London Run 25 : London Borough of Bexley

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Date : 28th  September, 2020

Time : 1h 09’ 25”

Number of runners (total to date) : 4 (7061)

Run map and details :    https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/5612341170

One of the joys of parenthood is that you end up catching all the bugs that go round your kids’ school. Once my daughters – and half their school – had a sore throat it was pretty much inevitable that I’d get it. So I didn’t think much of it when my throat began to tickle on the Sunday evening. I thought even less of it on the Monday when it seemed to clear up.

And I didn’t think about it at all that evening when I went off to meet my old games business friend and colleague – Graeme (GB) – and the two Pauls – M & T – at Bexley station for the Bexley Borough run.

Unfortunately it got worse during the week and, by Wednesday, the sore throat had turned into cough. Coughers aren’t greatly appreciated at the moment so on Thursday I spoke to a GP (General Practitioner or local all-round doctor for those not familiar with the British health system.)

As soon as I mentioned the word ‘cough’ the GP was insistent that I get a corona test. I pointed out that I didn’t have the persistent cough that is the official corona symptom. Furthermore, my daughters and their friends had all had the same sore throat and cough and no-one had suggested they get tested.

My GP was unmoved. I needed to get tested.

Accepting that my GP probably had the greater expertise in the matter, I decided to follow her advice and get tested. By now it was 3.15pm on the Thursday afternoon. Fortunately I was able to get a 4-4.30 pm slot at a local walk through testing centre.

If you’re not familiar with the process, you place a cotton swab – it’s on a long plastic handle – on the back of your throat and, trying not to gag, you move it around a bit. You then stick the same swab right up your nostril and give it a couple of twirls. The swab then gets put in a plastic bag and handed over to some lucky person to be tested.

It was all very friendly and efficient and the whole thing only took about ten minutes

To be honest, when I rang the GP, it had – perhaps naively – never occurred to me that I might end up getting tested. It was only as I drove back home that the ramifications of a positive test began to sink in. Not just for my family but for everyone else I’d met in the previous week or so.

I thought about GB and the two Pauls. They’d been doing me a favour by accompanying me around Bexley. If I was positive then they’d have to self-isolate. They wouldn’t be able to see their family and friends. They wouldn’t be able to go to work. Probably worst of all from their perspectives, they wouldn’t be able to go out running.

I’ve known GB forever since the glory days of the Bitmap Brothers and Renegade Software. I’d met the two Pauls more recently when I had the pleasure of completing the Walthamstow and Harrow legs of my London Borough Challenge* with the London Tube Runners.

All three of them are serious runners. Not that long ago Paul T and GB did a 100 mile non-stop run along the Thames path (not as flat as advertised apparently). Paul M is on the brink of completing 200 consecutive days on which he’s gone for a run. The following weekend (Sunday just past), Paul T was doing the nohtaraM nodnoL ehT where people meet at 2 am on the morning before the London marathon and run the route backwards.

Aaargh!!! I did not want to even think about being the person who stopped them from running…

On which subject, perhaps it’s time to get back to the run.

As I got off the train at Bexley, I noticed a sign for Bexley cricket club

and within a couple of minutes of the start of the run we were running through countryside and past the cricket club. It really didn’t feel like London.

A little more countryside before we reached a bridge over the River Cray where we stopped for a photo opportunity.

Unfortunately I paused my Garmin at this stage and then forgot to restart it until we got to Albany Park about 2 km further down the road…

From there we ran to Hall Place and gardens – a stately home once owned by Sir Francis Dashwood, a politician and Chancellor of the Exchequer from 1762–1763. In a combination which I am sure we can all agree would be unthinkable nowadays, he was also a notorious rake and founder of the secret and immoral Hellfire Club.

We finished back at Bexley Post Office having run, per everyone else’s watches /apps, a little more than 10km. According to my Garmin I’d only run 8km.

And the trouble was that, per my unnecessarily pedantic rules, a run only counts as a 10km run if I’ve recorded the full 10km on my Garmin. So I said my goodbyes and ran to the station and onto my platform. 1.6km to go and a train in 4 minutes. So all I had to do was run a 4 minute mile and everything would be fine. Except that I can’t run a mile in 4 minutes…

So I missed that train and ran up and down the platform until I’d completed my 10km

and then waited for the next train which was only quarter of an hour later. The train duly arrived and I got on, found a seat, settled down – and didn’t move.

The dreaded announcement came over the train’s PA. “We have been asked to hold at this station. We will provide further information when we can. We apologies for any inconvenience this may cause.” Why do they always apologise for any inconvenience that a delay may cause – as if there’s a chance that it may not be inconvenient.

Please, take my word for it, it is ALWAYS inconvenient! Especially when you’re sweaty after a run and need to get home for a hot shower before you develop anything like a cold, or a sore throat, or a cough…

But I mustn’t quibble. Minor delays aside it was a fine run with excellent company. Thank you GB, Paul M and Paul T – hope to see you for the Greenwich run in the near future. And have no fear. The test came back negative!

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!

*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 183 countries to date.) I’m doing the challenge to raise funds for Cancer Research and to promote the importance of an active healthy lifestyle.

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 I’m hoping to run with as many people – and social running groups and crews and clubs –as possible!

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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