The PB Challenge

Set your Personal Best on July 4th!

The idea behind the PB Challenge is to give us a reason to stay fit and active during these difficult times ; achieve something we’ve always wanted to achieve ; and raise some money for charity along the way.

How does it work?

  1. Set your own Personal Best goal. It might be to run your fastest ever 5km or 10km. See how far you can cycle in an hour. Shoot a thousand hoops in a day. Wheel chair for a mile. Hold a plank for ten minutes. Whatever motivates you!
  2. Start training.
  3. Set up a fundraising page for your favourite charity (optional).
  4. Attempt your PB on July 4th – either on your own or, lock down restrictions allowing, with others.

As an example, I’ve added a summary of my own version of the challenge below – no need for anyone else to adopt the fundraising twist!

“On July 4th I’m going to try to run a personal best : 10 km in 45 minutes. I’ve never run anywhere near that fast so, in order to fully motivate myself, I’m proposing the following. If you pledge a donation to charity then I will pay that pledge* if I don’t beat 45 minutes. Of course, if I do go under 45 minutes, then you have to honour the pledge!

*Please email / message me with your pledge – it could, for example, be to Cancer Research, the NHS or to a COVID related charity. I’ll keep a record of the pledge and then, once I’ve run on July 4th, we’ll see who has to pay it!”

Please get in touch if you’d like to join in or have any queries :

Email : info@run-the-world.org

Facebook : RunTheWorldChallenge

Twitter : @DTRuntheWorld

Instagram : @dtruntheworld

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A PB & A Pledge : 5 km Milestone

5 km. Short running distance. Splash paint sign

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 : 21st April 2020

Distance : 5km

Time : 21’ 49”

Run map and details :    https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/4817835139

It was time for my first serious training milestone : 5k in 22’ 30”. And it felt like it mattered. As my old friend and colleague GB put it – if I couldn’t run a 22’30” 5k by now then I had no hope of running a 45 minute 10k PB on July 4th.

Truth be told, I’d been trying to find an excuse to get out of it all morning. It was windy and it’s hard to run a good time in the wind. I needed to take it easy as I had hay fever and a runny nose. I’m a pathetic douche bag and couldn’t go through the pain of it all.

But my training plan called for me to do 5k that day so, eventually, the procrastination came to an end and I made my way to the running track. Where I realised that I was properly nervous with a dry mouth and beating heart.

One lap of the track to warm up and then I set off. The first 4 kilometres were Ok-ish. The fifth kilometre was a battle and by the end my legs were wobbling and I felt physically sick.

As I slumped on the ground afterwards, I asked myself : Ok, you’ve done 5k in under 22’30”. Can you see yourself running 10k in under 45 minutes?

Well, 10 km is obviously twice as long as 5 km. Equally obviously, it gets harder to maintain the same pace the longer the distance. Overall, let’s say that running 10k in under 45 minutes is 2 ½ times as hard as the run you’ve just done. Could you do that?

My body’s response was immediate : NO! I COULD NOT!! THAT’S PHYSICALLY IMPOSSIBLE!!!

So how am I going to get from where I am now to where I want to be on July 4th? I’m not entirely sure but I have a plan. A cunning 5 point plan:

  1. Motivation

To fully motivate myself I’ve agreed that, if you pledge a donation to Cancer Research – or to the NHS or your favourite charity – then I will pay that pledge if I don’t beat 45 minutes. Of course, if I do go under 45 minutes, then you have to honour the pledge! *

  1. Training Plan

Basically my plan calls for me to gradually increase the distance at which I run the required pace until I get to c 8km. I’ll then taper off for a couple of weeks to – theoretically – get myself in the best possible shape on July 4th. (In the unlikely event that its of interest, I’ve included some further detail about my training plan below.**)

  1. Kit

I did think about getting the commercially available version of the Nike Vaporfly Next% shoes that Kipchoge used to set his sub 2 hour marathon. But in the end I decided that was cheating. I may, however, treat myself to a new pair of running shoes as my current ones will soon be a little down at heel..

  1. Diet / Nutrition

Gail @NutritionontheHill is putting together a nutrition plan for me that apparently involves no alcohol for the 4 weeks leading up to the run. Gulp, that’s a lot of dry Zooms..

  1. General Health & Staying Injury Free

I’m going to stretch, eat healthily, keep track of my weight (currently 77kg) and get my bloods checked (another tip from Gail.) And generally try not to get the virus.

Will all this be enough? Who knows. But I’d love it if you took part. Either by pledging – details below – or by joining us on the 4th *** to run for fun or to achieve your own PB!

*Please email / message me with your pledge – I’ll keep a record of it and then, once I’ve run on July 4th, we’ll see who has to pay it!

** Training Plan

Monday : warm up run c 4km

Tuesday : run at sub 45’ pace ; distance increased each week

Wednesday : cross training to build leg and core strength (cycling & abs workout)

Thursday : 7 – 8km run incorporating as many hills as I can.

Friday : interval training at increasing intensity

Saturday & Sunday : rest and stretching

***lockdown restrictions allowing, the current plan is to run late pm on July 4th in north London

 

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A PB & A Pledge

It was 10.15 a.m. on a lock down morning. I’d made the family breakfast (porridge), done the family shop and answered my emails and messages from the night before.

It wasn’t that I didn’t have anything else to do. But with Run the World, school talks, The London Borough Challenge and even the Highgate (Virtual) Tennis Club all on hold, I needed something extra in my life. Preferably something that would involve a physical challenge.

So I’ve decided to try to run a personal best : 10 km in 45 minutes.

I know that’s not much of a challenge for a serious runner. But I’ve run literally hundreds of 10 kms over the last few years and I’ve never managed it. The closest I’ve ever come was in El Salvador when I benefited from a bit of altitude, a running track and some fast company and finished in 47’ 16”.

Truthfully, the idea of a sub 45 minute 10 km has become a bit of (secret) Holy Grail for me. Something I have to do at some stage in my life. The trouble is that I’ve put it off for years because I know it’s going to hurt. A lot.

And when, about three weeks ago, I started training for it, that’s exactly what happened. It hurt.

If it was so hard to run 2 or 3 km at sub 4’ 30” pace then how was I ever going to manage 10 kilometres at that pace?!? I really began to doubt myself and I could feel my mind searching for excuses to give up.

I realised I need some extra motivation so here’s the deal : If you pledge a donation to Cancer Research – or to a corona related charity or your local health service (e.g. the NHS in the UK) or just to your favourite charity – then I will pay that pledge if I don’t beat 45 minutes. Of course, if I do go under 45 minutes, then you have to honour the pledge! *

The 10 km run will take place on July 4th 2020, the date originally scheduled for the UK leg of Run the World. That gives me less than 3 months to get up to speed – and for you to make your pledges!

And I want to stress that this isn’t all about pledging. My life’s mission is to get people exercising so I’d love you to take part. Either by joining the run on July 4th or, even better, why not target your own PB?!?

The PB can be over any distance by running, cycling, wheel chairing or walking and can be done where you live or (lock down restrictions allowing) with us in North London.

I hope to see some of you on July 4th for the PB attempt and a celebratory / commiseratory drink afterwards. In the meantime, stay safe, and, if you can, keep exercising!

*Email / message me with your pledge – I’ll keep a record of it and then, once I’ve run on July 4th, we’ll see who has to pay it!

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London Run 21 : Lewisham with Run Dem Crew

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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 : 12th  March, 2020

Time : 1h 07’ 11”

Number of runners (total to date) : 3 (7046)

Run map and details :   https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/4652410716

Corona was already affecting everything. Extraordinarily for an evening train out of London, everyone had been able to sit on the journey from Charing Cross.

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And it was a bitterly cold when I got to Ladywell Athletics track in Lewisham. So cold that, when I went for a 1 ½ kilometres ‘before the others get here’ run, I was able to run in my ski jacket and not overheat.

The cold and the corona combined meant that only three of us – Paul, Ben and yours truly – made the session. You had to ask yourself – how good can a run be in those conditions?

The answer : absolutely brilliant!

A bit of background first. This was the Lewisham leg of my London Borough Challenge*and I was running with Run Dem Crew who organise a number of track and street running sessions around London.

Paul from Run Dem Crew was leading the session and we started off with a few gentle warm up laps of the track. Time to ask a few questions.

What’s the Run Dem Crew story? To quote from their website, Run Dem Crew was “Formed in the winter of 2007 by DJ, poet and writer Charlie Dark, as an alternative to more traditional running clubs, Run Dem Crew has grown from a casual run around the neighbourhood with friends to a large and multifaceted organisation with fingers in many creative pies.”

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What’s the difference between a running cub and crew? In many ways, they’re the same thing. The term ‘Crew’ was adopted to signify that that it was an inclusive group that welcomed everyone irrespective of background or age. And that it wasn’t just about running – it was also very much about the community.

Having warmed up, we then did some exercises including the Super Mario

before it was time for the dreaded reps.

Paul had decided that we should do 5 x 800m and Ben, who’s training for a 90 minute half marathon, bounded off into the distance. Now we had to decide what my target time should be.

For various reason I’ve had to cancel all my overseas running trips and the only running I’ve been doing is gentle social running around London. In short, I’m not very fit and I was a little nervous when Paul told me to target 3m 20” for my 800m splits.

Ok, let’s be honest, that’s not super-fast by many people’s standards. But, over 10km, it would be 41’ 40” pace and I’ve never run a 10km anywhere near that fast. (My ‘secret’ ambition is to, one day, run under 45 minutes.)

I should have had faith because, of course, Paul had judged it perfectly and I was able – just – to hit the target on each of the reps.

Thankfully the reps came to an end and it was time for a few warm down laps, a failed attempt to do up my shoelaces (fingers just too cold) and a jog back through Ladywell Fields to Ladywell station.

For now, it just remains for me to say a huge thank you to Paul for the great session and to Ben for his patience. If you’ll have me, I’m determined to try out the other Run Dem Crew sessions so hope to see you there!

I’d love it if you stayed in touch with Run the World – either via social media (links below) and / or by joining in the UK leg of Run the World on Hampstead Heath on 4th July 2020!

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!

*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 183 countries to date.) I’m doing the challenge to raise funds for Cancer Research and to promote the importance of an active healthy lifestyle.

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 I’m hoping to run with as many people – and social running groups and crews and clubs –as possible!

 

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London Run 20 : Harrow with the London Tube Run

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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 : 8th  March, 2020

Time : 1h 10’ 58”

Number of runners (total to date) : 15 (7043)

Run map and details :   https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/4636632241

A few weeks ago I did my Walthamstow run with the London Tube Run – a social running group which specialises in running the routes of London’s tube lines. I enjoyed that run so much that, when I saw that they were running the Metropolitan Line, I immediately got onto google maps to see which boroughs* it runs through.

Quite a few as it turns out– some of which I’ve done and some of which I haven’t. I eventually decided on Harrow – the plan being to take in some of the sights of Harrow and then join the tube runners for the Harrow to Rayners Lane section of their run.

I started at the Heath Robinson Museum in Pinner which, as the name suggests, is dedicated to the great British cartoonist

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contraption builder

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and all round eccentric – William Heath Robinson**.

Set in the lovely surroundings of Pinner Memorial Park, the museum is very much worth a visit.

Keeping with the tube line concept,  I then ran south from Pinner alongside the Watford branch of the Metropolitan line. Past a charmingly narrow football pitch – presumably the cause of a lot of ‘football on the lines’ delays –

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to North Harrow and then Harrow tube stations.

From Harrow I ran up the hill to the Doll’s House on the Hill

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and the centre of Harrow-on-the-Hill – all churches, chapels and grand buildings

before heading down Football Lane to the Harrow school’s*** extraordinary sports facilities and playing fields.

Its indoor sports complex alone is bigger than some of the schools I talk at.

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From there I ran back to Morrisons in Harrow where the London Tube Runners were subsequently to appear in all their glory.

A refuelling stop ensued (picture at the top of the blog) before a short – particularly by the standards of those who were running all 25 miles of the Metropolitan Line from Aldgate to Uxbridge – run to Rayners Lane tube station.

It was now time to say goodbye to the tube runners and return to normal Sunday life. Or as normal as life gets under the coronavirus threat. Obviously none of us had shaken hands and, inevitably, there’d been a lot of talk about running events that had been cancelled (the Tokyo marathon) and which might be cancelled (the London marathon). But I couldn’t help wondering if we’d all still be travelling on the tube – and running in groups alongside it – in a few weeks’ time.

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But let’s leave that for a future which hopefully never happens. For now, it just remains for me to say thank you to Phil, John, the Pauls and all the tube runners for the company and the warm welcome. See you at the next one – whenever it may!

I’d love it if you stayed in touch with Run the World – either via social media (links below) and / or by joining in the UK leg of Run the World on Hampstead Heath on 4th July 2020!

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!

*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 183 countries to date.) I’m doing the challenge to raise funds for Cancer Research and to promote the importance of an active healthy lifestyle.

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!

**William Heath Robinson (31 May 1872 – 13 September 1944) was an English cartoonist, illustrator and artist, best known for drawings of whimsically elaborate machines to achieve simple objectives.

In the UK, the term “Heath Robinson” entered the popular language during the 1914–1918 First World War as a description of any unnecessarily complex and implausible contrivance. The term  “Heath Robinson contraption” is often used in relation to temporary fixes using ingenuity and whatever is to hand, often string and tape, or unlikely cannibalisations. Its continuing popularity was undoubtedly linked to Britain’s shortages and the need to “make do and mend” during the Second World War.

***Harrow School is a public school for boys in Harrow, London, England.The School was founded in 1572 by John Lyon under a Royal Charter of Elizabeth I, and is one of the original seven public schools that were regulated by the Public Schools Act 1868. Harrow has three terms per academic year (2017/18). Harrow is the fourth most expensive boarding school in the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference. Harrow’s history and influence have made Harrow one of the most prestigious schools in the world.

The school has an enrolment of 829 boys all of whom board full-time, in twelve boarding houses.It remains one of four all-boys, full-boarding schools in Britain, the others being EtonRadley and Winchester. Harrow’s uniform includes morning suitsstraw boater hatstop hats and canes. Its alumni include eight former British or Indian Prime Ministers (including PeelPalmerstonBaldwinChurchill and Nehru), foreign politicians, former and current members of both houses of the UK Parliament, five kings and several other members of various royal families, three Nobel Prize winners, twenty Victoria Cross and one George Cross holders, and many figures in the arts and sciences.

 

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UK Run 10 : Loughborough University

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

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

Date : 13th  February, 2020

Time : 1h 15’ 25”

Number of runners (total to date) : 3 (7028)

Run map and details :   https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/4547141014

The good folk at the Philanthropy Company had invited me to Loughborough University to be interviewed at a Sport England seminar on fundraising. The seminar took place at the SportPark – a £15 m development that is home to many of the country’s top sports governing bodies and national sports organisations.

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After the seminar, Adam from Sport England and Andrew from the Philanthropy Company took me on a guided run around the campus. It was like no other run I’ve ever done* –  Loughborough Uni really is extraordinary.

We went first to the Sports Technology Institute where, famously, they created the roundest footballs ever for the 2010 World Cup.

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From there we went to the Holywell Conference Centre which had hosted ‘Kit Out Day’ before the 2012 Games. Kit Out Day is the day when all the athletes – accompanied by a personal shopper – go round mountains of branded kit selecting everything they need for the Games. And why is this relevant? Because Adam, as he modestly put it, was the last person selected for the 2012 GB squad. (Personally, I might have rephrased that as “I am an Olympian and you, mere mortals, are fortunate to be running with me.”)

The room in question is currently occupied by Toyota but try to imagine it as an upmarket JD Sports populated by some of the finest sportsmen and women on the planet pushing laden shopping trolleys…

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From there we passed some somewhat damp beach volleyball courts

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a massive outdoor Throws Centre

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to one of the student accommodation areas which just happens to have a running track winding through it.

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It also has a hotel containing, slightly counter-intuitively, altitude rooms on its first and second floors. As I understand it the rooms remove oxygen so that you can sleep at up to 5000m. The basic idea is that you train low and sleep high. Which is, apparently, the best of both worlds.

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After this I lost track of all the amazing places we went to but they included an enormous indoor athletics centre

and Powerbase – the largest weights room I’ve ever seen.

Plus the National Tennis Academy

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the National Cricket Performance Centre

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and seemingly endless sporting facilities and research institutes of one sort or another.

All in all, a truly remarkable run – it just remains for me to say thank you to Andrew, Adam, and Caroline for the invite and tour!

I’d love it if you stayed in touch with Run the World – either via social media (links below) and / or by joining in the UK leg of Run the World on Hampstead Heath on 4th July 2020!

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!

*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’m doing the challenge to raise funds for Cancer Research and to promote the importance of an active healthy lifestyle.

I’m also doing a further 44 runs in the UK – including Loughborough – to take my global total to 250 runs.

By completing 250 x 10 km runs I will have run 2 500 000 meters – a metre for every cancer sufferer in the UK.

To date, I’ve run in 183 countries – please see the website and the blog for more information – and done 29 runs in the UK. I also do talks and media about Run the World and have recently set up the Run the World Foundation to support programmes that provide healthy living education and motivate and encourage people to adopt active lifestyles.

 

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London Run 19 : Westminster with the Mikkeller Running Club

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

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

Date : 11th  February, 2020

Time : 1h 02’ 44”

Number of runners (total to date) : 14 (7025)

Run map and details :   https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/4541237347

When I first tell people about Run the World* I can sense that they often think it must be quite glamorous. Which couldn’t be further from the truth. The runs and the school talks are great but the logistics, the sitting round at airports, the transfers and the flights are, at best, a grind and, at worst, a complete nightmare.

And the evenings are probably most accurately described as humdrum. I’m usually on my own. In a non-descript, modestly priced hotel. Deciding between pasta and chicken and rice. Or, for a bit of variety, chicken and chips.

My one treat, at least in countries that serve alcohol, is a local beer. And, after a day of travelling and running, that beer – and its normally just one – tastes pretty good.

So when I saw something on Facebook about the Mikkeller Running Club’s run + free beer offering I decided I had to give it a go.

If you’re not familiar with the Mikkeller Runing Club (MRC) then the origin story is pretty interesting. Mikkeller is a multi-award winning Danish brewery founded in Copenhagen in 2006. After a few years, or so the story goes, the founders realised they were getting fat from drinking too much beer. So, in 2014, they started a running club based on the principle of a run followed by a beer. The formula proved such a success that there are now 230+ chapters around the world.

The one that caught my eye was the Soho London chapter because it runs in Westminster.  A borough I still needed to run in as part of my London Borough Challenge.**

The Soho chapter gathers at 6.30pm on a Tuesday evening at the Brewdog pub on Poland Street. Where I met run leader Phil, old friends Anthony and Claire

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and various new friends (the ever photogenic Anthony seems to be in all the photos…)

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There were 14 of us at the start and we set off through Soho to Piccadilly (don’t be put off by the black image – click on play and there’s a perfectly good video)

Around Green Park, down Constitution Hill and up the Mall as far as the ICA.

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At which point the group split with the 5kers heading back to Brewdog and the rest of us heading through St James’s Park to Parliament Square, past the scaffolded Big Ben

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and onto the Embankment where we stopped for a photo opp with the London Eye.

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North up the Embankment before making our way back to Brewdog through Covent Garden and Soho.

Where we paused for the now traditional post run plank

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and the slightly less traditional ‘bench rest’

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before finishing up with that free beer.

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It just remains for me to say a huge thank you to Phil, and everyone at MRC Soho chapter for the company and the warm welcome. The evening was great fun and I’m sure Anthony, Claire and I will be back!

I’d love it if you stayed in touch with Run the World – either via social media (links below) and / or by joining in the UK leg of Run the World on Hampstead Heath on 4th July 2020!

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!

*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 183 countries to date.) I’m doing the challenge to raise funds for Cancer Research and to promote the importance of an active healthy lifestyle.

**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!

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