesday (18th) to complete and let Gavin know.
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Gavin’s Lockdown 2.0 Virtual Race Schedule

Following yesterday’s statement that athletics can claim no special exemption from the recent lockdown rules for November, we’re going to be out of action for a little while. Consequently all organised activity at the track and clubhouse will cease.
Sad, but we need to do our bit to protect each other & our NHS. In the meantime, be safe, be kind. Check in with your clubmates and friends.
To help fill the four weeks and keep some fitness and competition levels going, I am going to organise one virtual race per week:
Week 1: Thursday 5 – Wednesday 11 November 
5K (3 miles 188 yards)
Week 2: Thursday 12 – Wednesday 18 November
10K (6 miles 376 yards)
Week 3: Thursday 19 – Wednesday 25 November
Marathon (26 miles 385 yards or 42.19K)
Week 4: Thursday 26 Nov – Wednesday 2 Dec
5 miles (8.05K)
So, before you fall off your chair, the marathon will be the quickest 26 miles 385 yards you run throughout the week in total; the other weeks have to be one-off attempts, although you are allowed as many attempts as you want, the quickest counting. For example, your marathon could be run in one go (why?!), two lots of 13 and a bit, two ten milers plus a 10K (and a teeny bit), seven runs of just under 3 miles, or any other combination of your choice, it’s entirely up to you.
Your permitted period of exercise can be taken from home, in the woods, round your garden, anywhere permitted under government guidelines.
Then send your time (minutes & seconds) for the whole distance and date of birth by email to gavin.collett@jti.com by midnight on the final date of each race and I’ll produce a “race” result every Thursday.
There is no need to send me any proof, description of course or links to any others site such as Garmin, Strava, I won’t open them. I trust you all!
Any ages, any standard, for members, friends and family of Hillingdon AC.
Please spread the word.

Suspension of Club activity

Dear Members
the following advice has been released by England Athletics today. Consequently all organised activity at the Track and clubhouse will cease from midnight tonight. This is particularly sad considering the progress we had made in getting things going again. The guidelines do allow you to exercise with your household or with one other person outside your household. I would encourage you all to read the guidance and stay in touch with each other during this difficult time. The clubhouse, car park and track will be closed for the duration of lockdown.
Following the UK Government’s new national COVID-19 restrictions and the publication of bespoke instructions from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS), we have revised the current guidance for athletics and running. Despite us lobbying DCMS for certain exemptions, this new guidance will apply from Thursday 5 November 2020 until Wednesday 2 December 2020.
From this Thursday [5 November 2020], the UK Government is requiring everyone in England to stay at home, except for specific purposes, and not gather with other people who do not live in the same household, again except for specific purposes. As a result, the impact on athletics and running will include suspension of the following (we may update this guidance as and when more information from DCMS becomes available, for example, in relation to U18s  / disability provision):
  • All indoor club group coaching activity
  • All outdoor club group coaching activity
  • All indoor track and field competitions
  • All outdoor competition (track and field, cross country, road, trail, fell and multiterrain)
  • All face-to-face coach and officials’ education
The UK Government have confirmed that you can exercise with people from your own household OR with one other person.
  • You can train with your household or one other person in a public outdoor space
  • 1:1 coaching can take place in a public outdoor space following social distancing measures (Please note: We are seeking clarity on 1:1 coaching with U18s and disability athletes/runners)
  • Virtual training sessions can be delivered by qualified coaches
  • Virtual competitions will still take place, and a list of virtual road races can be found here England Athletics will continue to coordinate the Weekly 30

Revised Guidelines for Clubhouse use

As you may be aware, London and Greater London has been elevated to Tier 2 Covid Restrictions from Friday 16 October.

This means that people must not meet socially with friends and family indoors in any setting unless they live together or have formed a support bubble with them. It is illegal to meet in larger groups.

This makes socialising inside the clubhouse difficult, and the decision has reluctantly been taken to close the clubhouse, apart from access to the toilets on Tuesday and Thursday evenings.

The rules allow people to meet in groups of 6 out of doors, so the clubhouse will continue to open on Sunday mornings to allow people to meet on the patio area for socially distanced tea, coffee, etc.

Therefore: on Thursdays, it’s opening up by 6.00pm, but closing after the last runner leaves. 

On Sundays, opening by 9.00am and drinks served on the patio area until 11.30am.
If the weather precludes sitting outdoors, then the clubhouse will close after the last runner leaves.
Current procedures relating to the serving of drinks remain in force ie table service only.

Happy running 

Clubhouse Team 

New Guidelines for Clubhouse Use

When you’re out you can come in.

With everything that’s happening in the world at the moment, exercise is as important as ever for your whole wellbeing. We are committed to ensuring you can continue to use the clubhouse and partake in some form of exercise and for you to be able to still enjoy some form of social interaction in as safe an environment as we can provide. 

To be safe and to ensure the wellbeing of your fellow HAC members we all have to work together and be responsible for each other. There’s been some changes at the Clubhouse which means that we can start to use the social areas inside now that the weather has turned and for the gym equipment to be used. 

Here’s a guide to using the clubhouse 

  1. When you meet before a run, where possible wait in the car park staying 2m apart or stay in your car
  2. When you enter the clubhouse, you will see the new QR code on the door which you can check in using your App
  3. If you don’t have the App don’t worry, you can still register with the volunteer steward at the bar or on the website
  4. Sanitise your hands on the way in
  5. If you are in the clubhouse, take a seat, please don’t stand up and mingle
  6. Remember to stay 2m apart where possible and always at least 1m apart with mitigation – this may include a face covering or not being seated face to face
  7. Changing rooms and showers are still not available at the moment
  8. Please only run in a group of a maximum of 6 people and be mindful of members of the public
  9. After your run, the bar will be open
  10. Take a seat (please don’t move the chairs) and order your drink
  11. Table service only is in operation, the steward will be wearing a mask

Opening and closing times 

Opening times for the clubhouse will now be Thursdays from 6.00 pm till 8.00 pm and Sunday mornings from 9.00 am to 12.00 pm.

Tuesdays – Since reopening in July it has become apparent that the Clubhouse isn’t really used on a Tuesday night for socialising. The clubhouse will therefore be closed on a Tuesday for any socialising going forward. 

Wednesday evenings – Stefan takes a group for training and James and Heidi have started their couch to 5K classes. On these nights only these groups may use the clubhouse. 

Thursday night social – if you would like to come for a social drink on a Thursday evening from 8pm to 10pm you are welcome to join the small band of beer drinkers to talk about those halcyon days when we could race together as well as train together. We will need to strictly observe the 10pm curfew.

Gym re-opening 

We are working on a plan for the gym to be reopened at limited times. Further information will follow in the next week on a booking system, opening times and guidelines for use. 

Thank you

Thank you to all the volunteers who have been helping out with stewarding. Without your help, the clubhouse could not operate and we appreciate your time and giving up your training session to man the bar.    

A huge thank you as well to Katherine Wells and Lesley Conway who have been sanitising and cleaning three times a week to keep the clubhouse smelling fresh and keeping the bugs at bay.

Zoe and the Clubhouse Team