Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Reading & Listening Prep for the Next Guided 5K Run with @hallett_g #Fitness #LondonRuns

DC Editor Adam writes…

Andy's off and running again!

My guiding & podcasting colleague Andy Hallett embarks upon the next in his season of guided 5k runs this week – meet him at Hyde Park Corner tube (Exit 1) Thursday 7th December at 6.45pm for a fascinating guided run (there he is in the pic above with some of his runners from last season).

Personal recommendation here: this one is a cracker, I joined in on the "dress rehearsal" earlier this year. Here's a picture of Andy laughing at how unfit I am…

For my part in the preparations, I've been rummaging in the Daily Constitutional library for London-related sports books to get you in the mood. I've been reminded of one of my all-time favourite London reads.

Janie Hampton’s wonderful book on the 1948 Olympics tells the tale of London’s second hosting of the Games.

For those of you stifling a yawn at this point, perhaps anticipating lists and times and heights and team sheets and medal tables, well think again. 

Hampton’s narrative is just that: a narrative, a tale well told, mercifully free from dry match facts and mere sports reporting.

Instead, Hampton treats us to the stories of the people who made the Games: the posh rower who thought his official Olympic blazer to be of such poor quality that it must have been “cut with a spoon”; then there's the athlete who found her blazer so smart that she wore it to her sister’s wedding. 

There are tales of the American and Canadian teams sharing their ample rations with the deprived European teams – and of the French captain complaining strenuously about the British food!

In the aftermath of war, as London and the world was being rebuilt, every corner was cut, every penny pinched. Teams were put up not in a swish Olympic Village, but in schools and army barracks. One official even expected the cycling competitors to be able to ride their own bikes to Herne Hill for the races!

The Dutchwoman Fanny Blankers-Koen remains the heroine of the ‘48 Games, winning four gold medals on the track. Despite the fact that she beat British girls into silver position to take three of those golds, the London crowds took her to their hearts. And her journey is here too – from Nazi occupied Holland to the Hunger Winter of ’44 to the winners’ podium at Wembley.

But it is the unsung heroes who make the story such a delight. The overall tale that emerges is humane and moving, nuanced and rich, truly Olympian. Left to a sports reporter, there’s every chance this book would have garnered as many gold medals as the British track and field competitors in 1948 – none at all. In the hands of Janie Hampton, it’s a story as garlanded as the great Fanny Blankers-Koen herself.

Join Andy at 6.45pm this Thursday 7th December at Hyde Park Corner tube (exit 1) for a 5K guided run.

Keep up with all the 5K Guided Run News (including route maps) at www.facebook.com/londonwalksruns

If you'd like to hear us road-testing the guided runs, listen to this episode of the London Walks Podcast…

A London Walk costs £10 – £8 concession. To join a London Walk, simply meet your guide at the designated tube station at the appointed time. Details of all London Walks can be found at www.walks.com.

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