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Walking in the shadow of The Shard

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On Sunday 13 May, Steph and I found ourselves doing a marathon. Not the annual London run, although we were in London, but an Olympic Games-themed Trekathon, which saw us zigzagging across the city on foot. 

The London Stadia Trekathon is the creation of our client Discover Adventure, a specialist organiser of trekking and cycling charity challenges, and comprises a 26-mile route taking in many of London’s most renowned Olympic venues-to-come.

So, after a coffee and some warm-up stretches – appropriately at the Olympic Park in Stratford – we set off. Passing through various London boroughs, the route took us to all sorts of different places: parks I hadn’t heard of, stretches of towpath I never knew linked up and basins in the docklands which I certainly couldn’t place on a map.

Throughout the changing London landscapes, one thing remained constant – The Shard. Standing a majestic 1,016 feet high, London’s newest skyscraper was visible from pretty much every point along the way. There it was when we were walking along Regent’s Canal, there it was when we were crossing The Serpentine and, yes, there it was when we crossed the finish line at Greenwich Yacht Club, roughly eight hours after we started. It seemed as though, wherever we were – with the exception of when we passed underneath the Thames – it was there, taunting us, poking out from behind buildings and pointing out how far we’d walked.

This wasn’t the only new building that our route took in. We spotted numerous other tall structures shooting up around the city – additions to the capital’s constantly changing skyline. The cable car at the O2, The Pinnacle on Bishopsgate and, of course, the Olympic Park itself. Such rapid development makes me wonder what it’ll all look like in a year’s time – perhaps we’ll have to walk the 26 miles again to find out?!

Ultimately, yes it was hard, and yes, our feet did ache, but taking part in Discover Adventure’s first Olympic Trekathon was enormous fun.  Best of all, between us we raised over £1,000 for two very well-deserving charities: Lyme Disease Action (me) and The Alzheimer’s Society (Steph).

(Helena Hamlyn)

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