One Run Highgate Inaugural Run!

Date : 16th April, 2021

Time : 1h 37’ 55”

Number of runners (total to date) : 12 (12)

Run map and details :  https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/6830306776

Back at the end of 2019 I started talking to the team behind One Run for Boston and the London Relay. They’re great people and we ended up working together on a very ambitious (aka completely crazy) project which, sadly, we had to shelve due to COVID. In September 2020 we pivoted (to use the jargon) and decided instead to launch the One Run Global Relay in December 2020.*

Somewhat to our amazement, the Relay had 15 000 entrants, participants in every country in the world and raised over $60 000 for our charity partners. We also had fantastic post-event feed-back and decided to do it all again in 2021 (October 16th at 9am – save the date!)

During our planning for the 2021 Relay the thought occurred that it might be good to do something that encouraged people to run throughout the year – and came up with the concept of a global running club. The idea really appealed to me so I put up my hand to kick things off and set up a club in Highgate (in north London).

About 3 weeks ago I sat down with 3 friends – Raja ; Anthony ; and Andrew – to discuss exactly how it might work. The brief was to set up a social running club that would be genuinely welcoming for everyone. That would get us all running a little bit more – and enjoying our running a lot more!

We decided we should start and finish at the same place (usually a pub ); offer a shorter, gentle run plus a longer, slightly faster run ; and meet at 7pm on a Thursday. (Thanks guys for all the help and advice!)

I sent an email about it all to the Londoners who took part in last year’s PB Challenge and sat back expecting the digital equivalent of tumbleweed. Ten days later we have more than 30 people in our WhatsApp group and 12 of us made it to the start line.

We were planning to run in 2 groups – one doing 3km and one doing 5km – through Highgate Woods and then onto the North Parkland Walk towards Alexandra Palace. As it was our first ever run we stuck for the first 1.5km – everybody chatting to everybody – before saying goodbye to the 3kers.

The 5kers made it to Ally Pally which, if you don’t know it, has some of the most stupendous views over in London taking in the City, Canary Wharf and the Spurs stadium. Not that you can see any of them in the photo below…

We then return returning to the Woodman where the group showed the same enthusiasm for the socialising as it had for the running.

It was a brilliant evening and I shall be forever grateful to Maria, Freya, Niamh, Phil, Natalie, Amy, Martin, Danny, Anthony, Lucy and Raja for their company on our inaugural run. Many thanks also to Millie, Mia and everyone at the Woodman who looked after us so well!

Will this be the start of a global social running club? Who knows but that’s the dream and wouldn’t it be great if there was a friendly group of people you could join for a run wherever you were in the world. But for now the focus is on next weeks’ run – meet at the Boogaloo at 7pm on Thursday May 27th. Everyone’s invited so join us if you can!

* The Relay aims to bring people together from all over the world ;  raise funds for some great causes ; and encourage everyone to run, walk and move more. The way it works is that, at 9am local time on October 16th, people in every country in the world will run, walk or move for an hour creating a spectacular 24 hour relay around the globe.

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Secret Westminster

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Date : 16th April, 2021

Time : 1h 37’ 55”

Number of runners (total to date) : 2 (7108)

Run map and details : https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/6633887534

The City of Westminster* contains Regent’s Park, Oxford Street, Soho, Covent Garden, Trafalgar Square, Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace, Hyde Park, Mayfair – the list just goes on and on and there’s no way to plot a 10km route that takes in all the sights. So, at Darren’s prompting, we took a different approach and focused on ‘Secret Westminster’. Sights that even people like me – who think they know London – have never heard of, let alone seen.

We met at Tottenham Court Road tube station. OK, Tottenham Court Road is hardly a secret but you probably weren’t aware that, in 1814, a vat of beer in the Meaux & Company Brewery exploded, unleashing a huge tsunami of beer that swept down from Tottenham Court Road to the surrounding streets. Of the eight people who died, five of them were attending a wake.

From there we followed our noses – or rather we followed the noses – through Soho. Artist Rick Buckley put up 35 noses across London claiming he installed them as a protest against CCTV spying culture in London. Most of them have been removed but there are still reputed to be 7 noses dotted in and around Soho. (Admiralty Arch, Bateman Street, Dean Street, Meard Street, Endell Street, Great Windmill Street and D’Arbly Street if you’re interested.)

Frankly they’re not easy to spot – especially when you’re also trying to run – but we did see one in Meard Street.

On a slightly more serious note, we also found John Snow’s water pump on Broadwick Street. Originally, the pump in question was the source of a deadly cholera epidemic but now it’s a reminder of the lives saved by Dr John Snow. Why care? Because Dr Snow produced evidence that cholera was waterborne via ground-breaking research that changed the way scientists investigate and treat epidemics across the world. Which seems quite topical.

From there we made our way through oddly empty Soho streets

to Phoenix Gardens. Built on a WWII bomb site, that was subsequently turned into a car park, it’s a delightful green ‘you’d-never-know-it-was-there-unless-you-read-this-excellent-blog’ space that won a Shell Better Britain Campaign Award and, even more excitingly, the Best Environmental Garden in Camden in Bloom every year since 2004.

South past St Martins Theatre where ‘The Mousetrap’ is still playing – or would be if it wasn’t for COVID. Famous as the world’s longest running play, The Mousetrap opened in London’s West End in 1952 and ran continuously until 16 March 2020 – with its 27,500th performance taking place on 18 September 2018.

To Trafalgar Square where Heather Phillipson’s vast physical and digital sculpture – The End – tops the Fourth Plinth with a giant swirl of whipped cream, a cherry, a fly and a drone that transmits a live feed of Trafalgar Square. (The live feed can be seen at www.theend.today .)

On to the UK’s smallest police station in the south-eastern corner of Trafalgar Sq. Built in 1926 so that the Metropolitan Police could keep an eye on the more troublesome demonstrators, it contained a direct phone line back to Scotland Yard in case reinforcements were needed. Whenever the police phone was picked up, the ornamental light fitting at the top of the box started to flash. Today the box is used as a broom cupboard for Westminster Council cleaners…

From there we made our way to Admiralty Arch for some more nose spotting. Too much scaffolding made that impossible so we ran down Horse Guards Rd, across Horse Guards Parade, past the 4 Horsemen of the Pandemic

and out onto Whitehall. South past Downing Street and the Cenotaph and into Parliament Square and its large gothic building and clock on a tower before arriving our next destination : Jewel Tower. Which is quite a large building and one which, somehow, I’ve never previously noticed.

It was built between 1365 and 1366 to house the personal treasure of King Edward III and it’s one of the surviving parts of the original Palace of Westminster. (It continued to be used for storing the monarch’s treasure and personal possessions until 1512, when a fire in the Palace caused King Henry VIII to relocate his court to the nearby Palace of Whitehall.)

Next up was College Green – commonly used for media interview of members of parliament – where Alex Salmond was busy explaining to a reporter why his new party – Alba – would benefit the Scottish nationalist cause and had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with his ongoing fight with Nicola Sturgeon…

With a little bit of a search we then located the air raid shelter signs along Lord North Street

before making our way to Buckingham Palace. Obviously the Palace is hardly a secret but I mention it because Prince Philip had just died and the flags were flying at half mast, the world’s media was out in force and the flowers were blooming magnificent.  

Past St James’s Palace and onto Pickering Place – the smallest square in Britain, home to the Texan Republic’s embassy (until Texas joined the United States in 1845) and also the last place in London where a duel was fought.

North to Berkeley Square and the legendary Annabel’s night club. The only night club the Queen has ever visited (apparently) it regularly hosts the great and the naughty of London and has hosted any number of performers including Tina TurnerRay CharlesElla FitzgeraldDiana RossBryan Ferry, Hot Stew and Lady Gaga.

I’m not sure how many readers will have been inside Annabel’s but if you are ever invited, as I once was, take out a loan, brace yourself for eye wateringly expensive food and drink, and enjoy one of the most extraordinary clubs I’ve even been to anywhere in the world.

To give you a sense of it all, that lavishly decorated corridor we admiringly walked down – which would be the centrepiece of most clubs – turned out, not remotely embarrassingly, to be the way to the ladies…  

Our next stop was the Church of the Immaculate Conception on Farm Street – described as ‘Gothic revival at its most sumptuous’ – it really is beautiful.

As are the Mount Street gardens to its north.

A final run through more of Mayfair to the ever lovely Hush restaurant courtyard

and then it was now time to say goodbye to Darren. He was off to visit his Mum – regular readers will be relieved to hear she is doing somewhat better. I, on the other hand, took advantage of lockdown easing and went to my favourite barbers for my first professional hair cut in a year. It’s a fine place – quick, friendly and tremendous value for money. I’d give you the address – except that it’s a secret!

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.

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London Borough Run 30 : Greenwich

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


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Date : 9th April, 2021

Time : 1h 13’ 56”

Number of runners (total to date) : 2 (7106)

Run map and details :   https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/6577355313

The London Borough of Greenwich* contains so much famous stuff that I suspect most of us could put together a running route taking in the main sights. But it takes a local to really open your eyes to the less well known – but still amazing – hidden quirks that seem to exist around every Greenwich corner. And it’s hard to imagine a better local for the job than Paul Tonks – a Greenwich born and bred ultra-runner nutter and all round nice guy.

We met at the Millenium Dome which, I subsequently learnt, is the 8th largest building in the world by usable space. Created to celebrate the third millennium , it opened on 1st January 2000 (I know, I know – the third millennium didn’t start until 1st January 2001) and was originally seen as a classic ‘white elephant’ before becoming, as the O2 Arena, the world’s most successful arena in terms of tickets sold.

We started the actual run at a ‘Slice of Reality’ – Richard Wilson’s vertical section of a sand dredger which sits on the Line – an art trail that runs between the Dome and the Orbit in the Olympic Park.

From there we ran west along the Thames past ‘Here’ which sits on the prime meridian – the imaginary line which divides East from West. As the sign pictured above says, its 24 859 miles around the world – via the poles – from that point. I suspect that even Paul might struggle with that distance…

We continued south and west along the Thames – with Canary Wharf and the Isle of Dogs to our west and north – to the Old Royal Naval College.  

The Old Royal Naval College is the architectural centrepiece of Maritime Greenwich, a World Heritage Site in Greenwich, London, described by UNESCO as being of “outstanding universal value” and reckoned to be the “finest and most dramatically sited architectural and landscape ensemble in the British Isles”.

If it looks familiar, despite the fact you’ve never been there, it’s because it’s been a location for endless films and TV series including Patriot Games,  Four Weddings and a FuneralThe Madness of King GeorgeThe Mummy ReturnsThe Avengers  Lara Croft: Tomb Raider Spooks  Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. The King’s Speech, The Dark Knight Rises, Les Miserables.  Thor: The Dark World. The Man from U.N.C.L.E.. You get the point, it’s been used a lot…

Next up was the Cutty Sark  – famed and perfectly preserved clipper ship which set various records for various routes in its day.

And then an extraordinary life sized statue /sculpture of 6ft 8 Peter the Great celebrating his Grand Embassy visit to the UK to learn about shipbuilding and to strengthen the Holy League (an alliance of European countries against the Ottoman Empire). His entourage included 4 dwarves which explains (I think) the middle – shorter – figure in the photo below. (The medium sized bloke on the left is me.)

Back through the centre of Greenwich via Greenwich market, the ‘dead parrot’ in the grounds of the national Maritime Museum

the first shop in the world

the ‘ship in the bottle’

to Greenwich Park famous, inter alia, for being the site of the Royal Observatory.

By JaneArt – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8933484

The Observatory played a major role in the history of astronomy and navigation, and because the Prime Meridian passes through it, gave its name to Greenwich Mean Time. It also has a clock which prompted the following not remotely embarrassing conversation:

Me, “This is the last place I would have expected to find a clock showing the wrong time!”

Paul, “Um, its a 24 hour clock…”

You also get great views north over London from here.

And just south of the Observatory is the area you congregate in prior to the London marathon – which we ran past on our way to the south gate for a picture of the (somewhat non-descript) London marathon starting line.  Believe me, it all looks very different with tens of thousands of people setting off on their marathon.

From there we crossed Blackheath – so named for the Black Death victims buried there (or the colour of the soil depending on who you believe) – to Point Hill for another superb view over London before wending our way back through the park, past Henry Moore’s Knife Edge

to Greenwich station.

A simply fantastic 10km – run the route if you possibly can. Ideally with Paul!

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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The European Super League is Dead – Long Live Football!

Despite the European Super League proposals being loathsome, they did contain one valid argument : football needs to change and innovate if it is to continue to prosper. Even if you’re the biggest sport in the world, standing still isn’t an option. Not if you want millions of the ever more demanding younger generations to become ‘legacy fans’.

With this in mind, here are our top 5 recommendations for improving football.

  1. Matches need to be more entertaining and, in particular, there need to be more goals.

This is the most important recommendation. Put bluntly – and in language that corporates can understand – if the product ain’t right then, eventually, you won’t have any ‘customers’ (aka fans). And, yes, there are still plenty of entertaining matches and the players are faster and more skilful than ever. But defences are much fitter and defensive structures are much better organised. Meaning there is a lot of dull play and not enough goals or goal mouth action.

One solution is to make it easier to score and below we suggest two ways to do this : bigger goals (controversial we know but please read the arguments) and a simplification / tweak to the offside rule.

  • The competitive outcome needs to be more uncertain i.e. more clubs need to be able win major trophies

One of the beauties of football is that the outcomes of individual matches are never certain – upsets are always possible. However the outcomes of many competitions, particularly leagues such as the Bundesliga, Serie A, Ligue 1 and La Liga, is becoming increasingly predictable. Even the Champions League has only had 4 winners in the past 9 years – and they were all teams which had previously won it on numerous occasions (Real Madrid (13 wins in total), Liverpool (6), Bayern Munich (6) and Barcelona (5))

It is simply not possible to keep growing a sport where the pool of potential winners is so small and where the winners are, in the case of some competitions, effectively known in advance.

Achieving greater uncertainty will be difficult as it will presumably mean redistributing income and/or imposing a salary cap. But it is vital – both to everyone’s enjoyment of the competitions in question and to future growth.

  • Club finances need to be run on a sustainable basis

One of the key drivers behind the ESL was the fact that the so called big clubs have run up massive losses over the years and are many are now heavily in debt. And this despite their revenues having increased enormously in recent years.

In some cases debts have been incurred as result of building new stadiums or the way in which a club has been bought. But for many it’s the case that they simply pay their players – and the players’ agents – an unsustainable amount.

How can this be addressed – especially given that above we argue for revenues to be split more equally between participating cubs? We’d recommend the authorities look at :

  • A salary cap (likely to be one of the most effective tools in increasing the number of clubs with a chance to win trophies)
  • Banning the use of debt – secured against the club’s future revenue – to fund take-overs. (If you want to buy a club, go ahead. But use your own money.)
  • Banning payments to agents. (If players want to use agents then they can pay them out of their own earnings – like they do in almost every other branch of the entertainment industry.)
  • Don’t rely on Financial Fair Play regulations – they simply entrenched the pre-existing hierarchy.
  • Make the Goals Bigger
    We know this is a controversial one – but we think it’s one of the simplest ways to increase the numbers of goals scored. Something that we believe is both necessary and highly desirable given that World Cup scoring has decreased from a high of 5.4 goals per game in 1954 to 2.6 goals per game in 2018. (In the English 1st Division / Premiership, 4.63 goals per game were scored in 1889-90, 3.95 goals/game in 1930-31 and 2.72 goals/game in 2019-20. The low of 2.36 goals/ game was in 1970-71.)

But isn’t this just artificially tampering with the rules to make the game more exciting? Not really when you think about. The current size of the goal was standardised a long time ago when goal-keepers were, on average, significantly smaller. Increasing the size of the goal would simply take us back to the original goalie – goal frame ratio.

You’d need to experiment to identify the optimal size but we think widening the goals by the width of the current goalposts and heightening the goals by the width of the current cross bar might be a good place to start. (In other words, shots that now hit the bar / goal posts would be goals.)

  • Simplify and tweak the offside law

Even with the introduction of VAR there is endless controversy about offside decisions. Basing offside decisions purely on the position of players’ feet would greatly simplify and improve the law. No longer would there be any argument about whether a knee or head was offside as they simply wouldn’t count.

In fact, we’d even like to go further and suggest that an attacker would only be offside if their feet were fully in front of the defender’s feet. Any overlap would mean the attacker was onside.

These may sound like technicalities but we believe they would significantly assist attacking play and increase the number of goals scored.

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London Run 29 : Borough of Kingston-upon-Thames

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


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Date : 1st  April, 2021

Time : 58’ 02”

Number of runners (total to date) : 3 (7104)

Run map and details :   https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/6532314344

Between May and November 2020 we hardly knew anyone who caught corona. That all changed in mid-December when suddenly lots of local people – including close friends – started falling ill and testing positive. After months of feeling relatively safe, it was such a radical change that I remember feeling like the virus was lapping at our doorstep.

On January 5th the UK went into a third national lockdown. It didn’t make a lot of difference to those of us who live in London as we were already in a high level of lockdown. But it did presage a very dark period as a new, vastly more transmissible – and possibly more lethal – mutation battered a pre-vaccinated country. More than a thousand people a day died during January and total deaths, which had stood at under 60 000 at the beginning of December, increased to almost 120 000 by mid-February. Shocking.

For various reasons it was also a very dark period for me personally with one of the few bright spots being the almost miraculous effects of running. No matter how I felt, going for a run would restore a level of equilibrium and positivity.

Back at the national level, the combination of lockdown and vaccine roll-out began to have an effect. Infections and deaths came down and, on March 29th, stage 1 of lockdown lifting came into effect in England. Suddenly we were allowed to travel a little further and run with more than one person.

So I travelled to Kingston-upon-Thames for my eponymous borough run*. It was only an 18 mile journey but it’s the furthest I’d travelled for months. And I met 2 friends there – Andrew and Caroline. And the sun was shining for once. All super exciting!

We started at the train station and detoured via David Mach’s ‘Out of Order’ street installation

down to the Thames. From there we ran to the northern border of the borough before saying goodbye to Caroline and turning south.

It’s a lovely part of the world to run in – all green spaces, riverside towns and the Thames.

The pace of life feels a touch slower than central London with swans quite rightly having priority over cars..

Andrew and I ran to the southern border of the borough

and then returned to the centre of Kingston having run 10km without really noticing it thanks to the scenery, the sun and the chatter.

Truly a special run and a fitting way to celebrate the first easing of lockdown. Thank you Caroline and Andrew for the company. And thank you running. I literally don’t know what I would have done without you.

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 Borough of Camden

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


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Date : 12th  February, 2021

Time : 1h 22’ 39” (for 14.26 km)

Number of runners (total to date) : 2 (7101)

Run map and details :  https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/6292373192

This isn’t an easy blog to write. I’ve spent so much of my life living – and running – in the London borough of Camden* that almost every metre of our 10km route has an attached memory or a story. And that makes it difficult to write the kind of short snappy blog that readers enjoy best. Strict editorial discipline is needed – less is more!

So, without further ado, let’s get cracking. We started at an icy Pond Square in Highgate – which has really come into its own during lockdown as a place you can meet and pretend to be following the various lockdown guidelines while experiencing a social atmosphere. Somewhat to the distress of the local residents’ association whose chair is continually bewildered by the mess people leave behind. And their failure to use the toilets…

From there we headed down Swains Lane – probably London’s most famous cycling hill and location of the annual Urban Hill Climb Race. Its gradient maxes at 20% and, Darren, who does these routes on his bike, was, I believe, grateful that we started down Swains Lane rather than finishing up it…

Swains Lane goes past Highgate Cemetery – 170 000 people in 53 000 graves including Douglas Adams, Patrick Caulfield, George Eliot, Malcom McLaren, Karl Marx, our old neighbour Tim Pigott-Smith and one day, if there are any spaces left, me.

It also goes past Waterlow Park – venue for the daily dog walk and home of the mighty Highgate (Virtual) Tennis Club of which I am the proud (if ever willing to be replaced…) Club Secretary.

By the time we’d got to the bottom of Swains lane we’d only done a kilometre but it seems to have taken a number of paragraphs to get there so let’s fast forward down Highgate Road and Kentish Town High Street, take a right down Rochester Road past Jeff and Annette’s to Rochester Mews where we used to live when Freya was born. A fantastic party house but not obviously a family home – it had zero garden and an extraordinarily low room to space ratio…

A few back streets later we made our way to the rather wonderful Gasholder Park

Coal Drops Yard

Granary Square development north of Kings Cross. One of my favourite parts of London and all closed up thanks to that miserable little f****r of a virus. We’ll be back to eat, drink and party one of these days!

For now it was time to descend to Regents Canal

and head west to Camden Town. (Incidentally, if you’re not familiar with it, you can head east along Regents Canal to Victoria Park and beyond, eventually reaching Stratford and the Olympic Park. You have to leave the canal for a bit around the Angel Islington but otherwise it’s a fantastic run / walk / bike ride.)

We left the Canal at the ‘never seen it deserted’ before Camden Lock part of Camden Market.

Camden Market started life in 1974 as a small 16 stall Sunday arts and craft fair in the Dingwall’s backyard ; it’s now London’s largest market attracting 250 000 visitors a week to over 1000 shops, stalls, boutiques and bars. Its enormous and I’ve spent many, many hours there. But its currently just a pale shadow of its usual self with a few desultory food stalls offering take-way food. Even Cyberdog is closed. All very sad.

On the plus side you get through it a lot quicker when there are no crowds and we were soon onto Chalk Farm Road making our way towards the legendary Roundhouse. The extraordinary building that started life as railway turntable shed and became the stage for everything from Oh! Calcutta! to the Stones, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Bowie and countless others.  

Fast forward time again up Haverstock Hill and past the Royal Free to the mixed bathing pond on the Hampstead side of the Heath.

Ah, the heath, the heath. 790 acres which I’ve ran, walked and cycled round more times that I can remember – and still manage to find a new route every time I visit. The place where every north London teenager came – in droves – during lockdowns 1 & 2. One of the finest bits of urban greenery on the planet.

We ran / cycled through the Heath up to Whitestone Pond – the highest point in inner London where I said goodbye to Darren. We spent 5 minutes chatting and, by the time he left, I could hardly move from stiffness and hand aching cold….

A shuffle back to Highgate and that was our 10km – well 14 in total – complete. There’s so much of Camden we didn’t see – Kings Cross, the east side of Regents Park, Primrose Hill, the British Museum. But it was still a brilliant run – albeit one tinged with sadness. Darren’s Mum has been very unwell and she and her family are going through a tough, tough time – hugs and best wishes to all of them.

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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The City of London

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


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Date : 29th  December, 2020

Time : 1h 06’ 48”

Number of runners (total to date) : 2 (7099)

Run map and details :   https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/6021290654

It feels like every time we go for a London borough run* there’s at least one memorable moment – even if it’s only an encounter with an irate bailiff. And sometimes, as in Kensington and Chelsea, it seems like there’s something truly remarkable around every corner.

The City of London run was definitely in the latter category – an extraordinary juxtaposition of the historic and the modern.

The City isn’t, strictly speaking, a London borough. It’s a city, a ceremonial county, a local government  district and an enclave surrounded by Greater London. It’s the historic centre of London and constituted its largest part from the original settlement by the Romans in the 1st century AD until the Middle Ages. It lies to the east of the part of London that most tourists probably consider the centre – Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly and Leicester Square – and is why that area is known as the West End.

The City is also known as the Square Mile because it is small – around 1.12 square miles / 2.90 square km. But its more than big enough for a great 10km.

We started at Blackfriars Bridge – named after the black cappa wearing Dominican Friars who moved their priory to the area in about 1276 –

and headed west to Inner Temple gardens. (The Inner Temple being one of London’s four Inns of Court : all barristers – that’s the lawyers who argue cases in court – must belong to one of the four.)

Unfortunately the gardens were closed due to COVID so we ran up Temple Avenue to Fleet Street, famous as the home of Sweeney Todd – the fictional penny dreadful barber who killed his victims with a razor before handing them over to his partner to turn into meat pies –  and, up until the 1980s, most of Britain’s national newspapers. Many of which could probably also be described as cut throat..

East along Fleet St to St Pauls’ Cathedral – Christopher Wren’s massive masterpiece –

and then south down Peter’s Hill with views over the ‘wobbly’ Millennium Bridge to Tate Modern.

East again – this time along the Embankment to Queenhithe. I’ve run past Queenhithe many times in the past without noticing that it’s got both a plaque to mark Alfred the Great’s resettlement of London in 886

and a mural of the history of London.

On towards the Tower of London which has served variously as an armoury, a menagerie, the Royal Mint, and the home of the Crown Jewels of England. It’s probably most famous as a prison having housed a number of luminaries including Elizabeth 1 (before she became queen obvs), Sir Walter Raleigh and, in the 1950s, the notorious Kray twins.

A little bit north then west again past All Hallows

and the ruins of St Dunstan in the East – after being almost destroyed by German bombers in the blitz it was turned into a garden rather than being rebuilt.

A little further west we came to the Monument to the Great Fire of London – an enormous conflagration which gutted the City in 1666. The Monument itself is a 202 feet high Doric column situated 202 feet away from the bakery in Pudding Lane where the Fire started.

Northwest to the Royal Exchange and the Bank of England – the eight oldest bank in the world, it’s the central bank of the United Kingdom and, per Wikipedia, is the model for most modern central banks.  

It was now time for some of the more modern buildings – the Walkie Talkie (winner of the 2015 Carbuncle Cup for worst new building in the UK)

the Lloyds Building – Richard Rogers’ much feted example of radical Bowellism

the Scalpel

and the multi-award winning Gherkin

By the way there are plenty more skyscrapers planned – here’s what the City may look like in the future

I’m conscious that this blog is starting to become a long one so I’ll speed up now and just say that we then made our way past Liverpool St station up to Broadgate Tower, then back south to Broadgate Circus, Finsbury Circus Gardens, the Guildhall – currently being used a s COVID testing centre – and then along London Wall to one of the better preserved bits of the old London wall built by the Romans as a defensive wall around Londinium.

From there we ran past the London Museum to the Barbican Estate and Centre before heading west to run round Smithfield’s meat market and finish at St Bartholomew the Great, London’s oldest parish church founded in 1123. Which just happened to be displaying ‘’Exquisite Pain’ by Damian Hirst. A final ancient and modern juxtaposition which seemed particularly appropriate at the end of 2020…

Along the way we also passed innumerable other notable buildings, statues and monuments too numerous to mention but I hope the above gives you a sense of how truly amazing the City is!

Top picture by Tristan Surtel – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=83153416

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 28 : Borough of Hillingdon – Return of the Bailiff

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


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Date : 4th  December, 2020

Time : 1h 03’ 37” (delayed by bailiff)

Number of runners (total to date) : 3 (7097)

Run map and details :  https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/5912588960

When people ask me what I’ve learnt on my Run the Word travels, I usually say that, despite the impression given by the media, people everywhere are generally friendly and helpful. Obviously there are exceptions. The angry armed guard in Somalia. The people who threw stones at us in Djibouti. The border officials on both the Kinshasa and Brazzaville sides of the Congo*. AND PRETTY MUCH EVERYONE WE MET IN THE LONDON BOROUGH OF HILLINGDON.

In truth it was one of those days when everything goes wrong. I’d somehow managed to get lost on the way and was late to meet Darren and Julian (this was back in the pre-lockdown 3.0 era) at the Springwell Lake car park.

The car park itself is by a narrow bridge that crosses the our old friend the Grand Union Canal. There’s a haulage company just south of the bridge meaning there is a constant stream of lorries trying to cross the bridge. Since the bridge is narrow – and a tight turn – they need to manoeuvre the lorries a few times. Which involves a lot of shouting and blowing of horns at anyone – such as us – who unwittingly gets in their way while congregating outside the car park.

Leaving the cacophony behind we ran south along the Canal to Black Jack’s Lock

where we crossed over the canal and continued running south along a narrow muddy path.

To our right was a sparse hedgerow through which we could see a country lane – running parallel to the canal – and a broad expanse of water.

We decided to cut through the hedge at the next big gap and crossed the road to the waterfront. For a very lovely vista over a deserted, full-of-wildfowl lake. Darren informed us that he’d just been talking to some bloke and, apparently, you need a permit to fish in the lake.

Having admired the view, we continued running down the lane until we’d reached 5km and turned around and made our way back up the lane. At which point a Jeep accelerated towards and screeched to a halt scattering us all over the lane. The driver got out and started haranguing and verbally threatening Julian.

Which wasn’t the greatest idea. Partly because there were three of us and one of him. And partly because Julian is one of London’s leading litigation lawyers. (He was named Europe’s leading litigator at The American Lawyer’s 2015 Transatlantic Legal Awards.)

After being ranted at for a few minutes, Julian, calling on years of experience resolving highly complex, billion pound cases on behalf of multi-national companies, then invited our assailant to ‘change his tone or f**k off”.

By this time I’d made my way round the car to be closer to Julian in case it all kicked-off (not quite sure why since I’m useless in a fight…). Realising he was getting nowhere with Julian, our new friend came up close to me. Far too close.

The sensible thing to do in these COVID times would have been to step back. But, boys pointlessly being boys in such situations, I stood my ground. He asked me – with more effing and blinding – what I’d been doing. I suggested that, since he’d already had this conversation with Julian, he knew perfectly well that we’d all been running along the lane.

Slowly the temperature dropped and we managed to establish that he considered himself to be the local bailiff and was accusing us of trespassing on private property. He flashed an ID card at us but frankly I have no idea if he was telling the truth or was just a complete nutter.

Eventually he moved on at which point Darren, who’d been watching the whole thing in amazement, told us that the putative ‘bailiff’ was the bloke he’d had a friendly conversation with ten minutes previously and who’d told him that you need a permit to fish.

We trotted on a little until suddenly the bailiff mobile came screeching to a halt again just behind us. He got out the car again and threatened to call the police. We strongly encouraged him to pursue this course of action and set off again. Only for the ‘bailiff’ to return for a third time a couple minutes later. By now it had all taken on a slightly surreal quality and I’m not entirely sure what our ‘bailiff’ was on about – but I think he was saying that the police were on their way.  

It had got a little tiresome by this stage so, with a few sarcastic references to being able to hear the police choppers and sirens, we continued on our way and soon reached one of the gaps in the hedge and returned to the original path. Where we were able to confirm that, no, there were no ‘Private property ; trespassers keep out’ signs to be seen.

We made it back to the car park without much further incident beyond more angry lorry drivers at the aforementioned bridge. And the car driver who shouted at us to “Get out the f***ing road!”

Almost inevitably, there was a sting in the tail. Those who’ve run with me know that I run in an old, falling-apart-at-the-seams Run the World t shirt and a pair of slightly too short walking trousers. However, I do also own a high-tech, breathable, water and wind proof walking jacket which I run in on cold days. Which I left on the roof of my car after changing out of my sweaty running top at the end of the run. I just hope one of my new Hillingdon besties found it and appreciates the expensive present.

Finally, as a postscript, I subsequently tried to research the lake in question. I think it’s called Broadwater Lake – it’s nameless on Google Maps and my Garmin route map – but I haven’t been able to ascertain who owns it. Shame. I feel sure they’d enjoy this blog -and perhaps it would spur them on to check their public liability insurance…that ‘bailiff’ is going to seriously injure someone one of these days…

*In the interests of fairness I should note that, unlike Hillingdon, I also met loads of great people in Djibouti, the DRC and Somalia.

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 Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham

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


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Date : 26th  November, 2020

Time : 46’ 03”

Number of runners (total to date) : 2 (7094)

Run map and details :  https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/5876724487

For many years football and music were the two most important things in my life. I talked about them, watched them, read about them, based my career and friendships on them.

I also played them whenever I could. Or at least I played football. My rock god days came to an early end one calamitous day in junior school. We were practicing songs for an upcoming class concert when the music teacher signalled us to stop and announced that one of us couldn’t sing. She then asked us to start singing again and slowly walked up and down the lines of student to identify the culprit. I was the tallest so I was right at the back. Sweating more and more profusely as, student by student, she came closer and closer.

And then, to my utter horror, she stopped in front of me and said, “Don’t sing anymore ; just mouth along to the words.”

I was too embarrassed to tell my parents so they rocked up to the concert a couple of weeks later to watch me mime the songs. They never said anything. Perhaps they didn’t realise ; perhaps they were being kind.

Either way I never sang again – except as part of the crowd at football matches. The one place where it truly doesn’t matter how bad you are.

On the plus side, this allowed me to concentrate on my football. You know what they say : anyone can become expert in anything by putting in 10 000 hours of practice. Well, it isn’t true. I put in the time and I was still useless at football. I had the turning circle of an ocean liner, the balance of a three legged dog and the ball control of a trampoline.

This complete lack of any discernible talent didn’t affect my enthusiasm for my twin obsessions and the only odd thing is that, until I ran there with Darren, I had no idea that the London Borough of Fulham and Hammersmith was such an epicentre of football and music. (Darren, btw, used to be in a band and now composes, produces and mixes music in his spare time. Bastard.)

We met at the Queens Park Rangers stadium – previously universally referred to as Loftus Rd and now officially the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium. (In 2019, the club gifted the naming rights to the stadium to The Kiyan Prince Foundation, a charity set up in honour of former QPR youth player Kiyan Prince who was fatally stabbed after intervening to stop another boy being bullied)

From there we went through the Japanese Garden in Hammersmith Park

to the Television Centre – which was BBC Television’s HQ between 1960 and 2013. All sorts of amazing programs were recorded or transmitted there – most famously, at least in my eyes, Match of the Day and Top of the Pops. 

I can still remember going to my first TOTP. At the time I was working for Rhythm King Records and we were having hits with acts such as S’Express, Bomb the Bass, Beatmasters and Betty Boo. In truth I can’t remember which of our acts was on, I just remember how excited I felt to be there. Even if it was as a spectator in the green room rather than as a performer. (Slightly ironically, this was in the days when most of the acts mimed along to backing tracks – just about the only aspect of musical performance in which I had some relevant experience…)

Overcoming a strong sense of nostalgia, we set off past the Westfield centre for Shepherds Bush Green and the Empire.

A venue which I’d last visited with Darren and Liz for Bjorn Again. (To those of you now questioning Darren’s and my musical credentials, I should note that that this was at Liz’s instigation. Brushing aside claims from wannabees such as the Beatles, Liz has always been adamant that Abba were the greatest ever pop band and, after the success of Mamma Mia, who’s to say she’s wrong?)

We continued south along Shepherds Bush Road passing the site of the old Hammersmith Palais where I saw many a fine gig but which will always be associated in my mind with one of the great tracks – the Clash’s ‘(White Man) in Hammersmith Palais’. Possibly the first ever song to merge punk and reggae, it was one of Joe Strummer’s favourites and was played at his funeral. It’s also one of 4 Clash songs* to make my Top 100 ever which, with all due respect to Joe, may he rest in peace, is probably the more significant achievement.

From the Palais, it’s a short hop south to the Hammersmith roundabout and Odeon where, again, I’ve seen many a gig. But the one that really sticks in the memory dates back to 1986. I had just started working at Smallwood Taylor Management to help with the Human League who’d recently been taken on as a client. This was all very exciting for me, I’d loved the multi-million selling ‘Dare’ and the Human league were the first ‘pop stars’ I’d ever had dealings with.

At the time – 5 years on from ‘Dare’ – the band were on the comeback trail and the single ‘Human’ had just gone to no. 1 in the US. All was looking good as they set off on their UK tour which climaxed at the Odeon. About half way through the set, Joanne and Susan, the backing singers / dancers cocked up a dance routine and started laughing on stage. Bang. Just like that the magic was gone. If you expect stars to be reasonable and professional the whole time then you’re going to be sorely disappointed. But not to take a live performance seriously…

From the Odeon, you can cut down to the north bank of the Thames and it’s a lovely run down to Craven Cottage – Fulham’s ground.

And from there you can make your way inland to Stamford Bridge – home of Chelsea Football Club. As a Spurs fan, I now see this as enemy territory

but, back in the day, I lived in Battersea and Stamford Bridge was the closest first division ground.  

One evening, back in 1985, I made my way to Stamford Bridge for the second leg of the Chelsea – Sunderland League Cup semi-final. Football was different in those days. There was a more intense atmosphere that could kick-off at any point. And, when Sunderland went 2-0 up, it did kick-off. The Chelsea fans started to rip up the (wooden) stands and invaded the pitch. It took a number of charges by mounted police to clear the playing area and there was still a police horse galloping across the pitch at the time Sunderland scored their third goal.

Our route ended at Stamford Bridge and that’s where this blog also ends. It’s been surprisingly emotional travelling down memory lane to write this blog has. I hope you enjoyed it!

*The others being ‘Train In Vain’, ‘I Fought the Law’ and ‘Police and Thieves’.

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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Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea

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


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Date : 18th  November, 2020

Time : 51’ 53”

Number of runners (total to date) : 2 (7092)

Run map and details :    https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/5841259499

In 1901 Queen Victoria died and, in accordance with her wishes, the Metropolitan Borough of Kensington was granted royal status (she was born at Kensington Palace in the borough). In 1965 it was amalgamated with the Metropolitan Borough of Chelsea and, hey presto, the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea was born.

Despite the combination, it is the smallest borough in London and the second smallest district in England. And also one of most amazing places to go for a run. Not because there are swathes of green or river banks that make for great running but because there is so much truly remarkable stuff packed into such a small space.

Darren and I started at the northern border of RBKC in the Kensal Green Cemetery* which is one of London’s Magnificent Seven cemeteries and which was immortalised in a GK Chesterton poem “For there is good news yet to hear and fine things to be seen; Before we go to Paradise by way of Kensal Green.”

I’m not sure we went to Paradise from the cemetery. In fact I think we went to something closer to hell because we went south down Ladbroke Grove, over our old friend the Grand Union Canal

under the Westway and turned west at Ladbroke Grove tube towards Grenfell Tower.

Anyone who lives in London will remember the terrible events of June 2017 when a fire broke out in the Grenfell Tower block of flats.** 72 people died – the worst residential fire in the UK since WWII. The remains of the tower are still standing along with a very moving memorial wall.

From Grenfell we went east through carnival territory

to Portobello Road which, in normal times, hosts the famous Portobello Road market before heading south and west through Notting Hill to Debenham House on Addison Road.

I’d never heard of Debenham House but, as D said, it’s a great example of the unexpected and bizarrely brilliant things that sometimes seem like they’re round every corner in central London. Built for Ernest Debenham, who was responsible for expanding and then selling out of the eponymous business, it’s a Grade 1 listed Arts & Craft property with an Italianate exterior (or so Wikipedia tells me.)

The route then went through Holland Park, along Kensington High Street to Kensington Palace.

A place I can never go past without recalling Princess Diana’s death. It was one of those events where you remember where you were when you first heard about it (in my case, coming out of a club in Kings Cross at 4 in the morning).

Whatever you felt about Diana, the subsequent outpouring of grief was extraordinary – both in the UK and worldwide with an estimated 2.5 billion people watching her funeral. I can still remember the resulting sea of flowers outside Kensington Palace.

Leaving Kensington Palace and Diana memories behind, we headed south for the National History Museum with its 80 million plus exhibits and 5 million plus annual visitors including yours truly for one memorable dot com Christmas party….

And, yes, we did walk past Dippy the Diplodocus*** on the way into the party.

On to the Science Museum and then the Victoria and Albert Museum or V&A as it’s known – the world’s largest museum of design and applied and decorative arts.

A quick detour via Michelin House

before the finish at Harrods which should, at that time of the year (mid-November), have been ablaze with fairy tale Christmas lights. Instead, thanks to COVID and the lockdown, it was closed and looking a little drab behind hoardings.

Never mind, Harvey Nicks had a more positive message on display. (At least it seemed positive when I took the photo. At the time I didn’t know 2021 would see a new ultra transmissible COVID mutation sweeping the country ; rioters in the Capitol ; and Spurs dropping from first to fifth in the Premier League..)

There’s a lot of RBKC we didn’t get to but hopefully this blog will have given you a sense of why it really is one of the most exceptional places in the world to go for a run. Or a walk. Or a bike ride. Whatever. Go and explore!

*Kensal Green Cemetery is a cemetery in the Kensal Green area of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in London, England. Inspired by Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris, it was founded by the barrister George Frederick Carden.[1] The cemetery opened in 1833 and comprises 72 acres of grounds, including two conservation areas, adjoining a canal. The cemetery is home to at least 33 species of bird and other wildlife. This distinctive cemetery has memorials ranging from large mausoleums housing the rich and famous to many distinctive smaller graves and includes special areas dedicated to the very young. It has three chapels, and serves all faiths. It is one of the Magnificent Seven cemeteries in London.

The cemetery was immortalised in the lines of G. K. Chesterton‘s poem “The Rolling English Road” from his book The Flying Inn: “For there is good news yet to hear and fine things to be seen; Before we go to Paradise by way of Kensal Green.”

** https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grenfell_Tower_fire

On 14 June 2017, a fire broke out in the 24-storey Grenfell Tower block of flats in North KensingtonWest London, at 00:54 BST; it caused 72 deaths, including those of two victims who later died in hospital. More than 70 others were injured and 223 people escaped. It was the deadliest structural fire in the United Kingdom since the 1988 Piper Alpha disaster and the worst UK residential fire since the Second World War.

The fire was started by a malfunctioning fridge-freezer on the fourth floor.[note 1] It spread rapidly up the building’s exterior, bringing fire and smoke to all the residential floors. This was due to the building’s cladding, the external insulation and the air gap between which enabled the stack effect. The fire burned for about 60 hours before finally being extinguished. More than 250 London Fire Brigade firefighters and 70 fire engines were involved from stations across London in efforts to control the fire, and rescue residents. More than 100 London Ambulance Service crews on at least 20 ambulances attended, joined by specialist paramedics from the Ambulance Service’s Hazardous Area Response Team. The Metropolitan Police and London’s Air Ambulance also assisted the rescue effort.

***By Drow male – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4933219

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!

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment