London Run 2 : Enfield – Trent Park

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

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Date : 27th April, 2019

Time : 1h 13’ 31”

Number of runners (total to date) : 17 (3745)

Run map and details :   https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/3601581963

I’ve been fortunate enough to run with Hash House Harriers in countries all round the world including Sierra Leone, Estonia, Antigua, St Kitts & Nevis, Azerbaijan and the Dominican Republic. There’ve been a lot of good times along the way and I was determined to run with hashers in London. So, when the chance came up to run with the London Hash in Enfield, I grabbed it.

But before we dive into what happened in Enfield, a little background may be in order.

Over the years I’ve become reasonably familiar with hashing but I know its bit of a mystery for many people so here are the basics. A ‘hare’ goes out in advance and lays a trail. In our case the trail was marked by handfuls of sawdust and occasional chalk arrow. The hashers then run or walk the trail.

For a lot of the time the trail is relatively easy to follow – helped by runners shouting ‘On, on!’ when they pass markers. However, every so often you come to a check point where you have to cast around for the next trail marker. This is both good fun in its own right and also creates time for the ‘pack’ to catch up with the FRBs (Front Running Bastards).

And when you do pick up trail, you have to hope it doesn’t turn out to be a dreaded FT (False Trail)

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which involves retracing your steps and searching for the correct route.

There are probably two more things you need to know about the HHH before I get on with the blog. Firstly, they describe themselves as ‘a drinking club with a running problem’. From which you’ll gather that the social side of hashing is important.

Secondly, after a qualifying period, members are given a hash name. The names will usually reflect something the individual has said or done and will range from the amusing to the bawdy. (I’ve never met a hasher who was anything other than friendly and welcoming but it’s perhaps worth noting that, while many hashes are family friendly, some are a little naughtier in nature.)

Right, here endeth the lesson. Time to get on with the blog. (Pls see below for more on hashing and its history).

We met in a pub (obvs) – the Cock Inn near Cockfosters – where Grand Master Chi Su

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narrated a quick history of the London Hash.

We then went outside for a briefing by Lofty, the hare for the day, and set off for nearby Trent Park.

Lofty had set a great trail that entered the park near the Southgate hockey club and meandered round Trent Park through wooded areas and formal gardens, past grand houses (one of which housed high ranking Nazi prisoners during the war in an effort to win their cooperation – apparently it worked)

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and many a fine view.

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Including the distance spent searching at check points, and a false trail, we’d covered 9.6 km by the time we got back to the Cock.

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I nipped off to do my remaining 400m then joined the others in the pub.

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Unfortunately family life, and an ill-judged bit of scheduling regarding a tennis game, meant that I couldn’t stay on long enough for the post run circle. Which is a shame as I suspect I might have won the Hashit – an offensive or embarrassing object given to a hasher for notable on-trail accomplishments. (My ‘accomplishment’ having been to announce that we’d lost the markers. Only for a hasher to suggest that I might like to look down at my feet as I was standing on one…)

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Thank you Chi Su, Lofty and all my fellow runners/ walkers. That was excellent fun and I hope to be back with you in another borough in the not too distant future.

On, on!

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!

A Brief History of Hashing

As hashing involves:

a) Copious amounts of drinking;

b) Silly names; and

c) Romping around in the great outdoors

it may not come as a great surprise to hear that it originated amongst a group of British expats (in 1938 in Malaysia).

Their earliest recorded objectives were to :

  • To promote physical fitness among our members
  • To get rid of weekend hangovers
  • To acquire a good thirst and to satisfy it in beer
  • To persuade the older members that they are not as old as they feel

Hashing has subsequently spread well beyond the expat world and you’ll find a great mix of locals and nationalities from all around the world at hash clubs. Spread to the extent that its estimated that there are about 2000 chapters and tens of thousands of hashers around the world. Hashes are open to everyone and, in my experience, they’re extremely welcoming to outsiders.

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London Run 1 : Camden – Primrose Hill

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

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Date : 26th April, 2019

Time : 1h 23’ 10”

Number of runners (total to date) : 17 (3728)

Run map and details :   https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/3591812210

Running with Project Awesome is…how can I describe it…I need an adjective…can’t think of anything…hang on, its coming to me…ah yes, there we are… its awesome! Pixie dustily, unicornily awesome!

As run leader Helen explains in the following video, Project Awesome (PA) meet 3 times a week – at 6.30 am – for a run, a workout and oodles of positivity.

I joined the Friday morning session which meets on top of Primrose Hill. Espying my fellow runners to be, I went over to them and extended my right hand in the traditional manner of greeting. To be met by a series of hugs.

A few warm up exercises, a haka

and it was time to start the session for real.

This involved running down a hill, performing a set of exercises and then running back up the hill and performing another set of exercises like. Before repeating the process up and down another hill.

The exercises give you a really good all body work out and range from star jumps to burpees to stomach crunches to tricep dips to spider walks ( I think that’s what they’re called)

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to ‘hoisties’.

This went on for the best part of an hour during which we managed to simultaneously exhaust ourselves and have a great time.

We also (re)proved my maxim that, for any run that starts and finishes in the same place, there will be more uphill than downhill running. Or so it always seems.

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We ended with a tunnel

a group hug for myself and the other newbie (top of the blog), a transfer of positive thoughts to Jun for Sunday’s London marathon and a game of British bulldog. (I’d forgotten how brilliant British bulldog is!)

By this stage I’d run 4.5 km so I set off to complete my 10km. I started round the outside of Primrose Hill before popping over Prince Albert Road to do a couple of laps of Regent’s Park Running Track which, slightly bizarrely, is 387m long.

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Back though Primrose Hill to Ripe Kitchen where some of the group were finishing their morning coffees. Goodbyes, a promise to see them all at the London Relay, a final hug before setting off for home.

On the journey back I caught a reflection of myself. With an unconscious grin all over my face from the great work-out. Thank you Helen and all my fellow PAers – that was Awesome!

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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London Borough Challenge

Schedule 

New dates will be coming out regularly, so please like Run the World on Facebook or follow on Twitter for all the news and updates!

  • Friday Apr 26th : Project Awesome (‘Kickstarting your day the Awesome way!’) ; meet 6.30 am on top of Primrose Hill ; Borough of Camden
  • Saturday April 27th : London Hash House Harriers  (the London kennel of the legendary Hash House Harriers) ; meet at 12.00 at the The Cock, by Cockfosters tube station ; Borough of Enfield
  • Tuesday May 7th : London City Runners (‘the largest free running club in London’) ; meet 6.45-7pm  for 7.15 pm start ; 130, Druid St, SE1 ; Borough of Southwark
  • Monday May 13th : London Frontrunners (‘London’s inclusive running club for LGBT+ and gay-friendly people’) ;  6.45pm for 7pm start ; The Castle Centre, 2 St Gabriel Walk, London, SE1 6FG ; Borough of Lambeth
  • Tuesday May 21st : Midnight Runners (’10k music boot camp run’) ; meet at St Paul’s tube station at 7pm
  • Thursday May 23rd : Backpackers Running (‘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’) ; Asics store, 249-251, Regent St.
  • Friday May 31st : Plogolution (‘Join the Plogolution : run / walk and pick up rubbish’) ; all day ; ultra plog ; Staines – Putney along the Thames ; Borough of Richmond-upon-Thames
  • Monday June 24th : OneTrack Club (‘turbo charge your speed and endurance’) ; 18.45-20.00 ; Duke of York Square track ; Borough of Kensington and Chelsea
  • Tuesday July 2nd : Little Heath School ; Borough of Redbridge
  • Sunday 7th July : Cancer Research Race for Life 10km  ; 11.00 am, Lloyd Park, Croydon ; Borough of Croydon
  • Monday 15th July : London Hash House Harriers  (the London kennel of the legendary Hash House Harriers) ; meet at 7pm at the Harrow Inn, Cheam ; Borough of Sutton
  • Saturday 31st August : Morden Park Pretty Muddy ; 11.30 am Morden Park , Morden  ; Borough of Merton
  • Date TBC : Camden Brewery ‘Run Like Hells’
  • Date TBC : GoodGym (‘Do good, get fit’)

Hope to see you on one of the runs!

The London Borough Challenge

Most of you reading this will know that the idea of Run the World is to complete a 10km run in all 206 countries in the world. Many of you will also know that we’ve decided to add an additional 44 runs in the UK to take 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’ve been asking 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!

As the LBC is part of Run the World, the objectives remain the same:

If you’d like to contribute to Cancer Research’s vital work – and, if you live in the UK, you really should because half of us are going to get cancer at some stage in our lives – then please donate here. Alternatively, buy a Run the World t shirt on one of the runs. They cost £20 – or less if that’s more than you can afford – and 100% of the proceeds go to Cancer Research.

We’re approaching the second objective – promoting an active, healthy lifestyle – by focusing on two main areas. Firstly, by doing school talks in as many boroughs as possible. (Please do get in touch if you know a school that might like a Run the World healthy living talk – quotes and references can be seen here .)

Secondly, by running with different running groups all over London and helping increase awareness of all the amazing running opportunities there are in London.

And it wasn’t until we started researching this second idea that we realised quite how extraordinary the running scene is in London. There are social running groups ; there are groups that combine running with doing good ; there are serious athletics clubs ; there are charity runs ; there are groups that reward you for running. There’s everything you can think of – and more. And many, if not most, of them are free and open to everyone.

Over the next few weeks and months I’ll be doing detailed blogs about the runs and organisations in question. But, for the moment, there’s a list of some of the organisations we’re talking to and a time-table for the first few runs at the top of the blog. Please get in touch if you think you might like to join any of the runs so I can let the organisers know. (Don’t worry if you’re going to miss one of the boroughs – I’ll likely be doing more than one run in most of the central boroughs.)

We’re in talks with all sorts of other organisations, and new dates will be coming out regularly, so please like Run the World on Facebook or follow on Twitter for all the news and updates!

 

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Run 172 : Comoros – Moroni

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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 : 23rd March, 2019

Time : 1h 2’ 24”

Number of runners (total to date) : 8 (3711)

Number of talk attendees  (total to date) : 215 (2829)

Run map and details :  https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/3490394154

Comoros, situated between Mozambique and Madagascar, is a one hour flight from Dar es Salaam, the capital of Tanzania. I ran in all those countries back in 2014 and should, of course, have run in Comoros at the same time.

But it wasn’t on my itinerary for the simple reason that I didn’t realise Comoros was there. A schoolboy error for which I was to pay a high price.

Instead of jumping on a one hour flight from Dar, I left my hotel in Khartoum at 1am for my 3.30 am flight to Addis. I then spent 3 hours in Addis airport before a five hour flight to Comoros (via Dar…). Most of the flight to Comoros was spent sitting next to man so bulky that I should have had a 50% discount on my ticket.

Upon arrival we had an increasingly infuriating wait for our visa. Mostly, as far as I could tell, because the immigration officer insisted on asking exactly the same questions we’d already answered on the two separate forms we’d just completed and handed to him…

A bag search and luggage tag check followed before we were allowed to exit the airport and crawl into a taxi. Only to be caught behind election traffic. (Presidential elections were held on the Sunday after my run. Incumbent Azali Assoumani  was declared the winner with 60.77% of the vote – a result which was immediately denounced by opposition parties. The election process was also criticised by observers from regional bodies – many of whom were staying in the same hotel as me. )

 Eventually, after 15 hours of travel, I made it to my hotel room and reflected that the only good bit about the journey was meeting the Comoros Special Olympics team who were returning from Abu Dhabi 2019 with their medals. Many congratulations to Irham Ahmed below who won silver in the 100 meters!

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Which takes me neatly onto running and the run. I met Tsitsi – who used to work in Djibouti where she knew Rachel Jones – and 5 others at 6.30am at the Lycee Said Mohamed Cheikh.

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From whence we set off along the seafront at a 7’30” pace through Moroni (the capital of the Comoros).

We were joined by an eighth runner

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and the route turned inland and upwards.

Slowly, but surely, the pace increased. Once we turned downhill and back towards the school, the pace accelerated still further until we were running at sub 4’30” .

We did the final kilometre on the school’s sports ground

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and then it was time for the traditional ‘survivors’  photo and goodbyes.

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It just remains for me to say a huge thank you Tsitsi, Dalila and all my fellow runners for their company and support.

For anyone’s who’s interested, the subsequent journey back to London and home took a painful 21 hours. I promise you that I will never, ever again forget about Comoros!

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.

The Comoros is an island country in the Indian Ocean located at the northern end of the Mozambique Channel off the eastern coast of Africa between northeastern Mozambique, the French region of Mayotte, and northwestern Madagascar. The capital and largest city in Comoros is Moroni. The religion of the majority of the population is Sunni Islam.

At 1,660 km2 (640 sq mi), excluding the contested island of Mayotte, the Comoros is the fourth-smallest African nation by area. The population, excluding Mayotte, is estimated at 795,601.As a nation formed at a crossroads of different civilisations, the archipelago is noted for its diverse culture and history. The archipelago was first inhabited by Bantu speakers who came from East Africa, supplemented by Arab and Austronesian immigration.

The sovereign state is an archipelago consisting of three major islands and numerous smaller islands, all in the volcanic Comoro Islands. The major islands are commonly known by their French names: northwestern-most Grande Comore (Ngazidja), Mohéli (Mwali), and Anjouan (Nzwani). In addition, the country has a claim on a fourth major island, southeastern-most Mayotte (Maore), though Mayotte voted against independence from France in 1974, has never been administered by an independent Comoros government, and continues to be administered by France (currently as an overseas department). France has vetoed United Nations Security Council resolutions that would affirm Comorian sovereignty over the island. In addition, Mayotte became an overseas department and a region of France in 2011 following a referendum passed overwhelmingly.

It became part of the French colonial empire in the end of 19th century before becoming independent in 1975. Since declaring independence, the country has experienced more than 20 coups d’état or attempted coups, with various heads of state assassinated. Along with this constant political instability, the population of the Comoros lives with the worst income inequality of any nation, with a Gini coefficient over 60%, while also ranking in the worst quartile on the Human Development Index. As of 2008 about half the population lived below the international poverty line of US$1.25 a day.The French insular region of Mayotte, which is the more prosperous territory in the Mozambique Channel, is the major destination for Comorian illegal migrants who flee their country. The Comoros is a member state of the African UnionFrancophonieOrganisation of Islamic CooperationArab League (of which it is the southernmost state, being the only member state of the Arab League with a tropical climate and also entirely within the Southern Hemisphere) and the Indian Ocean Commission.

World Bank Data

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

GDP $1.07 bn 2017 $350 m 2000
Population 814 k 2017 542 k 2000
Primary school enrolment* 99% 2017 103% 2000
CO2 Emissions** 0.20 2014 0.19 2000
% below poverty line*** NA NA
Life expectancy at birth 63.7 yrs 2016 59.5 yrs 2000
GNI per capita $1280 2017 $730 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 Comoros 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 171 : Sudan – Khartoum

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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 : 21st March, 2019

Time : 1h 3’ 04”

Number of runners (total to date) : 3 (3703)

Number of talk attendees  (total to date) : 215 (2829)

Run map and details :   https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/3490394091

Every so often, a country I’ve just run in hits the international headlines.

Omar Hassan al-Bashir, who ruled Sudan with an iron fist since coming to power in a 1989 coup, was toppled by the military on 11th April 2019. The move came after months of protests which had resulted in up to 40 people being killed.

Somewhat concerned for the wellbeing of my recent contacts in Khartoum, I dropped them all an email and received this encouragingly positive reply from Minette: “Exciting times. I have been out every day and simply love the energy. People are friendly, pick up trash and really care about each other. Even the police and military are friendly, giving the peace sign as I drive past.”

Many of the demonstrations had taken place on Thursdays (the last day of the working week in Islamic countries) – and it just so happened that I was running in Khartoum on a Thursday. So we – British Ambassador Irfan Siddiq, Jamie Hamill and yours truly – needed somewhere safe to run and Tuti Island was the answer.

Tuti is 8 square kilometres of agricultural land in the middle of the Blue and White Niles. It supplies much of Khartoum’s fruit and vegetables using traditional manual methods of farming. Remarkably it’s just 100 meters away from bustling downtown Khartoum over a new suspension bridge.

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It’s also a fine spot to run. Flat, cooled by the breeze off the Nile, and fascinating – we passed workmen building a traditional brick house

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farmers tending their crops, numerous views over the Nile – and plenty of goats.

The thing we didn’t see were any political demonstrations. (At this point I should note that everyone I met was keen to stress that Khartoum is, generally, a very safe place.)

Having roughly circumnavigated the island we crossed the bridge into Khartoum

and ran north-west along the banks of the Blue Nile past the giant Coca-Cola bottle (coca-cola, and sugary sodas in general, being one of the subjects I cover in my school talks)

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to Al Mogran Family Park. Al Mogran is an abandoned amusement park which will surely one day rediscover itself as a major tourist site because, at its tip, you can see the confluence of the White and Blue Niles. One muddy and slow moving –  the White Nile – and one clearer and swifter – the Blue Nile. Very cool.

By now we’d finished the run

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so it was time for a quick breakfast at my hotel (on which more later) before heading to the Unity High school where I talked to 140 junior school students and staff (top picture). I’m not sure who teaches geography there but they should give themselves a pat on the back because this was one of the best informed groups of students I’ve talked ever to. They were also one of the most engaged and it was a delight to talk to them.

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Next up were 75 senior school students – a lively bunch who asked me some of the best questions I’ve had about the finances of Run the World. One of them even asked me to lend him some money…I obviously hadn’t done a very good job explaining that the idea of Run the World is that we give (donations to help fight cancer) rather than receive!

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It was then time to return to my hotel – the Acropole. Run by George Pagoulatos its one of those places where everyone goes out of their way to be as helpful as possible. In my case, that included sorting out the letter of invitation (that allowed me to obtain my visa for Sudan) and arranging a transfer service that not only took me to, and from, the hotel but also somehow allowed me to skip most of the queues at the airport. Highly recommended.

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It just remains for me to say a huge thank you to Ambassador Siddiq, Jamie, Randa and all the staff and students at Unity High, and George and the team at the Acropole for all the support, help and hospitality.

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.

Sudan or the Sudan is a country in Northeast Africa. It is bordered by Egypt to the north, the Red Sea to the northeast, Eritrea to the east, Ethiopia to the southeast, South Sudan to the south, the Central African Republic to the southwest, Chad to the west, and Libya to the northwest. It houses 37 million people (2017) and occupies a total area of 1,861,484 square kilometres (718,722 square miles), making it the third-largest country in Africa. Sudan’s predominant religion is Islam, and its official languages are Arabic and English. The capital is Khartoum, located at the confluence of the Blue and White Nile.

Between the 14th and 15th centuries much of Sudan was settled by Muslim Arabs. From the 16th–19th centuries, central and eastern Sudan were dominated by the Funj sultanate, while Darfur ruled the west and the Ottomans the far north. This period saw extensive Islamization and Arabization.

From 1820 to 1874 the entirety of Sudan was conquered by the Muhammad Ali dynasty. Between 1881 and 1885 the harsh Egyptian reign was eventually met with a successful revolt led by the self-proclaimed Mahdi Muhammad Ahmad, resulting in the establishment of the Caliphate of Omdurman. This state was eventually destroyed in 1898 by the British, who would then govern Sudan together with Egypt.

The 20th century saw the growth of Sudanese nationalism and in 1953 Britain granted Sudan self-government. Independence was proclaimed on January 1, 1956. Since independence, Sudan has been ruled by a series of unstable parliamentary governments and military regimes. Under Gaafar Nimeiry, Sudan instituted Islamic law in 1983. This exacerbated the rift between the Arab north, the seat of the government and the black African animists and Christians in the south. Differences in language, religion, ethnicity and political power erupted in a civil war between government forces, strongly influenced by the National Islamic Front (NIF) and the southern rebels, whose most influential faction was the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), eventually concluding in the independence of South Sudan in 2011. Since 2011, Sudan’s government has been engaged in a war with the Sudan Revolutionary Front. Human rights violations, religious persecution and allegations that Sudan had been a safe haven for terrorists isolated the country from most of the international community. In 1995, the United Nations (UN) imposed sanctions against Sudan.

World Bank Data

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

GDP $117.5 bn 2017 $12.3 bn 2000
Population 40.5 m 2017 27.3 m 2000
Primary school enrolment* 76% 2016 60% 2000
CO2 Emissions** 0.30 2014 0.16 2000
% below poverty line*** NA NA
Life expectancy at birth 64.5 yrs 2016 58.4 yrs 2000
GNI per capita $2380 2017 $330 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 Sudan 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 170 : Eritrea – Asmara

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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 : 20th March, 2019

Time : 1h 19”

Number of runners (total to date) : 5 (3700)

Number of talk attendees  (total to date) : 60 (2614)

Run map and details :   https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/3490394001

Media : https://www.facebook.com/UKinEritrea/

Bahti Meskerem – 1st September – Square commemorates the start of Eritrea’s armed struggle for independence from Ethiopia (which formally annexed Eritrea in 1962.) The war was long and bitter – but the countries are now at peace and it felt like a good time to be visiting Asmara, Eritrea’s capital and UNESCO World heritage site (for its modernist architecture.)

And the Square is where, at 6.15am on a cool ‘made for running’ morning, 4 of us met for the run : British Ambassador Alisdair Walker, Berhan Araya, Teshome Raesu and yours truly.

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Asmara is set up for running – the main roads are wide, pavemented and relatively traffic free. (Donkey drawn carts are a charming, and fairly common, sight.)

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The only slight drawback is that, at 2325 metres, it’s the sixth highest capital city in the world and probably not ideal for your first run in a while. And certainly not somewhere to attempt 10km without some serious training..

Altitude notwithstanding, Ambassador Walker and Berhan were good enough to accompany us for the first couple of kilometres and the final kilometre. (They subsequently swore that they were inspired to take up running on a regular basis. Please let me know if you do as that’s a big part of what Run the World’s is about!)

Teshome had been in training and kept me company for his first ever 10km. As did, for a while, someone we met along the way – who made up in smiles and enthusiasm for what he might have lacked in running gear.

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We passed markets, churches and the aforementioned modernist architecture

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before ending the run back at my hotel.

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Time for a quick shower, pack and breakfast turnaround before heading off to Genfelom School where I’d been invited to give a talk by Director Fissehaye Tekle. (The multi-talented Berhan had taught at the school in a previous life.)

There were about sixty attendees – mostly Year 6s

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but also a number of teachers

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and Sue Walker.

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The students couldn’t have been more delightful and it was a great way to finish my short but memorable trip to Eritrea.

It just remains for me to say a huge thank you to Ambassador and Mrs Walker, Berhan, Director Tekle and Teshome for the hospitality, the run and the school talk.

Please get in touch if you’re ever in London – and keep on running!

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.

Eritrea is a country in the Horn of Africa, with its capital at Asmara. It is bordered by Sudan in the west, Ethiopia in the south, and Djibouti in the southeast. The northeastern and eastern parts of Eritrea have an extensive coastline along the Red Sea. The nation has a total area of approximately 117,600 km2 (45,406 sq mi).

Eritrea is a multi-ethnic country, with nine recognized ethnic groups in its population of around 5 million. Most residents speak languages from the Afroasiatic family. Among these communities, the Tigrinyas make up about 55% of the population, with the Tigre people constituting around 30% of inhabitants. Most people in the territory adhere to Christianity or Islam.

The Kingdom of Aksum, covering much of modern-day Eritrea and northern Ethiopia, was established during the first or second centuries AD. It adopted Christianity around the middle of the fourth century.

The creation of modern-day Eritrea is a result of the incorporation of independent, distinct kingdoms and sultanates (for example, Medri Bahri and the Sultanate of Aussa) eventually resulting in the formation of Italian Eritrea. After the defeat of the Italian colonial army in 1942, Eritrea was administered by the British Military Administration until 1952. Following the UN General Assembly decision, in 1952, Eritrea would govern itself with a local Eritrean parliament but for foreign affairs and defense it would enter into a federal status with Ethiopia for a period of 10 years. However, in 1962 the government of Ethiopia annulled the Eritrean parliament and formally annexed Eritrea. But the Eritreans that argued for complete Eritrean independence since the ouster of the Italians in 1941, anticipated what was coming and in 1960 organized the Eritrean Liberation Front in opposition. In 1991, after 30 years of continuous armed struggle for independence, the Eritrean liberation fighters entered the capital city, Asmara, in victory.

World Bank Data

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

GDP $2.61 bn 2011 $706 m 2000
Population 4.47 m 2011 3.39 m 2000
Primary school enrolment* 49% 2017 59% 2000
CO2 Emissions** 0.13 2011 0.18 2000
% below poverty line*** NA NA
Life expectancy at birth 65.1 yrs 2016 55.3 yrs 2000
GNI per capita $520 2011 $200 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 Eritrea performed in the global sporting arena in 2018:

Global Cup – 92nd

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 169 : Djibouti – Djibouti City

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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 : 18th March, 2019

Time : TBC *

Number of runners (total to date) : 30 (3695)

Number of talk attendees  (total to date) : 39 (2554)

Run map and details :   https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/3490393895

Rachel Jones is a Djibouti based runner – and a writer about running. Her articles can be found, inter alia, on Runners World.

Denise ‘da bees knees’ came across Rachel during her Djibouti research, tracked her down, and asked if she’d very kindly agree to help with Run the World Djibouti. She would. Hooray!

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Rachel is married to Tom Jones. Not the hip gyrating Welsh singer of ‘Delilah’** and ‘The Voice’ fame. Rather the founder, and now Director, of the International School of Djibouti (ISD.

So when Rachel met me off the 15 hour journey from London she whisked me, bleary eyed but hopefully vaguely coherent, straight off to the ISD. Where it was my pleasure to talk to 39 students and staff.

Regular readers will know that the students I talk to rarely fail to come up with new questions – and the ISD audience was no exception. “Do you have any pets?” and “How many houses have you borrowed [while travelling around the world]?” being two of my favourites.

Pictured above, they were a delightful set of students – a credit to ISD.

A couple of hours of downtime at my hotel followed before Tom drove Rachel and myself to Balbala Stadium. The stadium is in a deprived and socially conservative part of town.

But every week, 20-30 local girls make their way to the stadium, divest themselves of their hijabs and prepare to run.

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They’re all members of  Girls Run 2, a running club for girls set up by Rachel, and trained by coach Nasra. On the afternoon I was there, Nasra set them to do laps followed by a stretching session and a knock about game of football. (Between training sessions, Nasra acts as something of a life coach helping the girls to get into, and then stay at, school.)

A bit before 6pm, a number of other runners arrived including UN employees and a contingent from the Royal Marines. After a quick welcome speech we all ran a lap of the stadium together with the girls and then headed off back into town for our 10 km.

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Shortly after we left the stadium a stone hit my calf. At the time I didn’t think much about it as I was deep in conversation with Andrew about Socotra, a Yemeni island that might be the answer to my ‘where can I run safely in Yemen’ conundrum. At the end of the run Rachel told me that, not the first time, she’d also had stones thrown at her and one of them had hit her in the face.

But I wouldn’t want that to detract from the memory of an excellent run on a lovely evening.  And I’m pleased to report that amongst those who completed the 10 km

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were coach Nasra (I’m not proposing – it was height differential thing)

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and two of the Girls Run 2 club members – which was pretty impressive at their age.

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It just remains for me to say a huge thank you to Rachel, Tom, the staff and students at the ISD, Nasra, the Girls Run 2 club, Andrew, Beca and all my fellow runners for the hospitality, company and donations. I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Djibouti and, if anyone can make it, then it would be great to see you in London on July 4th 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 some reason I failed to record the first 5km of the run on my Garmin…but, as you can see from the photo 3 above, we actually ran 10.6 km (6.6miles)

**He had plenty of hits but ‘Delilah’ was adopted by the fans of the mighty Stoke City so it’s my favourite.

 

Facts & Stats

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia.

Djibouti is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It is bordered by Eritrea in the north, Ethiopia in the west and south, and Somalia in the southeast. The remainder of the border is formed by the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden at the east. Djibouti occupies a total area of 23,200 km2 (8,958 sq mi).

In antiquity, the territory was part of the Land of Punt and then the Kingdom of Aksum. Nearby Zeila (now in Somalia) was the seat of the medieval Adal and Ifat Sultanates. In the late 19th century, the colony of French Somaliland was established following treaties signed by the ruling Somali and Afar sultans with the French and its railroad to Dire Dawa (and later Addis Ababa) allowed it to quickly supersede Zeila as the port for southern Ethiopia and the Ogaden. It was subsequently renamed to the French Territory of the Afars and the Issas in 1967. A decade later, the Djiboutian people voted for independence. This officially marked the establishment of the Republic of Djibouti, named after its capital city. Djibouti joined the United Nations the same year, on 20 September 1977. In the early 1990s, tensions over government representation led to armed conflict, which ended in a power-sharing agreement in 2000 between the ruling party and the opposition.[

Djibouti is a multi-ethnic nation with a population of over 942,333 inhabitants. SomaliArabic and French are the country’s three official languages. About 94% of residents adhere to Islam, which is the official religion and has been predominant in the region for more than a thousand years. The Somali (Issa clan) and Afar make up the two largest ethnic groups. Both speak Afroasiatic languages.[

Djibouti is strategically located near some of the world’s busiest shipping lanes, controlling access to the Red Sea and Indian Ocean. It serves as a key refuelling and transshipment center, and is the principal maritime port for imports from and exports to neighboring Ethiopia. A burgeoning commercial hub, the nation is the site of various foreign military bases, including Camp Lemonnier. The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) regional body also has its headquarters in Djibouti City.

World Bank Data

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

GDP $1.85 bn 2017 $551 m 2000
         
Population 957 k 2017 718 k 2000
         
Primary school enrolment* 64% 2017 32% 2000
         
CO2 Emissions** 0.79 2014 0.48 2000
         
% below poverty line*** NA NA
         
Life expectancy at birth 62.5 yrs 2016 57.0 yrs 2000
         
GNI per capita $1880 2017 $1740 2015

*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 Djibouti 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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