Run 126 San Marino – San Marino

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

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Date : 16th October, 2017

Time : 59’ 04”

Total distance run to date : 1260 km

Run map and details :  https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/2180163296

I was sitting at a dinner party in Italy and the conversation turned, as it does, to San Marino. What exactly, someone asked, is the point of San Marino?

Now, this blog has a large number of Sammarinese (which, as you’re probably aware, is the demonym, or gentilic, for people from San Marino) readers and I want to assure them that the question wasn’t intended to be offensive. It simply reflected our ignorance.

And, whilst I recognise that most of this blog’s readers are either the aforementioned Sammarinese, or are well-educated and worldly folk who know their international geography, it is possible that one or two of you share that ignorance. A little background on San Marino may therefore be in order.

San Marino has been around since 301 AD and can lay claim to being the world’s oldest extant sovereign state. The fact that it managed to remain independent throughout the following 1700 years is a truly remarkable story.

Especially when one considers that those years included Napoleon’s maraudings through Italy, Italian unification and two world wars – during the second of which it was reported to have declared war on Great Britain. Mistakenly as it turned out. Which was probably just as well for us Brits as we already had our hands quite full at that stage. (More – well worth reading – detail on the San Marino story in Facts & Stats below.)

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When you get to San Marino, it’s even harder to understand why no-one has annexed it. Because it’s very pretty, has no national debt, virtually no unemployment and runs a budget surplus.

It’s tiny by country standards – 24 sq. mi – and is one of only three enclaves (i.e. completely surrounded by another country) in the world – the others being Lesotho and the Vatican.

In the middle of the enclave is the capital of San Marino on the slopes of Monte Titano. It’s a dramatic place with amazing views over the surrounding countryside.

And absolutely rubbish for running.

The combination of the gradient, the mostly narrow streets, and all the tourists means that there’s essentially nowhere sensible to run.

My only option seemed to be to jog to the tower on top of Monte Titano and hope that a more accommodating route would present itself.

As I struggled up to the summit I started to keep an eye on my Garmin. Which was telling me I was running slowly, very slowly. To be honest, I couldn’t understand it. Yes, it was steep – but every so often there were little flat terraces off to the sides of the street. Presumably there for the great views, I was using them to run round in circles and get my breath back. The only trouble was that my Garmin couldn’t pick up on the little circles I was running and therefore assumed I was resting.

Which meant I was running but Garmin wasn’t recording. Aaargh!

Never mind, I was now at the tower and surely things would get better from here. Except that it turned out there was a second tower, previously hidden from view, which was even higher up. More uphill slog to the second tower ensued before discovering that, yes, you guessed it, there was yet another bloody tower.

By the time I got to the third tower

I was well behind schedule and in danger of failing to meet the 1 hour time limit I give myself when running alone. Time to head back down and urgently find some flat open ground. Which I eventually did. Except that it was filled with cars. Because it was a car park. After all, what else would you do with your one bit of ‘not built over’ flat ground?

“Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got til its gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot”

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So I spent about half an hour running round the car park which, given that I was in a beautiful city on a peerless autumn day, was a bit of shame.

Eventually, unduly knackered, I made it to the 10km mark with a minute to spare. And began the long journey back to northern Italy from whence I’d come.

One of the most exceptional things about the day had been the journey there. I’d got up at 5 am in Brescia and taken three separate trains and one bus to San Marino. And they’d all been on time.

Aficionados of Italian train travel in the 20th century will appreciate just how extraordinary this was. Indeed, if you ever read about Mussolini’s time in power one of the first things you’ll be told is that, while he had his critics and is generally considered to have been on the wrong side of history, he did pull off the hitherto impossible feat of making the trains run on time.

Regrettably, the trains reverted to type on the journey back. Possibly because of the large crack which appeared in the window by my head

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and possibly for other reasons, my train, already running late, eventually came to a complete standstill.  And a very complicated journey to my destination followed. But that’s a story for another time.

For now I shall leave you, confident that, the next time the subject of San Marino comes up at social gathering, you will be fully prepared to play your part in the discourse!

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!

Facts & Stats

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia.

San Marino, also known as the Most Serene Republic of San Marino, is an enclaved microstate surrounded by Italy, situated on the Italian Peninsula on the northeastern side of the Apennine Mountains. Its size is just over 61 km2 (24 sq. mi), with a population of 33,562. Its capital is the City of San Marino and its largest city is Serravalle. San Marino has the smallest population of all the members of the Council of Europe.

The country takes its name from Marinus, a stonemason originating from the Roman colony on the island of Rab, in modern-day Croatia. In A.D. 257 Marinus according to legend participated in the reconstruction of Rimini‘s city walls after their destruction by Liburnian pirates. Marinus then went on to found an independent monastic community on Monte Titano in A.D. 301; thus, San Marino lays claim to be the oldest extant sovereign state as well as the oldest constitutional republic.

San Marino is governed by the Constitution of San Marino (Leges Statutae Republicae Sancti Marini), a series of six books written in Latin in the late 16th century, that dictate the country’s political system, among other matters. The country is considered to have the earliest written governing documents, or constitution, still in effect

The country’s economy mainly relies on financeindustryservices and tourism. It is among the wealthiest countries in the world in terms of GDP (per capita), with a figure comparable to the most developed European regions. San Marino is considered to have a highly stable economy, with one of the lowest unemployment rates in Europe, no national debt and a budget surplus. It is the only country with more vehicles than people. In diplomatic terms, following the leadership of Italy it is among the core members of the Uniting for Consensus group.

Saint Marinus left the island of Arba in present-day Croatia with his lifelong friend Leo, and went to the city of Rimini as a stonemason. After the Diocletianic Persecution following his Christian sermons, he escaped to the nearby Monte Titano, where he built a small church and thus founded what is now the city and state of San Marino, which is sometimes still called the “Titanic Republic”. The official date of the founding of what is now known as the Republic is 3 September 301.

In 1631, its independence was recognized by the Papacy.

The advance of Napoleon‘s army in 1797 presented a brief threat to the independence of San Marino, but the country was saved from losing its liberty thanks to one of its Regents, Antonio Onofri, who managed to gain the respect and friendship of Napoleon. Thanks to his intervention, Napoleon, in a letter delivered to Gaspard Monge, scientist and commissary of the French Government for Science and Art, promised to guarantee and protect the independence of the Republic, even offering to extend its territory according to its needs. The offer was declined by the Regents, fearing future retaliation from other states’ revanchism. During the later phase of the Italian unification process in the 19th century, San Marino served as a refuge for many people persecuted because of their support for unification. In recognition of this support, Giuseppe Garibaldi accepted the wish of San Marino not to be incorporated into the new Italian state.

The government of San Marino made United States President Abraham Lincoln an honorary citizen. He wrote in reply, saying that the republic proved that “government founded on republican principles is capable of being so administered as to be secure and enduring.”

During World War I, when Italy declared war on Austria-Hungary on 23 May 1915, San Marino remained neutral and Italy adopted a hostile view of Sammarinese neutrality, suspecting that San Marino could harbour Austrian spies who could be given access to its new radiotelegraph station. Italy tried to forcibly establish a detachment of Carabinieri in the republic and then cut the republic’s telephone lines when it did not comply. Two groups of ten volunteers joined Italian forces in the fighting on the Italian front, the first as combatants and the second as a medical corps operating a Red Cross field hospital. The existence of this hospital later caused Austria-Hungary to suspend diplomatic relations with San Marino.

From 1923 to 1943, San Marino was under the rule of the Sammarinese Fascist Party (PFS).

During World War II, San Marino remained neutral, although it was wrongly reported in an article from The New York Times that it had declared war on the United Kingdom on 17 September 1940. The Sammarinese government later transmitted a message to the British government stating that they had not declared war on the United Kingdom.

Three days after the fall of Benito Mussolini in Italy, PFS rule collapsed and the new government declared neutrality in the conflict. The Fascists regained power on 1 April 1944 but kept neutrality intact. Despite that, on 26 June 1944, San Marino was bombed by the Royal Air Force, in the belief that San Marino had been overrun by German forces and was being used to amass stores and ammunition. The Sammarinese government declared on the same day that no military installations or equipment were located on its territory, and that no belligerent forces had been allowed to enter. San Marino accepted thousands of civilian refugees when Allied forces went over the Gothic Line. In September 1944, it was briefly occupied by German forces, who were defeated by Allied forces in the Battle of San Marino.

World Bank Data

Here’s the latest World Bank data for San Marino – with the year 2000 as a comparison.

GDP $1.66 bn 2017 $1.10 bn 2000
Population 33 400 2017 27 418 2000
Primary school enrolment* 93% 2012 93% 2009
CO2 Emissions** NA NA
% below poverty line*** NA NA
Life expectancy at birth NA NA
GNI per capita NA NA

*Percentage can exceed 100% due to the inclusion of over and under aged students

** Metric tons per capita

***The World Bank notes that the methodology can vary between countries and over time within a given country. (While much of the World Bank data generally follows understandable trends, this number often oscillates wildly suggesting that different methodologies are frequently used over time within a given country.)

Greatest Sporting Nation Data

Finally, here’s the data from Greatest Sporting Nation on how San Marino performed in the global sporting arena in 2017:

Global Cup – NA

Per Capita Cup – NA

 

 

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UK Run 6 : Oxford

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

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Date : 20th October, 2018

Time : 1h 7’ 14”

Number of runners (total to date) : 10 (2536)

Total distance run to date : 1560 km + 60 km in the UK

Run map and details :  https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/3107745192

Oxford really is an astoundingly beautiful place. Especially on a sunny October afternoon with its dreamy spires sharply silhouetted against a crystal clear blue sky.

The run started at St Edmund Hall, crossed the High St., turned down Logic Lane and out onto the cobblestones of Merton St. Left into Christchurch Meadow

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and then left again down Broad Walk to the River Cherwell and the punting students.

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We followed Christchurch Meadow Walk round to the Thames, past rowing students and down Poplar Walk to Christchurch and a group photo.

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Out of Christchurch Meadow onto St Aldate’s, Carfax, the High St, Turl St, Brasenose Lane and the Radcliffe Camera.

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Into the inner court of the Bodleian Library for a group photo outside the philosophy library (not a door I recall frequenting as often as I no doubt should have done..).

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The plan was to pass through the Bodleian to the Sheldonian Theatre but there was a wedding taking place so we were ushered out and headed for the Bridge of Sighs.

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Down windy New College Lane to St Edmund Hall, back out onto the High St, past Magdalen College,

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over Magdalen Bridge, past Magdalen College School, and on to the world famous Iffley Road running track.

World famous because Iffley Rd was where Sir Roger Bannister

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ran the first sub 4 minute mile.rtw oxford 14

By now we’d run 5km and the idea was to run the second 5 km on the Iffley Rd track and to stop with about 4 laps to go and run a mile in memory of Sir Roger who died earlier this year.

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Mick tells me that my mile took 6’46” – just the 3 minutes slower than Sir Roger…. Room for improvement as Mick put it!

We were limited in the numbers we could take on the run and there were fewer of us than on many of the Run the World 10kms. However, many of my favourite people in the world either joined or supported the run and it felt like it was small but perfectly formed.

The one sobering note was that I learnt that Howard Orme, who did PPE at Teddy Hall with Caroline, Nic and me, died of pancreatic cancer earlier this year. It’s always bloody cancer these days.

RIP Howard.

It just remains for me to say a huge thank you to all the runners, supporters and donors : my father David, Marit, Mick, Caroline, Nic, Mike, Julian, Lai, Sarah, Tony, Andrew, Morgane, Martin and Matt. To Gareth, Tom, Sue and Martin at St. Edmund Hall for all the support and hospitality; to Sally and everyone at Christchurch College for giving us permission to run in Christchurch Meadow, ; and to Jon, Rosie and the Oxford University Sports Club for the run at Iffley Road.

I very much hope to see you all in London on July 4th 2020 for the UK (and final) leg of Run the World!

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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UK Run 5 : Southampton

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

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Date : 8th October, 2018

Time : 59’ 23”

Number of runners (total to date) : 45 (2526)

Total distance run to date : 1560 km internationally + 50 km in the UK

Run map and details :  https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/3075958439

I was chatting to Gil after the run when the thought popped into my head, “Everyone’s English has been surprisingly good this evening.”

And then I realised that this was hardly unexpected. Because the run had been in Southampton. On the south coast of England.

I shouldn’t have been so disorientated as there’d been plenty of clues that I was now back in the UK after 7 runs in South West Africa and Portugal. It had been cool unlike, say, Gabon or the Democratic Republic of Congo. And the humidity levels had been low unlike, say, Sao Tome. And I’d been able to drive to the meeting point…

Which was at the Feather in the Woolston Memorial Garden in the shadow of the Itchen Bridge.

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There were 45 of us at the start – 44 members of the Itchen Spitfires Running Club and me. And they were all good enough to join me for the start of the run before we split into two groups. Some to do the club’s planned training session that evening – a 2 mile timed run – and some to do the 10km run.

For the 10kers amongst us, Tash led the run out along the north shore of Southampton Water, stopping briefly to take a picture of White Star Dock (later Ocean Dock) which is where the Titanic’s ill-fated voyage began. A tragedy that affected Southampton more than anywhere else in the world with more than 500 households losing a family member.

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From there we ran as far as Royal Victoria Country Park

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Before heading back to the Feather, passing close to Netley Abbey on the way. (At least that’s what the map tells me ; it was a little dark for sightseeing by this stage.)

There were plenty of good chats as we ran. Here are a few highlights which I hope my fellow runners won’t mind me sharing :

“I’m not pregnant ; that’s an asthma kit under my running top.”

“It’s not a good idea to run round the Isle of Wight ; I’ve done it and it’s a very hilly, 70 mile nightmare.”

“Do you know what old rock stars, the likes of the Stones and the Who, talk about when they get together?”

I also talked to a COPD nurse who told me that inhaling anything – a joint ; a wood fire ; cooking fumes – can damage you and cause cancer. In other words, it’s not just cigarettes ; a point I must remember to stress next time I’m giving a Run the World healthy living talk. (By coincidence there was an article on exactly this issue in today’s newspaper.)

I think you’ve got the idea by now : it was a great run with great people. Thank you to Gil and everyone at the Itchen Spitfires Running Club for the welcome and the company. I very much hope to see you all in London on July 4th 2020 for the UK (and final) leg of Run the World!

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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Run 156 : Portugal – Lisbon

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

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Date : 28th September, 2018

Time : 59’ 33”

Number of runners (total to date) : 30 (2481)

Total distance run to date : 1560 km

Run map and details :   https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/3051105923

Media : https://www.safecommunitiesportugal.com/run-the-world-complete-a-10km-run-in-all-206-countries-in-the-world-by-the-2020-tokyo-olympics/

http://portugalresident.com/lisbon-among-next-stops-for-brit-who-is-%E2%80%98running-the-world%E2%80%99-to-support-cancer-research

“You picked the worst night to run with me”, said Bruno aka ‘The Boss’. And he was right – for it was the night of the dreaded hill run.

If I understood it correctly, it works something like this. Everyone does the hill run and the person with the fastest time can then challenge Bruno on the hill. The winner takes all.

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If you ever decide to take on Bruno’s hill challenge, then this would be my recommended schedule:

  1. A week’s break before the run to rest your legs.
  2. The night before, get a good sleep in your own bed.
  3. Do nothing the day of the run apart from some gentle stretching.

Unfortunately, my actual schedule looked like this :

  1. 6 x 10km runs and loads of travel in the week before.
  2. An overnight flight from Sao Tome. In economy.
  3. 4 hours walking round Lisbon in the hot sun.

There were about 30 of us at the start of the run and we set off downhill from the Dolce Vita shopping centre.

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Which seemed OK until Bruno pointed out the hill top that was our target – and I realised that every metre downhill was another metre we’d have to climb later.

Eventually we got to the start point and everyone set their watches. And then we began to climb. Followed by some more climbing. Then some more. And finally some more.

A lot of it was pretty steep and, over time, we’d separated out into smaller groups. As we neared the top I was running with one other person. And when we finally got to the top, we couldn’t see anyone else. So we turned round, headed back downhill and bumped into a runner. Turned out we’d gone the wrong way and done an extra 400m of uphill. Aaargh!

Back on the correct path, we completed a downhill section before a shorter but even steeper climb. I swear my legs were about to collapse under me when we finally came out on a flat stretch. And found the rest of the group waiting for us.

It wasn’t too bad after that and the final downhill was actually quite exhilarating with everyone picking up speed.

When we got to the end point I checked my Garmin and discovered that , although it felt like we’d run a marathon, in fact we’d only covered 8.25km. My legs weren’t too keen on the idea of another 1.75km of running but, thankfully, a few of the other runners kept me company.

Bruno, I can’t tell you that I enjoyed the run. But the company and welcome were great. Thank you correr lisboa!

Bruno, and everyone else who ran that evening, you are formally invited to the UK leg of Run the World in London on July 4th 2020. Most of us will be running on Hampstead Heath but I will create a special route for Bruno taking in Highgate Hill, West Hill, Fitzroy Park and Swains Lane. The names won’t mean anything to you but they are some of the most notorious climbs in London. Revenge will be mine!

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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!

Facts & Stats

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia.

Portugal [puɾtuˈɣal] is a country located mostly on the Iberian Peninsula in southwestern Europe. It is the westernmost sovereign state of mainland Europe. It is bordered to the west and south by the Atlantic Ocean and to the north and east by Spain. Its territory also includes the Atlantic archipelagos of the Azores and Madeira, both autonomous regions with their own regional governments.

Portugal is the oldest state on the Iberian Peninsula and one of the oldest in Europe, its territory having been continuously settled, invaded and fought over since prehistoric times. The Pre-CeltsCeltsCarthaginians and Romans were followed by the invasions of the Visigoths and Suebi Germanic peoples.

Portugal as a country was established during the Christian Reconquista against the Moors who had invaded the Iberian Peninsula in 711 AD. Despite attempts at independence since its foundation as a county in 868, only after the Battle of São Mamede in 1128, where Portuguese forces led by Afonso Henriques defeated forces led by his mother, Theresa of Portugal, the County of Portugal affirmed its sovereignty and Afonso Henriques styled himself Prince of Portugal. He would later be proclaimed King of Portugal at the Battle of Ourique in 1139 and was recognised as such, by neighbouring kingdoms, on the Treaty of Zamora, in 1143.[

In the 15th and 16th centuries, Portugal established the first global empire, becoming one of the world’s major economic, political and military powers. During this period, today referred to as the Age of Discovery, Portuguese explorers pioneered maritime exploration, notably under royal patronage of Prince Henry the Navigator and King John II, with such notable voyages as Bartolomeu Dias‘ sailing beyond the Cape of Good Hope (Cabo da Boa Esperança) (1488), Vasco da Gama‘s discovery of the sea route to India (1497–98) and the European discovery of Brazil(1500).

During this time, Portugal monopolized the spice trade, and the empire expanded with military campaigns in Asia. However, events such as the destruction of Lisbon in a 1755 earthquake, the Industrial Revolution, the Seven Years’ War, the country’s occupation during the Napoleonic Wars, and the independence of Brazil (1822), erased to an extent Portugal’s prior opulence.

After the 1910 revolution deposed the monarchy, the democratic but unstable Portuguese First Republic was established, later being superseded by the Estado Novo right-wing authoritarian regime. Democracy was restored after the Carnation Revolution in 1974, ending the Portuguese Colonial War.

Shortly after, independence was granted to almost all its overseas territories. The handover of Macau to China in 1999 marked the end of what can be considered the longest-lived colonial empire.

Portugal has left a profound cultural and architectural influence across the globe, a legacy of 300 million Portuguese speakers, and many Portuguese-based creoles. A member of the United Nations and the European Union, Portugal was also one of the founding members of NATO, the eurozone, the OECD, and the Community of Portuguese Language Countries.

Portugal is a developed country with a high-income advanced economy and high living standards. It is the 4th most peaceful country in the world, and its state is the 15th most stable one, maintained under a unitary semi-presidential republican form of government. Additionally, the country ranks highly in terms of democracy (10th), social progress (20th), prosperity (25th), press freedom (14th), moral freedom (3rd), LGBTI rights (7th in Europe), ease of doing business (29th)[  and road network (3rd).

World Bank Data

Here’s the latest World Bank data for Portugal – with the year 2000 as a comparison.

GDP $205.2 bn 2016 $118.4 bn 2000
         
Population 10.3 m 2016 10.3 m 2000
         
Primary school enrolment* 105% 2016 122% 2000
         
CO2 Emissions** 4.3 2014 6.1 2000
         
% below poverty line*** NA NA
         
Life expectancy at birth 81.1 yrs 2016 76.3 yrs 2000
         
GNI per capita $19850 2016 $12140 2000

*Percentage can exceed 100% due to the inclusion of over and under aged students

** Metric tons per capita

***The World Bank notes that the methodology can vary between countries and over time within a given country. (While much of the World Bank data generally follows understandable trends, this number often oscillates wildly suggesting that different methodologies are frequently used over time within a given country.)

Greatest Sporting Nation Data

Finally, here’s the data from Greatest Sporting Nation on how Portugal performed in the global sporting arena in 2017:

Global Cup – 49th

Per Capita Cup – 38th

The Global Cup aggregates results from over 1000 events across 80 sports to produce the definitive annual ranking of international sporting success. The Per Capita Cup uses the same data to produce an annual per capita ranking.

 

 

 

 

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Run 155 : Sao Tome and Principe

 

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

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Date : 27th September, 2018

Time : 48’ 24” (fastest time in West Africa)

Number of runners (total to date) : 17 (2451)

Total distance run to date : 1550 km

Run map and details :   https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/3051105894

“Does sex count as physical activity?”

I get a huge range of questions at my school talks but this one, from a Y 12 student at the Liceu Nacional in Sao Tome, was a first.

I asked him how long he spent having sex each day and he held up three fingers. Assuming he meant three minutes, I pointed out that he would need to have sex 20 times a day to achieve the recommended one hour of daily activity.

He then claimed he meant three hours – and his classmates fell about laughing.

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As regular readers will be aware, I always enjoy the school talks. Not least because they often throw up something unexpected. Only the day before, in Luanda, someone had asked me if I had cancer…

This talk had been organised, and translated, by Alex who, along with her mother Jane (the UK’s honorary consul in Sao Tome) had arranged everything.

Jane and her husband Peter had picked me up at the airport at 1 am that morning and put me up for the night in their brand new hotel – the Emoyeni Gardens. Which is very nice – full of light, spacious, tastefully decorated rooms with a garden and pool attached

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And that’s where we started the run. All told there were about 15 of us and we set off along the coast road following a pink pick-up truck driven by Alex.

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It was a beautiful evening, the course was flat and the athletes, whom Alex had invited to join the run, were straining at the leash. A combination that persuaded me to drop my original plan for a sensible 55 minute run and push on a bit.

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We started at a 5 min / km pace and, helped by the occasional splash of bath temperature sea water as the waves hit the sea wall, accelerated towards a 4.30 pace. Which was quite fast enough for me although, looking at the footage shot by Alex of us all running, I have a feeling my fellow runners wouldn’t have noticed a 3.30 pace….

Having run north for 5km we turned round and ran back 5 km to the Emoyeni Gardens, finishing in 48’ 24”. Everything I saw on the run reinforced the impression that Sao Tome is, as people had told me elsewhere in Africa, a rather lovely chilled out place.

Working on the assumption that most readers probably wouldn’t be familiar with Sao Tome – it seems to make most lists of the top ten least visited countries in the world – I asked Alex if she would be so kind as to take plenty of photos / video during the run. Here’s a small selection :

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Run over, there was just time for a few more photos, some re hydration, for me to wring pints of sweat out of my Run the World top, a fast shower and pack before Alex

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took me back to the airport for the overnight flight to Lisbon.

I remarked to Jane, Peter and Alex at the time that they’d picked me up, put me up, arranged a school talk and a run, and that, as the slogan goes, all they got in return was a lousy t shirt. Well that’s not strictly true. They also get my huge thanks for a wonderful 20 hours in Sao Tome. I kind of fell for the place and hope to be back one day!

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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!

Facts & Stats

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia.

São Tomé and Principe is an island country in the Gulf of Guinea, off the western equatorial coast of Central Africa. It consists of two archipelagos around the two main islands of São Tomé and Príncipe, located about 140 kilometres (87 miles) apart and about 250 and 225 kilometres (155 and 140 miles) off the northwestern coast of Gabon, respectively.

The islands were uninhabited until their discovery by Portuguese explorers in the 15th century. Gradually colonised and settled by the Portuguese throughout the 16th century, they collectively served as a vital commercial and trade center for the Atlantic slave trade. The rich volcanic soil and close proximity to the Equator made São Tomé and Príncipe ideal for sugar cultivation, followed later by cash crops such as coffee and cocoa; the lucrative plantation economy was heavily dependent upon imported African slaves. Cycles of social unrest and economic instability throughout the 19th and 20th centuries culminated in peaceful independence in 1975. São Tomé and Príncipe has since remained one of Africa’s most stable and democratic countries.

With a population of 199,910 (2016 estimate), São Tomé and Príncipe is the second-smallest African sovereign state after Seychelles, as well as the smallest Portuguese-speaking country. Its people are predominantly of African and mestiço descent, with most practising Roman Catholicism. The legacy of Portuguese rule is also visible in the country’s culture, customs, and music, which fuse European and African influences.

World Bank Data

Here’s the latest World Bank data for Sao Tome and Principe – with the year 2000 as a comparison.

GDP $354.2 m 2016 $71.6 m 2001
         
Population 200 k 2016 139 k 2000
         
Primary school enrolment* 110% 2016 102% 1999
         
CO2 Emissions** 0.59 2014 0.34 2000
         
% below poverty line*** 66.2% 2010 68.3 % 2000
         
Life expectancy at birth 66.6 yrs 2016 63.3 yrs 2000
         
GNI per capita $1730 2016 $570 2003

*Percentage can exceed 100% due to the inclusion of over and under aged students

** Metric tons per capita

***The World Bank notes that the methodology can vary between countries and over time within a given country. (While much of the World Bank data generally follows understandable trends, this number often oscillates wildly suggesting that different methodologies are frequently used over time within a given country.)

Greatest Sporting Nation Data

Finally, here’s the data from Greatest Sporting Nation on how Angola performed in the global sporting arena in 2017:

Global Cup – NA

Per Capita Cup – NA

The Global Cup aggregates results from over 1000 events across 80 sports to produce the definitive annual ranking of international sporting success. The Per Capita Cup uses the same data to produce an annual per capita ranking.

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Run 154 : Angola – Luanda

bty

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 : 25th September, 2018

Time : 55’ 00”

Number of runners (total to date) : 17 (2451)

Total distance run to date : 1540 km

Run map and details :   https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/3051105855

Media :

http://www.vivreenangola.com/agenda/2018/09/run-the-world-course-contre-le-cancer/

https://www.facebook.com/UKinAngola/

https://www.facebook.com/VivreEnAngola/

Sometimes, quite often in fact, I feel honoured by the support Run the World receives around the world. Angola was no exception.

We were at the Fortaleza de Sao Miguel overlooking downtown Luanda.

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The British Embassy including Ambassador Jessica Hand and Deputy Head of Mission Matt Shouler were there. Georg Schlactenberger (ex International Paralympic Committee) and a number of para-athletes were there.

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The Liga Angolana Contra O Cancro was there.

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And a TV crew.

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There were about 17 of us runners at the start – gracefully set off on our way by the Ambassador.

bty

Down the hill from the Fortaleza to the waterfront chatting to Matt. A man after my own heart, he’s visited a huge number of countries and later suggested that I should also visit Macau and the Faroe Islands as they’re both members of the Paralympic movement (but not the Olympic movement). Hmm…two more places to run…

Back to the run where we’d split into groups. We passed the fishermen in Luanda Bay

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and ran out onto the Ilha da Cabo. Here’s my group at the exercise station on the beach.

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Back into town and up the hill to finish at the British Embassy which is right next to the Fortaleza. All in all, a really nice run on a cool morning taking in the Fortaleza, the bay, the beach and downtown Luanda. Couldn’t have been much better.

More pictures (pls see below) and media interviews ensued

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and then juices and t shirt presentations under the tree planted (allegedly) by Livingstone a couple of centuries ago. An excellent end to an excellent morning.

bdr

The next day I went to E.S.C.O.L.A., an English language school in Luanda. (For security reasons, the photo below of some of the students only shows the back of their heads.)

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Regular readers will know how much I enjoy these school talks. One of the best bits is the Q&A when the students always seem to be able to come up with a new question. In this case, a boy asked me if I had cancer.

Well, I have had cancer – and very much hope that I don’t currently have it. But if I do get it again, I really hope that someone, somewhere has come up with an effective treatment. Which I guess is the point of donating to Cancer Research!

It just remains for me to say a huge thank you to the Ambassador, to her husband Robert,

bty

to Matt, Tassia, Arlindo and Thais ; to Georg for all the hospitality and help ;

to the para-athletes and everyone else who joined the run ;

bdr

to Luzmila and Beth from the  Liga Angolana Contra O Cancro ;

bty

to Gillian, Sharon and all the staff and students at E.S.C.O.L.A.

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If any of you can make it to London for the UK leg of Run the World on July 4th 2020 then it’d be great to see you !

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!

Facts & Stats

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia.

Angola is a west-coast country of southcentral Africa. It is the seventh-largest country in Africa, bordered by Namibia to the south, the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the north, Zambia to the east, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. Angola has an exclave province, the province of Cabinda that borders the Republic of the Congo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The capital and largest city of Angola is Luanda.

Although inhabited since the Paleolithic Era, what is now Angola was moulded by Portuguese colonisation. It began with, and was for centuries limited to, coastal settlements and trading posts established starting in the 16th century. In the 19th century, European settlers slowly and hesitantly began to establish themselves in the interior. The Portuguese colony that became Angola did not have its present borders until the early 20th century because of resistance by groups such as the Cuamato, the Kwanyama and the Mbunda.

After a protracted anti-colonial struggle, independence was achieved in 1975 as the Marxist–Leninist People’s Republic of Angola, a one-party state supported by the Soviet Union and Cuba. The civil war between the ruling People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) and the insurgent anti-communist National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA), supported by the United States and apartheid South Africa, lasted until 2002. The sovereign state has since become a relatively stable unitarypresidential constitutional republic.

Angola has vast mineral and petroleum reserves, and its economy is among the fastest-growing in the world, especially since the end of the civil war; however, the standard of living remains low for most of the population, and life expectancy in Angola is among the lowest in the world, while infant mortality is among the highest. Angola’s economic growth is highly uneven, with most of the nation’s wealth concentrated in a disproportionately small sector of the population.[

Angola is a member state of the United NationsOPECAfrican Union, the Community of Portuguese Language Countries, and the Southern African Development Community. A highly multi-ethnic country, Angola’s 25.8 million people span tribal groups, customs, and traditions. Angolan culture reflects centuries of Portuguese rule, in the predominance of the Portuguese language and of the Catholic Church.

World Bank Data

Here’s the latest World Bank data for Angola – with the year 2000 as a comparison.

GDP $95.4 bn 2016 $9.13 bn 2000
         
Population 28.8 m 2016 16.4 m 2000
         
Primary school enrolment* 119% 2011 71% 1998
         
CO2 Emissions** 1.29 2014 0.58 2000
         
% below poverty line*** NA NA
         
Life expectancy at birth 61.5 yrs 2016 47.1 yrs 2000
         
GNI per capita $3450 2016 $360 2000

*Percentage can exceed 100% due to the inclusion of over and under aged students

** Metric tons per capita

***The World Bank notes that the methodology can vary between countries and over time within a given country. (While much of the World Bank data generally follows understandable trends, this number often oscillates wildly suggesting that different methodologies are frequently used over time within a given country.)

Greatest Sporting Nation Data

Finally, here’s the data from Greatest Sporting Nation on how Angola performed in the global sporting arena in 2017:

Global Cup – NA

Per Capita Cup – NA

The Global Cup aggregates results from over 1000 events across 80 sports to produce the definitive annual ranking of international sporting success. The Per Capita Cup uses the same data to produce an annual per capita ranking.

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Run 153 : Republic of Congo – Brazzaville

rtw rc 1

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 : 23rd September, 2018

Time : 57’ 41”

Number of runners (total to date) : 1 (2434)

Total distance run to date : 1530 km

Run map and details :   https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/3051105812

Kinshasa – capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo – and Brazzaville – capital of the Republic of Congo – are the two closest capital cities in the world. Separated by a few kilometres and the Congo river .

You’d think it would be easy to travel between the two. Surely you just drive across the bridge? But the two countries are bitter rivals and there isn’t a bridge. (Apparently, the UN researches the issue every three years and concludes that a bridge isn’t feasible.)

How about flying then? Luke ‘the ever patient travel agent’ couldn’t find a flight that made sense.

You can, however, go by ferry or speedboat. But, even though I’ve done it, I couldn’t tell you how to do it. In fact, the only advice I can give you is : don’t attempt it if you’re not a local. Unless, like me, you really have to.

Thanks to Gregory and the Running Club de Kinshasa, Mr Ali from the Djambo agency helped me with the Kinshasa end of the journey.

He picked me up at 8 and we walked down to the docks together. And then the madness began. We were immediately surrounded by people, some in uniforms and some not.

I can’t tell you what happened next because Mr Ali packed me off to a waiting room where I sat for 2 hours while he sorted out tickets and ‘les formalites’.

At 10.30, much later than I’d hoped, I clambered onto the local ferry, put on a life jacket,

rtw rc 2

and crossed the mighty Congo river.

We disembarked at Congo Brazzaville. Where the madness started again.

Rightly or wrongly (I’m not sure I had much choice in the matter), I put myself in Mbizi’s hands.

Mbizi promptly informed me that all Mr Ali’s careful instructions were wrong. ‘Les formalites’ were actually more expensive than I’d been told (though, to be fair, not that much more expensive.)

Mbizi then inserted himself in a bewildering array of queues and eventually it seemed that we were through. Ah no, those were the port formalities. I now needed to clear immigration. Who told me that I needed a letter of invitation failing which, a substantial payment might be necessary.

At this point I stood my ground and pointed out that I had a visa that I’d paid his Embassy a lot of money for in London. He could care less…

A stand-off appeared to develop when suddenly I was free to go through. Mbizi also did a bit of shouting which may have done the trick.

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By now it was 11.20 and I had been variously told that Brazzaville port closed at 12 am, 1pm and 3pm on a Sunday. In short, it was far from clear that I had the time to complete my run and make it back in time for the return trip to Kinshasa. Which was a slight issue as I only had my running gear with me..

I set off in the direction of the Corniche, and almost immediately passed a painted 10km on the road – which I told myself was a good sign.

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The Corniche is closed on a Sunday and would have made a nice place for a run if I hadn’t been so worried about the time. I made it as far as the Chinese funded bridge (almost all new construction in this part of the world seems to be Chinese) and then retraced my steps..

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I got back to the port at 12.00, having done 7.3 km, and managed to get hold of some of Mbizi’s team. The general opinion seemed to be that I had a bit more time so I completed my 10km and recommenced ‘les formalites’.

You’ve got the picture by now so I’ll just say that I was mightily relieved when I got my passport and vaccination certificate booklet (‘la jaune’) back and boarded the speedboat to Kinshasa.

rtw rc 7

Needless to say, getting back into Kinshasa wasn’t easy but eventually I tracked down a by now somewhat worried Mr Ali. This time it only took half an hour and Mr Ali bundled me into a taxi back to the hotel.

I was just beginning to relax when the taxi driver shouted out a warning and wound up my window. We were surrounded by a gang of thieves and their leader had just come up to my window…

Once my window was up they decided to move on. In the same direction we were going. You could see people on the street, and the security outside local businesses, tense up.

I was shepherded back to my hotel – by now very clear why visitors are advised to be cautious about where and when they walk in Kinshasa.

For what it’s worth, if you’re considering going there, Brazzaville is, by all accounts, much safer and calmer than Kinshasa. Just stay clear of the port…

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!

Facts & Stats

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia.

The Republic of the Congo also known as Congo-Brazzaville, the Congo Republic or simply the Congo, is a country in Central Africa. It is bordered by five countries: Gabon to the west; Cameroon to the northwest; the Central African Republic to the northeast; the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the southeast; the Angolan exclave of Cabinda to the south; and the Atlantic Ocean to the southwest.

The region was dominated by Bantu-speaking tribes at least 3,000 years ago, who built trade links leading into the Congo River basin. Congo was formerly part of the French colony of Equatorial Africa.The Republic of the Congo was established on the 28th of November 1958 but gained independence from France in 1960. In 1970, the People’s Republic of the Congo was established as a Marxist–Leninist one-party state; this lasted until 1991. The sovereign state has had multi-party elections since 1992, although a democratically elected government was ousted in the 1997 Republic of the Congo Civil War, and President Denis Sassou Nguesso, who first came to power in 1979, has ruled for 33 of the past 38 years.

The Republic of the Congo has become the fourth-largest oil producer in the Gulf of Guinea, providing the country with a degree of prosperity despite political and economic instability in some areas and unequal distribution of oil revenue nationwide. Congo’s economy is heavily dependent on the oil sector, and economic growth has slowed considerably since the post-2015 drop in oil prices.

World Bank Data

Here’s the latest World Bank data for the Republic of Congo – with the year 2000 as a comparison.

GDP $7.83 bn 2016 $3.22 bn 2000
Population 5.13 m 2016 3.23 m 2000
Primary school enrolment* 104% 2012 86% 1999
CO2 Emissions** 0.64 2014 0.33 2000
% below poverty line*** 46.5% 2011 50.7% 2004
Life expectancy at birth 64.6 yrs 2016 51.4 yrs 2000
GNI per capita $1700 2016 $550 2000

*Percentage can exceed 100% due to the inclusion of over and under aged students

** Metric tons per capita

***The World Bank notes that the methodology can vary between countries and over time within a given country. (While much of the World Bank data generally follows understandable trends, this number often oscillates wildly suggesting that different methodologies are frequently used over time within a given country.)

Greatest Sporting Nation Data

Finally, here’s the data from Greatest Sporting Nation on how the Republic of Congo performed in the global sporting arena in 2017:

Global Cup – NA

Per Capita Cup – NA

The Global Cup aggregates results from over 1000 events across 80 sports to produce the definitive annual ranking of international sporting success. The Per Capita Cup uses the same data to produce an annual per capita ranking.

 

 

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