London Run 17 : Barnet with the Barnet Hill Academy

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Date : 14th January, 2020

Time : 1h 05’ 09”

Number of talk attendees (total to date) : 140 (6424)

Number of runners (total to date) : 70 (6985)

Run map and details :

Recently I had the pleasure of giving a Run the World talk* at Barnet Hill Academy in the London borough of Barnet. I talked first to the senior school and then to the junior school and both audiences were a pleasure to talk to – attentive, charming and engaged.

However, the really magical moments took place after the talk.

I’d discussed with the school that, as part of my London Borough Challenge** I’d be running 10 km in Barnet after the talk. We agreed that I could start the run in the school playground and that some of the students might join me for the first few hundred metres.

And sure enough, some of the Y 6 students changed into their PE kit and joined me at the start – while the rest of the junior school lined the perimeter. We set off and, slowly, one by one, students from the perimeter started to join the run. And then a few more did. And then almost all of them did. And finally some of teachers and staff joined in.

By the fifth lap there must have been at least 70 of us running and I had a huge grin on my face because this was running at its best. A group of people simply getting out there together and enjoying exercising in the fresh air.

After the run we did a mass stretching session and then the second magical moment occurred. Year 6 presented me with the inspirational posters they’d created in advance of the talk. Fantastic stuff – I was very touched!

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Eventually I said goodbye and set off for the rest of my Barnet run which took me to York Park, over the Cool Oak Lane bridge

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to Welsh Harp Open Space overlooking Welsh Harp (aka Brent) reservoir.

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From there I went north through mud and water to West Hendon playing fields.

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By now it was raining quite hard and I realised I needed to stay on pavements so I made my way to the A5 and ran south to Staples Corner – the mini spaghetti junction that is the confluence of the A5, the M1 and the North Circular Road.

I ran east from there to Brent Cross, opened in 1976 it was the UK’s first large enclosed shopping centre. By now my fingers and phone were so cold and wet that I couldn’t take any more photos – so here’s a picture of Brent Cross on an infinitely sunnier and warmer day.

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And then north up Hendon Way and west along Graham Road and Montagu Road back to the school for the end of my run in Barnet – London’s largest borough by population.

It just remains for me to say a huge thank you to Shuayb Piprawala, Sarah Hussein and all the staff and students at Barnet Hill Academy for the warm welcome, the run and the posters. I 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.

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!

*For any readers who weren’t at the talk, a little bit of background. I’m currently undertaking a challenge – Run the World – to complete a 10km run in all 206 countries in the world. (I’ve run in 176 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 .

**In addition to completing a 10km run in all 206 countries in the world, I’m also doing 44 runs in the UK. Taking the global total to 250 runs.

Why? Because 250 runs is equivalent to running 2 500 000 metres. Which is a metre for every one of the two and a half million cancer sufferers in the UK.

All well and good but the question we asked ourselves at Run the World HQ is : where should those 44 UK runs take place? And part of the answer – three-quarters to be exact – is that 33 of them will take place in London. One in each of the 32 London boroughs plus one in the City of London.

We’re calling this the ‘London Borough Challenge’ and we’re really hoping that everyone will take part in some – or all – of the LBC!


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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