London Borough Run 8 : Redbridge with Little Heath School

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Date : 2nd July, 2019

Time : 1h 12’ 12”

Number of talk attendees (total to date) : 140 (3459)

Number of runners (total to date) : 60 (4312)

Run map and details :

Panathlon is a fantastic charity that provides sporting and leadership opportunities to over 20 000 disabled school children every year. (If anyone reading this feels like making a donation then you can do so here. And then you should go along to one of Panathlon’s events to experience what it means to the participants.)

I have the honour of sitting on its Board of Trustees and I asked Ashley, Panathlon’s CEO, if it might be possible to talk at one of the schools that participate in Panathlon’s events. The hope was that I’d be able to combine the talk with one of my London Borough Challenge runs – and that the students could join the start of the run.

Ashley was good enough to send out an email and Jen, from Little Heath School, was good enough to invite me to talk. (Little Heath is a school in Redbridge for c 160 pupils aged 11-19 with a wide range of learning difficulties and complex needs. These include moderate and severe learning difficulties and communication needs including on the autistic spectrum).

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Before I get onto the talk, a bit of background. I’m currently undertaking a challenge – Run the World – to complete a 10 km run in all 206 countries in the world. (I’ve run in 173 countries to date.) I’m doing the challenge to raise funds for Cancer Research and to promote the importance of an active, healthy lifestyle.

The Run the World school talk combines stories from my runs around the world with healthy living advice focusing on exercise, diet and sleep. And this was the first time I’d given the talk at a special needs school.

In many ways, it was exactly the same as giving a talk at any other school. The students were warm and friendly and hands were going up to answer the questions during the talk. Of course, there were also some differences. Verbal communication, for example, is very difficult for some of the students.

They were a great audience and I much enjoyed the talk.

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Even better, when we went outside to start the run, about 60 students joined in for the first 500 metres. Some of them were a bit fast for me – but their smiles and high fives made up for leaving me behind!

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Having said my goodbyes, I then set off with Ashley and Headmaster James Brownlie to complete the London Borough of Redbridge 10 km.

We ran to Fairlop Waters Country Park which features a lake

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lots of duck and geese

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and an inflatable water park.

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All of it sparkling in the July sun.

Back to the school to finish with 400 m around the school field before final goodbyes and photos.

James is a regular, and very good, runner but Ashley, who’s missing one or two bits of his back, hadn’t run so far for some time so congratulations to him. And, because it can’t be said often enough, congratulations to him (and his staff) for all Panathlon’s incredible work.

It just remains for me to say that I very much hope the students enjoyed the talk and run 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 Jen, James, Ashley and all the staff at the school for the invitation and warm welcome!

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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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