London Run 17 : Barnet with the Barnet Hill Academy

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

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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 : https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/4440354122

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

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!

 

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Run 182 : Afghanistan – Kabul

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

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Date : 4th November, 2019

Time : 55’ 24”

Number of runners (total to date) :  10 (6640)

Run map and details :   https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/4318903331

If you live in Afghanistan, or have visited recently, or have just see the media coverage, you’ll be aware that life there isn’t always easy.

And, since you already know that, I’m going to write about something different. I’m going to write about the positive experiences I had when I was there and, in particular, about running and the good it can do.

I’m fortunate that the tour company who looked after me in Kabul – Untamed Borders – is closely connected with the running scene in Afghanistan. So closely that my guide for the trip, Gul Hussain, was the founder of the Marathon of Afghanistan.*

Gul and Mahidi (our driver) picked me up at the airport and took me straight to Free to Run’s offices where they woke me up (overnight flight, no sleep) and introduced me to the Free to Run** team.

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I’ve included more detail below but suffice it to say that Free to Run do fantastic work providing sporting opportunities and healthy living training to girls and women across Afghanistan.

Energised by their story, I talked to them briefly about a new concept for a global relay that a few of us are working on. (At a set local time, on a set day, everyone would run or exercise for up to hour. At the end of the hour the ‘virtual baton’ would pass to the countries in the next time zone creating a 24 hour Mexican wave of activity around the globe.*)

Buoyed by their enthusiasm, I headed off to my hotel to, in theory, catch up on my sleep. In practice, I spent many hours fighting a losing battle with jet lag..

…to be woken by my alarm after about three hours sleep. I got up groggily and suddenly there was blood everywhere. You’ve no idea how inconvenient a nose bleed (altitude induced ; Kabul sits at 1800 metres) is when you’re trying to pack in a hurry….

Gul and Mahidi whisked me off to the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan for my Afghan 10 km. I’m a UN kid (having lived in New York thanks to the UN ; Bangkok due to ECAFE ; and Geneva due to WHO) so it’s always something of an honour when I can run with UN.

The run had been organised by the local UN welfare team and we started with the group photo above and then about 10 of us set off on the run.

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Not all of us did the full 10km but, for those who did, it involved three circuits of the compound. From which you’ll gather that the compound is fairly large. Which it needs to be house all the staff

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and all the various in-country UN agencies including, I was excited to see, the World Health Organisation.

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It was a great run in perfect weather with excellent company and we finished with a group plank where some interesting techniques were on display!

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It just remains for me to say a huge thank you to everyone at UNAMA, particularly the welfare team who see running as an important part of the staff welfare mix, Free to Run and Untamed Borders for all their help, support and donations.

I’d love to see you all in London on 4th July 2020 for the UK, and final, leg of Run the World!

* The Marathon of Afghanistan takes place in Bamian province, a magical mountainous hidden valley suspended in the midst of the Hindu Kush in central Afghanistan. The astonishingly beautiful valley, a UNESCO world heritage site, is recognised as one of the safest provinces in the country and remains almost completely untouched by violence. The inaugural marathon took place in October 2015 and was the first international marathon to be run in Afghanistan. Around 120 runners took part in the marathon and associated 10-kilometer race, including Zainab who became the first Afghan woman in history to complete a marathon within her own country.

** Free to Run’s mission is to enable women and girls to safely and boldly engage in outdoor activity in conflict-affected regions. Through a combination of sports programs, life skills development, and community outreach, we help females to reclaim public space and change views about the roles they can (and should) play in a society. Our programs are designed to develop community leaders who can bring people together across cultural, ethnic and religious lines. We work to provide our participants with the tools to succeed because they can and will be a force for positive change.

***The objectives would be to raise awareness of the physical, mental and social health benefits of exercise and for participants across the world to come together in peace and unity.

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

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!

Facts & Stats

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia.

Afghanistan Occupying 652,000 square kilometers (252,000 sq mi), it is a mountainous country with plains in the north and southwest. Kabul is the capital and largest city. The population is 32 million, mostly composed of ethnic PashtunsTajiksHazaras and Uzbeks..

The political history of the modern state of Afghanistan began in the 18th century. In the late 19th century, Afghanistan became a buffer state in the “Great Game” between British India and the Russian Empire. Its border with British India, the Durand Line, was formed in 1893 but it is not recognized by the Afghan government and it has led to strained relations with Pakistan since the latter’s independence in 1947. Following the Third Anglo-Afghan War in 1919 the country was free of foreign influence, eventually becoming a monarchy under Amanullah Khan, until almost 50 years later when Zahir Shah was overthrown and a republic was established. In 1978, after a second coup Afghanistan first became a socialist state and then a Soviet protectorate. This evoked the Soviet–Afghan War in the 1980s against mujahideen rebels. By 1996 most of Afghanistan was captured by the Islamic fundamentalist group the Taliban, who ruled as a totalitarian regime for over five years. Following the 9/11 attacks, an intervention by the US and its allies forcibly removed the Taliban from power, and a new democratically-elected government was formed, but the Taliban still control a significant portion of the country.

Afghanistan is a unitary presidential Islamic republic. The country has high levels of terrorism, poverty, child malnutrition, and corruption. Afghanistan’s economy is the world’s 96th largest, with a gross domestic product (GDP) of $72.9 billion by purchasing power parity; the country fares much worse in terms of per-capita GDP (PPP), ranking 169th out of 186 countries as of 2018.

 World Bank Data

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

GDP $19.36 bn 2018 $4.06 bn 2002
Population 37.2 m 2018 20.8 m 2000
Primary school enrolment* 102 % 2017 21 % 2000
CO2 Emissions** 0.29 2014 0.04 2000
% below poverty line*** 54.5 % 2016 33.7 % 2007
Life expectancy at birth 64.1 yrs 2017 55.8 yrs 2000
GNI per capita $550 2018 $450 2009

*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 Afghanistan performed in the global sporting arena in 2018:

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 183 : Saudi Arabia – Riyadh

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

Please like / follow Run the World on Facebook , Instagram and Twitter

Date : 5th December, 2019

Time : 54’ 25”

Number of runners (total to date) :  75 (6915)

Run map and details :   https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/4318903331

I’ve been trying to get to Saudi Arabia for years but have never been able to obtain a visa. And then, in September 2019, in line with Saudi Vision 2030 – the plan to, inter alia, diversify the Saudi economy away from oil – the regulations changed and I could apply for a tourist visa.

So I applied online – and received my visa an hour later. Which was great. But now we needed some local contacts if I was to make the most of being in Saudi Arabia!

And then, as luck would have it, I met Asem, a Saudi journalist working for the BBC, on one of my runs in London. Asem introduced us to Albara. Who introduced us to Rod. And it went from there.

By the end, representatives from most of the running clubs in Riyadh were involved and they did a fantastic job of organising the run. (Please read Rod’s piece about the run and Riyadh’s running scene which I’ve copied and pasted below.)

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The net result was that 75-80 of us met at the park in Wadi Hanifa which is a 120 kilometre valley (wadi) that cuts through Riyadh. It’s an excellent place to run – even at night – and, after a warm up and a welcome speech, we set off in three groups based on expected pace.

I’m not going to try to describe the run in detail because, to be honest, most of the way I was talking most with my fellow runners and, thanks to my impromptu translator, with one of the many picnicking families along the route.

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Once we’d finished we had the largest Run the World group plank to date

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followed by a bilingual happy birthday to sing-along

And then countless photos with runners

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including those who’d just set new 10km PBs

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my translator

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and any number of the brilliantly friendly people who’d come along to support the run. (I’ve added some more photos at the bottom of the blog.)

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A group of us then went for dinner where we discussed some of the recent changes in Riyadh life. Pop stars and sporting events are coming to the Kingdom (Usher and Joshua v Ruiz were due to take place two days after the run ) ; cinemas are open ; women can drive, eat in restaurants, and have their own changing rooms in shops. And running – and particularly social running – is becoming ever more popular. (Again, please see Rod’s piece below.)

To cap it all off they also somehow arranged a birthday cake for me!

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What more can I say ? It was a great run and a great evening and I owe a huge thank you to Rod, Asem, Albara, Guido, Mamdouh, Aabeda and the Riyadh Road Runners, Amal and the Riyadh Urban Runners, the R7 Run Club,  Badr, Vivian, Nezar, Ibrahim, the British Embassy and Council, DQ Running Club, Al Bustan Runners, Thalia Street Runners, KatakboJuan Runners & KSU Movement, Rima, and many others!

I’d love to see you all in London on 4th July 2020 for the UK and final leg of Run the World!

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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

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!

 From Rod

The idea that we as runners have demonstrable cultural practices is super cool to me and last night was a revelation, we maybe run for different reasons & purpose but our testament of putting one put in front of the other were indeed remarkably powerful. Coming full-circle and watching runners both season veterans and new bloods pounding hard to finish the 10KM is undeniably wonderful. It’s rad to see everyone at Wadi yesterday for this organized-confusion with Dan Thompson’s incredible project “Run The World” in Riyadh. It’s a potent endeavor that bring together people from different culture and celebrate life as it’s core. Dan Thompson is such a silent towering instigator!

The running boom in Saudi particularly in Riyadh has been evolving for years now and all of these groups that sprouted were drawing inspo to each other. Would like to point out that these city clubs and groups don’t want to change the direction of the sport in The Kingdom. They just want to contribute to the community. If anything, I hope they’ve been able to paint a picture of the full dimensionality of running in Saudi Arabia, opening that space to build ties with people from different spectrums, social class, genders and orientation.

And we’d like to help push the understanding that elite runners aren’t fetishized superhumans from the other side of the planet; they’re just like us: runners who have highs and lows like everybody else. If anything, we have hope to mix it up, add some nuance and some storytelling and problematize people’s assumptions about what running culture looks and feels like in Saudi and in the region  — what it is and what it could be tomorrow, for all of us.

Again, if you would like to help in fighting to eradicate cancer, you may check www.cancerresearchuk.org and/or donate at www.justgiving.com/Dan-Thompson11.

Would like to acknowledge some clubs/groups that showed up —DQ Running Club, Al Bustan Runners, Thalia Street Runners, KatakboJuan Runners & KSU Movement (let me know if I miss anything) and throwing huge shoutout to Guido Tavares of Riyadh Road Runners and his amazing legions, Amal Maghazil of Riyadh Urban Runners and her incredible diverse squads and of course to Nezar Altuwaijri and his tour de force beast of minions —amazing to see different crews and clubs supporting Dan’s and his moving project and coming together as one lovely running community of Riyadh. This run would’ve been impossible if it’s not this grassroots movement that sprouted all over the city. Grateful for everyone and your individual’s effort & support.

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Facts & Stats

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia.

From Saudi Arabia is a country in Western Asia constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula. With a land area of approximately 2,150,000 km2 (830,000 sq mi), Saudi Arabia is geographically the largest sovereign state in Western Asia, the second-largest in the Arab world (after Algeria), the fifth-largest in Asia, and the 12th-largest in the world. It is the only nation with both a Red Sea coast and a Persian Gulf coast, and most of its terrain consists of arid desert, lowland and mountains. As of October 2018, the Saudi economy was the largest in the Middle East and the 18th largest in the world. Saudi Arabia also has one of the world’s youngest populations; 50 percent of its 33.4 million people are under 25 years old.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was founded in 1932 by Ibn Saud. He united the four regions into a single state through a series of conquests beginning in 1902 with the capture of Riyadh, the ancestral home of his family, the House of Saud. Saudi Arabia has since been a totalitarian absolute monarchy, effectively a hereditary dictatorship governed along Islamist lines. The ultraconservative Wahhabi religious movement within Sunni Islam has been called “the predominant feature of Saudi culture”, with its global spread largely financed by the oil and gas trade. Saudi Arabia is sometimes called “the Land of the Two Holy Mosques” in reference to Al-Masjid al-Haram (in Mecca) and Al-Masjid an-Nabawi (in Medina), the two holiest places in Islam. The state’s official language is Arabic.

Petroleum was discovered on 3 March 1938 and followed up by several other finds in the Eastern Province. Saudi Arabia has since become the world’s second largest oil producer (behind the US) and the world’s largest oil exporter, controlling the world’s second largest oil reserves and the sixth largest gas reserves. The kingdom is categorized as a World Bank high-income economy with a high Human Development Index and is the only Arab country to be part of the G-20 major economies.

The kingdom has the world’s third-highest military expenditure and, according to SIPRI, was the world’s second largest arms importer from 2010 to 2014.

World Bank Data

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

GDP $786.5 bn 2018 $189.5 bn 2000
         
Population 33.7 m 2018 20.7 m 2000
         
Primary school enrolment* 100 % 2018 96 % 2005
         
CO2 Emissions** 19.4 2014 14.4 2000
         
% below poverty line*** NA NA
         
Life expectancy at birth 74.9 yrs 2017 72.6 yrs 2000
         
GNI per capita $21 600 2018 $8 150 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 Saudi Arabia performed in the global sporting arena in 2019:

Global Cup – 118

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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British International School, Riyadh

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

Please like / follow Run the World on Facebook , Instagram and Twitter

Date : 5th December, 2019

Number of talk attendees (total to date) : 500 (6284)

Number of runners (total to date) : 200 (6840)

One of the best things about Run the World is the opportunity to speak at schools across the globe. Its invariably a pleasure to meet the students (and the staff!) and the British International School Riyadh was no exception.

Perhaps fittingly, it was Y 7-9 sports day on the date I visited and, before the competition kicked-off, I was able to talk briefly about the mental and physical health benefits of an active lifestyle. And to stress that being active doesn’t necessarily mean taking up traditional sports. Dancing, spinning, gymimg, walking – basically anything that gets you moving and raises the heart rate – are all great. Even if you think of yourself as ‘non-sporty’ there‘ll be an activity out there that you’ll love!

Wishing them all the best of luck for sports day we moved on to the Y 5-6 talk. But 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 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.

The Run the World school talk combines stories from my runs around the world with healthy living advice focusing on exercise, diet and sleep.

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I have to say Y 5-6 were a fine audience – lively, well informed and enthusiastic.

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Afterwards we went to the gym for some stretching and balancing exercises before finishing by running round the gym four times. I only hope the students enjoyed it as much as I did!

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It just remains for me to thank John McCance, Jackie La France, Cheryl Wood and all the staff and students at BISR for the invitation and the 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 : https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Dan-Thompson11

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!

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London Run 16 : Islington

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

Please like / follow Run the World on Facebook , Instagram and Twitter

Date : 19th  November, 2019

Time : 51’ 30”

Number of runners (total to date) : 1 (6630)

Run map and details : https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/4272123429

I live just north of the London Borough of Islington. My meeting was just south of Islington. The election is just round the corner and Islington (North) is Jeremy Corbyn’s constituency.

I don’t normally do these London Borough Challenge* runs on my own but the fates seemed to have decided that this was the day for my Islington run. So this time I did.

And disappeared down a rabbit hole to a massive trip down memory lane.

I started at the Whittington Hospital (above) where Liz gave birth to our youngest who, at that stage, and for some weeks afterwards, had no name.

From the hospital I made my way to Archway via Dick Whittington’s cat

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and onto the Holloway Road which trundles gently downhill as far as Seven Sisters road. If you turn left here you will eventually come to the promised land of White Hart Lane (yes, I still call it that) – home of the mighty Spurs.

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And if you continue straight on you will come to the home of those interlopers from south-east London – the Arse. (‘**** off back to Woolwich, north London is ours’)

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Moving swiftly on I detoured through the green space of Highbury Fields before getting to Highbury & Islington and the start of Upper Street – Islington’s premier shopping and entertainment street.  (In 1870, Charles Dickens described the area as “amongst the noisiest and most disagreeable thoroughfares in London.” In 1885, it was widely known as “The Devil’s Mile” on account of its prostitution, crime and the level of drunkenness).

I soon passed Islington Town hall where our newly named – and now two months old – youngest’s birth was finally registered and where Brian and Emma got married.

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Bri, Mski, Don, Maria, Jon and too many others to mention – where are you now? Hang on, I know perfectly well where you are because I saw you just the other week.

Down past the Scala and to the Business Design Centre – venue for many a European Computer Trade Show back in the good old days of the games business.

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Eric, Monty, GB, Jon (again), Rick, Beaz, CWD, Don Sargie, Abby, ‘Big Stew’ (RIP), Mark, David, Jops, Dan M, John, Nick, Toni and too many others to name – where are you now? Hang on, I know perfectly well where you are now because I’ve either seen you recently or we’re friends on Facebook…

Next stop was the O2 Academy where I, my youngest and some of her friends saw Stick Figure a couple of weeks ago. (Great west coast reggae band ; managed by my nephew Thomas.)

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Crossing over Upper St I ran past the misleadingly named Camden Passage to Regents Canal. Regents Canal is one of the great running (and cycling) routes in London. From Islington you can go east to Victoria Park and the Olympic Park – and west to Lords and Little Venice via Kings Cross and Camden.

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A little jog to City Road basin and back before making my way to Danny Kelly’s old house. DK deserves a mention in this blog for being a top bloke ; for being the man who changed my life by buying me a season ticket to Spurs ; and for being a fellow co-founder of Football 365 . Simon, David, Jon (third time lucky), Kirst, Phil & Dee, Rod, Mars, Casper and too many others to name – where are you now? Hang on….Ok you’ve got the idea by now. I’m including lots of inhabitants of memory lane in a crude attempt to get them all to read this blog…

Anyway, here’s a picture of Danny’s old house – please note that the door is painted the exact shade of ‘Spurs blue’.

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Off to the Angel Building which used to house Cancer Research, the charity I’m raising funds for (pls feel free to donate!), past Saddlers Wells (one of the n hundred places in London I should visit more frequently)

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to the old Amnesty building where I spent so many hours volunteering back in the 1990s.

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By now I was nearing the end of the run and it just remained for me to run past Grind, the venue for Reema’s ?0th birthday party a couple of months ago (don’t worry I’m not going to name all 100 attendees…)

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to the Barbican before turning east to Broadgate Tower where I did my first ever stair climbing session a couple of weeks ago.

So there you have it. Far more memories – old and new – than I expected when I set out on the run. And possibly more than you wanted to read about it….

Normally at this stage of the blog I say thank you to everyone who’s helped me with the run in question. But since I organised and ran this one on my own I’ll finish by saying ‘muchas gracias’ Poch and, um, ‘ola’ Jose…it’s not often you change a manager mid-blog…

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

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!

*In addition to completing a 10 km 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!

 

 

 

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London Run 15 : Wandsworth with Run Talk Run

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

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Date : 25th  November, 2019

Time : 57’ 29”

Number of runners (total to date) : 25 (6629)

Run map and details : https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/4286129135

“That tooth is going to require root canal work.”

To which the obvious response was, “Will I be able to run straight afterwards?”

For, by happy coincidence, I was due to do my Wandsworth run* with the Tooting Bec branch of Run Talk Run three hours after finishing 2 hours of root canal work. I guess I was going to have to grit my teeth and get on with it..

Run Talk Run is a mental health support run club. Set-up in 2017 by Jess Robson, it now operates in 49 different locations around the world.

As their website says :

“Run Talk Run is a weekly 5km gentle jog. Before every run there is a window of time to meet the other runners and say hello to the run leader. It’s alright if you’re a little anxious and quiet – we all ‘get it’ at Run Talk Run. The leader then explains the logistics of the route (reminding the group that the run is gentle and that there is no pressure to “keep up”), and that at the forefront of our runs is supportthis really is a safe space to talk about how you’re really doing.”

I suspect its common knowledge that running is good for your physical health. However, the mental health benefits may be less well known. The NHS says exercise reduces the risk of dementia and depression by up to 30% and certainly I run with a lot of people around the world who tell me how much running has helped them mentally.

And apparently almost 75% of Run Talk Run participants say that it’s had a positive impact upon their mental health. And, based on my experience, it’s easy to see why.

I talked to quite a few people while we ran from Tooting Bec to Wandsworth Common for a stretch and a chance to chat

and then, via Balham tube to Tootign Bec Common and back to the Wheatsheaf pub.

The impression I formed was of a group of people who simply enjoyed running together in a friendly, easy going crowd. There wasn’t any particular focus on, or pressure to talk about, mental health issues. However, the time, space and audience was there should you should you want to do so.

Run Talk Run : highly recommended whether you want to talk – or whether you’re into social running. Or both.

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And that’s where this blog would normally end except that those who are familiar with the Run the World project will know that I do 10 km runs* – which meant that I had another 5 km to do.

A 5 km I’d actually done before meeting the others. I’d started near Vauxhall Bridge and ran west along the Thames Path with great views up the river to Battersea Power Station

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before cutting inland past New Covent Garden

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the ‘backside’ of the Power Station (which seems to house a sizeable percentage of the world’s crane population)

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Battersea Dogs (& Cats) Home

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Battersea Park and south down Queenstown Rd and onto where I used to live on the Shaftesbury Estate – 1 Morrison Street.

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The temptation to reminisce about those early days in London is almost overwhelming but I suspect, dear reader, that by now you are quietly be wondering whether this blog is ever going to end…so I’ll finish quickly by saying that I ran up to and across Clapham Common to Clapham South tube station for the quick journey to Tooting Bec.

And finally, I know you’re dying to ask, how were my teeth post the canal rooting? Thank you Vatche and the Pond Square Dental Practice. What higher praise can I give than to say that I almost drifted off during the operation and then suffered no discomfort during a 10 km run that same evening?

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It just remains for me to say a huge thank you to Jess and everyone at Run Talk Run for the warm welcome and the great run. I’d love it if you stayed in touch 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 : https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Dan-Thompson11

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!

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*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!

 

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Run 180 : Austria – Vienna

Run 180 : Austria – Vienna

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

Please like / follow Run the World on Facebook , Instagram and Twitter

Date : 17th October, 2019

Time : 58’ 18”

Number of runners (total to date) : 6 (6405)

Number of talk attendees (total to date) : 29 (5546)

Run map and details :   https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/4176259226

If you have any interest in sport, or just in extraordinary human achievements, you’ll be aware that Eliud Kipchoge recently became the first person to run a marathon in under two hours. 1 h 59’40” to be exact.

And he did it in Vienna (Wien) – more specifically on the Hauptallee in Vienna’s Prater park. And so where better for Run the World Austria to take place and give us runners a chance to measure ourselves against the great man?

Of course, he did have a few things going for him. Like groups of pacemakers running in front of him in an aerodynamically efficient formation. A flexible start time optimised for a combination of humidity, wind and temperature. A laser wielding car leading the way at exactly the required pace. The new Nike Vaporfly Next% shoes. And, of course, an abundance of god given talent and determination.

And what did we – the Vindobona Hash House Harriers and yours truly – have ? A certain amateurish enthusiasm, some fringe benefits from the reputed $40 million invested by INEOS in the route and the comradeship you get wherever there are a group of hashers.

Would this be enough to challenge Kipchoge’s achievement ? Possibly not – except for our secret weapon. We were only running 10 km versus the 42.2 km run by Eliud. Surely, given this advantage, we could beat his time?

We started at the Praterstern end of Hauptallee and could immediately see some of the results of the INEOS investment. There were lines on the road and, every so often, new tarmac which meant the running surface was smooth and flat throughout.

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We ran through the Prater, the emperor’s old hunting grounds, as far as the Lusthaus – one of the two turning points on Kipchoge’s record setting course.

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Now, it’s very hard to keep your speed up around a corner, especially when it’s quite a tight corner. So they’d built a cambered road around the Lusthaus to minimise loss of speed. Unfortunately this was closed to us so we had to run round it in the usual way, bleeding speed and time as we went.

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Truthfully it probably didn’t make a huge difference as this was one of the various points where we paused to regroup…

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We then set off back up the Hauptallee getting back to our start point having run close on 9 km. A little backtracking to regroup once more before running our last kilometre through the Wurstelprater amusement park

finishing with a plank in front of the legendary Riesenrad Ferris wheel*.

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We did, in the end, beat Kipchoge’s time. But only by running less than a quarter of his distance….

I don’t know how you would beat his time over the full distance. He ran 42.2 km at an average speed of c 2 minutes 50 seconds per kilometre. If you can run one kilometre in 2 minutes 50 seconds then that’s already pretty impressive (I couldn’t and I dare say most people would struggle.) To run over 42 kilometres at that pace is simply incredible.

And so run 180 was done – just 26 to go. Not the 999 820 to go which would be the case if one of the more enthusiastic attendees at that afternoon’s school talk had been correct in guessing that there are a million countries in the world!

It just remains for me to say a huge thank you to Mr Pink, Joystick, Pussy Galore, Prima Donna and Richard Kopf from the Vindobona Hash for the company, the donations and the Kasekreiner!

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And to Maria Addie and all the staff and students at the American International School in Vienna – the talk was great fun!

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I’d love to see you all in London on 4th July 2020 for the UK, and final, leg of Run the World!

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

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 younger readers, it played a key part in the seminal film ‘The Third Man’

 

Facts & Stats

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia.

Austria is a land-locked country in Central Europe composed of nine federated states (Bundesländer), one of which is Vienna, Austria’s capital and its largest city. Austria occupies an area of 83,879 km2 (32,386 sq mi) and has a population of nearly 9 million people.

In the 16th century, Austria started serving as the heart of the Habsburg Monarchy and the junior branch of the House of Habsburg – one of the most influential royal dynasties in history. As an archduchy, it was a major component and administrative centre of the Holy Roman Empire. Following the Holy Roman Empire’s dissolution, Austria established its own empire in the 19th century, which became a great power and the leading force of the German Confederation. After its abolishment, the Austrian Empire pursued its own course independent of the affairs of other German States. Following the Austro-Prussian War and the compromise with Hungary, the Dual Monarchy was established.

Austria was involved in World War I under Emperor Franz Joseph following the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand, the presumptive successor to the Austro-Hungarian throne. Austria was also the birthplace of Adolf Hitler, who became the Chancellor of the German Reich. Prior to the invasion of Poland in 1939, Germany previously annexed Austria by the Anschluss and seized the Sudetenland under terms outlined by the Munich Agreement. Following the defeat of Nazi Germany and an extended period of Allied occupation, Austria was re-established as a sovereign and self-governing democratic nation known as the Second Republic.

Austria is a parliamentary representative democracy with a directly elected Federal President as head of state and a Chancellor as head of the federal government. Major urban areas of Austria include GrazLinzSalzburg and Innsbruck. Austria is consistently ranked in the top 20 richest countries in the world by GDP per capita terms. The country has achieved a high standard of living and in 2018 was ranked 20th in the world for its Human Development Index. Vienna consistently ranks in the top internationally on quality-of-life indicators.

The Second Republic declared its perpetual neutrality in foreign political affairs in 1955. Austria has been a member of the United Nations since 1955 and[ joined the European Union in 1995. Austria also signed the Schengen Agreement in 1995, and adopted the euro currency in 1999.

 World Bank Data

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

GDP $455.7 bn 2018 $196.8 bn 2000
Population 8.8 m 2018 8.0 m 2000
Primary school enrolment* 103% 2017 104% 2000
CO2 Emissions** 6.87 2014 7.77 2000
% below poverty line*** NA NA
Life expectancy at birth 81.6 yrs 2017 78.1 yrs 2000
GNI per capita $49 260 2018 $26 790 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 Austria performed in the global sporting arena in 2018:

Global Cup – 22nd

Per Capita Cup – 10th

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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