Month: September 2010

Small Actions Count

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It takes more than one to make a bridge. A quick word of thanks for making this journey possible.

Without the many who have supported this to date especially through sponsorship, it would have remained an idea isolated on the far bank called ‘problem’ looking across the river of opportunity to the destination called ‘possibility’.

Together, we can be part of the difference that makes a difference by making the bridges needed to ‘close the gap’.

If you are in a position to afford it, please support the 10 City Bridge Run to highlight small actions which will make a big difference in showing that the impossible can be possible. Please sponsor me with $24 here.

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Goodooga. Postcode 2831

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Goodooga Store. Photo Courtesy of ianjones.com.au

Goodooga, located 200 km from Lightning Ridge in Northern NSW has a population of around 270 people, of which more than 80% are Indigenous. Look it up yourself on googlemaps…it is real.

The town has a strong community spirit and is trying to survive by building grocery and petrol services to be run by a local cooperative.

What has this to do with extreme poverty you might ask?

Much has been written about aid- curse or cure.  A lot has been written about the adoption of enterprise and design initiatives to overcome the effects of poverty (for example, child mortality in so-called “Third World Countries”). Some of the health interventions are in the form of aid, and some are made sustainable through enterprise.

These situations are complex, and not just about the grandeur of a large institution or the macro-economics of how statistics might be improved.

What actually happens among real people matters. There is no silver bullet delivered by any rock star or politician to solve these problems.

Together, we can be part of the difference that makes a difference by making the bridges needed to ‘close the gap’.

Please support the 10 City Bridge Run to highlight small actions which will make a big difference in showing that the impossible can be possible. Please sponsor me with $24 here.

New York- UN MDG Summit Offers Hope

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United Nations

This week in New York, a United Nations Millennium Development Goals Summit is underway.

10 years after the Millennium Development Goals were first announced, this is an opportunity for the world leaders of 150 countries to come together and review progress.

Australia is represented by our Foreign Minister, Kevin Rudd.

What can we expect from this conference? The news bulletins have rung with the sounds of billions of dollars expenditure, and initiatives for improving education, health and eradicating poverty. What happens once the bureaucrats and politicians have finished on Wednesday? Is it really that easy to solve extreme poverty?

Translating the media spin into meaningful action is important. But it is good this Summit is being received with such optimism offering a hopeful future. A big change from Copenhagen.

See what AusAID, Australia’s Aid Program had to say here.

Please support the 10 City Bridge Run to highlight small actions which will make a big difference in showing that the impossible can be possible. Please sponsor me with $24 here.

6 good reasons to start in sydney

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A 19th century engraving showing Australian &q...
Bridges Needed for 'Closing the Gap'

Good friends of mine asked why I hadn’t planned to start running in Sydney. Their argument was compelling and so I changed my plans to begin my journey here and then travel to New York. Here are the six main reasons that changed my mind:

  1. It reflects the originating point of the 10 City Bridge Run
  2. Many people have contributed to the birth of this project from Sydney in all sorts of ways, including the Global Launch event the previous week
  3. Australia is an important country from within the G20
  4. Before talking about poverty elsewhere, we should first note what happens in our own backyard
  5. The bridge metaphor is powerful in demonstrating the need to “close the gap”
  6. I can observe the United Nations conference on the Millennium Development Goals (20-22 September) from Sydney and get a sense of what impact, if any, it has for Australia

“Closing the Gap” is a phrase that has been used in relation to the comparative disadvantage between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. For example, average life expectancy differs by 17 years. Why?!

The metaphor of the bridge is a powerful way of communicating that to ‘close this gap’ it takes effort on the part of all of us, not just policy from governments and money from corporate organisations or philanthropic institutions.

Granted, the situation of extreme poverty is different from that of Indigenous disadvantage in Australia. Is it possible to see similarities in the root causes?

The question to address now is: where to run?

24 km Sydney Harbour Run 2009

Sydney provides plenty of choice, and there are two courses which I favour. Let me know which you prefer, or of another if you can think of one:

  • Sydney Harbour Bridge Run, covering 24 km and crossing 7 bridges. A spectacular run along many of the best kept secrets of Sydney. This is the same course as I ran last year for the 9 City Bridge Run.
  • The Spit Bridge to La Perouse, covering a longer distance than 24 km and crossing two prominent bridges. I like this option suggested many months ago by Peter Lain. It is slightly longer, but gives a good voice to the bridge metaphor by finishing in La Perouse where Captain Cook first landed in Sydney

Welcome your feedback! Interested in a creative and challenging run that shows the character of the city, an historical perspective as well as a contemporary context of the issue.

Coach Bob Williams

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Portland Oregon from the east. By User:Fcb981
Portland Oregon

Training for the 10 City Bridge Run, I have been following a program designed for marathon runners by veteran running coach Bob Williams from Portland, Oregon.

I wrote to him with details of my training and how everything was progressing, mentioning how I had experienced some discomfort and loss of range of movement particularly in the ankles before increasing my stretching regime.

He wrote back with great advice. I am passing it on here so you too might benefit from what he had to say about The Dynamic Warm Up

I’d definitely employ dynamic stretching to enhance your flexibility.
Coach Bob Williams, Team Oregon

Engaging in a dynamic (constantly moving) warm-up procedure is the most effective method of getting the body ready for vigorous athletic play. This warm up procedure encompasses dynamic movements that will:

  • Stretch important soft tissues while priming the body’s central nervous system;
  • Increase tissue and core temperature;
  • Stimulate balance, coordination and ankle/foot proprioception;
  • Facilitate neuromuscular movement patterns that ultimately enhance movement efficiency, power and economy.

Repeat 4-5 times per week.

Before you begin:

  • Warm up with light aerobic activity for  5-10 minutes
  • Performing the exercises detailed below for 10 m, walk and jog for 10 m to slowly stimulate your heart rate, repeat  the exercise, jog for 10 m.

The Exercises
Knee Grabs–knee and hip flexibility
Come up high on toes while brining one knee to the chest and pull knee tightly to chest with the foot dorsi flexed-  to stretch the hip flexors, alternate legs as you walk in a straight line, stay tall, land quietly and keep the foot /toe cocked up; Gradually pick up your tempo as you become proficient.

Prisoner Walks–hip mobility
With hands together on the head, take a step forward, bend the knee, bring right leg up to waist level, drop toe to ground and bring bended knee up and swing right leg out to side while keeping the shoulders square and don’t turn the hips. In same motion while leg is coming down, step with the same leg, bring opposite leg up and repeat.

Russian Kicks–Dynamic hamstring flexibility
Arms out straight out to the side, kick right leg up straight and reach to toe with left hand as leg is kicked up and straight–don’t bend knee, keep back straight while twisting to reach the toe, each arm swings back.

Dyno Walks–dynamic and proprioceptive ability
Start standing tall, take a step with left foot and with right hand, slowly bend down to touch near the foot with right leg coming off ground and extend straight out; come back up to tall position while taking another step with right foot and continue the process of touching the toe with left hand and right leg extends straight out behind.

Toe Touches–Sacrum and active hamstring flexibility
Take a step with right foot and then left foot comes together, slowly bend over, locking knees, and reach to touch the toes. With good rhythm, step with opposite foot and bend to touch toes; continue forward with goal of gradually bending further with each step, hands going farther down.

Over and Under the Hurdle–hip mobility
Standing tall, step to the right high over a pretend hurdle, Once over it with right leg, bring the other leg over the same hurdle but do not let the feet cross. Feet must be straight ahead and landing perfectly in alignment; next, step again to the right, drop your butt and the hips low and pretend to step under and through the hurdle. Do not let the feet cross.

Open Hip Skip Reverse–hip mobility and overall coordination
Hands on hips, step backwards while bringing the leg up and out and down while skipping on the toe of the opposite leg that was brought up and out. Bring leg way up and out and down and keep shoulder square.

High Knee Karaoke–body symmetry
Moving the side, step with the right foot over the left and bring the left foot behind the right leg and throw the right leg as high up as possible over the left leg and repeat in a skipping motion.

Lunge and Twist–thoracic spine mobility & chest stretch
With your arms held straight out and hands together, take a big step and lunge by dropping the knee to the ground and twist the body around to the same side with arms extended outward. Keep arms extended out the entire time. Watch hands.

Toe Flickers–ankle linear mobility
Hands on hips, flicking the feet out in front, bouncing on the toes in a straight line.

Ankle Flickers–lateral ankle mobility
Hands on hips, flicking the ankles to the side and feet landing straight out, feet not coming together, bouncing legs straight out.

Crab Walk–shoulder, rotators and patella activation and conditioning
While sitting down extend legs with arms behind you, extend legs out and “walk” forward.

Inch Worm–core strength activation, dynamic Achilles tendon flexibility
Start in push-up position with arms extended, knees locked, and gradually “inch” your fee towards the hands. Keep the legs straight.

Good Mornings (Arm Rolls)–shoulder and body symmetry
Come up on toe with the arms swinging up high and backward with each step.

Go Steps–dynamic body symmetry and coordination
Short sprint movements like the A skips with knees brought up to 90 degrees, moving knees quickly and arms moving at 90 degrees like a sprint position.

Thanks Coach Williams!

The Number One Most Important Reason To Address Extreme Poverty of All Time

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Professor Hans Rosling visited the Swedish pav...
Professor Hans Rosling

Hans Rosling again has caught my imagination. This time thanks to my good friend from Sydney, Arlyn Santos, for bringing this to my attention.

This is so important, I think you should know about it as well: The Number One Most Important Reason To Address Extreme Poverty of All Time. (Whew! That’s a mouthful!)

So what is it? I think the answer is in this TED Talk. Watch it below here:

What did you learn? Did you agree with Hans? Over-simplified, or genius? The reason to address extreme poverty? Unless we do this, the ‘Bottom Billion’ will become the ‘Bottom Four Billion’ sewing the seeds to an unsustainable planet, resulting in war, starvation and global crisis which are now unimaginable.

So what can we do about it? This is a question I am exploring through the 10 City Bridge Run- a creative process of inquiry.

Crowdfunded, you can support with a $24 sponsorship. The money goes toward the production of a book titled “Above the Line” to be presented as a pictorial petition to the G20 Summit in Seoul. If you are sponsor, you also receive a copy (electronic for $24 sponsorship, printed display book for $240). What makes the book special: it will contain 24,000 photographs of people making a bridge between themselves and other people.

Be the difference that makes a difference. Sponsor us today. Thanks for your support!

Impossibly possible!

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Hans Rosling at TED
Hans Rosling at TED

Thanks to my mate Scott Thompson in New York from Intersections International who gave me this perspective of something, like a crazy global endurance challenge being “impossibly possible”.

But let’s go back to the data and see how reframing a situation with information can achieve.

Hans Rosling used statistical data presented on a bubble graph to change how we might understand the world we live in. He makes the complex simple, and a brilliance for changing our worldview.

Is he right?

And hear what he has to say about the seemingly impossible being possible. Thanks to Rich Fleming from the Global Poverty Project for sharing this with me and discussing this perspective.