Run 178 : Iran – Tehran

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Date : 2nd October, 2019

Time : 1h 05’ 01”

Number of runners (total to date) : 8 (6397)

Run map and details :   https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/4120095588

It won’t have escaped your attention that relations between the West and Iran haven’t always been easy in recent times.

In fact relations have been so difficult that the US Embassy in Tehran has been closed since the Iran hostage crisis in 1979. (It’s unlikely to re-open any time soon as it now hosts the ‘US Den of Espionage Museum’ and its walls are covered with anti-US murals.)

In 2011 the British Embassy in Tehran was also closed after an attack on the Embassy and on Gholhack Garden – the British compound in northern Tehran. (In an odd symmetry readers may recall that the Iranian Embassy in London was closed in 1980. This happened after members of the Arabs of KSA group stormed the Embassy and took 26 embassy staff and visitors hostage. The SAS eventually freed the hostages.)

Fortunately for me, the British Embassy reopened in 2015. I say fortunately because it meant we could run in Gholhack Garden which is a huge (50 acre) space containing gardens (obvs), the Tehran War Cemetery, various buildings (some in use and some derelict), an abundance of bird life, foxes and views to the surrounding mountains. Plus, of course, plenty of room to run.

There were eight of us at the start of the run and, led by Ambassador Rob Macaire, we set off for 7 or 8 laps of the compound.

As well as being a wonderful refuge from the hustle and bustle of Tehran, the Garden also gives you a good work out. Partly because it contains a slope or two and partly because it’s at c 1500 metres. Which is a high enough to feel the altitude and leave you a touch breathless.

But not so breathless that it stopped us having a good chat. Now if you’re hoping that this means I can reveal anything exciting about the issues currently plaguing the aforementioned relations – attacks on the Saudi Arabian oil installations ; nuclear programmes ; detained tankers ; economic sanctions – then you’re going to be sadly disappointed.

However, I can tell you that the conversations confirmed what my tour company (Untamed Borders) had told me: Iran is a beautiful country with extremely friendly and hospitable people. There are times when it’s a great shame that I only spend enough time in each country to run 10 km.

On which subject, back to the run. Not everyone finished the full 10 km – turns out that ‘running with crazy Brit’ wasn’t the only thing on the Ambassador’s to do list – but the three of us who did finished with the now traditional minute’s plank.

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It just remains for me to say a huge thank you to Ambassador Rob Macaire, all my fellow runners, Amin, James, Freya and the local team* from Untamed Borders. I’d love to see you in London on 4th July 2020 for the UK, and final, leg of Run the World!

*anonymous by request

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.

Iran, is a country in Western Asia. With 82 million inhabitants, Iran is the world’s 18th most populous country. Its territory spans 1,648,195 km2 (636,372 sq mi), making it the second largest country in the Middle East and the 17th largest in the world. Iran is bordered to the northwest by Armenia and the Republic of Azerbaijan, to the north by the Caspian Sea, to the northeast by Turkmenistan, to the east by Afghanistan and Pakistan, to the south by the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, and to the west by Turkey and Iraq. Its central location in Eurasia and Western Asia, and its proximity to the Strait of Hormuz, give it geostrategic importance. Tehran is the political and economic center of Iran, and the largest and most populous city in Western Asia with more than 8.8 million residents in the city and 15 million in the larger metropolitan area.

Arab Muslims conquered the empire in the seventh century CE, and the subsequent Islamization of Iran led to the decline of the once dominant Zoroastrian religion. Iran’s major contributions to art, philosophy, and science spread throughout the Muslim world and beyond during the Islamic Golden Age. Over the next two centuries, a series of native Muslim dynasties emerged before the Seljuq Turks and the Ilkhanate Mongols conquered the region. The rise of the native Safavids in the 15th century led to the reestablishment of a unified Iranian state and national identity with the country’s conversion to Shia Islam marking a turning point in Iranian and Muslim history.

Under Nader Shah, Iran was one of the most powerful states in the 18th century, though by the 19th century, a series of conflicts with the Russian Empire led to significant territorial losses. The Persian Constitutional Revolution in the early 20th century created a constitutional monarchy and the country’s first legislature. A 1953 coup instigated by the United Kingdom and the United States resulted in greater autocratic rule under Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and growing Western political influence. A far-reaching series of reforms known as the White Revolution was launched by the Shah in 1963, prompting industrial growth, land reforms, and increased women’s rights. Nevertheless, widespread dissatisfaction and unrest against the monarchy persisted, leading to the Iranian Revolution, which established the current Islamic Republic. For most of the 1980s, Iran fought a war with Iraq that resulted in severe casualties and economic devastation for both sides.

Iran’s political system has elements of a presidential democracy with a theocracy governed by an autocratic “Supreme Leader“. It has been described as authoritarian, with significant constraints and abuses against human rights.

Iran is a founding member of the UNECONAMOIC, and OPEC. It is a major regional and middle power, and its large reserves of fossil fuels—including the world’s largest natural gas supply and the fourth largest proven oil reserves – exert considerable influence in international energy security and the world economy. The country’s rich cultural legacy is reflected in part by its 22 UNESCO World Heritage sites, the third largest number in Asia and 11th largest in the world. Historically a multi-ethnic country, Iran remains a pluralistic society comprising numerous ethnic, linguistic, and religious groups, the largest being PersiansAzerisKurdsMazandaranis and Lurs

 World Bank Data

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

GDP $454 bn 2018 $110 bn 2000
         
Population 81.8 m 2018 65.6 m 2000
         
Primary school enrolment* 111% 2017 101% 2000
         
CO2 Emissions** 8.4 2014 5.7 2000
         
% below poverty line*** NA NA
         
Life expectancy at birth 76.3 yrs 2017 70.2 yrs 2000
         
GNI per capita $5 470 2017 $1 760 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 Iran performed in the global sporting arena in 2018:

Global Cup – 32nd

Per Capita Cup – 46th

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 177 : Pakistan – Islamabad

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

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Date : 30th September, 2019

Time : 54’ 58”

Number of runners (total to date) : 1 (6389)

Run map and details :  https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/4120095539

Media : https://www.facebook.com/ramadaislamabadhotel/photos/a.2413782562051291/2413782665384614/?type=3&theater

A young man approached me at the Pakistan Monument and asked, “Do you think Pakistan is peaceable?” It became clear that he was anxious about how his country is viewed internationally and I hope I did my bit for international relations by telling him that my (the British) government advises that Islamabad is generally safe to visit.* The Foreign Office also notes that, in 2018, there were an estimated 484,000 – mostly trouble-free – visits by British nationals to Pakistan. (Having said that, some areas, for example Kashmir, require great caution.)

The dangers of international travel have been much on my mind recently as I was originally scheduled to visit Afghanistan straight after Pakistan. Timing that left a lot to be desired because it meant I would be in Kabul just after the general elections in Afghanistan. A period during which there was felt to be a real risk of an upsurge in violence. Eventually, after much agonising, I decided to change my schedule and postpone my trip to Kabul.

The resulting delays in confirming my plans, combined with further delays in obtaining my visa, meant that, despite the best efforts of my old college friend Daud Khan (who last graced this blog when playing a starring role in the Vatican run), we hadn’t found anyone for me to run with. In short, I was running on my own.

And it must say something about the friendliness of the Pakistanis I met that I never felt alone.

I started at my hotel, the Ramada – who’d looked after me in exemplary fashion with an early check in and complimentary airport transfers – where the guards were happy to pose with me.

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I turned right out of the hotel down Murree Road and then right onto Garden Avenue. Garden Avenue, as the name suggests, cuts through a large green area and past what I took to be a number of venerable institutions including the Tennis Federation

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the Boy Scouts Association

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The Islamabad Club and Polo Complex where the guard took one look at me and offered me a glass of water and a seat in front of a fan

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The Jinnah Stadium and sports complex

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And finally, one for us Brits, the Amir Khan Boxing Hall.

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Eventually I made my way past the Pakistan-China Friendship Centre to the Pakistan Monument

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and the aforementioned conversation – which ended with a number of selfies and the group photo at the top of the blog.

A quick visit to the Islamabad View Point for a vista over the city,

another set of selfies with a different group

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and then it was time to retrace my steps to my hotel.

I’ve had some pain in my right leg recently so I’d started the run at a very gentle pace. However, the longer I ran, the better I felt. So I decided to speed up a little to test out my leg. I ran the 9th kilometre in 5’04” and the tenth in 4’24”. Not bad by my standards – though I should perhaps put that in context by noting that the average pace of the winner of the women’s 10 000 m at the recent athletics world championships was just over 3 minutes per km…

It just remains for me to thank Daud, Nadir and the Ramada hotel for all their help and the good people of Islamabad for a delightful run!

*Of course, no travel is entirely risk-free – especially in big cities. You should always be careful, stay away from political demonstrations and, if you feel like it might be dangerous, then trust your instinct.

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.

Pakistan is a country in South Asia. It is the world’s sixth-most populous country with a population exceeding 212,742,631 people. In area, it is the 33rd-largest country, spanning 881,913 square kilometres (340,509 square miles). Pakistan has a 1,046-kilometre (650-mile) coastline along the Arabian Sea and Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by India to the east, Afghanistan to the west, Iran to the southwest, and China in the northeast. It is separated narrowly from Tajikistan by Afghanistan’s Wakhan Corridor in the northwest, and also shares a maritime border with Oman.

The territory that now constitutes Pakistan was the site of several ancient cultures and intertwined with the history of the broader Indian subcontinent. The area has been ruled by numerous empires and dynasties, including the Persian Achaemenid EmpireAlexander III of Macedon, the Seleucid Empire, the Indian Maurya Empire, the Gupta Empire, the Arab Umayyad Caliphate, the Delhi Sultanate, the Mongol Empire, the Mughal Empire, the Afghan Durrani Empire, the Sikh Empire (partially) and, most recently, the British Indian Empire. Pakistan is the only country to have been created in the name of Islam. It is an ethnically and linguistically diverse country, with a similarly diverse geography and wildlife. Initially a dominion, Pakistan adopted a constitution in 1956, becoming an Islamic republic. An ethnic civil war and Indian military intervention in 1971 resulted in the secession of East Pakistan as the new country of Bangladesh. In 1973, Pakistan adopted a new constitution which stipulated that all laws are to conform to the injunctions of Islam as laid down in the Quran and Sunnah.

middle power, Pakistan has the sixth-largest standing armed forces in the world and is also a nuclear power as well as a declared nuclear-weapons state, the second in South Asia and the only nation in the Muslim world to have that status. Pakistan has a semi-industrialised economy with a well-integrated agriculture sector and a growing services sector. It is ranked among the emerging and growth-leading economies of the world, and is backed by one of the world’s largest and fastest-growing middle class. Pakistan’s political history since independence has been characterized by periods of military rule, political instability and conflicts with India. The country continues to face challenging problems, including overpopulationterrorismpovertyilliteracy, and corruption. Pakistan is a member of the UN, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, the OIC, the Commonwealth of Nations, the SAARC, the Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition and the Major non-NATO ally.

World Bank Data

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

GDP $343 bn 2018 $74 bn 2000
Population 212.2 m 2018 142.3 m 2000
Primary school enrolment* 94% 2018 71% 2000
CO2 Emissions** 0.85 2014 0.75 2000
% below poverty line*** 67.0% 2015 64.3% 2001
Life expectancy at birth 67.0 yrs 2017 62.8 yrs 2000
GNI per capita $1 580 2018 $480 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 Pakistan performed in the global sporting arena in 2018:

Global Cup – 95th

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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The Latymer School

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

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Date : 11th July, 2019

Number of talk attendees (total to date) : 380 (5517)

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

The Latymer School in Edmonton is rated as ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted and has just enjoyed some equally outstanding GCSE results. From personal experience I can also tell you that it’s an absolute pleasure to talk there.

But, before we 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 176 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 Mr Brice and Mr Rentell had been good enough to invite me to give a talk to Ys 7 & 8.

The talk starts with stories about my runs around the world – the good times ; the bad times ; and the extraordinary, and often inspiring, people I’ve met and things I’ve seen. In particular I talk about my experiences in Venezuela, the British Virgin Islands, Iraq and a Syrian refugee camp. Places where people have faced, and are facing, hugely difficult conditions and yet are finding a way to keep going (and keep running!).

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 habits 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.

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 the UK, and final, leg of Run the World on Hampstead Heath on 4thJuly 2020.

Finally, a big thank you to Nicholas Brice, Scott Rentell and all the staff at the school 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 11 : Tower Hamlets including Wapping High School

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

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Date : 25th September, 2019

Time : 58’ 56”

Number of talk attendees (total to date) : 290 (5137)

Number of runners (total to date) : 1 (6388)

Run map and details : https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/4097783808

Earlier this week I had the pleasure of giving a Run the World talk* at Wapping High School in Tower Hamlets. I mentioned during the talk that, as part of my London Borough Challenge** I’d be running 10km in Tower Hamlets after the talk. We often combine a run in the school grounds with my talks and I would have loved the students to join me for some of the run. However, Wapping High School’s outdoor playing space is a fifth floor terrace. It’s great – and has tremendous views over London – but perhaps isn’t quite right for a mass run.

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So I set off from the school on my own – south towards the river and where I used to work at Metropolitan Wharf on Wapping Wall.

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At the time, office space was cheap in Wapping. We were offered river side space at £2 / square foot ; or land side offices at £1 / square foot. As we were a computer games start-up without any money we went for the land side. For that we got one (occasionally) working toilet and a bit of dark space without views. There weren’t any communal facilities.

I was therefore a touch surprised when I went back to the office for the first time in years (decades..) and found this (to be fair to readers, the video below will probably only be of interest if you worked at Renegade or the Bitmap Brothers…):

Many years later, in the lead up to the 2012 Olympic Games, I used to go to Canary Wharf for meetings with LOCOG (the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games). At the time we were running an Olympic and Paralympic inspired charity challenge called ‘Gold Challenge’***. We ended up working with LOCOG and putting on the pre-Games test event for 20 000 people in the Olympic Stadium. Which was fantastic because we were able to invite huge numbers of school pupils, people with disabilities and charity fundraisers to run/wheelchair 100 m in the Olympic stadium.

H4H_Olympic_Stadium_Gold_Challenge_2012 (7)

Enough reminiscing – back to the run!

From Wapping I ran east along the Thames, through Canary Wharf

past the East India Dock and on to the river Lea.

Where I came across section 6 of the Lea Valley Walk (it’s called the London Walk on the various maps along the way). I followed this through the Bow Creek Ecology Park and past businesses new(ish) – a paper recycling plant

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and old – the Victorian era Bromley-by-Bow gas holders.

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Eventually I got to Three Mills at the confluence of the River Lea and the Limehouse Cut.

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From here you can follow the river Lea north to the Olympic Park (which is a great run/walk) or take the Limehouse Cut south-west to Limehouse Basin (also a great run/walk). However, I was getting towards the end of my 10 km so I ran past Bromley-by-Bow tube station to Bow Road to catch the tube home.

The run only covered part of Tower Hamlets but I hope I’ve managed to convey a sense of some of the brilliant running / walking opportunities in the borough!

It just remains for me to say thank you to Hayley and all the staff and students at Wapping High School for the warm welcome. I hope the students enjoyed the talk as much as I enjoyed talking to 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, thank you to any reader who got this far for bearing with the blog as I went down my Tower Hamlets memory lane!

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!

 *For any readers who weren’t at the talk, a little bit of background. I’m currently undertaking a challenge – Run the World – to complete a 10km run in all 206 countries in the world. (I’ve run in 176 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, weight, smoking and alcohol

**In addition to completing a 10km run in all 206 countries in the world, I’m also doing 44 runs in the UK. Taking the global total to 250 runs.

Why? Because 250 runs is equivalent to running 2 500 000 metres. Which is a metre for every one of the two and a half million cancer sufferers in the UK.

All well and good but the question we asked ourselves at Run the World HQ is : where should those 44 UK runs take place? And part of the answer – three-quarters to be exact – is that 33 of them will take place in London. One in each of the 32 London boroughs plus one in the City of London.

We’re calling this the ‘London Borough Challenge’ and we’re really hoping that everyone will take part in some – or all – of the LBC!

***Gold Challenge launched in late 2010 and ran an Olympic and Paralympic inspired challenge in the run up to London 2012. Gold Challenge partnered with the British Olympic Association/Team GB, Paralympics GB and Sport England and was part of the official London 2012 mass participation legacy programme.  Gold Challenge also worked closely with LOCOG and hosted one of the pre-Games test events in the Olympic Stadium.

The challenge had over 105,000 participants. More than 200 schools and 100 corporates took part including large employers such as GlaxoSmithKline, Atos, EDF, Cisco, John Lewis and Coca Cola. In excess of £1.5 million was raised for Gold Challenge’s 150 charity partners who included household names such as Cancer Research UK, Oxfam, the NSPCC and Help for Heroes.

 

 

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Run 176 : Luxembourg – Luxembourg

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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 : 19th September, 2019

Time : 1h 19’ 50”

Number of runners (total to date) : 45 (6387)

Run map and details :   https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/4078442219

Media : https://www.facebook.com/FatBetty.Run/photos/a.403762633621088/403762946954390/?type=3&theater ; https://www.facebook.com/FatBetty.Run/

https://www.wort.lu/de/panorama/tausende-kilometer-fuer-olympia-5d82572bda2cc1784e34bc03

Luxembourg has been much in the UK news recently. More specifically, Podiumgate, when Prime Minister Xavier Bettel admonished a podium left empty by an abruptly otherwise engaged Boris Johnson, made the headlines.

A rather bizarre incident that we decided to re-enact on the run – something which, I suspect, has never been done before.

However, I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s roll back to the beginning.

The Fat Betty Running Club – named after a hill that one of the founders (Dan) used to run up – meets at 18.45 on a Thursday evening in the Independent Cafe. So that’s where I met Guido (another founder), Dan and the rest of the club.

From there they took me on one of the most scenic urban runs I’ve ever been on. To try to understand why it’s such a remarkable place to run, its worth getting a grasp of the basic geography.

The city centre occupies a picturesque site on a salient, perched high on precipitous cliffs that drop into the narrow valleys of the Alzette and Petrusse rivers, whose confluence is in Luxembourg City. The 70 m (230 ft) deep gorges cut by the rivers are spanned by many bridges and viaducts – this video may give you a sense of it.

Our route took us over the Passarelle Bridge and down to the Petrusse river. From there we ran northwest along the Petrusse before doubling back on ourselves and stopping under (I think) the Pont Adolphe for the photo at the top of the blog (taken by Dan from the bridge).

Various climbs, views, mermaids ponds and bridges followed

until we eventually reached the Pfaffenthal Kirchberg. As you’ll see from the video below, there are two ways to proceed. The sensible way is via the lift. The other way is by running up about 1000 steps. As my challenge is called Run the World, rather than Get a Lift Round the World, I felt obliged to run it…

From there we crossed over the Pont Grande-Duchesse Charlotte and headed to the Prime Minister’s residence for our re-enactment. I played Boris Johnson and the rest of the runners represented Prime Minister Bettel giving vent to his frustration while I endlessly repeated that we were leaving on 31st October come what may…

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Not sure we resolved Brexit but all good fun!

From there we sprinted back to the Independent Cafe for the now traditional post run plank. (The background to this slightly eccentric habit is that a number of us have taken on the Six Pack Challenge and a combination of running and planking is a good way to develop a six pack.)

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Where I also had the pleasure of meeting up with some old friends from the UK – Alistair and Helen with their now all grown up daughter Hannah.

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Inevitably we got talking about Brexit and Helen told a story about the lead up to the Johnson visit. Apparently all the British parents at their daughter’s schools, normally calm and peaceful people, are so angry about Brexit that the pre-visit discussion wasn’t just about demonstrating in the day – which they did – but also about what they should throw at him. I understand a milkshake was the favourite option…

Anyway, enough about Brexit. I’d like to finish with a huge thank you to Guido, Dan

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and all my fellow runners for a brilliant run round Luxembourg.

To everyone I met in Luxembourg, I’d love to see you in London on 4th July 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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Facts & Stats

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia.

Luxembourg, officially the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, is a landlocked microstate in western Europe. It is bordered by Belgium to the west and north, Germany to the east, and France to the south. Its capital, Luxembourg City, is one of the four official capitals of the European Union (together with BrusselsFrankfurt, and Strasbourg) and the seat of the European Court of Justice, the highest judicial authority in the EU. Its culture, people, and languages are highly intertwined with its neighbours, making it essentially a mixture of French and German cultures, as evident by the nation’s three official languages: French, German, and the national language of Luxembourgish. The repeated invasions by Germany, especially in World War II, resulted in the country’s strong will for mediation between France and Germany and, among other things, led to the foundation of the European Union.

With an area of 2,586 square kilometres (998 sq mi), it is one of the smallest sovereign states in Europe. In 2019, Luxembourg had a population of 613,894, which makes it one of the least-populous countries in Europe but by far the one with the highest population growth rate Foreigners account for nearly half of Luxembourg’s population. As a representative democracy with a constitutional monarch, it is headed by Grand Duke Henri and is the world’s only remaining sovereign grand duchy. Luxembourg is a developed country, with an advanced economy and one of the world’s highest GDP (PPP) per capita. The City of Luxembourg with its old quarters and fortifications was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994 due to the exceptional preservation of the vast fortifications and the old city.

The present-day state of Luxembourg first emerged at the Congress of Vienna in 1815. The Grand Duchy, with its powerful fortress, became an independent state under the personal possession of William I of the Netherlands with a Prussian garrison to guard the city against another invasion from France. In 1839, following the turmoil of the Belgian Revolution, the purely French-speaking part of Luxembourg was ceded to Belgium and the Luxembourgish-speaking part (except the Arelerland, the area around Arlon) became what is the present state of Luxembourg.

Luxembourg is a founding member of the European Union, OECDUnited NationsNATO, and Benelux. The city of Luxembourg, which is the country’s capital and largest city, is the seat of several institutions and agencies of the EU. Luxembourg served on the United Nations Security Council for the years 2013 and 2014, which was a first in the country’s history.[19] As of 2018, Luxembourgish citizens had visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 186 countries and territories, ranking the Luxembourgish passport 5th in the world, tied with Austria, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the United Kingdom and the United States.[20]

World Bank Data

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

GDP $69.5 bn 2018 $21.3 bn 2000
         
Population 608 k 2018 436 k 2000
         
Primary school enrolment* 101% 2016 100% 2000
         
CO2 Emissions** 17.4 2014 18.9 2000
         
% below poverty line*** NA NA
         
Life expectancy at birth 82.7 yrs 2017 77.9 yrs 2000
         
GNI per capita $69 420 2017 $46 640 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 Luxembourg performed in the global sporting arena in 2018:

Global Cup – 104th

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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Run 175 : The Netherlands – Den Haag

RTW Holland 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 : 18th September, 2019

Time : 1h 30’ 36”

Number of runners (total to date) : 24 (6342)

Run map and details :   https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/4078442191

Media : https://www.haguehash.nl/thepast/2019/run-the-world ;  https://www.flickr.com/photos/pink_panter_h3/sets/72157710946249917/

I was walking down the street in Den Haag when I saw a group of more than twenty men and women in red dresses in front of the Peace Palace. Yes, you guessed it. It was the Hague Hash House Harriers – H4 –  in all their glory.

And why were they – and I – in red dresses? Because the H4 had been good enough to agree to support my fundraising efforts for Cancer Research – and it is traditional that charity hashes be done in red dresses. (Since you ask, my dress was a size 14 – artfully cut in the armpit area as it was somewhat tight around the chest and shoulders.)

I’ve had the pleasure of running with hashers all over the world including in GhanaSierra Leone, EstoniaAntiguaSt Kitts & NevisAzerbaijan , Dominican Republic and London. (For anyone’s who’s interested, the Ghana blog includes the hash origin story and the basics of how it all works.)

Every kennel is different. H4 welcome the hare (the person who sets the course) with a song.

Logover (the hare) then drew a diagram to help us relative newbies with the upcoming hash.

RTW Holland 2

As clear as mud…

We then took a group photo or two and warmed up hash style with a song and a dance.

Warm up over, we were off.

Now the thing about hashes is that there are lots of check points where you have to cast around for the next trail marker. Which has the happy effect that the pack periodically regroups and you can therefore run, and chat, with everyone from the FRBs (Front Running Bastards) to those taking it more sedately.

Extraordinarily one of the runners was Daniel Horhogea whom I’d last run with in Bucharest. (Daniel, it was great to see you again!)

rtw holland 3

As well as the checkpoints, the hare had chalked a number of VPs (viewpoints) along the route where we stopped for Hash Flashes (photos) in front of various sights of note.

Looking through the photos and videos I think my favourites are from the courtyard at the Binnenhof (which houses a number of government offices etc) where we bumped into a serious fitness class. I think it would be fair to describe it as a clash of cultures!

Eventually, after a great tour of Den Haag, we came to the end of the hash and it was time for the circle. As a general rule, my approach in these blogs is that what goes in the circle, stays in the circle. Readers don’t really need to know more than that there are plenty of bawdy songs and down downs – punishments for various sins and misdemeanours that involve downing beer.

However, I will break with previous practice a little and say that, under threat of further down downs, we finished with one of Run the World’s now traditional group planks.

48759437387_36182db6f1_b

The background to this slightly eccentric habit is that a number of us have taken on the Six Pack Challenge and a combination of running and planking is a good way to develop a six pack.

And I felt sure the Hash would be supportive because, of course, there is nothing a hasher likes more than a six pack. Albeit usually of the beer rather than the abdominal variety…

It just remains for me to say a huge thank you to XL, Pink Panter, Father Christmas, Neptunis, Logover, Daniel and all my fellow hashers for the donations and for a fantastic run /hash/ evening!

Finally, to everyone I met in Den Haag, I’d love to see you in London on 4th July 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!

Facts & Stats

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia.

The Netherlands is a country located in Northwestern Europe with some overseas territories in the Caribbean. In Europe, it consists of 12 provinces that border Germany to the east, Belgium to the south, and the North Sea to the northwest, with maritime borders in the North Sea with those countries and the United Kingdom. Together with three island territories in the Caribbean SeaBonaireSint Eustatius and Saba—it forms a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

The five largest cities in the Netherlands are AmsterdamRotterdamThe HagueUtrecht, and Eindhoven. Amsterdam is the country’s capital, while The Hague holds the seat of the States GeneralCabinet and Supreme Court. The Port of Rotterdam is the largest port in Europe, and the largest in any country outside Asia. The country is a founding member of the EUEurozoneG10NATOOECD and WTO, as well as a part of the Schengen Area and the trilateral Benelux Union. It hosts several intergovernmental organisations and international courts, many of which are centered in The Hague, which is consequently dubbed ‘the world’s legal capital’.

Netherlands literally means ‘lower countries‘ in reference to its low elevation and flat topography, with only about 50% of its land exceeding 1 metre (3 ft 3 in) above sea level, and nearly 17% falling below sea level. Most of the areas below sea level, known as polders, are the result of land reclamation that began in the 16th century. With a population of 17.34 million people, all living within a total area of roughly 41,500 square kilometres (16,000 sq mi)—of which the land area is 33,700 square kilometres (13,000 sq mi)—the Netherlands is one of the most densely populated countries in the world. Nevertheless, it is the world’s second-largest exporter of food and agricultural products (after the United States), owing to its fertile soil, mild climate, and intensive agriculture.

The Netherlands has been a parliamentary constitutional monarchy with a unitary structure since 1848. The country has a tradition of pillarisation and a long record of social tolerance, having legalised abortionprostitution and human euthanasia, along with maintaining a progressive drug policy. The Netherlands abolished the death penalty in 1870, allowed women’s suffrage in 1917, and became the world’s first country to legalise same-sex marriage in 2001. Its mixed-market advanced economy had the thirteenth-highest per capita income globally. The Netherlands ranks among the highest in international indexes of press freedomeconomic freedomhuman development, and quality of life, as well as happiness.

 

World Bank Data

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

GDP $914 bn 2018 $416 bn 2000
         
Population 17.2 m 2018 15.9 m 2000
         
Primary school enrolment* 103% 2016 108% 2000
         
CO2 Emissions** 9.9 2014 10.9 2000
         
% below poverty line*** NA NA
         
Life expectancy at birth 81.6 yrs 2017 78.0 yrs 2000
         
GNI per capita $51 260 2017 $28 810 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 Netherlands performed in the global sporting arena in 2018:

Global Cup – 9th

Per Capita Cup – 8th

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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Faroe Islands – Tórshavn

RTW faroes 2

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 September, 2019

Time : 1h 0’ 54”

Number of runners (total to date) : 25 (6318)

Run map and details :   https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/4053241563

Media : http://bragdid.fo/2019/09/13/run-the-world/?fbclid=IwAR28zB_IpEc4LHE_w8LUMUYwwfIzvKz6-ZVVplAi81Shn9YlE00yf5bSVjA

https://www.facebook.com/bragdid/

My taxi driver back to the airport turned to me and asked, “So, were you here on business or as a tourist?”

“I’m actually doing a 10 km run in every country in the world.”

“Ah, yes, I heard about you on the radio yesterday morning.”

My almost namesake, Ann Thomsen, had obviously done a good job in her radio interview. She’d also done a good job organising the run.

25 of us met at the Torsbreyt running track and, after introductions, set off for a circuit of the track.

rtw faroes 14

As we turned into the home straight, I realised why weather forecasts in the Faroe Islands include the wind speed.

Not that it was particularly windy by local standards – only about 10 metres/second – but it was enough to make that bit of the run a good full body work out. (The Saturday after our run the wind speed apparently got up to 70 m/s!)

The direction of the wind prompted the run leaders to decide that we should run a clockwise loop from the track and we were soon running through some delightful countryside

down to the coastline for a chance for everyone to reassemble and take a group photo with a ‘it may not come out in the photo’ stunning view out to the sea and outlying islands.

RTw faroes 3

From there we ran along the coastline to Tórshavn , capital of the Faroe Islands. Where we regrouped again before running through the old town with its traditional houses with grass roofs (for insulation)

rtw faroes 8

and past the Prime Minister’s delightfully modest offices.

RTW faroes 6

Through the centre of Tórshavn and up along the Havnara and past the national football stadium before returning to the track for a couple of final laps, goodbyes and the now ‘traditional’ plank.

RTW faroes 5

It just remains for me to say an enormous thank you to Ann, Bjørg, the Bragdiðm running club and all my fellow runners for a great run and a little local fame! The Faroes are dramatically beautiful and, dear reader, you should visit if you get the chance – perhaps for the annual Tórshavn marathon (which has 5 and 10km options)!

Finally, to everyone I met in the Faroes, I’d love to see you in London on 4th July 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!

Facts & Stats

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia.

The Faroe Islands is a North Atlantic archipelago located 320 kilometres (200 mi) north-northwest of Scotland, and about halfway between Norway and Iceland. It is an autonomous territory within the Kingdom of Denmark. The islands have a total area of about 1,400 square kilometres (540 sq mi) with a population of 51,783 as of June  2019.

The terrain is rugged; the climate is subpolar oceanic climate (Cfc)—windy, wet, cloudy, and cool. Temperatures average above freezing throughout the year because of the Gulf Stream. As a result of the moderation and the northerly latitude, summers normally hover around 12 °C (54 °F). The northerly latitude also results in perpetual civil twilight during summer nights and very short winter days.

Between 1035 and 1814 the Faroes were part of the Hereditary Kingdom of Norway, which was in a personal union with Denmark from 1450. In 1814 the Treaty of Kiel transferred Norway to the king of Sweden, on the winning side of the Napoleonic wars, whereas the king of Denmark, on the losing side, retained the Faroes, along with the two other historical Norwegian island possessions in the North Atlantic: Greenland and Iceland. The Faroe Islands have been a self-governing part the Kingdom of Denmark since 1948.

The Faroese control most of their domestic affairs. Those that remain the responsibility of Denmark include military defencepolicing and the justice departmentcurrency, and foreign affairs. However, as they are not part of the same customs area as Denmark, the Faroe Islands have an independent trade policy and can establish trade agreements with other states. The islands also have representation in the Nordic Council as members of the Danish delegation. The Faroe Islands have their own national teams competing in certain sports.

The Faroe Islands don’t have a National Olympic Committee and don’t enter a separate team in the Olympics. However, they do have a National Paralympics Committee and do enter a separate team in the Paralympics. Accordingly, while, strictly speaking, they are not one of the 206 countries that Run the World has to visit per its criteria (i.e. being part of the Olympic movement), it felt right to visit, and run in, the Faroes.

World Bank Data

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

GDP $2.69 bn 2016 $1.06 bn 2000
Population 48 497 2018 46 735 2000
Primary school enrolment* NA NA
CO2 Emissions** 12.5 2014 14.8 2000
% below poverty line*** NA NA
Life expectancy at birth 82.4 yrs 2017 78.4 yrs 2000
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 the Faroe Islands performed in the global sporting arena in 2018:

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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