Category Archives: Fernblogger

Fernblogger-Blog for Brandon Fernhoppers Running Club

Hopperish For Absolute Beginners

Brandon Leisure Centre
Forest-edge facility subject of a relatively recent 500k redevelopment. Grid reference TL778863. Rural tennis courts are apparently in set-aside.

Any one of 12000 vascular plants reproducing via spores.
From the Old English fearn.

Hop (verb)
Old English hoppian, meaning to spring, leap; to dance; to limp.

Ken (verb)
To know. Possibly of Scottish origin. “D’ye ken John Peel when he’s far far away?”?”

Kenometre (noun)
Indeterminate distance. Reputed to be much greater than 1km. Not recognized by Trading Standards.

From the Greek Stéfanos, meaning wreath, crown, honour, reward. A name disproportionately represented among hopperati and mascots.

Sunday Morning
A two-hour period devoted to fern hopping and often followed by rehydration.

Wibbly (adj.)
Off-piste deviation involving vertical movement, preferably both up and down. 19th Century origins, meaning vague.

Wibbly-wobbly (adverb)
Every which way, but never straight or level. Often run over several kenometres (ibid).

Wobbly (adj.)
Off-piste deviation involving lateral movement. American origin, meaning shaky or unsteady.

Run Bike Event at Brandon Country Park

This Sunday sees the return of our popular Run/Bike event.

Sunday 27 September 2015
Meet at Brandon Country Park, Orchard Car park Picnic Area
9:00 for 9:10 start
If you are parking there, please note that we will be there during the paying period.

– Teams consist of 2 people with 1 bike
– Swap over as many times as you like, but runner and cyclist must stay within 10 metres of each other
– Follows Brandon Park Blue route (6ish miles) – I will send over a map and print some out nearer the time. For those who came last time, this is the reverse of last times route.
– Family/Friends are welcome
– Have fun!

Current record(s) since I have been organising:

Kate/Derek 44.08.80 – Full 6 miles route
Ian/Liz 41.25 – shorter route (anti-clockwise)

Actions if you want to take part:
– Pair up and send me the name of your team members
– If you want to take part but you don’t have a team mate, let me know and I can team you up with someone.

Hope to see lots of you there and fingers crossed for nice weather!

Frank’s Journey

Big Frank
‘Frank’ last Christmas

If you have told me this time last year that I would look forward to my weekly 10k run through Thetford Forest with the Fernhoppers, I would have laughed out loud. It’s hard enough walking when you weigh 125kg and your knees are buckling under the weight.

But then a kindly physio referred me to a scheme called Livewell Suffolk. Over the twelve week course I examined my lifestyle and then made a few adjustments. The Livewell group sessions are held in the leisure centre and include free membership for three months. The cunning plan is that you try out the gym equipment and exercise classes. I became addicted first to Body Combat and then to Circuits.

Someone in Circuits mentioned Parkrun and I looked it up. I thought that I would measure a 5k circuit from home, have a go in private and time myself. The first waddle took 70 minutes. But as the weight came off, so did the time. When I was down to 50 minutes I decided it was time to go public and so I signed up for Parkrun and got round without stopping in around 45. The friendly Parkrun became a weekly event. Getting a new Personal Best is a great feeling!

Frank at Nelson Knee Knobbler
Frank at Nelson Knee Knobbler

The same runner who had coaxed me along to Parkrun (he really is called Frank, whereas I am not) got injured and he offered me his place on a curious-sounding race, the Wibbly Wobbly Log Jog. I knew the step-up to 5 miles would be a challenge. The organisers agreed the swap and once I had felt the springy stuff under my feet and seen the green canopy above my head, I was hooked. The extra miles and weekly training sessions mean that I am still getting back into shape, but all this activity is also knocking minutes off the Parkrun time too.

And that’s how I came to be a Fernhopper but perhaps I should also explain how I became “Frank”: There were already six other Steves in the club, including the mascot, an inflatable giraffe. Over the years people have often put Frank and Spencer together. I quite like it really, but I would never wear a beret, despite being a French teacher.

Frank in Quebec

Here’s a snap of Stephen ‘Frank’ Spencer running in Quebec. This is where his journey back to health began, with a challenge from his daughter Sophie to run a 5k with her.

Stephen 'Frank' Spencer in Quebec with daughter Sophie
Stephen ‘Frank’ Spencer in Quebec with daughter Sophie

Having roped in his other daughter Isabel here is another taken at a 5k in Shawnigan, which Wikipedia informs me is “… a city located on the Saint-Maurice River in the Mauricie area in Quebec, Canada.”

There doesn’t look to be a very big entry for this one!:)

Frank with daughters Sophie and Isabel in Shawinigan Quebec
Frank with daughters in Shawinigan