UK Run 9 : Leek

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Please donate generously to Cancer Research : https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Dan-Thompson11

Please like / follow Run the World on Facebook , Instagram and Twitter

Date : 13th July, 2019

Number of runners (total to date) : 3 (6261)

Time : 1h 9’ 34”

Run map and details :  https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/3848467593

My grandmother died of cancer. My uncle Mark died of cancer (at the tragically early age of 49). My mother died of cancer.

Cancer is our family enemy.

So, when we all met up in Leek for a family reunion, it seemed appropriate for us to do one of Run the World’s 250 x 10 km runs. (I’m fundraising for Cancer Research ; 250 runs is equivalent to running 2 500 000 metres – which is a metre for every one of the UK’s two and a half million cancer sufferers. )

Caroline, Mark’s daughter, Charis, my sister, Matthew, my brother, and I set off from the Peak Weavers hotel.

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Charis walked but the rest of us ran north up King St, turned right onto Broad Street and almost immediately came to the Leek Oatcake Shop.

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For anyone unfamiliar with this local delicacy, oatcakes are like savoury pancakes and, contrary to some misguided opinion, are best eaten with poached eggs.

Back to the run. Matt’s one request wrt the route was that we should run somewhere flat. So Caroline immediately led us to the local park – which must be just about the hilliest park I’ve ever been to outside of the Himalayas. She then took us back through the famous Market Square

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to Leek Cemetery where our grandparents are buried.

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A cemetery which also happens to feature the steepest climb in the whole of the Peak District…

After 5 km Caroline peeled off, satisfied that her work was done.

Matt and I caught our breath and reviewed our options for the 2nd 5 km. We could have run to our grandparents home on Cheddleton Heath road. But that was a little too far.

We could also have run towards Stoke, home of the mighty Stoke City FC. The club where my cousin Nick had a youth trial and, in so doing, became something of a hero to his football mad cousin.

Now, in recent years it has become fashionable to disparage Stoke’s long ball tactics and their dedication to the concept of football as a contact sport. However, Nick’s trial was in the 1970s when Stoke won the 1972 League Cup with a line-up of Gordon Banks ; Jackie Marsh ; Mike Pejic ; Mike Bernard ; Dennis Smith ; Alan Bloor ; Terry Conroy ; Jimmy Greenhoff ; John Ritchie ; Peter Dobing ; and George Eastham. (I thought John Mahoney played but Wikipedia tells me otherwise.)

At the time they were, I think it’s fair to say, “By far the greatest team, the world has ever seen.”

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Enough reminiscing. Back, again, to the run.

We eventually decided to run to what we think of as the Leek Show grounds (aka Birchall Playing Fields). I’ve never previously seen it without thousands of people, multitudes of sheep being chased around by sheep dogs, fairground attractions, home baked goods, random bits of farm machinery, competitively oversized vegetables – and my grandparents handing out prizes. (For the avoidance of doubt, those are not our grandparents in the photo below.)

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Turns out that there’s also a running track there so Matt and I ran round that a few times in the setting sun

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before heading back to the hotel and the reunion dinner with Dad, Sylvia

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Auntie Diana, Brian,

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Nick, Amanda, Caroline, Charis and Matt.

A wonderful run and a wonderful weekend. I hope to see as many of you as possible in London on 4th July, 2020 for the UK, and final, leg of Run the World!

For Granny, Mark and Mum. And Grampa and Stevie. And all our other lost but not forgotten family members.

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If you’d like to help fight cancer then I and, far more importantly, cancer sufferers around the world, would be immensely grateful for any donations to Cancer Research : https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Dan-Thompson11

Please like / follow Run the World on Facebook , Instagram and Twitter because it would be great to stay in touch and because, however silly it may sound, it makes all the travel and running that little bit easier if you think people care!

 

 

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Southfield Academy

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Please donate generously to Cancer Research : https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Dan-Thompson11

Please like / follow Run the World on Facebook , Instagram and Twitter

Date : 11th July, 2019

Number of talk attendees (total to date) : 110 (4847)

Number of runners (total to date) : 80 (6258)

Run map and details : https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/3837961539

I’m currently undertaking a challenge – Run the World – to complete a 10 km run in all 206 countries in the world. (I’ve run in 173 countries to date.) I’m doing the challenge to raise funds for Cancer Research and to promote the importance of an active, healthy lifestyle.

A couple of years ago I was running in Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic, and I was asked to give a talk at a local school about my experiences. It seemed to go well and ever since then I’ve been giving an increasing number of talks.

Run the World now offers schools a menu of activities including the talk ; a Q&A session ; a run ; and in-talk exercise sessions. And Ms Davies – Head of PE & Sport at Southfields Academy was kind enough to invite me to give a talk to Y 7 – followed by a run and a stretching session.

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The talk starts with stories about my runs around the world – the extraordinary, and often inspiring, people I’ve met and things I’ve seen. Then we move on to the healthy living section of the talk finishing with the slide that really summarises why I do these talks.

In 2018, Harvard aggregated a huge amount of research on healthy living and its impact on life expectancy. The conclusion? If you adopt the five healthy habit referred to in the talk – healthy weight, diet and levels of exercise combined with no smoking and no/low alcohol consumption – then, on average, women will live 14 years longer and men will live 12 years longer. Even adopting one healthy habit will, on average, extend your life by two years.

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So far, so good. And so far, so normal. Then it was my turn to listen. Led by Ms Davies, three of the teachers stood up to talk about why they run.

They were extremely eloquent and it reminded me why I’ve fallen in love with running. As one of the teachers put it, it doesn’t matter how bad the weather is, you’ll always be glad afterwards that you went for a run. It’s great socially – both as an activity to do with friends and family but also as a way to meet new people. (It’s the way one of the teachers stays in touch with her sister.) And, of course, for most people, it’s highly beneficial for their physical and mental health.

And, if the thought of running itself doesn’t appeal, why not combine it with fundraising for Cancer Research or plogging (jogging while picking up plastic) or doing good deeds?

There ends my appeal to readers to give running a go – time to get back to the story.

After the talks, we went outside for a 1 km run – partly in King George’s Park and partly around the school’s all-weather pitch (part of the school’s excellent sporting facilities).

As I ran with the students I thought about how, when I was their age, I didn’t run. And how much I wish I had. Partly for the reasons listed above and partly because it would have made me so much better at football / cricket / rugby / hockey (team sports being my then obsession.)

Oops, I seem to be back on my mission to encourage everyone to run..

Anyway, after the run, and a quick stretching session

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I asked Ms Davies how long she thought it should take a reasonably fit person to run a kilometre. Obviously it depends on age, but her view was that 6 minutes would be right for someone in Y 7. (As an aside, please do get in touch if you know of any generally accepted standards in terms of how far / fast people should be able to run at different ages.)

So there you have it. Lots of reasons to run – and a target to aim for if you do take up running!

It just remains for me to say that I very much hope the students enjoyed the talk as much as I enjoyed meeting them!

And I also hope they will stay involved with Run the World – either via social media (links below) or by joining in the UK, and final, leg of Run the World on Hampstead Heath on 4thJuly 2020.

Finally, a big thank you to Charlotte Davies and all the staff at the school for the invitation and warm welcome !

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If you’d like to help fight cancer then I and, far more importantly, cancer sufferers around the world, would be immensely grateful for any donations to Cancer Research : https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Dan-Thompson11

Please like / follow Run the World on Facebook , Instagram and Twitter because it would be great to stay in touch and because, however silly it may sound, it makes all the travel and running that little bit easier if you think people care!

 

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The Matthew Arnold School

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Please donate generously to Cancer Research : https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Dan-Thompson11

Please like / follow Run the World on Facebook , Instagram and Twitter

Date : 10th July, 2019

Number of talk attendees (total to date) : 500 (4737)

Number of runners (total to date) : 500 (6178)

Run map and details : https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/3833375603

Cancer Research’s Race for Life is one of the great British institutions. The first event was held in Battersea in 1994, when 750 participants raised £48,000. 25 years later, 8 million people have taken part in events across the country raising £550 million along the way.

And the great news is that schools can put on their own Race for Life events – just contact Cancer Research and they will provide you with a load of support. Which is what the Matthew Arnold School had done.

They were also good enough to invite me to talk at the school because I’m currently undertaking a challenge – Run the World – to complete a 10 km run in all 206 countries in the world. (I’ve run in 173 countries to date.) I’m doing the challenge to raise funds for Cancer Research and to promote the importance of an active, healthy lifestyle.

The talk starts with stories about my runs around the world – the extraordinary, and often inspiring, people I’ve met and things I’ve seen. Then we moved on to the healthy living section of the talk finishing with the slide that really summarises why I do these talks.

In 2018, Harvard aggregated a huge amount of research on healthy living and its impact on life expectancy. The conclusion? If you adopt the five healthy habit referred to in the talk – healthy weight, diet and levels of exercise combined with no smoking and no/low alcohol consumption – then, on average, women will live 14 years longer and men will live 12 years longer. Even adopting one healthy habit will, on average, extend your life by two years.

But enough about the talk and Run the World. The main event of the day was the Race for Life.

More than 500 students and staff took part – many in pink skirts / make-up / hair dye / you name it. Everyone went 4 times around the school field before receiving their Race for Life medal.

It was a fantastic occasion and I was struck both by the friendly atmosphere and how the students stuck to the task. The fundraising was also very impressive –  by the time I left the school were on course to raise the best part of £5000.

Cancer Research like to refer to Race for Life as ‘The world’s fastest most important race’ and the event really lived up to that billing. Congratulations to all involved!

It just remains for me to say that I very much hope the students enjoyed the talk as much as I enjoyed meeting them!

And I also hope they will stay involved with Run the World – either via social media (links below) or by joining in the UK, and final, leg of Run the World on Hampstead Heath on 4th July 2020.

Finally, a big thank you to Kirsteen Moore, Headteacher Mary Gould, Mrs Anne Field (Chair of the Board of Governors) and all the staff at the school for the invitation and warm welcome !

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If you’d like to help fight cancer then I and, far more importantly, cancer sufferers around the world, would be immensely grateful for any donations to Cancer Research : https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Dan-Thompson11

Please like / follow Run the World on Facebook , Instagram and Twitter because it would be great to stay in touch and because, however silly it may sound, it makes all the travel and running that little bit easier if you think people care!

 

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Longfield Primary School

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Please donate generously to Cancer Research : https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Dan-Thompson11

Please like / follow Run the World on Facebook , Instagram and Twitter

Date : 9th July, 2019

Number of talk attendees (total to date) : 750 (4237)

Number of runners (total to date) : 90 (5678)

Run map and details : https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/3829088754

We’ve recently introduced exercise sessions as part of the Run the World school visit menu of options. At first glance this may seem a little odd. The schools I visit in the UK, and most of the schools I visit around the world, have PE Depts who are, of course, more than capable of providing students with a high quality exercise session.

However, the Run the World sessions are a little different. They’re designed to fit in with the Run the World school talks. This means that they need to work in a confined space such as an assembly hall. The students also need to be able to do them in their normal school clothes.

The first talk at Longfield Primary School was to nursery, reception and Y 1 students and I must admit I questioned whether they’d benefit from an exercise session. However, Ms Vlachou – the PE teacher at Longfield (pictured above) who invited me to give the talk – politely insisted. And she was absolutely right. We did ‘Giraffe’ ; ‘Toe Touchers’ ; ‘Spaghetti, Meatball, Cheese’ ; ‘Teacup’ ; and ‘Washing Machine’ together and the students all threw themselves into the exercises with great enthusiasm.

Sessions with the Y 2 & 3 students and then the Y 4-6 students followed with the exercises becoming progressively a little more challenging as the audience got older.

The only slight issue was that the person leading the exercises, i.e. me, couldn’t touch his toes or stand like a flamingo with the sole of one foot on the thigh of the other leg…..

However, I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s go back to the beginning and why an inflexible man with poor balance was leading a series of exercise sessions.

I’m currently undertaking a challenge – Run the World – to complete a 10 km run in all 206 countries in the world. (I’ve run in 173 countries to date.) I’m doing the challenge to raise funds for Cancer Research and to promote the importance of an active, healthy lifestyle.

The Run the World junior school talk combines stories from my runs around the world with healthy living advice focusing on exercise, diet and sleep. The idea behind the exercise sessions is to reinforce the advice about the importance of being active and give students a short set of exercises that are fun and can be done at almost any moment in their lives.

After the talks, I went for a 1 km run with the Y 6 students around the school field. The students were great and I’d love to show you a video of the run or the exercise sessions but, understandably, it wasn’t possible to take pictures of the students.

It’s not that long ago that my own daughters were finishing Y 6 and I know it’s an exciting time with the move to senior school just one summer holiday away.

I wish them all the best for the future and hope that they, and all the other students, enjoyed the talk, the exercises and the run as much as I enjoyed meeting them!

And I also hope they will stay involved with Run the World – either via social media (links below) or by joining in the UK, and final, leg of Run the World on Hampstead Heath on 4th July 2020.

Finally, a big thank you to Ms Vlachou and all the other staff at Longfield for the invitation and warm welcome!

If you’d like to help fight cancer then I and, far more importantly, cancer sufferers around the world, would be immensely grateful for any donations to Cancer Research : https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Dan-Thompson11

Please like / follow Run the World on Facebook , Instagram and Twitter because it would be great to stay in touch and because, however silly it may sound, it makes all the travel and running that little bit easier if you think people care!

 

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London Run 9 : Croydon with Race for Life

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Please donate generously to Cancer Research : https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Dan-Thompson11

Please like / follow Run the World on Facebook , Instagram and Twitter

Date : 7th July, 2019

Time : 55’ 05”

Number of runners (total to date) : 1250 (5588)

Run map and details : https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/3824346210

Cancer Research’s Race for Life is one of the great British institutions. The first event was held in 1994, in Battersea, where 750 participants raised £48,000. 25 years later, 8 million people have taken part in events across the country raising £550 million along the way.

In 2019, for the first time, Race for Life opened its doors to men. Which meant that I could take part – and combine the Lloyd Park Race for Life with the Croydon leg of my London Borough Challenge.

Now, if you’ve never been to a Race for Life, it’s a pretty impressive set-up. I was invited up on stage before the race and introduced to the crowd*. And it was some crowd. Including participants, organisers, volunteers and supporters there must have been 1500 people there. Many if not most of them in pink.

I then had the honour of ringing the starting bell. Which you might think would be a fairly simple task that even someone like me could handle..

The starting tape went down, the runners surged forward and I began to merrily ring the bell…When a voice came over the PA shouting ‘Stop, stop, stop!’

We’d gone before the final countdown and needed to restart the race. Typical of the day, everyone went back behind the starting line with a smile on their faces.

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Cue dramatic music, the countdown and the official start!

For the next few minutes I clanged the bell while c 1300 participants crossed the start line.

And then it was time to start my run.

The Lloyd Park course consists of a 5 km loop allowing participants to cover either 5 km or 10 km without the maths being over-complicated. Participants can also walk or run the course. In short, there is something for everyone.

Since I was literally the last starter my first loop involved quite a lot of circumnavigating the many walkers. On the second loop the field was more spread out and it was easier to chat to – and photograph – my fellow Racers for Life.

Including the large group

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all running for their friend Mel

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Susan, Sally and their dog Princess

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the group under a tree

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The family running for their Mum / Nan / Mother-in-law

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and the couple, taking part while carrying their baby.

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As I hope you’ll have gathered from the pictures, everyone is very friendly and many people carry placards on their back with details of who they’re running for / why they’re running.

At the end of the run, everyone rings the bell and collects medals and water.

Many also pin their ‘back stories’ on a wall.

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It really is a fantastic and moving occasion

It just remains for me to thank Jessica,

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the effervescent emcee

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Claire, Kat, all the volunteers on the day

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and everyone at Cancer Research UK who looked after me so well. And a huge thank you to my fellow runners and walkers for the company, the welcome and, of course, for the over £100 000 which you had raised even before the run had even started!

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*I’m currently undertaking a challenge – Run the World – which involves me completing a 10km run in all 206 countries in the world to raise money for Cancer Research.

If you’d like to help fight cancer then I and, far more importantly, cancer sufferers around the world, would be immensely grateful for any donations to Cancer Research : https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Dan-Thompson11

Please like / follow Run the World on Facebook , Instagram and Twitterbecause it would be great to stay in touch and because, however silly it may sound, it makes all the travel and running that little bit easier if you think people care!

 

 

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Ashburnham Community School

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Please donate generously to Cancer Research : https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Dan-Thompson11

Please like / follow Run the World on Facebook , Instagram and Twitter

Date : 4th July, 2019

Number of talk attendees (total to date) : 28 (3487)

Number of runners (total to date) : 26 (4338)

Run map and details : https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/3824346176

“Who would win a race between you and Ms Owen ?” “Ms Owen.”

“Who’s faster, you or Ms Owen?” “ Ms Owen.”

“When we run outside, who will finish first, you or Ms Owen?” “I suspect we may have touched on this before…Run the World is about taking part rather than beating anyone…but the answer to your question is Ms Owen.”

Y3 at the Ashburnham Community School were a great bunch. Hailing from all over the world, they were lively, engaged and full of questions. But what they really wanted to know was whether their teacher, Ms Owen, was a faster runner than me. (She is.)

However, I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s go back to the beginning and why I was answering questions.

I’m currently undertaking a challenge – Run the World – to complete a 10 km run in all 206 countries in the world. (I’ve run in 173 countries to date.) I’m doing the challenge to raise funds for Cancer Research and to promote the importance of an active, healthy lifestyle.

The Run the World junior school talk combines stories from my runs around the world with healthy living advice focusing on exercise, diet and sleep. At the end of the talk we often have a Q &A session – hence the questions.

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After the talk and Q&A, it was time for a warm-up

and then we went outside for a run in the school’s rather magnificent – and uniquely funded – playground.

Older readers will recall that Bryan Adams spent sixteen weeks at number one with “(Everything I Do) I Do It For You”. (No, I’m not sure about the punctuation either – Ms Owen?)

Bryan lives near the school and, while on one of his regular walks past the school playground, decided that it needed an upgrade. Cue a generous donation from the Bryan Adams Foundation.

Unfortunately Ms Owen had a knee injury and our hotly anticipated clash couldn’t take place. However, the rest of us had an excellent run with plenty of chat, various attempts to race me and even an ambush or two. Followed by a warm down

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and final pictures and goodbyes.

It was a lot of fun and I very much hope the students enjoyed the talk and run as much as I enjoyed meeting them!

And I also hope they will stay involved with Run the World – either via social media (links below) or by joining in the UK, and final, leg of Run the World on Hampstead Heath on 4thJuly 2020.

Finally, a big thank you to the legendary Ms ‘Jesse’ Owen for the invitation and warm welcome!

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If you’d like to help fight cancer then I and, far more importantly, cancer sufferers around the world, would be immensely grateful for any donations to Cancer Research : https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Dan-Thompson11

Please like / follow Run the World on Facebook , Instagram and Twitterbecause it would be great to stay in touch and because, however silly it may sound, it makes all the travel and running that little bit easier if you think people care!

 

 

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London Borough Run 8 : Redbridge with Little Heath School

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Please donate generously to Cancer Research : https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Dan-Thompson11

Please like / follow Run the World on Facebook , Instagram and Twitter

Date : 2nd July, 2019

Time : 1h 12’ 12”

Number of talk attendees (total to date) : 140 (3459)

Number of runners (total to date) : 60 (4312)

Run map and details : https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/3805271687

Panathlon is a fantastic charity that provides sporting and leadership opportunities to over 20 000 disabled school children every year. (If anyone reading this feels like making a donation then you can do so here. And then you should go along to one of Panathlon’s events to experience what it means to the participants.)

I have the honour of sitting on its Board of Trustees and I asked Ashley, Panathlon’s CEO, if it might be possible to talk at one of the schools that participate in Panathlon’s events. The hope was that I’d be able to combine the talk with one of my London Borough Challenge runs – and that the students could join the start of the run.

Ashley was good enough to send out an email and Jen, from Little Heath School, was good enough to invite me to talk. (Little Heath is a school in Redbridge for c 160 pupils aged 11-19 with a wide range of learning difficulties and complex needs. These include moderate and severe learning difficulties and communication needs including on the autistic spectrum).

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Before I get onto the talk, a bit of background. I’m currently undertaking a challenge – Run the World – to complete a 10 km run in all 206 countries in the world. (I’ve run in 173 countries to date.) I’m doing the challenge to raise funds for Cancer Research and to promote the importance of an active, healthy lifestyle.

The Run the World school talk combines stories from my runs around the world with healthy living advice focusing on exercise, diet and sleep. And this was the first time I’d given the talk at a special needs school.

In many ways, it was exactly the same as giving a talk at any other school. The students were warm and friendly and hands were going up to answer the questions during the talk. Of course, there were also some differences. Verbal communication, for example, is very difficult for some of the students.

They were a great audience and I much enjoyed the talk.

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Even better, when we went outside to start the run, about 60 students joined in for the first 500 metres. Some of them were a bit fast for me – but their smiles and high fives made up for leaving me behind!

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Having said my goodbyes, I then set off with Ashley and Headmaster James Brownlie to complete the London Borough of Redbridge 10 km.

We ran to Fairlop Waters Country Park which features a lake

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lots of duck and geese

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and an inflatable water park.

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All of it sparkling in the July sun.

Back to the school to finish with 400 m around the school field before final goodbyes and photos.

James is a regular, and very good, runner but Ashley, who’s missing one or two bits of his back, hadn’t run so far for some time so congratulations to him. And, because it can’t be said often enough, congratulations to him (and his staff) for all Panathlon’s incredible work.

It just remains for me to say that I very much hope the students enjoyed the talk and run as much as I enjoyed meeting them!

And I also hope they will stay involved with Run the World – either via social media (links below) or by joining in the UK, and final, leg of Run the World on Hampstead Heath on 4th July 2020.

Finally, a big thank you to Jen, James, Ashley and all the staff at the school for the invitation and warm welcome!

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If you’d like to help fight cancer then I and, far more importantly, cancer sufferers around the world, would be immensely grateful for any donations to Cancer Research : https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Dan-Thompson11

Please like / follow Run the World on Facebook , Instagram and Twitterbecause it would be great to stay in touch and because, however silly it may sound, it makes all the travel and running that little bit easier if you think people care!

 

 

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