The Ellen Wilkinson Primary School, Newham

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

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Date : 1st July, 2019

Number of talk attendees (total to date) : 120 (3319)

Number of runners (total to date) : 60 (4262)

Run map and details : https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/3805271658

The Ellen Wilkinson School in Newham is perhaps the UK school that has reminded me the most of the international schools I talk at around the world. At the end of the talk, student after student put up their hand to ask if I’d run in this or that country. Just like they did in schools from Nouakchott in Mauritania to Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic to Almaty in Kazakhstan. It made me feel right at home!

The reason students ask about particular countries is usually because they have a family connection. And I always enjoy the questions because it gives me an excuse to ask about their backgrounds and (briefly) reminisce about running in the country in question.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s go back to the beginning and why I was giving the talk.

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 173 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 junior school talk combines stories from my runs around the world with healthy living advice focusing on exercise, diet and sleep. At the end of the talk we often have a Q &A session – hence the questions.

After the questions I went for a 1 km run with 60 Y4 student around the school grounds. (The Y6 students had a musical performance to put on.) At the end of the run I was chatting with Rebecca Ellis, Head of PE, and some other members of staff. Apparently a number of years have been doing the Daily Mile and the feed-back from participants has been almost universally positive in terms of setting up the students for the school day.

Which backs up the research (I quote in my talks) that exercise is not only good for your mental and physical health but also improves academic performance!

It just remains for me to say that I very much hope the students enjoyed the talk and run 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 4thJuly 2020.

Finally, a big thank you to Rebecca and the staff at the school for the invitation and 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 Twitterbecause 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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The Petchey Academy

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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 : 26th June, 2019

Number of talk attendees (total to date) : 270 (3199)

Number of runners (total to date) : 80 (4202)

I have the honour to be a trustee of the Panathlon Challenge charity. Panathlon does fantastic work– every year it provides sporting and leadership opportunities to c 20 000 disabled primary and secondary schoolers across England.

Panathlon holds its annual London finals at the Copperbox and I try to make sure I don’t miss it as its always a special day. Also there this year was Sonia from the Jack Petchey Foundation (they’re a very generous donor to Panathlon.)

Sonia and got I talking about Run the World school talks and she put me in touch with the Petchey Academy – which is how I ended up talking to their Y 7, 8 and 9 students.

Run the World offers schools a menu of activities including a talk ; a Q&A session ; a run ; and an exercise session. The Petchey Academy opted for a talk followed, time allowing, by a run.

Y 7 were first up and I launched into the talk which starts with stories about my runs around the world – the extraordinary, and often inspiring, people I’ve met and things I’ve seen. Then we moved on to the healthy living section of the talk finishing with the slide that really summarises why I do these talks.

In 2018, Harvard aggregated a huge amount of research on healthy living and its impact on life expectancy. The conclusion? If you adopt the five healthy habit referred to in the talk – healthy weight, diet and levels of exercise combined with no smoking and no/low alcohol consumption – then, on average, women will live 14 years longer and men will live 12 years longer. Even adopting one healthy habit will, on average, extend your life by two years.

At the end, I asked if anyone wanted to join me for a run. I didn’t know what to expect but every student put up their hand. So we went out onto the school’s 3G artificial pitch and ran about a kilometre together, chatting about this and that as we ran. A lot of fun.

Time for a quick group picture (top of the blog) before the Y 7s had to return to their usual schedule and I had to prepare for the Y 8s and 9s.

Turned out that the Y 8s & 9s were just as rewarding to talk to as the Y 7s and I was sorry when I had to leave for another appointment.

It just remains for me to say that I very much 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 4thJuly 2020.

Finally, a big thank you to Sonia and the staff at the Petchey Academy for the invitation and warm welcome – particularly the PE Dept!

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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 Twitterbecause 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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Camden School for Girls

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

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Date : 24th June 2019

Number of talk attendees (total to date) : 100 (2929)

We used to live about 200 meters from Camden School for Girls, very close to Rochester Terrace Gardens.

F, my eldest daughter, liked to visit the playground in the Gardens. Usually, she’d play around on the swings and slides but, one day, she saw another little girl and ran up to her. The other girl ran towards my daughter and, although they were separated by a wire fence, they tried to hug each other.

And that’s how I met M who, it turned out, was F’s best friend from nursery.

M went on to Camden School for Girls (CSG) and her parents, who became some of our favourite people, always gave us good reports about the school. To the extent that we’ve spent a lot of time wondering whether we should apply to send our own girls there.

So I was fascinated to have the chance to talk at the school. And also a little nervous.

Run the World offers schools a menu of activities including a talk ; a Q&A session ; a run ; and an exercise session. And CSG asked for an exercise session with a twist. They wanted 100 Y 12 students to do the exercises during the talk. Something I hadn’t done before.

I spent hours researching sitting and standing exercises that wouldn’t be too strenuous / sweaty / space consuming for students in an assembly hall in their normal school clothes. I then road tested the exercises with my own daughters to make sure they were doable, fun and worked the target muscle groups. But I couldn’t be sure how the students would react. Would they actually do any of them?

The talk starts with stories about my runs around the world – the extraordinary, and often inspiring, people I’ve met and things I’ve seen. Then we moved on to the healthy living section of the talk and suddenly it was exercise time.

The first exercise was the Butt Clench. A simple exercise where you clench your buttock muscles, hold for ten seconds and then relax.

Now, while you can’t actually see clothed buttocks being clenched, when people do the Butt Clench they go up and down on their chairs as they contract, and then relax, their gluteal muscles.

I looked out anxiously – and saw a sea of bobbing, smiling students. Perhaps this was going to work after all…

We moved on to Fab Abs, the Blind Flamingo, Thunder Thighs and Army Arms – and then the rest of the talk. Finishing with the slide that really summarises why I do these talks.

In 2018, Harvard aggregated a huge amount of research on healthy living and its impact on life expectancy. The conclusion? If you adopt the five healthy habit referred to in the talk – healthy weight, diet and levels of exercise combined with no smoking and no/low alcohol consumption – then, on average, women will live 14 years longer and men will live 12 years longer. Even adopting one healthy habit will, on average, extend your life by two years.

It just remains for me to say that I very much 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.

Finally, a big thank you to the staff at CSG for the invitation and warm welcome – I’ve now started offering in-talk exercises to other schools!

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 Twitterbecause 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 7 : Kensington & Chelsea with the One Track Club

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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 : 24th June, 2019

Time : 57’ 29”

Number of runners (total to date) : 30 (4122)

Run map and details :   https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/3788330990

Kings Road in Chelsea was at the heart of London’s Swinging Sixties – evoking “an endless frieze of mini-skirted, booted, fair-haired angular angels” as one magazine put it. In the 1970s it reinvented itself as a centre of punk culture with Malcom McLaren’s and Vivienne Westwood’s boutique Let It Rock, which was renamed  SEX in 1974 (and then Seditionaries in 1977.)

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Those eras were a bit before my time in London but, when I first moved to London, I lived in Battersea, a short 137 bus ride away.

Whenever I did make it to the Kings Road I’d half notice that, between all the magnificently coiffed and pierced aging punks,

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there was a running track at the Sloane Square end.

Time passed and, in a series of changes that my Kings Road visiting self would have found astonishing, I moved to north London, settled down and even had kids.

In a (to date vain) attempt to interest our girls in art we would occasionally take them across London to the Saatchi Gallery

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which overlooks the aforementioned running track. By now I was starting to get into running and I wanted to run on that track

So you can imagine my excitement when, while researching the London Borough Challenge, I came across the One Track Run Club which trains at the Duke of York Square running track (to give it its full name) every Monday evening.

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The One Track Club was founded by, and is coached by, Anthony Fletcher and the day I was there was the first anniversary of its move to the Duke of York Square track.

As Fletch explains in the following video, it’s a club for runners of all abilities who want to push themselves and raise their heart rates.

I had a quick chat with Fletch before proceedings began and he told me that Roger Bannister – the man who ran the first sub 4 minute mile – used to train on the track. (I’m fortunate enough to have met Sir Roger a couple of times while he was still alive and to have run a mile on Oxford’s Iffley Road track where he set his famous record.)

The session started with series of warm up exercises

We then moved onto a 15 minute run where we alternated between 30 seconds at 10 km pace and 30 seconds at 5 km pace. The front runners were setting a 10 km pace of c 4’ 20” / km and I didn’t have too much trouble with that. Their 5 km pace was sub 4’ / km and that was less comfortable. To be honest, I’m not sure there was a discernible difference between my 5 km pace and my 10 km pace…(NB I don’t want to give the impression that you have to be fast to join these sessions. There were people running at a range of paces ; the goal of the exercise was to run for 15 minutes rather than any particular distance.)

We then had a break before moving onto series of sprints interspersed with jogs.

Just hearing the word ‘sprint’ make my hamstrings twitch and I approached this exercise gingerly. Before eventually coming to the conclusion that there’s not really a discernible difference between my sprinting pace and my 10 km pace either…

We’d covered about 6.3 km in total by the time the session finished and some of the runners were good enough to accompany me for the remaining laps to get to my 10 km. (We even got Fletch to join in for a bit of the run – which I understand is something of an achievement!)

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It just remains for me to say a huge thank you to Fletch, Laura and all my fellow runners for the company, warm welcome and subsequent donations. And a thank you to the Sex Pistols, the Clash, Malcom McLaren, Vivienne Westwood and everyone else who made punk, and by extension the Kings Road, something of fascination to so many people.

If any of you can make it, then I’d love to see you 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!

 

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Run 173 : Russia – St Petersburg

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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 June, 2019

Time : 1h 10’ 45”

Number of runners (total to date) : 35 (4092)

Run map and details :   https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/3760982584

‘There’s a Russian saying that you move to Moscow for work – and to St Petersburg for love,’ Varvara, I Love Supersport’s head of running, informed me.

And, although it wasn’t the kind of love she was referring to, it reminded me of falling a little bit in love with St Petersburg when I first visited it many years ago during the glasnost era.

I’d started that trip to Russia in Moscow where I’d bought some black market caviar, some black bread and some vodka. Which we then proceeded to consume while playing chess on the overnight sleeper to St Petersburg.

By now, Russian readers are probably laughing at my clichéd touristic attempts to throw myself into Russian life. But try to picture the situation back then. For the whole of my lifetime, it hadn’t really been possible for the average westerner to visit Russia. Then finally I was able to visit this country whose books I’d read and whose politics and history I’d studied. It felt very exciting at the time!

One of my main memories from that earlier visit was that the Hermitage – the second largest art museum in the world – was sensational and, as luck would have it, that’s pretty much where we started our run.

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I’d been introduced to Artem, who founded I Love Supersport St Petersburg, by Marina, who works for I Love Supersport Kazakhstan. And the Supersport team had organised a run – with a twist.

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The twist being that it was a guided run – led by Polina of Run in Sun Pi. She’s a tour guide who loves running and is the perfect run leader. Not only did she devise a route that took us past many of St Petersburg’s major sights, but she also managed to keep up an almost constant commentary throughout the run. In both Russian and English.

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We ran first to St Isaac’s Cathedral

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then past the Bronze Horseman

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and (fittingly) onto English Embankment before crossing over the Neva on Blagoveschchensky Bridge.

Where I noticed that a drone appeared to be following us.

Why was it following us? Were the authorities still after me for buying that black market caviar?!?

Nothing of the sort. It turned out that Polina had arranged for the run to be filmed by drone.

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Once over the bridge we turned right on to Universitetskaya,

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past the Rostral Columns

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and over Birzhevoy Bridge where I took some ‘I really must do something about my cinematography’  video

From there we ran round St Peter and Pauls’ Fortress with the Artillery on our left before crossing over Troitsky Bridge and heading to the onion domed Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood

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Next stop was the Statues of Atlantis outside the New Hermitage – you rub their toes and make a wish –

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and then past the Hermitage itself

before hitting the 10km mark and final photos and goodbyes.

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The walk back to my hotel after the run took me along Nevsky Prospekt. By the time I’d eaten, it was almost 11pm on a Monday night and yet there was a party atmosphere with the streets still full of people and live music on almost every street corner. Being in St Petersburg during the ‘white nights’ is something special.

As was the run. Thank you Artem, Varvara, I Love Supersport St Petersburg, Polina, Run in Sun Pi, Marina in Kazakhtsan, Bobby in Tajikistan and all my fellow runners for the fabulous welcome, company and support!

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If any of you can make it, then I’d love to see you 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!

Facts & Stats

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia.

Russia is a transcontinental country in Eastern Europe and North Asia. At 17,125,200 square kilometres (6,612,100 sq mi), Russia is by a considerable margin the largest country in the world by area, covering more than one-eighth of the Earth’s inhabited land area, and the ninth most populous, with about 146.79 million people as of 2019, including Crimea. About 77% of the population live in the western, European part of the country. Russia’s capital, Moscow, is one of the largest cities in the world and the second largest city in Europe; other major cities include Saint PetersburgNovosibirskYekaterinburg and Nizhny Novgorod. Extending across the entirety of Northern Asia and much of Eastern Europe, Russia spans eleven time zones and incorporates a wide range of environments and landforms. From northwest to southeast, Russia shares land borders with NorwayFinlandEstoniaLatviaLithuania and Poland (both with Kaliningrad Oblast), BelarusUkraineGeorgiaAzerbaijanKazakhstanChinaMongolia and North Korea. It shares maritime borders with Japan by the Sea of Okhotsk and the U.S. state of Alaska across the Bering Strait. However, Russia recognises two more countries that border it, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, both of which are internationally recognized as parts of Georgia.

The East Slavs emerged as a recognizable group in Europe between the 3rd and 8th centuries AD. Founded and ruled by a Varangian warrior elite and their descendants, the medieval state of Rus arose in the 9th century. In 988 it adopted Orthodox Christianity from the Byzantine Empire, beginning the synthesis of Byzantine and Slavic cultures that defined Russian culture for the next millennium. Rus ultimately disintegrated into a number of smaller states; most of the Rus’ lands were overrun by the Mongol invasion and became tributaries of the nomadic Golden Horde in the 13th century. The Grand Duchy of Moscow gradually reunified the surrounding Russian principalities and achieved independence from the Golden Horde. By the 18th century, the nation had greatly expanded through conquest, annexation, and exploration to become the Russian Empire, which was the third largest empire in history, stretching from Poland on the west to Alaska on the east.

Following the Russian Revolution, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic became the largest and leading constituent of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the world’s first constitutionally socialist state. The Soviet Union played a decisive role in the Allied victory in World War II and emerged as a recognized superpower and rival to the United States during the Cold War. The Soviet era saw some of the most significant technological achievements of the 20th century, including the world’s first human-made satellite and the launching of the first humans in space. By the end of 1990, the Soviet Union had the world’s second largest economy, largest standing military in the world and the largest stockpile of weapons of mass destruction. Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, twelve independent republics emerged from the USSR: Russia, UkraineBelarusKazakhstanUzbekistanArmeniaAzerbaijanGeorgiaKyrgyzstanMoldovaTajikistanTurkmenistan and the Baltic states regained independence: EstoniaLatviaLithuania; the Russian SFSR reconstituted itself as the Russian Federation and is recognized as the continuing legal personality and a successor of the Soviet Union. It is governed as a federal semi-presidential republic.

Russia’s economy ranks as the twelfth largest by nominal GDP and sixth largest by purchasing power parity in 2018. Russia’s extensive mineral and energy resources are the largest such reserves in the world, making it one of the leading producers of oil and natural gas globally. The country is one of the five recognized nuclear weapons states and possesses the largest stockpile of weapons of mass destruction. It is a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council.

World Bank Data

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

GDP $1.58 tn 2017 $260 bn 2000
         
Population 144.5 m 2017 146.6 m 2000
         
Primary school enrolment* 102% 2016 103% 2000
         
CO2 Emissions** 11.9 2014 10.6 2000
         
% below poverty line*** 13.2% 2017 24.6% 2002
         
Life expectancy at birth 72.1 yrs 2017 65.5 yrs 2000
         
GNI per capita $9220 2017 $1710 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 Russia performed in the global sporting arena in 2018:

Global Cup – 3rd

Per Capita Cup – 34th

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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London Run 6 : Richmond -upon-Thames with the Plogolution!

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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 : 31st May, 2019

Time : 1h 44’ 59”

Number of runners (total to date) : 7 (4057)

Run map and details :   https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/3708653062

Regular readers will know that that I’ve been shocked by the amount of plastic I’ve seen over the world. From the Marshall Islands in the middle of the Pacific

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to Cote d’Ivoire on the west coast of Africa

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its sometimes felt like I’ve been running through and by oceans of plastic.

So, when I first read about plogging – originating in Scandinavia, plogging combines jogging with picking up plastic – I was determined to give it a go. And when we came up with the plan to run with as many different running tribes as possible as part of the London Borough Challenge, I searched to see if there were any ploggers in London.

And I came across the Plogolution. Here are its founders – Dermot and Michelle – with the origin story.

Not content with organising plogs all round London, Michelle and Dermot decided to undertake an Ultra plog. Which consisted of plogging the length of the Thames. That’s 184 miles in 6 days. Gulp.

184 miles in 6 days is obviously a fair old distance by any standards. However, its a lot tougher when you’re constantly stopping to pick up plastic and rubbish. Which is then put in a rubbish container – carried by Dermot – and taken to the support car a few kilometres up the road.

I met Michelle, Dermot and various supporters at Richmond on the banks of the Thames. (Picture at the top of the blog.)

And I can’t say my plogging career started particularly well. I picked up a McDonalds milkshake that someone had left on the side of the path and was going to put it in the rubbish container – when I was told that we couldn’t carry anything containing liquid. Normally you’d just empty out the liquid but you can’t really do that with milkshake without making a right mess. So I put the milkshake back down by the side of the path. Only to be told off of by a member of the public for littering…

Things went a little better after that as I learnt the ‘dos’ – all plastic and rubbish other than the ‘don’ts’ –  and ‘don’ts’ – tissues, condoms, bottles full of liquid etc. I probably should have worn gloves but hey ho…

Now, the Thames path between Richmond and Hammersmith isn’t too bad for litter. It’s apparently much worse in inner city, higher population areas. However, it’s still amazing how many bottles and cans get left behind.

Such as the coke can spotted in the swampy area off to the side of the path. Dermot decided to cross the mud on a fallen branch to retrieve it. On the plus side he got the bottle. On the down side, he also got the mud…

As you’ll see from the video, everyone was pretty determined not to leave anything behind as we plogged our way past Kew Gardens,

to the support van full of bags of plogged rubbish

and then on to Chiswick Bridge and almost as far as Hammersmith where I had to leave the team on a river bank festooned with plastic beer mugs. Alcohol really did seem to be the single biggest contributor to the rubbish and plastic we picked up….

From there I ran over Hammersmith Bridge with a view back over the Thames

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and finished at Hammersmith tube station where the crowds were gathered for Britain’s Got Talent.

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It just remains for me to say a huge thank you to Michelle, Dermot and all my fellow plogggers for the company and the opportunity to plog. And to anyone reading this – plogging is a great way to combine exercise with doing something good for the environment so why not join the Plogolution!

If any of you can make it, then I’d love to see you 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!

 

 

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Running with the Backpackers

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

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Date : 23rd  May, 2019

Number of runners (total to date) : 15 (4050)

Run map and details :   https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/3679525353

One of the things I love about running is that runners come in all shapes and sizes. And abilities and ages.

They also all run at different paces. Some are frisky bunnies and there are plenty of clubs for them. And some run at a more relaxed pace.

If you are one of the relaxed tribe then you might well want to consider the Backpackers Running Club. It describes itself as “A London based running family setting out to show the world that the warriors at the back of the pack are just as worthy and worth celebrating, as those at the front.”

I joined their Thursday evening run which meets at the Asics store on Regent Street. Asics provide the club with a place to meet, a place to sit and relax, and a place to drop off  bags. They also provide free carbonated drinks of a variety of pleasing flavours. And, of course, you can buy running gear there.

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Backpackers is led by the super charismatic Leeanne Adu (below) and the evening starts with a review of the highlights of everyone’s week. (One member had just been promoted to deputy head of her special needs school.)

Running highlights are then celebrated. Club members take part in a lot of races – sometimes as participants and sometimes as pace setters. Plenty of club members had completed the Hackney Half the previous weekend so there were stories, medals and hugs. (Pace setters are needed at the back of the pack just as much, if not more, than they’re needed out front.)

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They were kind enough to give me the floor for a couple of minute and pose for group photo (above) before we headed outside onto Regent Street for a warm up.

We then split into two groups – joggers and jog/walkers – and headed to Regent’s Park. Where we all met up again and where I was able to shoot a some of my notoriously poor footage of us all running in the particularly beautiful English Gardens.

Our route back took us through Broadcasting House (i.e. the BBC) and their marauding bollards

past Oxford Circus

and back to the Asics store.

Backpackers is, as they say, a running family – a very supportive one at that – and if that sounds like your kind of set-up then don’t hesitate to join them. Its free and really rather wonderful!

It just remains for me to say a huge thank you to Leeanne and all my fellow runners for the welcome and the run. If any of you can make it, then I’d love to see you 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!

rtw backpackers 6

 

 

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