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What's this blog all about?

Hi, I'm Nicola - welcome to a blog about family travel around the world, without leaving the UK.
I love travel adventures, but to save cash and keep my family's carbon footprint lower, I dreamt up a unique stay-at-home travel experience. So far I've visited 110 countries... without leaving the UK. Join me exploring the next 86! Or have a look at the "countries" you can discover within the UK by scrolling the labels (below right). Here's to happy travel from our doorsteps. See www.nicolabaird.com for info about the seven books I've written, a link to my other blog on thrifty, creative childcare (homemadekids.wordpress.com) or to contact me.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Running all over the world, via London

This blog is about family travel around the world without leaving the UK. Impossible? No. Setting yourself sporting challenges demands international conversations. Words from Nicola Baird (see www.nicolabaird.com for more info about my books and blogs).

Lola, my sporty 14-year-old has now run the Mini-Marathon - the last three miles from Blackfriars Bridge to the Mall - four times. Kids in London boroughs are really lucky to get this chance, especially as the other Mini Marathon race runners are already elite athletes (see pic caption)

Lola's learnt a lot about pacing herself, plus an A-Z reboot of her mental map of London during these races. And on her 2011 race she also raised a bit of cash for charity too - books and science equipment for students at Woodford School in Honiara, Solomon Islands.

In 2013 Lola's joined by our friend Lucas, who is 11, and  zipped around the 2013 course
in 21 mins 30 seconds. The winner of the under 17s managed to complete
the race in 12 minutes - that's three four minute miles!
Near the finish spot the race commentator explained that the Africans (Ethiopia and Kenya) would dominate the winners. He was right too - Kenya won the women's race; Ethiopia the men's. And though it wasn't easy to see, every Marathon competitor wore a small black ribbon in memory of the stupid attack on Boston, US competitors and spectators last week. As a result all three countries played a big role in conversation with my younger daughter, Nell, while we waited for the runners to pass near our watching spot opposite Buckingham Palace.

Paula, Nell and Pete framed by flags. We all agreed that one of the best parts of the Marathon
is being able to walk down a road that's normally a traffic jungle.
The Mall is often a sea of flags - it's the only place in the UK that seems to do this (unlike say the US where flag raising and saluting are big parts of formal life). I did my best to spot the Solomon Islands and Kenyan flag as we passed the Commonwealth building, and was suitably rewarded with a flutter through the cherry blossom.

Over to you
What sporting occasion makes you feel as if you are in another world?


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