All posts by Paul Meader

Chairman’s Update

Right folks pour a cup of tea, crack open the biscuits because if you are going to read this you might as well do something worthwhile at the same time.
This is really just a jumble of thoughts thrown together as they come out.
I suppose the first thing to do is welcome our new members its nice to have some new blood amongst us and it is especially good that we are able to share our love of the forest with people that appreciate what we have been gifted with. Some of our newbies such as Shane have already pulled on the Dayglo green of the Fern Hoppers and ran in a race.
A couple of weeks ago you all know our club staged the Wibbly Wobbly and we had 300 or so entrants weaving in and out of trees and throwing themselves down dirt tracks in the hope that they would eventually get back to civilisation. It would seem from the feedback that everyone enjoyed themselves so a big pat on the back to everyone for showing the running world that a tiny club can put on an event to be proud of
Thanks to Helene for organising the recent bike run, and make sure you put the 29th of August in your diary as Helene and Scot want to see you running round their garden for The BFH sports day. This is an invitation to all members and their families, we need to support the social side of the club its not all about running you know.
Our web site Brandon Fern Hoppers | Running Club will have a listing of all upcoming events as well as pictures and video from our own race and various other stuff we have done.
Some serious stuff now.
As club members we have a duty to ensure the safety of ourselves and others whilst out running. Unless you are an experienced runner and know your body  you should be carrying water with you, by now every member should have one of the WWLJ bottles please use them. Dehydration and heat stroke can cause serious problems for yourself and those around you especially if you are in an isolated area of the forest.
Ticks next .
 One of the drawbacks of running in the forest is for some reason creepy crawlies see us as mobile feed stations. Many of our new members will not realise however that some of the creatures that bite can be dangerous. Ticks start off when they get on you as little more than what look like money spiders. So after a run check your body because if left they will latch and suck your blood. They spread a disease called Lyme disease please become familiar with the symptoms and try to use repellent if you can. Lyme disease – NHS Choices
OK and on that cheery note
Good night.
Don’t forget run and have fun

Club 5k Handicap

Well Ken has certainly found a good route between Mundford and West Tofts. It’s not entirely traffic free but it’s quiet and very scenic.
It has a bit of a hill but nothing to worry about, and it’s fairly straight with line of sight for at least half a mile, if not more. The next 5K is in four weeks, so try and make it if you can.
Don’t forget that the club 5k’s are now a club competition in their own right, with a trophy for the winner at the end of the year! See details here!

A Message From Your Chairman

That’s a bit official ain’t it.
Anyway I have been busy not doing anything chairman wise for a couple of months so I thought seeing as the Queen is talking ga ga to her new grand child and Cameron is busy playing Monopoly it was down to me to address the good running folk of Brandon.

So in no particular order here is some ramblings.

Martin was better at this than me but has stepped aside so we can all see how good he was compared to some loony with a beard.
Thanks though Martin for steering the club when nobody else was keen to. We now have a great little club and I hope we can continue to build it.

Thanks too, I think, are overdue to Sandra who for many years did the sums in the background. She has now stood aside and we have Helene chasing us for invoices and receipts.

Last week several of us went to Haughley park as guests of Stowmarket Striders. This was a great evening and helps to build friendships. I hope perhaps we could too occasionally host the odd social run.
A chance for a social run occurs in June a few days before our Wibbly Wobbly when as a club we run the route. We have 7 or 8 members of Thetford that have said they will help with our race so of course they will be invited to our pre race run.

Talking of the Wibbly, plans seem to be well under way and whilst it seems ages away the next few weeks will fly by. This this year we have already sold almost 250 places and we hope to fill the rest. If you see other runners at parkrun, the gym or even at other races don’t forget to give our event a plug. also book the 26th of June on your planner to help out if you can.

Details of our race and entry forms are on our web site BFH –

Ballet Folklorico Huehuecoyotl
Mexican Dance, Mexican Music,Dance and Musica Regional Mexico, Chicago, Elgin, Mexican dancers.

NO NO NO NO thats not our site. Outlook autofill seems to have heard that I am fleet of foot and a graceful dancer. Anyway Google “running in Thetford Forest” and look for our link. (it will help with SEO)

Talking of the web site I think we need to just mention the for many years Ian Cooper ran the website and did an excellent job. In the days before Facebook it was always our only contact area. It still is the place to go for official stuff and the calender of events we need to keep looking at it.
Mr Brodie has taken over from Mr Cooper and been able to utilise recent developments in software and web development tools to overhaul the site. Take a look there are several news items. If you travel take your club kit and take a picture of you wearing it in exotic locations.

Other stuff to mention includes the new club championship, every year it has a shake up to keep things interesting and details are on the web site under ‘Club Championship’.

Women’s Competition

Club Chamion Lyn Goodwin receives her trophy from Chairman Paul Meader
Lyn Goodwin receives her trophy from Chairman Paul Meader

The winner of the ladies was Lyn1 who put away some good times and a bit of cake too. The Final standings are on the website here.



David Toms receives his Trophy from Paul Meader

Men’s Competition:
Last year’s was won by David Toms who put away loads of marathons apparently. The Final standings for the men are on the website here.

There is a separate competition for Ken’s 5ks. These are going to be held at Mundford this summer on what sounds like a flat straight course again, look at the web site for details.

There is loads of stuff I have missed but the sandwich van will be here shortly
This bit was due to be edited but he came, I ate and then one the “missing links” that works next door started operating his forklift and everything stops to watch that, so now I am at home finishing this off


Globehopping in the USA

In the same way your local pub football team dreams of playing at Wembley or the ladies at the village tennis club would jump at the chance of playing at Wimbledon us runners have iconic places that we would run. There’s the big ones like London and New York and then there’s the places that just appeal and we run just because they are there.

Paul on Golden Gate Bridge
Paul runs across the Golden gate Bridge in San Francisco

I recently went to America and took my running kit as usual. First stop San Francisco provided me with my first challenge. Everybody has seen the Golden Gate Bridge on the TV and when I found out there was a footpath the length of it I knew I wanted to run over it. So kit on and family in tow we grabbed a cab to the visitor centre. We walked up to the start of the path, I set my watch and was off. It was crowded literally hundreds of people taking selfies and just wandering along. Surprisingly there were also dozens of other runners all doing the same as me, The stretch over water is about 1.3 miles so I ran from the south to the north and back again. A total of just under 3 miles.

My next choice of run could not be more different. A place very isolated, a place where you are advised to register if you leave the safety of the hotel, a place that holds the record for the highest ever temperature any where on earth. Average rainfall is less than 2″ a year. The thermometer often rises above 120f but on the day of my visit it was a”cool” 80 degrees at 9.00 AM. Located at almost 300ft below sea level very little grows, water holes and lakes are just salt flats. The place I chose for my second run was in the desert, in fact it was in Death Valley.

We stayed in a town called Furnace Creek, with a population made up of 16 Native Americans and 8 others. It really is remote but because of a spring it has a golf course, a petrol station and a visitor centre.

Paul runs in Death Valley
Paul in Death Valley

At home running at 80 degrees does not pose a real problem, however I heeded the advice of the locals in the hotel that the very warm wind dries you as quick as you sweat and that you quickly become dehydrated. I set off ensuring someone knew where I was going and just ran along the road for half a mile, turned around and ran back. It didn’t seem too hot and I felt I had done the mile with ease. In fact I felt a bit of a slacker really when you consider every July a few select runners compete in the 135 mile Badwater Ultra that starts nearby. Upon reflection as I sit in my “I ran Death Valley” T-shirt I am pleased with my run, yes I only ran the mile and it wasn’t as difficult as I expected. I could have gone further, but more importantly I didn’t cause a major incident by biting off more that I can chew.