London Run 7 : Kensington & Chelsea with the One Track Club

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Date : 24th June, 2019

Time : 57’ 29”

Number of runners (total to date) : 30 (4122)

Run map and details :   https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/3788330990

Kings Road in Chelsea was at the heart of London’s Swinging Sixties – evoking “an endless frieze of mini-skirted, booted, fair-haired angular angels” as one magazine put it. In the 1970s it reinvented itself as a centre of punk culture with Malcom McLaren’s and Vivienne Westwood’s boutique Let It Rock, which was renamed  SEX in 1974 (and then Seditionaries in 1977.)

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Those eras were a bit before my time in London but, when I first moved to London, I lived in Battersea, a short 137 bus ride away.

Whenever I did make it to the Kings Road I’d half notice that, between all the magnificently coiffed and pierced aging punks,

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there was a running track at the Sloane Square end.

Time passed and, in a series of changes that my Kings Road visiting self would have found astonishing, I moved to north London, settled down and even had kids.

In a (to date vain) attempt to interest our girls in art we would occasionally take them across London to the Saatchi Gallery

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which overlooks the aforementioned running track. By now I was starting to get into running and I wanted to run on that track

So you can imagine my excitement when, while researching the London Borough Challenge, I came across the One Track Run Club which trains at the Duke of York Square running track (to give it its full name) every Monday evening.

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The One Track Club was founded by, and is coached by, Anthony Fletcher and the day I was there was the first anniversary of its move to the Duke of York Square track.

As Fletch explains in the following video, it’s a club for runners of all abilities who want to push themselves and raise their heart rates.

I had a quick chat with Fletch before proceedings began and he told me that Roger Bannister – the man who ran the first sub 4 minute mile – used to train on the track. (I’m fortunate enough to have met Sir Roger a couple of times while he was still alive and to have run a mile on Oxford’s Iffley Road track where he set his famous record.)

The session started with series of warm up exercises

We then moved onto a 15 minute run where we alternated between 30 seconds at 10 km pace and 30 seconds at 5 km pace. The front runners were setting a 10 km pace of c 4’ 20” / km and I didn’t have too much trouble with that. Their 5 km pace was sub 4’ / km and that was less comfortable. To be honest, I’m not sure there was a discernible difference between my 5 km pace and my 10 km pace…(NB I don’t want to give the impression that you have to be fast to join these sessions. There were people running at a range of paces ; the goal of the exercise was to run for 15 minutes rather than any particular distance.)

We then had a break before moving onto series of sprints interspersed with jogs.

Just hearing the word ‘sprint’ make my hamstrings twitch and I approached this exercise gingerly. Before eventually coming to the conclusion that there’s not really a discernible difference between my sprinting pace and my 10 km pace either…

We’d covered about 6.3 km in total by the time the session finished and some of the runners were good enough to accompany me for the remaining laps to get to my 10 km. (We even got Fletch to join in for a bit of the run – which I understand is something of an achievement!)

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It just remains for me to say a huge thank you to Fletch, Laura and all my fellow runners for the company, warm welcome and subsequent donations. And a thank you to the Sex Pistols, the Clash, Malcom McLaren, Vivienne Westwood and everyone else who made punk, and by extension the Kings Road, something of fascination to so many people.

If any of you can make it, then I’d love to see you in London on 4th July 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 : 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!

 

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 - https://www.justgiving.com/Dan-Thompson11/ - then I know they'd be very grateful.
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