UK Run 7 : Taunton

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Date : 8th December, 2018

Time : 1h 03’ 39”

Number of runners (total to date) : 276* (2902)

Total distance run to date : 1600 km + 70km in the UK

Run map and details :

Media : ;

If you’ve never tried a Parkrun then you really should. They’re free, weekly, 5km timed runs in a park somewhere near you. Some participants are serious runners ; others are social runners ; and still others are beginners. On the day I ran in Taunton, 261 people took part – with times ranging from 18’ 19” to 1h 10’ 35”.

Parkrun is now in 584 locations and I think one of the reasons they’re so successful is that everyone’s given a bar code and parkrun then produces a table of results for each run. These contain a wealth for data and, even if you’re not a serious runner, it’s fascinating to see how you’ve done vis-a-vis your previous times and vis-a-vis your personal demographic.

Another reason is that they’re very welcoming and supremely well organised. And a large part of that is due to the volunteers. One of them, Dave, introduced himself to me. He has stage 4 cancer, is about to go into chemotherapy, and has been given 3-30 months. He told me all this with smile on his face and I asked him how he stayed cheerful in the circumstances. He told me he couldn’t do it without parkrun.

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The Run the World ethos is that running is both great for you and great fun. But, in truth, it often goes deeper than that. I talk to people all over the world for whom running has made all the difference in their battles against physical and mental health issues.

Dave, best of luck for what’s coming up. May you defy the odds!

The Taunton parkrun consists of two loops of Longrun Meadow and on the day I ran it was plenty wet and muddy. Conscious that I would be driving back to London in my running gear, I tried to run carefully to stay as dry as I could.

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And to save my breath to talk to as many people as possible including Sharron, the remarkable ‘just out of hospital’ Taunton AC runner,

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and Jane – pic below with hint of a rainbow – who works for the police and oversees their fitness testing. (They use bleep tests : everyone is expected to be at level 5.4 and firearms and similar officers are expected to be at level 9.1 or above.)

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Having done the parkrun 5km, I was then joined by a number of parkrunners ; by runners from Taunton AC, the Hydro Harriers, the Taunton Hash House Harriers, and the Running Forever Running Club ; and by staff from Albert Goodman for a further 10km run. There were about 25 of us at the start of the run and, much like the earlier parkrun, there was plenty of mud and good chat with the runners including Harriet Hash House Harrier and various members of the Albert Goodman team.

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Albert Goodman were actually the reason I was in Taunton because I’d talked at their away day / Christmas party the previous evening at the Fleet Air Arm Museum. (For those who don’t know them, Albert Goodman are a firm of accountants based in Taunton. I’ve worked with them for a number of years despite living hours away in London – which I guess is a pretty good recommendation.)

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After the talk, they were good enough to present me with a cheque for £2000 for Cancer Research (thank you!)

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We then proceeded to the museum for their party – a museum which includes a Concorde.

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Particularly fascinating for me because, many years ago when I was in the computer / video games business, for various unlikely reasons I was flown to New York for a meeting. By Concorde.

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But that story’s for another time. For now, it just remains for me to say a huge thank you to Jamie and all the runners and volunteers at parkrun ; to Mike Cahill and everyone at Albert Goodman ; to Sharron and Taunton AC ; to Tom and the Hydro Harriers ; to Linda and the Running Forever Club ; Just Run Taunton ; and to Harriet and the Taunton Hash.

If any of you can make it, then I’d love to see you in London on July 4th 2020 for the UK, and final, leg of Run the World!

If you’d like to help fight cancer then I and, far more importantly, cancer sufferers around the world, would be immensely grateful for any donations to Cancer Research :

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!

*261 park runners + c. 15 new runners who joined us for the 2nd part of the run.


About Run the World

I'm running 10 km in every country in the world - a total of 205 countries - by the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. I'm doing the Run the World challenge to promote the benefits of sport and physical activity and to raise money for cancer research following the death of my mother from cancer. If you'd like to donate to Cancer Research - - then I know they'd be very grateful.
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