Today I did a half marathon. Sounds like hard work, but actually it was easy, consisting mostly of chatting to lovely people, munching on tasty snacks, knocking back raw cocoa/cashew nut juice, and eating at excellent restaurants. You may wonder where the effort was involved in covering such distance, and I’d be lying if it said it felt like any effort at all, since all we did was walk.
The event (the inaugural event, no less, so check out their Facebook page for future ones) is based on the easiest and most natural of all movements: walking. It was organised by Ify of Fizzycal, who spotted an opportunity for combining exercise and socialising without any of the usual awkward group exercise moments: being so out of breath you can barely utter your name, being unable to quell your competitive side in “fun” bootcamp games, or being so incompetent that you are too humiliated to have any further contact with your former comrades. (None of these have every happened to me. Ever.). That said, I did a 16km very hilly trail run the day before so was a little anxious about how my legs would fare, but it turned out to be unfounded as I could easily have gone further.
It started at 9.30am, where we met at Balham station and wondered over for a hearty breakfast at The Exhibit. Avocado, poached eggs and smokey salsa served on cinnamon French toast was a most agreeable start to the day. We also picked up our snack packs, which proved both a useful and tasty addition to the incoming activity:
- Dynabites bars (not yet tried but the ingredients list starts with “desiccated coconut”, so I’m expecting good things)
- MightyBee coconut water (not yet tried, but hey – coconut water is always a winner!)
- Inspiral kale chips (Cherry and beetroot kale chips. Weird but good!)
- Fruveju Cleanse juice (Cocoa! Cinnamon! Cashew nuts!)
- Pulsin’ bars (nuts, dates, vegetable protein, yum)
- Peppersmith gum (had always wanted to try but could never justify paying double what Wrigleys costs. Tastes good and I’m liking the teeth-friendly Xylitol, but the flavour doesn’t last long)
- Disposable waterproof ponchos (a thoughtful and unfortunately welcome gesture)
- ‘Meet And Two Leg’ discount card (for discounts at all the participating restaurants)
- fizzYcaL bag (I gave mine back as I already have one, but then realised it would have made a good trainer bag!)
It was raining when we set off, but that didn’t deter the hardcore. You will notice that two of us are so awesome we even share the same clothes…
From there it was 13km to our next stop (excluding prevailing on a very tolerant Starbucks for a mass toilet stop): lunch in Boxpark in Shoreditch. There were two restaurants offering us a discount: Thai and Lao Street Food (you’ll never guess what they serve…) and Cook Daily, who dish up a range of vegan dishes with fresh veg, tofu, rice, noodles, spices and sauces. I went for the latter and scoffed down a massive bowl of stir fried veg and tofu (a rarity for me to eat – not sure those pesky phytoestrogens do me any favours in large doses – but damn is it tasty) in a spicy BBQ sauce over rice. Just the ticket after a long walk.
After losing some people and acquiring some new ones, it was onwards to Brixton for the last leg of the journey, which involved a very peaceful walk through the City and Bank, which is lovely without any bankers there, and along the Thames:
Just before crossing over Waterloo Bridge, we were we were lucky enough to catch Big Ben Bonging at 6pm:
At this point I peeled off to head to Waterloo and make my way home via collecting my bags which I’d left in the gym, and having a sneaky workout, leaving the remaining guys and gals to head over to Pop Brixton for its opening weekend.
Thank you to Ify for a most excellent day! I met some very cool people and had more good conversations than I normally have over the course of a week, and already have plans to see some of them again. If you’re interested, you can check out the route map on Strava here. Hopefully it won’t be too long till the next event, and if I manage to get my arse in gear and update my Events page, I will list it there and post about it on my Twitter feed!