Camden School for Girls

RTW camden school for girls

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Date : 24th June 2019

Number of talk attendees (total to date) : 100 (2929)

We used to live about 200 meters from Camden School for Girls, very close to Rochester Terrace Gardens.

F, my eldest daughter, liked to visit the playground in the Gardens. Usually, she’d play around on the swings and slides but, one day, she saw another little girl and ran up to her. The other girl ran towards my daughter and, although they were separated by a wire fence, they tried to hug each other.

And that’s how I met M who, it turned out, was F’s best friend from nursery.

M went on to Camden School for Girls (CSG) and her parents, who became some of our favourite people, always gave us good reports about the school. To the extent that we’ve spent a lot of time wondering whether we should apply to send our own girls there.

So I was fascinated to have the chance to talk at the school. And also a little nervous.

Run the World offers schools a menu of activities including a talk ; a Q&A session ; a run ; and an exercise session. And CSG asked for an exercise session with a twist. They wanted 100 Y 12 students to do the exercises during the talk. Something I hadn’t done before.

I spent hours researching sitting and standing exercises that wouldn’t be too strenuous / sweaty / space consuming for students in an assembly hall in their normal school clothes. I then road tested the exercises with my own daughters to make sure they were doable, fun and worked the target muscle groups. But I couldn’t be sure how the students would react. Would they actually do any of them?

The talk starts with stories about my runs around the world – the extraordinary, and often inspiring, people I’ve met and things I’ve seen. Then we moved on to the healthy living section of the talk and suddenly it was exercise time.

The first exercise was the Butt Clench. A simple exercise where you clench your buttock muscles, hold for ten seconds and then relax.

Now, while you can’t actually see clothed buttocks being clenched, when people do the Butt Clench they go up and down on their chairs as they contract, and then relax, their gluteal muscles.

I looked out anxiously – and saw a sea of bobbing, smiling students. Perhaps this was going to work after all…

We moved on to Fab Abs, the Blind Flamingo, Thunder Thighs and Army Arms – and then the rest of the talk. Finishing with the slide that really summarises why I do these talks.

In 2018, Harvard aggregated a huge amount of research on healthy living and its impact on life expectancy. The conclusion? If you adopt the five healthy habit referred to in the talk – healthy weight, diet and levels of exercise combined with no smoking and no/low alcohol consumption – then, on average, women will live 14 years longer and men will live 12 years longer. Even adopting one healthy habit will, on average, extend your life by two years.

It just remains for me to say that I very much hope the students enjoyed the talk as much as I enjoyed meeting them!

And I also hope they will stay involved with Run the World – either via social media (links below) or by joining in the UK, and final, leg of Run the World on Hampstead Heath on 4th July 2020.

Finally, a big thank you to the staff at CSG for the invitation and warm welcome – I’ve now started offering in-talk exercises to other schools!

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 Twitterbecause 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 - - then I know they'd be very grateful.
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