I’ve been in love with the capital of England for as long as I can remember. As a teenager born and living in Australia, when I first heard The Clash singing London Calling I’d pretend it was written for me. Decades later, as an adult corporate lawyer, I lived and worked in the city while procuring assets for a boutique climate change investment fund. But I left that to set up a water advocacy non-profit in Beijing.
Now I’m back. But instead of wearing a suit and heels I’m in running shoes, training shorts and a T-shirt. I’m sweating as my feet hit the ground in the gorgeous English countryside, as I run along the Thames river.
The 1,488 kilometres I ran in the 5 weeks before I jetted into Heathrow were along the Colorado River in Nevada in the US; the Amazon River in Brazil; the Murray River in Australia; the Yangtze River in China and the Nile River in Egypt. The last 294 kilometres have brought me to England, and I will end in a city I love -- London.
A Hopeful End to an Arduous Journey
Running along the River Thames feels like coming home, although finding the source of the waterway was humbling. To go to the beginning of the Thames I had to climb over gates and walk across meadows near the village of Kemble, in the Gloucestershire Cotswolds.
It was a green field with a stone monument. I learned from locals that the source of the River Thames has been dry for some time now, but that during a wet winter a spring will appear and the source of the Thames will again flow with a bit of water.
The longest river in England, and the second longest river in the United Kingdom, the Thames might start as a trickle but runs for about 346 kilometres, with a catchment of 16,000 km² that is home to well over 13 million people.
The story of the Thames is one of hope for the world. Close on seventy years ago the river was declared ‘biologically dead’. Once a thriving ecosystem teeming with freshwater and seawater fish, as well as birds and seals, in 1950 the Thames was doomed. But in recent decades a massive effort was launched to bring the Thames back to life. And today you can see the result of that effort, in the resurgence of the Thames ecosystem - the swans, the fish, the birds and insects.
Now that I’m back in my beloved London I feel enlivened and energised and look forward to running the last kilometres of a 1,688 kilometre journey for water.
Why don’t you join me for the last six kilometres?
On Sunday, 30 April 2017, I will set out on the last six kilometres of this journey of over two million steps around the world. If you’re in London let’s run along the River Thames together. I’ll be setting off from the Millennium Bridge at 11h00, and would love to see you there.
Let’s celebrate the remarkable beauty that is today’s Thames, a waterway abundant with life, this coming Sunday 30 April 2017, as we #run4water together.
Details here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1376983749057338/
Follow the final steps of my #Run4Water quest on:
Pledge to save water here.
This piece is licensed #freeforuse with #attribution through #CreativeCommons.