London Run 25 : London Borough of Bexley

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Date : 28th  September, 2020

Time : 1h 09’ 25”

Number of runners (total to date) : 4 (7061)

Run map and details :    https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/5612341170

One of the joys of parenthood is that you end up catching all the bugs that go round your kids’ school. Once my daughters – and half their school – had a sore throat it was pretty much inevitable that I’d get it. So I didn’t think much of it when my throat began to tickle on the Sunday evening. I thought even less of it on the Monday when it seemed to clear up.

And I didn’t think about it at all that evening when I went off to meet my old games business friend and colleague – Graeme (GB) – and the two Pauls – M & T – at Bexley station for the Bexley Borough run.

Unfortunately it got worse during the week and, by Wednesday, the sore throat had turned into cough. Coughers aren’t greatly appreciated at the moment so on Thursday I spoke to a GP (General Practitioner or local all-round doctor for those not familiar with the British health system.)

As soon as I mentioned the word ‘cough’ the GP was insistent that I get a corona test. I pointed out that I didn’t have the persistent cough that is the official corona symptom. Furthermore, my daughters and their friends had all had the same sore throat and cough and no-one had suggested they get tested.

My GP was unmoved. I needed to get tested.

Accepting that my GP probably had the greater expertise in the matter, I decided to follow her advice and get tested. By now it was 3.15pm on the Thursday afternoon. Fortunately I was able to get a 4-4.30 pm slot at a local walk through testing centre.

If you’re not familiar with the process, you place a cotton swab – it’s on a long plastic handle – on the back of your throat and, trying not to gag, you move it around a bit. You then stick the same swab right up your nostril and give it a couple of twirls. The swab then gets put in a plastic bag and handed over to some lucky person to be tested.

It was all very friendly and efficient and the whole thing only took about ten minutes

To be honest, when I rang the GP, it had – perhaps naively – never occurred to me that I might end up getting tested. It was only as I drove back home that the ramifications of a positive test began to sink in. Not just for my family but for everyone else I’d met in the previous week or so.

I thought about GB and the two Pauls. They’d been doing me a favour by accompanying me around Bexley. If I was positive then they’d have to self-isolate. They wouldn’t be able to see their family and friends. They wouldn’t be able to go to work. Probably worst of all from their perspectives, they wouldn’t be able to go out running.

I’ve known GB forever since the glory days of the Bitmap Brothers and Renegade Software. I’d met the two Pauls more recently when I had the pleasure of completing the Walthamstow and Harrow legs of my London Borough Challenge* with the London Tube Runners.

All three of them are serious runners. Not that long ago Paul T and GB did a 100 mile non-stop run along the Thames path (not as flat as advertised apparently). Paul M is on the brink of completing 200 consecutive days on which he’s gone for a run. The following weekend (Sunday just past), Paul T was doing the nohtaraM nodnoL ehT where people meet at 2 am on the morning before the London marathon and run the route backwards.

Aaargh!!! I did not want to even think about being the person who stopped them from running…

On which subject, perhaps it’s time to get back to the run.

As I got off the train at Bexley, I noticed a sign for Bexley cricket club

and within a couple of minutes of the start of the run we were running through countryside and past the cricket club. It really didn’t feel like London.

A little more countryside before we reached a bridge over the River Cray where we stopped for a photo opportunity.

Unfortunately I paused my Garmin at this stage and then forgot to restart it until we got to Albany Park about 2 km further down the road…

From there we ran to Hall Place and gardens – a stately home once owned by Sir Francis Dashwood, a politician and Chancellor of the Exchequer from 1762–1763. In a combination which I am sure we can all agree would be unthinkable nowadays, he was also a notorious rake and founder of the secret and immoral Hellfire Club.

We finished back at Bexley Post Office having run, per everyone else’s watches /apps, a little more than 10km. According to my Garmin I’d only run 8km.

And the trouble was that, per my unnecessarily pedantic rules, a run only counts as a 10km run if I’ve recorded the full 10km on my Garmin. So I said my goodbyes and ran to the station and onto my platform. 1.6km to go and a train in 4 minutes. So all I had to do was run a 4 minute mile and everything would be fine. Except that I can’t run a mile in 4 minutes…

So I missed that train and ran up and down the platform until I’d completed my 10km

and then waited for the next train which was only quarter of an hour later. The train duly arrived and I got on, found a seat, settled down – and didn’t move.

The dreaded announcement came over the train’s PA. “We have been asked to hold at this station. We will provide further information when we can. We apologies for any inconvenience this may cause.” Why do they always apologise for any inconvenience that a delay may cause – as if there’s a chance that it may not be inconvenient.

Please, take my word for it, it is ALWAYS inconvenient! Especially when you’re sweaty after a run and need to get home for a hot shower before you develop anything like a cold, or a sore throat, or a cough…

But I mustn’t quibble. Minor delays aside it was a fine run with excellent company. Thank you GB, Paul M and Paul T – hope to see you for the Greenwich run in the near future. And have no fear. The test came back negative!

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 24 : London Borough of Hackney

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Date : 22nd September, 2020

Time : 56’ 52”

Number of runners (total to date) : 7 (7057)

Run map and details :   https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/5578619539

This blog is dedicated to the memory of Jonathan Crown who, unthinkably and tragically, died of a heart attack last Saturday.

JC was a friend and an exceptionally generous supporter of Run the World* in terms of his advice – he had a wide knowledge and experience of visiting far flung places ; his enthusiasm – a week before his death he sent me a typically kind email about one of the recent blogs ; and his donations.

He was also the founder of the Project Harar charity which works in Ethiopia to help those with severe facial disfigurements and give them back their lives.

I found myself talking about JC before my run in Hackney with the local branch of Run Talk Run. And that’s the thing about Run Talk Run. Yes, it’s a running club. But it’s also a safe space to talk.

Set up by the lovely Jess Robson, its mission is to make both running and mental health support less intimidating, and more accessible. And, judging by its continued growth around the world, its doing a great job. (For anyone who’s interested, here’s a link to Jess’s views on why running helps us to open up.)

RTR Hackney meets at 6.15 pm on a Tuesday evening at the Pub on the Park. Its led by Chloe who took us off south through London Fields before turning east to Victoria Park.

I love Victoria Park. The evening we were there it was buzzing – full of walkers, runners, skaters and pretty much anything else you can do in a park.

Sadly it was also the point I had to leave the run and head back to Hackney Central as I had to meet people that evening.

Loyal readers will know that the aim of the London Borough Challenge* is to run 10 km in every London borough. And, of course, the run from London Fields to Victoria Park is considerably less than 10 km.

Fortunately, my planning and logistical abilities just about stretch far enough to have worked out in advance that this might be an issue. I’d therefore already run 5km in Hackney before meeting up with Chloe and the RTR runners.

I started at Pitfield Street because that’s where our offices were when we launched the Gold Challenge**- something that led to us putting on the pre-games test event for 20 000 people in the Olympic Stadium. And running on the Olympic track which was pretty cool.

But, as so often in these blogs, I digress. Back to the run in Hackney where the next stop was Hoxton Square. Which used to feel like London’s epicentre of coolness before it moved onto….um….er…wherever it is now. The picture below is off the building that used to house the White Cube gallery – famed for being the first gallery to give one person shows to YBAs such as Tracey Emin.

I then ran down Great Eastern street before turning north up Shoreditch High Street leaving the City behind to the south

Past the Box Park

and the Museum of the Home before turning right (east) onto Regent’s Canal.

The canal towpath was packed with runners and cyclists and the canal itself was full of house boats, row boats and big inflatable banana boats..

I turned off the canal to head north up Broadway Market

to London Fields

the London Felds Lido

and onto the Hackney Empire.

As I ran I was struck by how much the borough had meant to me over the years. I’d worked there; I’d socialised there ; I’d run and cycled there. I even go there for every year for the Christmas pantomime at the Hackney Empire where Clive Rowe et al strut their funky stuff.

I was also struck by just what an extraordinary borough it is. Although my run had taken me past, and through so, many great places I was only scratching Hackney’s surface. I hadn’t been to Hackney Marshes ; Hackney’s section of the Olympic Park which includes the Copper Box  ; the Hackney Cut (canal) ; Hackney city farm ; Abney Park Cemetery and much more.

It just remains for me to say thank you to Chloe and everyone at the Hackney RTR for the company. A pleasure meeting you all!

RIP JC.

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!

** 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 challenges were highly successful with 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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London Run 23 : London Borough of Havering

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

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Date : 11th September, 2020

Time : 55’ 39”

Number of runners (total to date) : 1 (7050)

Run map and details :   https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/5520375013

I know this is going to come across all Billy-no-mates but I don’t have any contacts in the London Borough of Havering. Which meant I was going to have to come up with my own route. No worries. A quick glance at Google maps should do it I told myself.

Turns out that it’s no easy matter to look at a map of a 111.4 km2  borough and work out the best place to run….Three hours later I finally settled on Havering-atte-Bower (‘atte-bower’ means ‘at the Royal residence’).

If you’re not familiar with H-a-B (if you’ll excuse the acronym), it’s a village with three adjacent green spaces. Surely the perfect place for a run? A place which would also, I hoped, provide sufficient material for yet another of my notoriously entertaining blogs.

I couldn’t work out how to get there by public transport so drove and ended up parking by the equestrian centre. And then spent the next five minutes luxuriating in the fact that the parking was free. No having to pay by cash if you’ve only got a credit card on you. No having to pay by card if you’ve only got cash. No having to download a new parking app – since they couldn’t possibly use one of the 24 parking apps you’ve already downloaded and painfully entered your credit card details, date of birth, inside leg measurement and full address. All via a phone keypad.

No having to enter your car licence plate number – which includes a zero or an ‘O’ – I can never quite remember which. So that if you pay for two hours, but don’t use them, you can’t pass the ticket on to someone else. Even though the time has been paid for..

The second bonus was that my parking space happened to be next to one of the entrances to Havering Country Park – one of the aforementioned green spaces. HCP – to continue the acronymous theme – is an extremely nice wooded area full of walkers, one of only two redwood plantations in England, and horse riders.

Loyal readers of this blog – or at least those with elephantine memories – will know that I don’t like horses. In fact I suffer from equinophobia as a result of one or two unfortunate ‘falling off horse ; head hitting ground’ accidents in my childhood. Which was a touch inconvenient when it came to the show jumping, cross country and dressage legs of my Olympic challenge.

But that’s a story for another day. Back in the present, let’s return immediately to the action in Havering.

I trotted off into the forest (clever equine metaphor alert) with a ‘I didn’t have to pay for my parking and it doesn’t matter when I get back to the car‘ smile on my face. Eek. Two horses were coming my way. Not wanting any trouble of the ‘it’s not the horse’s fault that it reared up and crushed your skull with its hooves – you shouldn’t have scared it’ variety, I stopped running, I also stepped off the path. Straight into a bunch of nettles.

Horses. They always get me in the end.

I came out of HCP onto the B175 and noticed some concrete blocks on the other side of the road.

H-a-B didn’t strike me as the kind of place where people fly tip concrete blocks so I figured they must be there for a reason and stepped onto one of them. To be rewarded by a sweeping vista to the south-east. (Havering is 300 feet above sea level and consequently has views over chunks of east London, Essex and Kent. The views are, I promise you, much more impressive than my photo below would indicate.)

From there I ran down Broxhill Rd searching for the way into Pyrgo Park. Which I never found. I did, however, find the famous local water tower

and the rather lovely Broadlands Park

which contains open spaces for walking (or running in my case); a deer enclosure

; a walled garden ; and more striking views.

By now I’d run about 8km so I turned back to the village passing the cricket ground ; a hospice ; the village green ; a church

; a village pub or two ; a ducking pond ; a village sign which was unveiled by Boris Johnson (then Mayor of London).

And a whipping post and stocks.

What more could anyone want – or indeed need – from a country village?

Thank you, H-a-B, for hosting my Havering borough run. It’s a fine place to run and it’s no doubt an even better place to live!

Facts & Stats

Havering-atte-Bower is a village and outlying settlement of Greater London, England. It is located in the far north of the London Borough of Havering, on the border with Essex, and is 15 miles (24 km) northeast of Charing Cross. It was one of three former parishes whose area comprised the historic Royal Liberty of Havering.

Havering-atte-Bower has been the location of a number of palaces and large houses including Bower HouseThe Round HousePyrgo Palace and Havering Palace.

Etymology

The name is recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as HaueringasThe last syllable is the only clear difference in pronunciation as v was written as u in Middle English and Anglo-Norman orthography. It is an ancient folk name meaning settlement of the followers of a man called Hæfer. The name is recorded as Hauering atte Bower in 1272. The atte Bower suffix means at the royal residence and refers to Havering Palace, which was situated here. The West London equivalent to Havering-atte-Bower is Old Windsor in Berkshire, which had a Saxon Palace that predated Windsor CastleEdward the Confessor would have travelled to and from his palaces at both Havering-atte-Bower and Old Windsor. Both villages are situated on high ground and have great views into London.

History[edit]

The village is steeped in royal history. Edward the Confessor was the first royal to take interest in the area. He established a hunting lodge here, which over the years would become a palace or ‘bower.’ It is believed, though disputed, that he may have died in the house that he had loved so much before being buried at Westminster Abbey.

The surrounding areas, including the parishes of Hornchurch and Romford, formed the Royal Liberty of Havering from 1465 to 1892. Until the 17th century, royalty used the house of Havering Palace for various reasons, adding the architectural style of the day to the expanding palace.

Another palace, east of the village, called Pyrgo, was purchased by Henry VIII to relieve the now ageing Havering Palace. By the 17th century, the Royal Palace of Havering was in decline, and it was eventually pulled down. Pyrgo was also demolished later, in the 18th century. Only one set of plans exists from the original Havering Palace, courtesy of a survey by Lord Burghley in 1578.

Dame Tipping School in the village was founded by Dame Anne Tipping who was daughter of Thomas Chief, a governor of the Tower of London. The school opened in 1891 and is still operating today with the same main building that was used when the school was founded, although the school has had various changes and extensions through the years .

Immanuel School, on the site of the old Havering Grange, at the bottom of Orange Tree Hill, is a Christian school operated by Immanuel Ministries for children ages 3 to 16.

The village green still has on display its original village stocks, while on the opposite side of the road is a pond known as “Ducking Pond”, rumoured to have been used for trials of witches. Though the name of the pond suggests such a history, hard evidence is yet to be uncovered. However, there are currently plans to construct a replica ducking stool at the site.

The history of the area dates back to Saxon times and archaeological finds in and around Havering Country Park suggest a Roman villa or similar structure in the area.

Geography

The village sits on one of the highest points in London, in the far north of the borough and near the M25 motorway. It is situated 344 feet (105 m) above sea level with striking views of east London, Essex and Kent. To the north is open countryside and to the south are the large suburban developments of Harold Hill and Collier Row.

The village is surrounded by three large parks: the dense woodlands of Havering Country Park (site of one of only two redwood plantations in England, imported from California); Bedfords Park; and Pyrgo Park. The most notable residence in the village now is Bower House, built in 1729 by John Baynes, using some of the materials of the former Havering Palace. The area is on the route of the London Loop long-distance footpath.

village sign, funded by the East London Community Foundation and Havering-atte-Bower Conservation Society, was unveiled by Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, on 3 September 2010.

London Borough of Havering

In 2011, the borough had a population of 237,232 over 43 square miles (111.4 km2). Havering has a lower population density than other London Boroughs as large areas are parkland and 23 square miles (60 km2) (more than half the borough) is Metropolitan Green Belt protected land. Those areas of development are extensive but rarely intensive. It has, at 4.5%, a below average unemployment rate for Greater London,[4] and one of the lowest crime rates.

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London Run 22 : London Borough of Brent

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

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Date : 1st September, 2020

Time : 55’ 39”

Number of runners (total to date) : 2 (7049)

Run map and details :   https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/5473514888

If you live in the UK, and have children, you may well have come across the Natural Childbirth Trust. NCT, for such is its acronym, describes itself as the UK’s leading charity for parents and provides antenatal courses to 90 000 parents a year.

As the name suggests, they heavily promote the benefits of natural childbirth – preferably without drugs. An approach that I have subsequently come to believe is dangerously simplistic.

I still remember the look on the doctor’s face as we insisted on natural childbirth while he tried to get it through our thick skulls that we – more Liz than me to be fair – had been at it for 40 hours and the baby was only coming out via an emergency caesarean.

Not that I was aware of any of this when Liz originally suggested that we go on an NCT anti-natal (as I heard it) course. Despite the eminently sensible sounding subject matter, I demurred. Surely this baby was already taking up more than enough of our time? Liz told me that everyone recommended them – not particularly because you learn anything useful but because you make new friends.

“We already have enough friends,” I riposted.

“Friends at the same stage of life,” she patiently explained.

Since my views are, at most, a minor delay in the family decision making process we soon signed up for the course (if we hadn’t already done so..). And guess what? We made some new friends.

Julian, Darren and I have been meeting up regularly ever since. Through the exhausting early years – when you only talk about your children – to the (in hindsight) glorious middle years – when you stop talking about your children – and onto the teen years – when you start talking about your children again.

During that time we’ve had a lot of laughs ; talked a lot of bollocks ; watched a lot of footy ; and even tried to support each other – in a manly way of course – through the inevitable hard times.

One night we were chatting and it transpired that Julian was free of the various injuries he suffers whenever he joins me on some mad sporting endeavour and had taken up running again. We soon agreed that the three of us would do the Brent leg of the London Borough Challenge.

Darren aka ‘D’, ‘Big D’ and ‘Big Boy’ lives in Brent so he organised the route. (Male nicknames are endlessly inventive and the etymology can sometimes be obscure so it’s probably worth explaining that we refer to Darren as ‘D’ because that is the first letter of his name ; we refer to him as ‘Big’ because he is six foot four.)

And what a very fine route it was. We started at the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir aka the Neasden temple. At the time it was built, it was the biggest Hindu temple outside India and was built entirely using traditional material without – uniquely for the UK – any iron or steel. It has won numerous awards – please see Facts & Stats below – and is truly amazing.

From there we – Julian (aka Julian) and I on foot and Big D on bike – made our way to the Grand Union Canal which runs from London to, inter alia, Birmingham. After a kilometre or two along the banks of the canal, D pointed ahead and said, ‘”That is one of the most extraordinary things in London.”

At first I wasn’t quite sure what he meant. The part of the canal in question had pavements on both sides and an island in the middle which was nice but, overall, it didn’t look that different from the rest of the canal.  

Which was kind of the point because it looked just like a canal despite being suspended in a giant metal tray above the North Circular (one of London’s busiest roads.)

A little further along the canal we turned off onto Ealing Road where there was another remarkable ‘didn’t even know it was there’ temple – Shree Sanatan Hindu Mandir (roughly translated as “All-inclusive Hindu temple”).

From there it was time for the final leg across the train tracks

to Wembley Stadium which we’d hoped to run around but which was unfortunately blocked off. So we ran around Wembley Arena

and the local shopping & entertainment centre before finishing on what is officially called Olympic Way but which every football fan calls Wembley Way.

I could continue on for ever with stories about Wembley but this is already a long blog so instead I’ll just say thank you to the boys for the company, the route finding and the endless appreciation of my patented ‘Smooth Flo’ videography that they have never, not even once, ripped the piss out of over the years..

And finally happy birthday and congratulations to Freya as it is now – thanks to some bizarre quirk in the space-time continuum – 18 years since that emergency caesarean. Love you more than I can say, sweetheart!

Facts & Stats

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BAPS_Shri_Swaminarayan_Mandir_London

BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir (also commonly known as the Neasden Temple) is a Hindu temple in Neasden, London, England. Built entirely using traditional methods and materials, the Swaminarayan mandir has been described as being Britain’s first authentic Hindu temple. It was also Europe’s first traditional Hindu stone temple, as distinct from converted secular buildings. It is a part of the Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) organisation and was inaugurated in 1995 by Pramukh Swami Maharaj.

 No iron or steel was used in the construction, a unique feature for a modern building in the UK.

The mandir was cited in Guinness World Records 2000 as follows:

“Biggest Hindu Temple outside India: The Shri Swaminarayan Temple in Neasden, London, UK, is the largest Hindu temple outside India. It was built by Pramukh Swami, a 92-year-old Indian sadhu, and is made of 2,828 tonnes of Bulgarian limestone and 2,000 tonnes of Italian marble, which was first shipped to India to be carved by a team of 1,526 sculptors. The temple cost £12 million to build.”

However, since 2000 it has been surpassed in size by other BAPS mandirs elsewhere. The mandir was built and funded entirely by the Hindu community. The entire project spanned five years although the mandir construction itself was completed in two-and-a-half years. Building work began in August 1992. In November 1992, the temple recorded the largest concrete-pour in the UK, when 4,500 tons were put down in 24 hours to create a foundation mat 1.8 metres (5.9 ft) thick. The first stone was laid in June 1993; two years later, the building was complete.

The temple complex consists of:

  • a mandir, constructed mainly from hand-carved Italian Carrara marble and Bulgarian limestone
  • a permanent exhibition entitled, “Understanding Hinduism”
  • the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Haveli, a cultural centre housing an assembly hall, gymnasium, bookshop, and offices

Pride of Place Award

The Mandir was awarded the ‘UK Pride of Place’ award in December 2007 by Government authorities after a nationwide online poll.

Seven wonders of London

Time Out declared the Mandir as one of the “Seven Wonders of London”.In an “epic series… to pay tribute to… the capital’s seven most iconic buildings and landmarks”, they embarked upon an ambitious search of London’s best.

Guinness World Records

In 2000, Guinness World Records presented two certificates to recognise the world record of offering 1,247 vegetarian dishes during the Annakut Festival held at the Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London on 27 October 2000, and secondly to recognise the largest traditionally built Hindu temple outside India.

The Eventful 20th Century – 70 Wonders of the Modern World

Reader’s Digest (1998) featured the Shri Swaminarayan Mandir lauding its scale, intricate detail and the extraordinary story of how it was built and inspired by Pramukh Swami Maharaj.

Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England

The 1997/8 Annual Report of the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England, featured the Mandir, and referred to as a “modern building of major importance in our multicultural society.”[16]

Most Enterprising Building Award

The Most Enterprising Building Award 1996 was awarded by the Royal Fine Art Commission & British Sky Broadcasting to the Swaminarayan Mandir in London on 5 June 1996.

Natural Stone Award

The Stone Federation issued a special award to the Swaminarayan Hindu Mandir in 1995 as part of its Natural Stone Award

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_Union_Canal

The Grand Union Canal in England is part of the British canal system. Its main line starts in London and ends in Birmingham, stretching for 137 miles (220 km) with 166 locks.[1] It has arms to places including LeicesterSloughAylesburyWendover and Northampton.

The Paddington Arm of the Grand Union Canal is split into two channels on the aqueduct over the dual carriageway. On the island formed in the centre is an elegant bronze shield from the coat of arms of Middlesex.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shree_Sanatan_Hindu_Mandir

The Shree Sanatan Hindu Mandir (roughly translated as “All-inclusive Hindu temple”) is the name of two Hindu temples in London, one situated off the Ealing Road in Wembley, in the London Borough of Brent and the other in Whipps Cross near Leytonstone. They are run by charity Shri Vallabh Nidhi UK.

The temples follow Sanatan Dharma, and in common with other temples called Sanatan their intention is to be non-sectarian and ecumenical

It was opened in the Summer of 2010, took 14 years to build, and is made entirely of imported Indian limestone. It was constructed according to the scriptures of the Hindu holy texts, and so contains no steel supports. Its site has an area of 2.4 acres (9,700 m2).[6]

Many of the temple’s component pieces were hand carved in the town of Sola, in the Indian state of Gujarat – before being flown to Britain and assembled. There were 41 marble statues of deities made in India especially for the mandir. The interior is elaborately decorated with carvings on the pillars and walls, as well as the numerous shrines with painted figures of Hindu deities. Some famous spiritual leaders and forms of Gods from other religions are featured in the carvings, including one of Mother Teresa and the Sikh Guru Nanak. At its highest point, the temple is 66 ft (20m) tall.

The temple has the following deities: Shri Ganeshji, Shri Sahajanand Swami, Shri Amba Mataji, Shri Simandhar Swami, Shri Radha Krishna, Shri Ram Darbar, Shri Shrinathji, Shri Tirupati Balaji, Shri Shiv Parivar, Shri Jalaram Bapa, Shri Hanumanji.

The temple was built using funds raised by the charity Shri Vallabh Nidhi UK (SVNUK).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wembley_Stadium

Wembley Stadium (branded as Wembley Stadium connected by EE for sponsorship reasons) is a football stadium in Wembley, London. It opened in 2007 on the site of the original Wembley Stadium, which was demolished from 2002 to 2003.[8][9] The stadium hosts major football matches including home matches of the England national football team, and the FA Cup Final. Wembley Stadium is owned by the governing body of English football, the Football Association (the FA), through its subsidiary Wembley National Stadium Ltd (WNSL). The FA headquarters are in the stadium.

With 90,000 seats, it is the largest stadium in the UK and the second-largest stadium in Europe.

Designed by Populous and Foster and Partners, the stadium is crowned by the 134-metre-high (440 ft) Wembley Arch which serves aesthetically as a landmark across London as well as structurally, with the arch supporting over 75% of the entire roof load. The stadium was built by Australian firm Multiplex at a cost of £798 million (£1.2 billion today). Contrary to popular belief, Wembley Stadium does not have a retractable roof which covers the playing surface. Two partially retractable roof structures over the east and west end of the stadium can be opened to allow sunlight and aid pitch growth.

In addition to England home games and the FA Cup final, the stadium also hosts other major games in English football, including the season-opening FA Community Shield, the League Cup final, the FA Cup semi-finals, the Football League Trophy, the Football League play-offs, the FA Trophy, the FA Vase and the National League play-offs. A UEFA category four stadium, Wembley hosted the 2011 and 2013 UEFA Champions League Finals, and will host seven games at UEFA Euro 2020, (including the final and both of the semi-finals), as well as the original venue of the 2023 UEFA Champions League Final. It was later relocated to the Allianz Arena in Munich due to adjustments of the 2020 final caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in Europe. It will stage the following season’s final instead. The stadium hosted the Gold medal matches at the 2012 Olympic Games football tournament. The stadium also hosts rugby league‘s Challenge Cup final, NFL London Games and music concerts. The stadium was also the temporary home of Premier League football club Tottenham Hotspur between August 2017 and March 2019, while White Hart Lane was being demolished and their new stadium was constructed.

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Run 183 : Liechtenstein

RTW LIECH 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 August, 2020

Time : 48’ 06”

Number of runners (total to date) :  1 (7047)

Run map and details :   https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/5432278692

I wasn’t the happiest of bunnies. We’d had our ‘looked forward to it all year; only thing that kept us sane during lock down’ holiday cut short by the @#*$!ing virus. Instead of gallivanting with friends in the south of France, I was watching it rain in London.

The rest of the family didn’t seem too bothered. The girls had immediately returned to their usual holiday lifestyles i.e. spending all their time with friends & boyfriends. (Boyfriends. There’s a word I wasn’t using when I first started writing these blogs…). And Liz was, as always, busy.

Traumatised by the boyfriends, despondent about the curtailed holiday, and depressed by the British weather’s uncanny ability to endlessly rain whenever we return to the country, I began to search for a way out.

Ideally a running way out. But where?!?

Most of the remaining 24 countries in my Run the Wold challenge were immediately ruled out on the grounds of logistics / virus / security.

But there was one relatively close and safe country I’d yet to run in : Liechtenstein. And I realised that (as a Brit) I could go there without fear of quarantine in either direction. So that was it. I was off to Vaduz, the capital of Liechtenstein.

Now, Liechtenstein doesn’t have an airport so you have to fly to Zurich. A beautiful city

rtw liech 7

that, despite my family living in Switzerland for many years, I’d only previously visited once – to see the Who play.

Who are the Who (I hear the younger readership ask)? Not to be confused with WHO, whom my father worked for in Geneva, they were a seminal rock band whose oeuvre includes ‘Baba O’Riley’, which features one of the great intros and is a Top 100 of All Time Track.

(I watched lots of versions this on YouTube before selecting the one above. Its old footage – and the videography isn’t great – but it captures the essence of why Daltrey, Townshend, Moon and Enthwistle were rock gods.)

Mind you, we were lucky to get in to the gig as some of our party had their tickets stolen as they took them out of our pockets just before the entrance. Fortunately the security guards saw the theft and let us in. Where, as my brother recently reminded me, the sound volume proceeded to do permanent damage to our hearing.*

Anyway, time to move on from Zurich and continue on our merry way to Liechtenstein. Not only is Liechtenstein missing an airport, it also doesn’t have a train station.

So you catch a train at Zurich Hauptbahnhof, spend the best part of an hour admiring Lake Zurich and Lake Walen, and then get off at Sargans. Where a bus awaits to trundle you to Vaduz, the capital of Liechtenstein.

RTW Liech 4

For those not familiar with Liechtenstein, it’s located between Switzerland and Austria and is one if only two double-landlocked countries in the world i.e. it is surrounded by land locked countries. (Uzbekistan is the other.)

Basically it sits in a valley that runs north-south with the Rhine as its western border and a mountain range to the East. It is the sixth smallest country in the world and, from a geographical perspective, it’s not immediately obvious why it exists.

rtw liech 11

I got off the bus and almost immediately espied arguably it’s most famous landmark – Schloss Vaduz.

RTW Liech 2 vaduz_castleHis Serene Highness Prince Hans-Adam II lives there and invites the entire population round for parties on national holidays. As I didn’t have an invitation, and the castle was a fairly sharp climb above the valley floor, I decided to give it a miss and commence my run northwards where I soon hit the city limits.

Had I continued north I would have come to Schaan, Liechtenstein’s biggest ‘city’ and world centre of false teeth manufacturing. Yup, Liechtenstein is responsible for 20 per cent of total worldwide sales : 60 million sets every year, in more than 10,000 models. (Thanks in part to a strong relationship with Bollywood dentists.)

Liechtenstein - Schaan - Acrylic teeth samples

Instead I turned round to explore more of Vaduz and made my way west to the Rheinpark Stadion, home of the mighty FC Vaduz.

RTW Liech 3

There aren’t enough teams in Liechtenstein to form a league so FC Vaduz play in Switzerland. There is, however, a cup competition in Liechtenstein which FC Vaduz win with world record breaking regularity. Thereby meaning that they qualify for the Europa League. In 2019-20 they even reached the third qualifying round where they played Eintracht Frankfurt. At the home match in Vaduz they attracted 5,908 spectators – not bad for a city with a population of 5,521

From there I ran back into the centre of Vaduz and back south along the main road ending up at  St Florin’s Cathedral.

rtw liech 5

By now I was running short of landmarks to visit in Vaduz so I decided to keep running south along the main road back towards Sargans.

At this stage I realised 3 things:

– it was bloody hot

– my legs hurt despite having only run about 4 km

– I didn’t know where the Liechtenstein-Switzerland border was. And I didn’t want to end up having to run extra kms to make up for any I mistakenly ran in Switzerland. Not least because it was bloody hot and my legs hurt.

This last point may seem trivial to you. Surely if you reach the border you just turn round? However its notoriously tricky to know when you’ve reached the Switzerland-Liechtenstein border.

To put that in context, neutral Switzerland has invaded its neighbour three times. By mistake.

In 1985 they erroneously fired rockets into Liechtenstein, sparking a forest fire.

In 1992, following written orders, Swiss soldiers established an observation post at Triesen. Regrettably, the officers who gave the order had forgotten that Triesen is in Liechtenstein.

And in March 2007, 170 Swiss infantrymen marched across the border – wandering about a mile into Liechtenstein before realising the error of their ways. The Liechtenstein authorities didn’t notice the invasion until they received an apology from the Swiss.

Fortunately, Liechtenstein has taken these occasional violations of its national sovereignty with good nature and regional peace has been maintained. A spokesman said, “It’s not like they invaded with attack helicopters. No problem, these things happen.”

rtw liech 10

Determined to do better than the Swiss Army, I consulted Google maps and calculated that I could run as far as Balzers before venturing into Switzerland. I gritted my teeth (I know its not advisable to grit teeth but there were plenty of false replacements available just up the road) and set off.

I ran through Triesen – third largest of Liechtenstein’s municipalities and apparently home to a weaving kiln that dates from 1863 and is considered a historical monument. (This is all Wikipedia has to say about Triesen which, given how good the Swiss observation post story is, seems like an oversight.)

With only dosing cows

rtw liech 6

– and nowhere enough shade – for company, I struggled onto Balzers where I thankfully reached the end of the most painful 10 km I’ve run in years. No idea what the problem was. Unfit? The heat? New running shoes? Anyway, it took me 3 days before I could walk properly again.

But that was all secondary because, more than 9 months after my last run in Afghanistan, Run the World was up and running again. And it was ‘kin fantastic!

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.

Liechtenstein is a German-speaking microstate situated in the Alps and in the southwest of Central Europe. The principality is a semi-constitutional monarchy headed by the Prince of Liechtenstein; the Prince’s extensive powers are equivalent to those of a President in a semi-presidential system.

Liechtenstein is bordered by Switzerland to the west and south and Austria to the east and north. It is Europe’s fourth-smallest country, with an area of just over 160 square kilometres (62 square miles) and a population of 38,749. Divided into 11 municipalities, its capital is Vaduz, and its largest municipality is Schaan. It is also the smallest country to border two countries. Liechtenstein is one of only two doubly landlocked countries in the world, along with Uzbekistan.

Economically, Liechtenstein has one of the highest gross domestic products per person in the world when adjusted for purchasing power parity.The country has a strong financial sector centered in Vaduz. It was once known as a billionaire tax haven, but is no longer on any blacklists of uncooperative tax haven countries. An Alpine country, Liechtenstein is mountainous, making it a winter sport destination.

Liechtenstein is a member of the United Nations, the European Free Trade Association, and the Council of Europe. Although not a member of the European Union, it participates in both the Schengen Area and the European Economic Area. It also has a customs union and a monetary union with Switzerland.

World Bank Data

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

GDP $6.55 bn 2017 $2.48 bn 2002
Population 38 019 2019 33 184 2000
Primary school enrolment* 105 % 2017 106 % 2003
CO2 Emissions** 1.36 2016 1.98 2007
% below poverty line*** NA NA
Life expectancy at birth 83.0 yrs 2018 76.8 yrs 2000
GNI per capita $116 430 2019 $78 870 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 Liechtenstein performed in the global sporting arena in 2019:

Global Cup – 117th

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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PB Challenge Run

PB family

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

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

Date : 4th  July, 2020

Time : 43’ 35”

Number of runners (total to date) : 60 (7106)

Run map and details : https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/5188037174

Thank you to all the plankers and walkers ; the dancers and cyclists ; the skippers and runners. Thank you to the pledgers and donors. Thank you to the spectators and everyone who took part in the PB Challenge!

What a fantastic day. We had participants from all over the world – Lebanon ; Burkina Faso ; the US (West Coast and East Coast) ; the UK (London and all over) ; Italy ;  Ghana; Canada ; and last – but certainly not least – Cameroon.

From in uteros

PB Jessie

to the over 80s.

PB Lipf

From those who seemingly have no bones in their legs

to those recovering from hip replacement operations.

PB Jane on crutches

Thanks to everyone’s generosity, we raised £10 000 for Cancer Research and a range of great charities. (NB it’s never too late to donate!)

And it rained PBs. From first ever miles

PB Flora and Claire

to a 37 minute 10k.

PB fast 10ker 2 (2)

From Peloton records to 8 minute planks.

PB Plank

From 20 000 step walks

PB rick and mara walking

to more 5k PBs than I could count.

PB 5kers

And I managed to achieve my lifelong ambition to run 10k in less than 45 minutes. Largely thanks to Luke who was not only my training partner and pace maker but also ‘popped the wind’ for me on the track. Despite being so ill that he had to vomit twice behind the long jump pit…

PB luke & me 2

Wonderful as all that was, what I’ll remember best is the atmosphere and the sense of togetherness amongst the 100 or so people gathered in London and everyone else around the world. I can’t wait to see the film of the day from  – old softie that I am, I suspect it may bring a tear to the eye!

PB Young plankers

A number of you have asked : what’s next?!? It depends on the bugger-of-a-virus but I’m hoping to be able to announce news about something even bigger and crazier in a few months’ time.

In the meantime – please stay safe and stay active.

As the UK’s NHS says, exercise is the miracle cure we’ve all been waiting for. It can substantially reduce your risk of heart disease, strokes, cancer, depression and dementia. And it’ll help reduce your chances of obesity and diabetes – two of the key factors in COVID 19 outcomes.

It just remains for me to say a personal thank you those who helped me organise the PB Challenge around the world  : Luke and Gail

PB Luke, Gail, Rays

Noela and everyone in Cameroon.

PB Cameroon

Ghia and the Bedayati team in Lebanon.

PB Lebanon

Pie and friends in Burkina Faso (the man on the right – Dabire Jean Francois – is a former winner of the Ouaga 10k)

PB BF 2

Josh and the hashers in Ghana.

PB Ghana

My family in London who put up with my constant talking, planning and training for my various challenges (top). My sister and her extended family in the US.

PB Peep

PB Shoobie and friends

PB Tomba & fam (2)

My father and brother in Frome.

PB BD

Danie our brilliant film maker.

PB Danie

Paul and the staff at the Parliament Hill track.

PB Parl Hill track

Thanks everyone – let’s do it again!

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The PB Challenge : Two Weeks To Go Update!

All,

I hope, as ever, that this finds you safe and well.

With two weeks to go I wanted to give you all an overview of the plans for July 4th. Please do get back to me if you have any thoughts on how the plans could be improved – and please also feel free to adapt them so that they work for you wherever you are around the world!

Firstly, I wanted everyone to be aware that we’re going to start in London at 4pm UK time – rather than 5pm – with the aim of finishing by 6.30pm. The reason is that we have more London participants than originally envisaged – which is great news! (Pls see below for London’s schedule.)

If you’re outside London – whether that be in the US, Cameroon, Lebanon, Burkina Faso, Italy, elsewhere in the UK, wherever – then, if possible, it would be great if we could do everything ‘together’ i.e. between 4 and 6.30 pm UK time. However, if that’s too late or too early for your part of the world, then please go for whatever time on July 4th suits you best!

Wherever and whenever you start – and whatever you do – please send us lots of pics and vids so we can put them into the film of the day! And look out for the promo which should be out next week (thank you to everyone who’s sent in clips)!

London

I will be sending out detailed information next week to everyone who may be participating or spectating in London.

However, I thought it might be helpful to have a sense of the schedule at this stage. The key thing to note is that, while the track currently allows up to 50 people on the facility at any one time, I think this is too many to have running on the (6 lane) track at one time. We will therefore be participating in ‘waves’ of 10-15 people and starting at 4pm rather than 5pm. Hope that works for everyone!

The current schedule is as follows

15.50-16.00 Arrival

16.00 Wave 1 : Half the 5k runners + those who can’t make another time

16.30 Wave 2 : Half the 5k runners + those who can’t make another time

17.05 Mass plank

17.15 Wave 3 : 10k runners + those who can’t make another time

18.30 Finish

19.00 After party either at the pub or back at ours (depending on the then relevant lock down restrictions.)

Who’s in which wave (you’ll be able to change), plans for walkers, where to warm up etc etc will be in the detailed note I’ll send round next week.

Please bring a picnic / refreshments and arrive early & stay late to cheer on all the participants!!

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The PB Challenge : One Month To Go Update!

This is the text of the email I just sent out to the 100+ people on the PB Challenge mailing list. Please do get in touch if you’d like any more information about the Challenge!

“With just over 4 weeks to go until 4th July I wanted to give you all an update on what’s been happening and the plans for the day.

Firstly, thank you again to everyone who is joining in and/or who has pledged. We now have people taking part in Cameroon (Noela and the ‘youths who run the world’) ; Beirut (Ghia and the Bedayati team – a couple of whom will also be in London) ; Ouagadougou (Pie and friends) ; Rome (Daud) ; Virginia (Josh) ; Washington DC (Charlotte & Sam) ; Berkeley (Charis). We also have people taking part in various locations around the UK.

Many of these people taking part aren’t targeting PBs – they’re just going to run or walk or cycle to show support.

I love the idea that we are using exercise and physical activity to demonstrate global friendship and togetherness in these difficult days. Please do invite friends and contacts around the world to join in – I’ve added a summary of the PB Challenge below which can be forwarded to anyone you think might be interested !

OK, so how’s it going to work? Of course, the situation is still changing rapidly but the current plan is set out below. Needless to say, the idea is to have a great time whatever happens!

I Live in the US / the North / Lebanon / Cameroon / Afghanistan / Nowhere Near London!

While you’ll be doing your activity locally, in an ideal world we’ll all start ‘together’ at the same time i.e. 16.00 BST. Wherever and whenever you start – and whatever you do – please send us lots of pics and vids!

I Live In Or Close to London

The Venue (for runners / walkers / plankers / dancers) : Parliament Hill Running Track

The plan is to run / walk / dance / plank etc at the Parliament Hill running track – which is in a lovely setting on Hampstead Heath. I learnt recently that it’s also the place where the 10 000 metre trials for this year’s Olympics were going to be held to allow athletes such as Mo Farah to record their qualifying times. In short, it’s a good place to run!

It’s not 100% guaranteed that it will be officially open by July 4th but the officer I talked to is currently being positive about our plans (its already de facto open – plenty of people are jumping over the fence and using it). Use of the track will likely be subject to some form of social distancing guidelines – which we will be following carefully. More details to follow once the arrangements are confirmed.

Date and Timings

The current plan is to run on July 4th at 5.00 pm. The idea of the late afternoon start is to avoid the crowds & heat – and segue straight into the party! Depending on numbers, we may stagger some of the start times to maintain social distancing.

Running Distances

Most of you are running 5km or 10km – many for the first time! However, if that’s not your cup of tea then perhaps consider running the classic distance of a mile  – which is equivalent to 1609.34 metres or just over 4 times around the track.

Party

Depending on the then current social distancing guidelines, we will be celebrating / commiserating in style after the run on the heath and/or back at ours. Details to follow.

Finally, I very much hope to see you on July 4th – either in person or on video from wherever you may be. We’re going to get a bit fitter, raise a good sum of money for charity – and have a wonderful evening!”

The PB Challenge in a Nutshell

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 first ever 5km – or your fastest ever 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.

Alternatively, and many people are taking this option, show your support for global friendship and togetherness by simply going for a run, a walk, a cycle (any form of exercise!) at 16.00 BST on July 4th.

 

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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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