Paris

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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 : https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Dan-Thompson11

Date : 28th  April, 2018

Time :  1h 46’ 54” (16.68 km including plenty of photo and traffic stops)

Number of runners : 80

Run map and details :  https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/2660998448

Media : Let’s Run Paris Facebook

What would you look for in an ideal running club? Presumably it would offer a warm, friendly welcome. And cater for all running speeds and levels. And be free to join / take part – and yet also well organised. Contain at least one runner who could explain string theory. And be based in a beautiful city. Paris, for example.

With the possible exception of the string theory point, I’m guessing most people would go along with those criteria. And, on that basis, Let’s Run Paris, is pretty much the perfect running club. Certainly its right up there with the best running clubs I’ve run with around the world. (Running clubs round the word being one of the few subjects in which I have genuine expertise.)

Even better from a selfish view point, the 80 or so runners were good enough to listen to me talk about Run the World, keep me company on the run, and make donations to Cancer Research.  

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And, finally, since I was a tourist, they’d also put together an amazing route that took in most of Paris’s major tourist sights. We started at Café Cercle by the Jardin du Luxmeborg, and ran to Notre Dame for our first photo opportunity.

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You may have spotted that there are less than 80 of us in the photo above. That’s because the club splits runners into different groups based on their expected pace. I’d had a nasty chest infection over the previous ten days so I plumped for the 5.30” group and hoped that I’d be able to keep up.

The fact that both my nostrils had decided to run along with us wasn’t helping. On the other hand, the conversations with my fellow runners – cancer researchers, bankers, advertising account directors – were helping. As was Paris in the spring sunshine. Glorious.

We moved on from Notre Dame to the banks of the Seine, the Louvre, Tuileries,

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Place de la Concorde and up Champs Elysee. It was great. J’avais envie de dire bonjour à n’importe qui.*

We ran past the Arc de Triomphe

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and down Ave Foch. At about this stage I started talking to Nick who’s a physics professor. I admitted that I’d never really understood gravity. What exactly is it that pulls us towards earth / other objects? And is it really true that, if I jump in the air, I exert a gravitational pull on the earth which will cause it to move – infinitesimally – towards me? From there we moved onto string theory which is a sort of theory of everything. Some string theory proponents even postulate that there are actually eleven dimensions. Which sounds a lot to run through.

By now we were at Trocadero and it was time for another photo stop with the Eiffel Tower in the background.

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We weren’t the only group who thought of stopping at this point.

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One group even decided this it would be good place to test the gravitational effect of jumping in sync.

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And then the last leg of the run through the Champ de Mars

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past Invalides before finishing in Le Jardin du Lexembourg. It was such a great route that I told everyone who would listen that we should make it an annual event.

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It just remains for me to thank my fellow runners for the company, the donations and a great run. And huge thanks to Hamza for all his help!

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I hope to see you all in Paris next year for the second edition of La Grande Course Touristique !

Please like Run the World on Facebook to receive notification of future blogs and news about runs, races and running clubs across the world. And also just to show your support because, however silly it may sound, it makes all the travel and running that little bit easier if you think people care!

*For readers who are new these blogs, they often include obscure musical references. The usual prize for the first to message me the correct artist and song.

Finally, since I’m not sure I can accurately recall everything Nick told me about string theory, here are a few words from Wikipedia on the subject.

In physicsstring theory is a theoretical framework in which the point-like particles of particle physics are replaced by one-dimensional objects called strings. It describes how these strings propagate through space and interact with each other. On distance scales larger than the string scale, a string looks just like an ordinary particle, with its masscharge, and other properties determined by the vibrational state of the string. In string theory, one of the many vibrational states of the string corresponds to the graviton, a quantum mechanical particle that carries gravitational force. Thus string theory is a theory of quantum gravity.

String theory is a broad and varied subject that attempts to address a number of deep questions of fundamental physics. String theory has been applied to a variety of problems in black hole physics, early universe cosmologynuclear physics, and condensed matter physics, and it has stimulated a number of major developments in pure mathematics. Because string theory potentially provides a unified description of gravity and particle physics, it is a candidate for a theory of everything, a self-contained mathematical model that describes all fundamental forces and forms of matter. Despite much work on these problems, it is not known to what extent string theory describes the real world or how much freedom the theory allows in the choice of its details.

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Run 140 : Dominica – somewhere in the interior..

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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 : https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Dan-Thompson11

Date : 26th  March, 2018

Time :  51’25”

Number of runners : 1

Total distance run to date : 1400 km

Run map and details :  https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/2609070837

Everyone said the same thing. Dominica – pronounced Domi-nee-ca – is very beautiful but I’m not sure what you’re going to find there. It got hit very hard by the hurricane (Maria).

And if that sounds like we weren’t talking to people who lived locally, that’s because we weren’t. It proved very difficult to get hold of people in Dominica. In fact, for the first time since Denise ‘Da Bees Knees’ joined the Run the World team, I was running on my own.

Which was perhaps no bad thing as the way my schedule worked out I had very little time on the island. It was late afternoon as I came out through customs and I needed to hurry if I was to finish my run while it was still light.

Now, you may well live in a part of the world where this wouldn’t be a huge issue. Yes, it’s nice to run in the daylight but, if you don’t, then you can still go outside and run by street light. Except not in Dominica – at least not in the part where I was staying. Which was the rather charming, if somewhat isolated, Hibiscus Valley Inn on the side of the main road across the island’s interior.

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There aren’t any street lights there. In fact there isn’t any electricity.

In other words, when there’s no more daylight, it’s proper dark.*

Luckily my taxi driver bought into the need for speed but once I got to the hotel it was one of those times when you want to hurry but everything conspires against you. Having finally found and changed into my running gear, I set off. In the direction away from the airport, and towards the interior, because my taxi driver told me it was less hilly in that direction. Which was true – but only because it was very hilly in the other direction.

As I ran along the road it was immediately apparent that the island was far from having fully recovered from the hurricane. I was surrounded by damaged trees and vegetation and flanked by a series of telegraph poles at crazy angles.

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I soon realised that my original plan of running 5km in one direction – and then returning back to the hotel to complete my 10km – wasn’t going to work. There just wasn’t enough light. So I turned round after about 4km and told myself that I would do the final 2km near the Hibiscus Valley Inn. At least it had a generator and some light to run by – even if it meant running round in circles near the hotel.

By now, the number of insects dive bombing me seemed to have increased. As did the noises from ‘I don’t know what that is’ in the surrounding bush. And, most disturbingly, there were suddenly a number of people walking down the middle of the road in grey shirts that were very hard to see in the dying light. People who, for some reason, didn’t think a smile or a hello were needed in response to my greetings. I’m not saying they were the walking dead. But they weren’t very lively.

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If you look at the time splits on my run you will see that I sped up considerably at this juncture…

Eventually I made it back to the hotel with about 2 km to go. Which I covered by doing 500 metre loops along the road near the hotel.

Although I could see the light from the hotel it was otherwise pitch black by this stage. And a very strange thing happened. Although I was running back and forth along the same stretch of road, I was always running uphill.

Rationally, I know this was just an illusion but I can promise you it felt like I was caught running in an Escher-esque world where the only way was up.**

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With my nerves a little wracked I finally made it to the 10km mark and gratefully scurried to the safety of my room.

Later that evening, I got talking to Marina from Slovenia and Sebastian from Germany. They’ve travelled almost as much as I have and used to think the Seychelles was the most beautiful place on the planet. But they’ve now decided that title belongs to Dominica. In fact, they liked Dominica so much that they got engaged on the island.

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Marina, Sebastian, it was a pleasure to meet you and good luck with the wedding. And don’t forget my advice – you need to hold the wedding somewhere your parents can attend. And, yes I do know best. I’m a parent.

Dominica – I shall have to come back some day. I know you’re beautiful – I just haven’t been able to fully appreciate you yet!

Please like Run the World on Facebook to receive notification of future blogs and news about runs, races and running clubs across the world. And also just to show your support because, however silly it may sound, it makes all the travel and running that little bit easier if you think people care!

* All the photos were taken the next morning when it was light. Well, not the zombie one which was obviously taken during the run.

** Usual Run the World gold stars for the first person to correctly identify the musical references.

Facts & Stats
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia.
Dominica is an island republic in the West Indies. The capital, Roseau, is located on the western side of the island. It is part of the Windward Islands in the Lesser Antilles archipelago in the Caribbean Sea. The island is located near Guadeloupe to the northwest and Martinique to the south-southeast. Its area is 750 km2 (290 sq mi), and the highest point is Morne Diablotins, at 1,447 m (4,747 ft) in elevation. The population was 71,293 at the 2011 census].
The island was originally inhabited by the Kalinago and later colonised by Europeans, predominantly by the French from the 1690s to 1763. Columbus is said to have passed the island on Sunday, 3 November 1493, and the island’s name is derived from the Latin for “Sunday”. Great Britain took possession in 1763 after the Seven Years’ War, and it gradually established English as its official language. The island republic gained independence in 1978.
Its name is pronounced with emphasis on the third syllable, related to its French name of Dominique. Dominica has been nicknamed the “Nature Isle of the Caribbean” for its natural environment. It is the youngest island in the Lesser Antilles, and in fact it is still being formed by geothermal-volcanic activity, as evidenced by the world’s second-largest hot spring, called Boiling Lake. The island has lush mountainous rainforests, and it is the home of many rare plants, animals, and bird species. There are xeric areas in some of the western coastal regions, but heavy rainfall occurs inland. The Sisserou parrot, also known as the imperial amazon and found only on Dominica, is the island’s national bird and featured on the national flag.
Dominica’s economy depends on tourism and agriculture.
Dominica is mostly volcanic and has few beaches; therefore, tourism has developed more slowly than on neighbouring islands. Nevertheless, Dominica’s mountains, rainforests, freshwater lakes, hot springs, waterfalls, and diving spots make it an attractive eco-tourism destination. Cruise ship stopovers have increased following the development of modern docking and waterfront facilities in Roseau, the capital.[12] Out of 22 Caribbean islands tracked, Dominica had the fewest visitors in 2008 (55,800 or 0.3% of the total). This was about half as many as visited Haiti. The volcanic nature of the island has attracted scuba divers.

World Bank Data
Here’s the latest World Bank data for Dominica – with the year 2000 as a comparison.

GDP                                              $581m  2016   $336m 2000
Population                                   74 k     2016    70 k      2000
Primary school enrolment*     112%   2016   120%    2002
CO2 Emissions**                         1.9        2014    1.5       2000
% below poverty line***           NA                    NA
Life expectancy at birth           76.6 yrs 2002    76 yrs   1997
GNI per capita                           $7110      2016   $3600    2000
*Percentage can exceed 100% due to the inclusion of over and under aged students
** Metric tons per capita
***The World Bank notes that the methodology can vary between countries and over time within a given country. (While most of the World Bank data generally follows understandable trends, this number often oscillates wildly suggesting that different methodologies are frequently used over time within a given country.)

Greatest Sporting Nation Data

Finally, here’s the data from Greatest Sporting Nation on how Dominica performed in the global sporting arena in 2017:
Global Cup – NA
Per Capita Cup – NA
The Global Cup aggregates results from over 1000 events across 80 sports to produce the definitive annual ranking of international sporting success. The Per Capita Cup uses the same data to produce an annual per capita ranking.

 

 

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Run 141 : Antigua – Jolly Harbour

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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 : https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Dan-Thompson11

Date : 27th  March, 2018

Time :  56’ 58”

Number of runners : 17

Total distance run to date : 1410 km

Run map and details :  https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/2609070924

Media : https://www.facebook.com/HashHouseHarriers/ ; English Harbour Radio

One of the questions I most frequently get asked is, “You visit a lot of places. Any holiday recommendations?” I then have to explain that I can’t really help as Run the World is about as far removed from a tourist’s experience as it’s possible to be. I’m usually in a country for less than 24 hours, staying at a low cost hotel in a city centre or near the airport, and doing very little apart from running and transferring back and forth to the airport.*

Take the Maldives for example. Renowned for its luxury holidays, I must be the only overseas visitor who’s been there and not seen the sun or a beach. Just grey skies, crowded roads, a cramped hotel room and a close up of the pavement when I slipped and face planted …

But every so often I go somewhere that is so obviously lovely that you immediately think about going back there on holiday. Antigua was one such place. (For anyone who’s not familiar with Antigua, try the following taster video which includes expert local commentary from Bryan – of whom more below.)

Of course it always helps you appreciate a country when you have a good run with good people – and that’s exactly what Bryan Law of the Antigua Hash House Harriers had organised.

We started at Sugar Ridge Hotel where I was staying (many cuts above my usual accommodation on these trips…) and followed the yellow hash flags to Ffryes Beach and the Darkwood Beach. My running companion at the time didn’t share my excited reaction to the beaches. Which is only to be expected if, like her, you live in Antigua where great beaches are commonplace. If, on the other hand, you live in London and have just endured winter, then a beach bathed in sunshine is a wondrous thing!

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We were also somewhat lost in conversation about something which, I’m ashamed to say, I knew very little : hypothalamic amenorrhea/ or REDS (relative energy deficiency in sports) syndrome. In essence, if a woman over-exercises then it can impact her menstrual cycle and even mean that she can’t conceive. Apparently this is quite common amongst elite women athletes.

On a related subject, she also told me that a six pack can damage a woman’s internal organs. Her view was that women need a little body fat around the middle.

While I hate to write anything that might discourage anyone from exercise, I thought this was all worth mentioning. I guess it just goes to show that, as is almost always the case, moderation is best.

Back to the run. Which some of us were running while others walked. But have no fear. This was (mostly) a hash crowd and, of course, we all came back together for the post run photo.

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And libations. Which took place at Miracles. Where they donated a free bottle of fizz to the proceedings in honour of our great achievement. Or perhaps it was because we’d already bought so many Wadadlis. Either way it was a lot of fun.

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The following day, Bryan changed role from hasher and run organiser to PR guru and tour guide. He picked me up from the hotel and drove me from Jolly Harbour to English Harbour – which is a 45 minute drive through and past some stunning scenery – for an interview with English Harbour Radio.

Which he’d personally arranged for me and where I did about 20 minutes on breakfast radio with the irrepressibly charming Gemma Handy.

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He then took me sightseeing and I took a lot more photos of Antigua. Here’s one of them. You know, just in case you hadn’t already got the picture that its quite a nice place with some decent beaches..

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It just remains for me to do what I somehow forgot to do during the radio interview – and say a huge thank you to the Antigua Hash House Harriers and everyone who ran / walked / supported the run in Antigua. And, of course, special thanks to Bryan for arranging everything and to Gemma for hosting me on breakfast radio. I had a great time – see you all when I come back on holiday!

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!

*To be fair, I also get to meet a lot of locals, do some media, give school talks etc. All of which are great but, again, have nothing in common with a tourist experience.

More photos below

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Facts & Stats

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia.

Antigua also known as Waladli or Wadadli by the native population, is an island in the West Indies. It is one of the Leeward Islands in the Caribbean region and the main island of the country of Antigua and Barbuda. Antigua and Barbuda became an independent state within the Commonwealth of Nations on 1 November 1981.

Antigua means “ancient” in Spanish after an icon in Seville Cathedral“Santa Maria de la Antigua” — St. Mary of the Old Cathedral.The name Waladli[4] comes from the indigenous inhabitants and means approximately “our own”. The island’s circumference is roughly 87 km (54 mi) and its area 281 km2 (108 sq mi). Its population was 80,161 (at the 2011 Census). The economy is mainly reliant on tourism, with the agricultural sector serving the domestic market.

Over 32,000 people live in the capital city, St. John’s. The capital is situated in the north-west and has a deep harbour which is able to accommodate large cruise ships. Other leading population settlements are All Saints (3,412) and Liberta (2,239), according to the 2001 census.

English Harbour on the south-eastern coast is famed for its protected shelter during violent storms. It is the site of a restored British colonial naval station called “Nelson’s Dockyard” after Captain Horatio Nelson. Today English Harbour and the neighbouring village of Falmouth are known as a yachting and sailing destination and provisioning centre. During Antigua Sailing Week, at the end of April and beginning of May, an annual regatta brings a number of sailing vessels and sailors to the island to play sports.

World Bank Data

Here’s the latest World Bank data for Antigua & Barbuda – with the year 2000 as a comparison.

GDP                                               $1.46bn      2016       $830m       2000

Population                                   101 k           2016       84 k           2000

Primary school enrolment*      88%            2015       115%         2000

CO2 Emissions**                         5.4               2014       4.1              2000

% below poverty line***           NA                              NA

Life expectancy at birth            76.4 yrs      2016       73.5 yrs     2000

GNI per capita                            $13560        2016       $9230         2000

*Percentage can exceed 100% due to the inclusion of over and under aged students

** Metric tons per capita

***The World Bank notes that the methodology can vary between countries and over time within a given country. (While much of the World Bank data generally follows understandable trends, this number often oscillates wildly suggesting that different methodologies are frequently used over time within a given country.)

Greatest Sporting Nation Data

Finally, here’s the data from Greatest Sporting Nation on how  Antigua performed in the global sporting arena in 2017:

Global Cup – NA

Per Capita Cup – NA

The Global Cup aggregates results from over 1000 events across 80 sports to produce the definitive annual ranking of international sporting success. The Per Capita Cup uses the same data to produce an annual per capita ranking.

 

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Run 139 : British Virgin Islands – Road Town

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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 : https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Dan-Thompson11

Date : 25th  March, 2018

Time :  1h 01’ 05”

Number of runners : 30

Total distance run to date : 1390 km

Run map and details :  https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/2609070766

Media Coverage : http://www.islandsun.com/bvi-hosts-dan-thompsons-run-the-world-10k-challenge/ ; http://www.islandsun.com/run-the-world-10k-founder-thompson-running-in-bvi-on-sunday/ ; http://www.virginislandsdailynews.com/sports/thompson-s-run-the-world-k-making-bvi-stop-on/article_9e79b5af-06d6-5f5d-ac70-cc333f7faade.html ; http://www.virginislandsdailynews.com/sports/thompson-makes-second-v-i-stop-in-run-the-world/article_f28184b2-de7f-537a-86c6-244c6a2d204d.html ; https://www.facebook.com/BVI-Runners-137349299667596/

On the flight out of the UK, I got talking to Emma about Run the World. Turned out she’d spent most of her life in the Caribbean and I asked the obvious question : “Which island is your favourite?” She thought about it for a while, reviewed a number of options, and then concluded that the British Virgin Islands were her no. 1 choice.

And you can see why when you fly into Beef Island. Islands with golden beaches are sprinkled round the main island of Tortola and the overall effect is stunning.

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As we transferred from the airport on Beef Island to Road Town (the capital of the BVI) via the coast road (ask to go via the ridge route if you’re looking for something dramatically scenic) you could also see the scars left by Hurricane Irma the previous September. (Pls see Facts & Stats below for more detail.)

This was the view from my hotel of the local harbour. Almost as many boats on dry land as in the water.

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And here’s an outdoor gym that used to be indoors…

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At this point I should stress that, while the BVI were badly hit, they are open for business and residents seem united that a good job is being done in terms of clearing up and reconstruction.

Certainly Irma hasn’t affected their ability to put on a good run. Organised by Kay Reddy of the BVI Runners, and supported by the legendary Dean ‘The Sportsman’ Greenaway, about 30 of us met at Tortola Pier Park – where the cruise liners dock.

Cleave Farrington – representing the BVI Olympic Committee, Stephanie Russ-Penn – representing the BVI Athletic Association – and the Dean himself were good enough to give welcome speeches. I did my slightly jet lagged best to respond in kind

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and then it was time to start running.

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We ran south along the shoreline road and, as we ran, Kay told me the story of some acquaintances who live in one of the houses that we passed. They happened to look out of their front window during the hurricane and, to their amazement, saw a large boat heading straight for their house. Terrified they ran towards the back of their house to escape the collision. Which never came. Very fortunately, the boat caught on the actual shoreline – and is still there to this day.

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Having run south as far as the Water Park, we looped back to Tortola Pier Park before heading north and then east along the shoreline as far as the commercial port. A final loop back to our starting point and the 139th Run the World 10km was complete.

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The following day I was fortunate enough to be invited to talk at Cedars International School in Road Town. Before the main school talk, I chatted to a group of Y 11 and 12 students. A remarkably mature bunch, they’d all mapped out their future careers.

The conversation moved on from careers to the hurricane and everyone related their personal experiences. Extraordinary stuff as we heard each person’s story (which, for one student, involved following their dog on the grounds that animals instinctively know the safest place.)  The common factor in the stories was that, through a combination of good sense and luck, everyone and their families had stayed safe. A story which was repeated across the island because, despite being at the eye of the hurricane, apparently there were ‘only’ 4 deaths on Tortola.

I then gave a presentation to the whole school (feeling slightly sorry for the senior school students and teachers as it was the junior school version which leaves out most of the more ‘interesting’ stories from the various countries I’ve visited around the world.)  As we moved onto the healthy living part of the presentation, there was loads of interaction and hands shot up every time I asked the audience a question. They even booed when I told them a good night’s sleep meant no devices in the bedroom. All great fun.

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If there are any student parents reading this, I’ve now done a number of these school talks (and am also a parent of school age children myself) and I left with the strong impression that Cedars is doing a very fine job. The student body was lively, engaged and focussed. It was a pleasure to meet and talk to them.

It just remains for me to thank Kay, Dean and all my fellow runners for a great run and all their generous donations. And to thank Zach, Sami, Karen, and Celiah for inviting me to Cedars School.

I think Emma may have been right – the British Virgin Islands are truly a beautiful place!

Please like Run the World on Facebook to receive notification of future blogs and news about runs, races and running clubs across the world. And also just to show your support because, however silly it may sound, it makes all the travel and running that little bit easier if you think people care!

Facts & Stats

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia.

The British Virgin Islands (BVI) are a British Overseas Territory in the Caribbean, to the east of Puerto Rico.

The British Virgin Islands consist of the main islands of TortolaVirgin GordaAnegada, and Jost Van Dyke, along with over 50 other smaller islands and cays. About 15 of the islands are inhabited. The capital, Road Town, is on Tortola, the largest island, which is about 20 km (12 mi) long and 5 km (3 mi) wide. The islands had a population of about 28,000 at the 2010 Census, of whom approximately 23,500 lived on Tortola. For the islands, the latest United Nations estimate (2016) is 30,661.

British Virgin Islanders are British Overseas Territories citizens and since 2002 are British citizens as well. Although the territory is not part of the European Union and not directly subject to EU law, British Virgin Islanders are deemed to be citizens of the EU by virtue of their British citizenship.

The effects of Hurricane Irma in the British Virgin Islands were significant in terms of both human and socio-economic impact on the Territory. Hurricane Irma struck the British Virgin Islands as a Category 5 hurricane during the daylight hours of Wednesday, 6 September 2017. It caused widespread destruction, and killed a total of four people.

The hurricane caused extensive damage to property and infrastructure in the Territory, and caused statistically significant levels of depopulation.

The Governor, Gus Jaspert, who had only been sworn in a few days previously, declared a state of emergency under the Territory’s constitution, the first time this had ever happened. As radio facilities had been significantly damaged and inoperable, the state of emergency had to be announced by distribution of flyers around the capital, Road Town.

At approximately 4.30am local time public electricity was switched off. Standard operating procedure for the British Virgin Islands Electricity Corporate is to shut off power once the majority of the Territory is experiencing tropical storm force winds. By approximately 9.30am the majority of the country was experiencing hurricane force winds. By the time the storm hit the British Virgin Islands, it has intensified to such a level as to be detected on seismometers calibrated for earthquakes. The eye of the hurricane traversed the Territory between around 1.00 and 2.30pm. By the early evening wind speeds had fallen once again to sub-hurricane speeds, although tropical storm force winds continued until the small hours of the following morning.

A series of public alert messages sent in SMS form by the Department of Disaster of Management throughout the day, and were recorded in The Irma Diaries, a book recording experiences of survivors from the storm and its aftermath. At 5.39am a message was sent:

At 5:00 AM, the National Hurricane Centre has indicated that Hurricane Irma’s maximum sustained winds remain near 185 miles per hour (mph) with higher gusts. Irma is the most powerful Atlantic hurricane in recorded history and will be the strongest system to ever make landfall in the Caribbean.

… Based on the latest forcecasts, the approximate closest point of approach to Road Town from Hurricane Irma is 17 miles northeast.

The last message from the DDM which was sent before total communications failure was sent at 11.34am read:

We are in for a direct hit, a direct hit on Road Town! Move, move to safe room immediately! Move please to safe room immediately! Immediately! Move please.

No further communications were sent. It would later transpire that the offices of the Department of Disaster Management were almost entirely destroyed during the storm.

In the aftermath of the storm a large proportion of the Territory’s roads were impassable. Communities were essentially cut-off from each other and the wider world. Telecommunications was rendered virtually non-existent by the destruction of the cellular telephone network and the almost total loss of telephone poles for landlines.

Four people died in the Territory as a result of the hurricane. They were named as Charles Thomas, Derek Ragnauth, Xavier ‘Dag’ Samuels and Richard Alan Benson.[17]

Dag Samuels was a well known athletics coach in the Territory. His protégé, Kyron McMaster, would go on to win gold in the 400m hurdles in the 2018 Commonwealth Games the following year, and would dedicate his victory to his deceased coach.[18]

The Territory also experienced an abnormally high number of deaths in the months of September to December 2017, after the passage of the hurricane.

The most significant damage was on Tortola. The UK’s Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson visited Tortola on 13 September 2017 and said that he was reminded of photos of Hiroshima after it had been hit by the atom bomb. Approximately 85% of housing stock – over 4,000 homes – were damaged or destroyed. Numerous contemporaneous reports referred to the “browning” of the island, and the bark being stripped from trees.

After the storm, authorities estimated that it would take 6 months to restore public electricity to the entire country; an estimate which proved largely accurate.

Availability of food, potable water, fuel and medicine were highly limited. Residents had to queue, sometimes for hours, in the sun to obtain necessities. None of the banks functioned for several days afterwards, and the Territory became a purely cash economy for a period of weeks.

 World Bank Data

Here’s the latest World Bank data for the British Virgin Islands – with the year 2000 as a comparison.

GDP                                               NA                              NA

Population                                   31 k            2016       21 k            2000

Primary school enrolment*     99%            2015       103%          2002

CO2 Emissions**                        6.1               2014       5.0              2000

% below poverty line***          NA                              NA

Life expectancy at birth            NA                              NA

GNI per capita                             NA                             NA

*Percentage can exceed 100% due to the inclusion of over and under aged students

** Metric tons per capita

***The World Bank notes that the methodology can vary between countries and over time within a given country. (While most of the World Bank data generally follows understandable trends, this number often oscillates wildly suggesting that different methodologies are frequently used over time within a given country.)

Greatest Sporting Nation Data

Finally, here’s the data from Greatest Sporting Nation on how the  British Virgin Islands performed in the global sporting arena in 2017:

Global Cup – 125th

Per Capita Cup – NA

The Global Cup aggregates results from over 1000 events across 80 sports to produce the definitive annual ranking of international sporting success. The Per Capita Cup uses the same data to produce an annual per capita ranking.

Runners

Dean “the Sportsman” Greenaway – press and awesome pictures attached

Stephanie Russ-Penn – repping BVI Atheltic Association and rocking a Commonwealth games shirt (c/mon Kyron we NEED that medal!)

Cleave Farrington – repping BVI Olympic Committee and pictures

Ben and Maria Mays – setting the pace and repping the Governors office

Marcus and Jasmine – rocking 54 STRONG!

Wearmouth and Ghiorse’s – Family Strong, thank you kids and Ella, Ava and Eli

Sergio and Julie – also repping VISAR

Sami and Brandon – Cedar School advance party

Kim and Cliff – going for a quick sat morning 26.2 run over the hills is now known as a “Struicken”

Stoby clan – winner of best BVI athletic gear and youngest competitor, also press

Tash – rocking dual citizenship and proving champagne IS good for running

Dan – blooming ‘eck that was fast

Philo “14 marathons in a year”

Grandma Rose

Adrian ‘calm in the storm’ Dale

Young legs Riegels and runners

 

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Run 138 : St. Kitts & Nevis – Basseterre

rtw st kitts 2

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 : https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Dan-Thompson11

Date : 25th  March, 2018

Time :  55’ 41”

Number of runners : 16

Total distance run to date : 1380 km

Run map and details :  https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/2609070976

“Basseterre? You might want to run a little faster than usual there, it’s the murder capital of the world,” said Luke.

I’m used to people telling me to be careful but Basseterre, the capital of St Kitts & Nevis? Really?

I assumed Luke was winding me up but it turns out that he was sort of right. It did have a problem – particularly in 2011 when there were 17 murders. Which, at the time, meant it had the highest murder rate in the world. (It’s a small place.) Famously, the BBC even ran a – much derided locally – report on it.

My research suggests that the security situation has improved a lot since those days (pls see Facts & Stats below for more detail.) And certainly, I can’t tell you I felt any sense of menace as we sat there having dinner on the night I arrived. Especially after having run in places like Caracas (Venezuela) – at or near the top of most lists of dangerous cities these days – and Port Moresby (Papua New Guinea).

It helped that I had good company. Including Jeff Fazio who, in 2013-14, ran 5km in every state in the USA to raise money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

Jeff now runs 5km in every country he visits and, not entirely unexpectedly, we had a lot to talk about – including the best way to run 5km in the Vatican.*

Jeff’s approach was to run round the outside of the Vatican’s borders and I may well follow in his footsteps – literally. However, I’m also wondering about asking for permission to run in St Peter’s Square (so please do get in touch if you happen to know anyone senior in the Catholic Church!)

rtw st kitts 13

Then there was Terry-Ann, Jeff’s wife. Terry-Ann hails from Trinidad & Tobago and ran 5km in 17’ 34” as a junior. Which is pretty impressive by my, and frankly anyone’s, standards.  (To put that in context, the women’s world record is 14’ 11”.)

The fourth diner was Heather Hotchin who is On-Sec of the St Kitts Hash House Harriers.  As ‘Blade Runner’ (David Ridsdale-Saw) told me the following day, the St Kitts Hash House Harriers are no normal kennel and have been known to attract over 250 people to their hashes. Which must make them one of the largest hashes in the world.

Jeff and Heather had been good enough to put their heads together and had come up with a great route for the following morning’s run. We started at Ross University Veterinary School where, after a few photos, we lined up behind Jeff on his bike

rtw st kitts 15

and set off for Basseterre,

rtw st kitts 8

via the coast and the cruise ships.

rtw st kitts 9

Once in Basseterre, we turned left at the first ever traffic lights on the island – which had only had been in place since Christmas  –

rtw st kitts 12.jpg

towards the historic centre. Our route took us through Piccadilly Circus – which had more clock towers but fewer tourists and Eros statues than its London namesake –

rtw st kitts 16 (2)

–  to Independence Square.

rtw st kitts 10

Independence Square is the administrative centre of Basseterre and was once the site of the St Kitts slave market. Apparently there are still tunnels under the surrounding road which were used to move slaves from their holding pens to the market. Horrific.

From there we went back to the coast before turning inland for the dreaded 8th kilometre. I say ‘dreaded’, partly because it’s always about the worst kilometre in any of these runs. And partly because it coincided with a 1 kilometre long hill.

On the plus side, somewhere along the way, and after some sweet talking by Jeff, we’d picked up a police escort. I suspect this was more because they were wondering what was going on rather than because they felt I needed protection. Either way, I had to feel for them – it can’t be easy driving at the speed I was running up that hill..

“Well, I’m running, police on my back.”**

rtw st kitts 11

From the top of Kilometre 8 Hill (as its certainly not known locally), we ran downhill to Frigate Bay which is the main tourist area and home to a couple of fine beaches. And Mr X’s Shiggidy Shack Beach Bar & Grill which was both our finish line and our breakfast venue.

rtw st kitts 18

All that remains is for me to thank my fellow runners for both their company and their generous donations to Cancer Research. And, of course, a very special thanks to Jeff, Heather, Terry-Ann, David and everyone else from the St Kitts Hash for all their hospitality and for organising a great run!

Finally, I’m obviously not an expert on security in St Kitts but, based on everything I saw and heard, its a lovely, relaxed place to visit. And, if you do visit, don’t forget to go hashing!

Please like Run the World on Facebook to receive notification of future blogs and news about runs, races and running clubs across the world. And also just to show your support because, however silly it may sound, it makes all the travel and running that little bit easier if you think people care!

*Strictly speaking the Vatican isn’t one of the countries I have to visit as it’s not a member of the Olympic movement. However, as it’s about the only place which might be considered to be a country, and which isn’t part of the Olympic movement, I plan to run there anyway. After all, I’d hate to be known as the person who’s run 10 km in every country in the world. Apart from one….

**This week’s obscure musical reference inspired by Dee Rooke. Usual prize on offer etc

Facts & Stats

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia.

Saint Kitts and Nevis is an island country in the West Indies. Located in the Leeward Islands chain of the Lesser Antilles, it is the smallest sovereign state in the Western Hemisphere, in both area and population. The country is a Commonwealth realm, with Queen Elizabeth II as head of state.

The capital city is Basseterre on the larger island of Saint Kitts. The smaller island of Nevis lies approximately 3 km (2 mi) southeast of Saint Kitts across a shallow channel called “The Narrows”.

Saint Kitts and Nevis were among the first islands in the Caribbean to be settled by Europeans. Saint Kitts was home to the first British and French colonies in the Caribbean, and thus has also been titled “The Mother Colony of the West Indies”.

Although small in size and separated by only 2 miles (3 km) of water, the two islands were viewed and governed as different states until the late 19th century, when they were forcibly unified along with the island of Anguilla, by the British. To this day relations are strained, with Nevis accusing Saint Kitts of neglecting its needs.

Saint Kitts and Nevis along with Anguilla, became an associated state with full internal autonomy in 1967. Anguillians rebelled and separated from the others in 1977. St. Kitts and Nevis achieved independence in 1983. It is the newest sovereign state in the Americas. In August 1998, a vote in Nevis on a referendum to separate from St. Kitts fell short of the two-thirds majority needed.

Crime in Saint Kitts and Nevis

In 2012 Saint Kitts and Nevis had a homicide rate of 33.6 per 100,000 citizens, the 8th highest in the world. As of 2011 Basseterre had the highest murder rate of any capital city in the world at 131.6 per 100,000 inhabitants (a total of 17 murders in the city that year).

Since 2011 measures and precautions have been placed by the government that have reduced the number of murders. The Saint Kitts government has also claimed that these measures more than halved crime during that period although this claim has been viewed sceptically by independent organizations.

Vaguely music related obscure fact : Alexander Hamilton, the first United States Secretary of the Treasury, was born in Nevis; he spent his childhood there and on St. Croix, then belonging to Denmark, and now one of the United States Virgin Islands.

World Bank Data

Here’s the latest World Bank data for St. Kitts & Nevis – with the year 2000 as a comparison.

GDP                                               $910 m     2016       $421 m      2000

Population                                   55 k           2016       45 k           2000

Primary school enrolment*     NA                             NA

CO2 Emissions**                         4.3             2014       3.8             2000

% below poverty line***           NA                             NA

Life expectancy at birth            NA                             71.3 yrs    2000

GNI per capita                             $15690      2016       $8630        2000

*Percentage can exceed 100% due to the inclusion of over and under aged students

** Metric tons per capita

***The World Bank notes that the methodology can vary between countries and over time within a given country. (While most of the World Bank data generally follows understandable trends, this number often oscillates wildly suggesting that different methodologies are frequently used over time within a given country.)

Greatest Sporting Nation Data

Finally, here’s the data from Greatest Sporting Nation on how  St Kitts & Nevis performed in the global sporting arena in 2017:

Global Cup – NA

Per Capita Cup – NA

The Global Cup aggregates results from over 1000 events across 80 sports to produce the definitive annual ranking of international sporting success. The Per Capita Cup uses the same data to produce an annual per capita ranking.

 

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The One About the Cheque

Late Monday evening I received an email saying that there was a cheque for £500 for Cancer Research waiting for me at the Whittington Hospital.

Turned out that the brilliant Dr Esdaile, whom I got to know when he removed the melanoma from my face, had been talking to a patient about Run the World. And the patient, we’ll call him John since he’s asked for anonymity, had then and there decided to make a donation of £500.

DT cancer scar (2)

About a month ago (Feb 4th) it was World Cancer Day. My 13 year old daughter, Sienna, gave me a card. Containing £50 for cancer research. Which she had had just been given for her birthday.

A couple of months ago I was in Guinea Bissau. A country where, I am reliably informed, there are usually only 2 Brits. Except that day there were a posse of them passing through as part of the Plymouth-Dakar old banger rally. When they heard about Run the World, they emptied out their pockets and donated £100.

rtw GB15

Last summer, we held a fundraiser. People were so generous with their donations that we began to trend on JustGiving. Eventually we got to no.7 in the whole country.

Rtw party 1

I could go on. And on. But you get the picture.

Don’t be fooled by what you read in the media. People are, in general, helpful and giving. Not everyone round the world has sufficient cash to donate to charity. But it never ceases to amaze me how many people will give their time to help and support Run the World.

So to all Run the World’s donors and supporters : thank you enormously – this blog’s for you.

What you do is very important. Cancer rates are on the rise across the globe and, in countries such as the UK, they’re heading towards 50%.

As anyone who’s lost someone to cancer knows, it is a truly horrific way to go. Reducing sufferers to husks of their former selves – dependent on ever increasing and addictive doses of pain relief to get though their days before the inevitable end. (The picture below is of my sis, my bro and me with my Mum shortly before she died of lung cancer.)

Mutti Featherton + BD + peep + me

So let’s go on fundraising. (Run the World has currently raised almost £30 000 and I want to get to £50 000 – at least!)

And, since 40% of all cancers are avoidable, let’s go on spreading the message about the huge – cancer and non-cancer related – benefits of an active, healthy lifestyle.

exercise_infographic_wv

Finally, there’s a fitting postscript to the story about the £500 cheque. Yesterday, I took it into Cancer Research’s bank branch in central London. I thought it might be a nice touch to take a picture of the deposit receipt outside the bank. But it was flapping in the wind and I couldn’t get a proper picture. So Emma, the woman in the photo below, offered to hold it for me. And then gave me a £10 donation.

rtw fundraising 1

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 – https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Dan-Thompson11

Please like Run the World on Facebook to receive notification of future blogs and news about runs, races and running clubs across the world. And also just to show your support because, however silly it may sound, it makes all the travel and running that little bit easier if you think people care!

 

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Run 118 : Vanuatu – Port Vila

rtw vanuatu 5

Please give generously to Cancer Research : https://www.justgiving.com/Dan-Thompson11/

Date : 22nd August, 2017

Time :  58’ 45”

Number of runners : 1

Total distance run to date : 1180 km

Run map and details : https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/1946321255

You can immediately tell that Vanuatu is a little more developed and sophisticated than, say, the Solomon Islands where I’d run the previous day. There’s a big advertisement by the luggage carousel telling you that when George and Fanny – a European couple from the 1920s to judge by the accompanying graphic – come to town, George only has one thing on his mind. The local casino. (Not sure the joke works for anyone who’s not English..)

I don’t know how credible this all is. But then, to be fair, I’ve never met George and Fanny so who am I to say.

rtw vanuatu 10

Putting aside any concerns about the state of George and Fanny’s relationship, I set off on my run. A little later than I’d ideally have liked. Mostly because some idiot had left my passport at the airport and I had to make an unexpected and somewhat nervy trip back to the airport to retrieve it. (My thanks to the team at Chantillys by the Bay for the emergency lift.)

rtw vanuatu 2

All of this meant that, shortly after I started running, it got dark. Not a problem for Fanny and George because, as I understand these things, the lighting in casinos stays the same whatever the time of night or day.

More of a problem for me, though, as the street lighting in Port Vila tends to be concentrated in the centre of town. Which is to say that there isn’t any outside of the centre.

Never mind, I thought. This is a town with a big casino and is bound to be packed with bars and restaurants. I can choose where to go for dinner as I run in circles round around the nightlife district. Except there weren’t really many bars and restaurants. Or a whole lot else.

To be honest, it was a slightly dull slog of a run that, as the picture of Port Vila below suggests, would no doubt have been much better in daylight.

rtw vanuatu 4

And, umm, that’s about it. I’ve worked the George and Fanny riff about as hard as I can and I don’t really have anything else to say. Still, dear reader, as they say, brevity is a virtue!

Please like Run the World on Facebook to receive notification of future blogs and news about runs, races and running clubs across the world. And also just to show your support because, however silly it may sound, it makes all the travel and running that little bit easier if you think people care!

And please donate to Cancer Research if you’d like to help fight the global scourge that is cancer.

Facts & Stats

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia.

Vanuatu is a Pacific island nation located in the South Pacific Ocean. The archipelago, which is of volcanic origin, is 1,750 kilometres (1,090 mi) east of northern Australia, 540 kilometres (340 mi) northeast of New Caledonia, east of New Guinea, southeast of the Solomon Islands, and west of Fiji.

Vanuatu was first inhabited by Melanesian people. The first Europeans to visit the islands were a Spanish expedition led by Portuguese navigator Fernandes de Queirós, who arrived on the largest island in 1606. Since the Portuguese and Spanish monarchies had been unified under the king of Spain in 1580 (following the vacancy of the Portuguese throne, which lasted for sixty years, until 1640, when the Portuguese monarchy was restored), Queirós claimed the archipelago for Spain, as part of the colonial Spanish East Indies, and named it La Austrialia del Espíritu Santo.

In the 1880s, France and the United Kingdom claimed parts of the archipelago, and in 1906, they agreed on a framework for jointly managing the archipelago as the New Hebrides through an Anglo–French condominium.

Challenges to the condominium government began in the early 1940s. The arrival of Americans during the Second World War, with their informal habits and relative wealth, contributed to the rise of nationalism in the islands. The belief in a mythical messianic figure named John Frum was the basis for an indigenous cargo cult (a movement attempting to obtain industrial goods through magic) promising Melanesian deliverance. Today, John Frum is both a religion and a political party with a member in Parliament.

The first political party, established in the early 1970s, was called the New Hebrides National Party. One of the founders was Father Walter Lini, who later became Prime Minister. Renamed the Vanua’aku Pati in 1974, the party pushed for independence, which was gained amidst the brief Coconut War.

The independent Republic of Vanuatu was established in 1980.

During the 1990s, Vanuatu experienced a period of political instability which resulted in a more decentralised government. The Vanuatu Mobile Force, a paramilitary group, attempted a coup in 1996 because of a pay dispute. There were allegations of corruption in the government of Maxime Carlot Korman. New elections have been held several times since 1997, most recently in 2016.

World Bank Data

Here’s the latest World Bank data for Vanuatu – with the year 2000 as a comparison.

GDP                                              $774 m     2016      $272 m    2000

Population                                  270 k        2016      185 k        2000

Primary school enrolment*    120 %       2015      120 %      2000

CO2 Emissions**                        0.60          2014      0.46          2000

% below poverty line***          12.7 %      2010      NA

Life expectancy at birth           72.0 yrs    2015     67.6 yrs   2000

GNI per capita                             $3170       2014     $1430      2000

*Percentage can exceed 100% due to the inclusion of over and under aged students

** Metric tons per capita

***The World Bank notes that the methodology can vary between countries and over time within a given country. (While most of the World Bank data generally follows understandable trends, this number often oscillates wildly suggesting that different methodologies are frequently used over time within a given country.)

Greatest Sporting Nation Data

Finally, here’s the data from Greatest Sporting Nation on how  Vanuatu performed in the global sporting arena in 2017:

Global Cup – NA

Per Capita Cup – NA

The Global Cup aggregates results from over 1000 events across 80 sports to produce the definitive annual ranking of international sporting success. The Per Capita Cup uses the same data to produce an annual per capita ranking.

 

 

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