Please give generously to Cancer Research : https://www.justgiving.com/Dan-Thompson11/
Date : 26th March, 2017
Time : 52’ 49”
Total distance run to date : 1000 km
Run map and details : https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/1682370704
Media : https://www.facebook.com/ukinmexico/
I don’t know how you feel about Mother’s Day. A thoroughly deserved and much needed occasion for children to show their appreciation of everything their mothers do for them? An artificial construct designed to sell more cards, flowers and chocolates? Or perhaps even, depending on your faith & culture, a celebration of the Virgin Mary and the Mother Church? A combination of the above?
Your answer may depend on where you live. In the UK, Mother’s Day almost certainly evolved from the 16th-century Christian practice of visiting your mother church (where you were likely to see your mother) annually on Laetare Sunday. Although it has subsequently taken on many of the characteristics of Mother’s Day in the US and elsewhere, Mother’s Day in the UK has retained its original timing and is held on the 4th Sunday of Lent.
In 2017, that fell on Sunday 26th of March – the date of my 100th run. Which seemed fitting given that it was my mother’s death from cancer in late 2013 that really marked the start of my Run the World challenge – and motivated me to raise money for Cancer Research.
And, although I still wasn’t even half way through the 206 countries of the world, the 100th run felt like a milestone. It represented a 1000 km of often gruelling running (plus I don’t know how many kilometres more in training). Surely that deserved a memorable run?
Mexico City didn’t disappoint. The conditions were about as perfect as it gets for running. Brilliant sunshine but still cool due to Mexico City’s altitude (2250m). And the Centro Historico of Mexico City – which is essentially 15 square kilometres of UNESCO world heritage site – is a great place to run. Especially when Paseo de la Reforma, one of its main thoroughfares, is closed to traffic. As it is every Sunday morning.
What a great idea – and something I’m now going to campaign for in central London. On which subject, I’d appreciate it if someone could pass this note on to the Mayor :
Please can you close Horseguards, the Mall, and Constitution Hill every Sunday morning. In return, I promise to create a set of walking, running and cycling routes that will be used and loved by thousands of Londoners and tourists alike.
All the best,
Dan (the running man)’
There were certainly thousands of runners, walkers and cyclists out that morning in Mexico City. Including 3 brave souls from the British Embassy who’d been good enough to give up their Sunday mornings to accompany a mad Brit : Olivier – Deputy Head of Mission (who’s recorded the 3rd fastest London Marathon time of anyone with Crohn’s disease) ; Carolina – Digital Media Manager ; and Humberto – Pro Consul. (Picture above.)
We met at the Angel de la Independencia monument (El Angel) and set off northeast along Paseo de la Reforma before turning right down Juarez, past the Palacio de Bellas Artes and into Zócalo – the Plaza de la Constitución. (Picture below).
Measuring some 240 meters in each direction, it’s the world’s 3rd largest square (after Tiananmen and Red Square) and home to some of Mexico’s most visited tourist attractions including the National Palace – with its Diego Rivera murals – the Templo Mayor – with its Aztec relics – and the Metropolitan Cathedral where anyone can get married for free on Valentine’s Day. It’s also where they filmed the helicopter scene in the bond movie ‘Spectre’.
How do I know all this? Because Olivier was the perfect guide and kept up a running (pun intended) commentary as we went round Mexico City. We even managed to talk him into shooting a video of the Zócalo – complete with commentary.
From there we retraced our steps, going as far west as the Bosque de Chatulpec, before turning back and finishing back at El Angel – running up the steps Rocky style. A historic moment which Humberto was good enough to video. Judging from my celebration, I was reasonably pleased to have finished the first 100 runs…
A fantastic run. Olivier, Carolina and Humberto – thank you enormously for all the support! (And Olivier, good luck with the book on running in every state in Mexico!)
The Facts & Stats
Mexico, officially the United Mexican States, is a federal republic in the southern half of North America. It is bordered to the north by the United States; to the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; to the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and to the east by the Gulf of Mexico. Covering almost two million square kilometres (over 760,000 sq mi), Mexico is the sixth largest country in the Americas by total area and the 13th largest independent nation in the world. With an estimated population of over 120 million, it is the eleventh most populous country and the most populous Spanish-speaking country in the world while being the second most populous country in Latin America. Mexico is a federation comprising 31 states and a federal district that is also its capital and most populous city.
Pre-Columbian Mexico was home to many advanced Mesoamerican civilizations, such as the Olmec, Toltec, Teotihuacan, Maya and Aztec before first contact with Europeans. In 1521, the Spanish Empire conquered and colonized and administered as the viceroyalty of New Spain. Three centuries later, this territory became Mexico following recognition in 1821 after the colony’s Mexican War of Independence. The tumultuous post-independence period was characterized by economic instability and many political changes. The Mexican–American War (1846–48) led to the territorial cession of the extensive northern borderlands, one-third of its territory, to the United States. The Pastry War, the Franco-Mexican War, a civil war, two empires and a domestic dictatorship occurred through the 19th century. The dictatorship was overthrown in the Mexican Revolution of 1910, which culminated with the promulgation of the 1917 Constitution and the emergence of the country’s current political system.
Mexico has the fifteenth largest nominal GDP and the eleventh largest by purchasing power parity. The Mexican economy is strongly linked to those of its North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) partners, especially the United States. Mexico was the first Latin American member of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), joining in 1994. It is classified as an upper-middle income country by the World Bank] and a newly industrialized country by several analysts. By 2050, Mexico could become the world’s fifth or seventh largest economy. Due to its rich culture and history, Mexico ranks first in the Americas and seventh in the world by number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Mexico is a megadiverse country, ranking fourth in the world by biodiversity. In 2015 it was the 9th most visited country in the world, with 32.1 million international arrivals.
Finally, here’s the latest World Bank data for the Mexico – with the year 2000 as a comparison.
Population 127 m 2015 102.8 m 2000
GDP $1.14 trillion 2015 683.6 billion 2000
GNI per capita $9710 2015 $5750 2000
% below poverty line* 53.2% 2014 49% 2008
Life expectancy at birth 76.9 years 2015 74.3 years 2000
Primary school enrolment** 103% 2014 106% 2000
*Methodology can vary between countries and over time within a given country
**Percentage can exceed 100% due to the inclusion of over and under aged students