This February, Oaklands Wolves Sports Academy students were challenged, along with fellow students and staff members to take on the Around the World Challenge.
The challenge, which aimed to walk, run, cycle or swim a combined distance of 40,075km, incorporated all eight of Oaklands Academies, with students from the Rugby, Hockey, Football, Basketball, Netball, Athletics and Cycling academies combining their efforts to reach the monumental target.
The challenge, which began on 6th January 2021, set participants a target of 461miles/742km per day for 54 days, the equivalent of an 24,901 mile/40,075km trip around the world.
Following the pioneering 18th Century route taken by Phileas Fogg, Oaklands students followed suit, setting out from London to Paris and then onto Turin, Italy.
The first milestone of the trip saw students virtually arrive in Avallon, a historic French Town between Paris and Turin, famous for its 15th Century Gateway Clocktower and Churches dating back to the 12th Century.
The ‘wolfpack’ reached their second milestone shortly after, when their collective kilometres took them to the popular skiing destination of Chambéry, in the French Alpes. Students were able to learn of the birthplace of popular French footballer; Olivier Giroud, 15th Century Cathedrals and the Rue Croix d’Or.
1,467km into the challenge saw participants land in Brindisi, Southern Italy, on the heel of the boot. Brindisi is considered to be the start of the Appian Way and a most important historical Roman Port. Brindisi has lots of monuments and Churches and you can also enjoy a spot of wine tasting.
After a further 2475km and we made it to Suez, a seaport in North Eastern Egypt. Home to the southern start of the Suez Canal, one of the world’s most heavily used shipping lanes. The Suez Canal connects the Mediterranean Sea with The Red Sea and gives the shortest maritime route to Asia from Europe.
Over 7,600km on, students arrived just kilometres from Mumbai, the seventh most populous city in the world, the gateway of the Arabian Sea and home to India’s financial and commercial centre.
The safe return of competitive Basketball on January 23rd enabled both Men and Women’s Basketball Academies to start practising and taking part in league fixtures again. The additional training helped the wolfpack reach the Grand Palace in Thailand, contributing over 4,000km to the target.
The next stop on the tourist trail saw the ‘wolfpack’ take in the virtual sites of Hong Kong, well known for its skyline, temples and cultural markets. Hong Kong also boasts the Tian Tan Buddha (Big Buddha) statue, which is a bronze monument built in 1993.
Another 2,973km and we find ourselves in the Japanese City of Yokohama, just South of Tokyo.
Yokohama was one of the first Japanese ports open to foreign trade in 1859 and contains a large Chinatown with Hundreds of Chinese restaurants and shops. It is also known for Sankeien Garden, a botanical park containing preserved Japanese residences from different eras and the seaside Minato Mirai district, site of the 296m Landmark Tower.
With a week of the challenge to spare, the around the world tour took arrive in the United States to take in the sites of New York, including the famous Statue of Liberty, Central Park and the Empire States Building and positioned the wolf-pack just over the Atlantic Ocean and heading towards Dublin.
The penultimate landmark was an appropriate one; The Guinness Storehouse in Dublin, home of the dark Irish stout that was first brewed in 1759 and now one of the most successful alcohol brands in the world, selling over 850 million litres a year.
After a quick virtual toast to the college’s efforts, all that remained was the final trip back to where the journey started; the St Albans Campus. The campus is the final landmark of the 40,075km round trip and a location which in itself, is becoming quite the eye-catcher – With its new £62million redevelopment which will see the unveiling of the new state-of-the-art teaching block; The Evolution Centre.