London Run 12 : Barking & Dagenham with Warren Junior School

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Date : 4th  November, 2019

Time : 1h 08’ 15”

Number of talk attendees (total to date) : 220 (5766)

Number of runners (total to date) : 120 (6556)

Run map and details :

Panathlon is a fantastic charity that, last year, provided sporting and leadership opportunities to over 26 000 school children with disabilities and special needs. (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.)

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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 some of the schools that participate in Panathlon’s events. The hope was that I’d be able to combine the talks with my London Borough Challenge runs – and that the students could join the start of the run.

Ashley was good enough to send out a few emails and Jamie Bell, the Head of Warren Junior School, was good enough to invite me to talk.

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 181 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.

I always enjoy giving the talks and this was no exception – the Warren Junior students were a great audience.

After the talk we went outside to the school playground with the cross country and Panathlon teams (pictured above) to run a kilometre or so. There were 35 of us at the start – and 120 at the end as other students joined in. Great fun!

We ended up running about a kilometre and a half in the school grounds and then Head of School Jamie Bell and I set off to complete our 10 km run round the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham. We headed north towards Marks Gate, then southwest to Little Heath and south to Chadwell Heath.

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And while we were running, Jamie told me his story which, with his permission, I’ll repeat here.

When Jamie hit 40 he went for a health check. At the time he weighed 19 stone and, at the end of the check-up, his doctor turned to him and said, “A third of you doesn’t need to be here.”

Not long afterwards, he was on holiday in Las Vegas, went to an Elvis Presley museum and noticed that he made the notoriously overweight Elvis look slim.*

He came back to the UK, was diagnosed as pre-diabetic, and decided something had to change. A lot of hard work followed and eventually he slimmed down to 12 stone. A third of him was no longer there.

I asked him how he did it – eating less ; exercising more ; eating better? “Eat less ; move more” was his succinct summary.

Back to the run. From Chadwell Heath, we ran to Furze Infant School – which feeds a lot of students to Warren Junior School – for a picture with Headteacher Junaida Bana.

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And finally back to the school playground for the final few meters of our 10  km.

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 huge thank you to Jamie Bell, Mairead Pryor, Ashley and all the staff at the school for the invitation, run and warm welcome!

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!

 *For younger readers, Elvis Presley was probably the biggest pop star in the world in the late 1950s and early 60s. Towards the end of his life he put on a lot of weight and apparently weighed 159 kilos / 25 stone at his death.

The picture below is of Elvis in his early days – is it my imagination or does he look a bit like Warren Junior’s Head of School?

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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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