London Run 29 : Borough of Kingston-upon-Thames

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Date : 1st  April, 2021

Time : 58’ 02”

Number of runners (total to date) : 3 (7104)

Run map and details :

Between May and November 2020 we hardly knew anyone who caught corona. That all changed in mid-December when suddenly lots of local people – including close friends – started falling ill and testing positive. After months of feeling relatively safe, it was such a radical change that I remember feeling like the virus was lapping at our doorstep.

On January 5th the UK went into a third national lockdown. It didn’t make a lot of difference to those of us who live in London as we were already in a high level of lockdown. But it did presage a very dark period as a new, vastly more transmissible – and possibly more lethal – mutation battered a pre-vaccinated country. More than a thousand people a day died during January and total deaths, which had stood at under 60 000 at the beginning of December, increased to almost 120 000 by mid-February. Shocking.

For various reasons it was also a very dark period for me personally with one of the few bright spots being the almost miraculous effects of running. No matter how I felt, going for a run would restore a level of equilibrium and positivity.

Back at the national level, the combination of lockdown and vaccine roll-out began to have an effect. Infections and deaths came down and, on March 29th, stage 1 of lockdown lifting came into effect in England. Suddenly we were allowed to travel a little further and run with more than one person.

So I travelled to Kingston-upon-Thames for my eponymous borough run*. It was only an 18 mile journey but it’s the furthest I’d travelled for months. And I met 2 friends there – Andrew and Caroline. And the sun was shining for once. All super exciting!

We started at the train station and detoured via David Mach’s ‘Out of Order’ street installation

down to the Thames. From there we ran to the northern border of the borough before saying goodbye to Caroline and turning south.

It’s a lovely part of the world to run in – all green spaces, riverside towns and the Thames.

The pace of life feels a touch slower than central London with swans quite rightly having priority over cars..

Andrew and I ran to the southern border of the borough

and then returned to the centre of Kingston having run 10km without really noticing it thanks to the scenery, the sun and the chatter.

Truly a special run and a fitting way to celebrate the first easing of lockdown. Thank you Caroline and Andrew for the company. And thank you running. I literally don’t know what I would have done without you.

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