PokemonGo was released while I was in Sri Lanka and it was a game changer – suddenly Sister and I were obsessed with wifi and every time we caught a Pokemon there was a cause for celebration. You see for the two of us this was our childhood coming to life. So when I was invited to the first ever PokemonGo run with Virgin Active UK, with specific stops for HIIT exercises and catching Pokemon I jumped at the chance. In actual fact I more like screamed at the chance – I was in Colombo airport heading back to London when I opened the email and a lot of people heard my excitement.
I didn’t mind or care that the run happened on the second hottest day ever or that my tail bone really hurt (windsurfing accident and more of that later in a future Travel Diary) – all that concerned me was how much I could level up, how many eggs would hatch, and which Pokemon I would catch. All of these are now very important to me.
Generally when I run I always run with a phone either to take photos or to reassure myself that if anything happened I would be able to call someone (to date that has never happened but I have taken social media breaks!) I no longer have running apps or fitness trackers – I will be writing more about why that is later – so I have lost the art of using a phone while running.
However with this run that was the name of the game! Of course running while using a phone is dangerous and before the run started Obi Stanton, our trainer extraordinaire made sure that we were fully aware that it was only advisable to hunt for Pokemon at the designated stops.
There were going to be six stops he told us, ones they had all tested before and ones which had cool Pokemon loitering around. At each stop there would be a minute of HIIT training followed by a minute of Pokemon hunting before we all moved onto the next stop. I liked the way this sounded a lot and was pretty excited to get going.
As a side note, I knew no one else running until I saw Natalie Glaze whom I had had the chance to meet a while back. Huge thanks to her for actually coming and talking to me and bringing me out of my self-made shyness shell before we started – it was much appreciated.
Our starting location was the Virgin Active gym near Bank station which meant we were pretty central to everything and everywhere London had to offer. While the route was kept fairly secret we were told a little before we started and it involved running across bridges, along the river and through some of London’s most iconic sites including St Paul’s.
I think this was possibly one of the best runs I have ever gone on because the following phrases were said, some by me:
- Come on guys, only a little longer until the next pokestop!
- There’s an ELECTOBUZZ here!
- Emergency stop for the Electobuzz!
- Every day should be a pokeparty. POKEPARTYYYYYY
- Two of my eggs hatched!
This was a run full of adults revelling in living their childhoods and I loved that. Running already brings me joy but also catching Pokemon? My 10 year old self is dying with happiness right now.
Thank you very much Virgin Active!