VIRTUAL RUNNING CHALLENGE - START ANY TIME IN 2021
CATHERINE OF ARAGON
99 MILES OF DISMISSAL
Follow in Catherine of Aragon's footsteps, on the route that she took after she was dismissed as queen. This epic virtual running and walking challenge will take you on a 99 mile odyssey, through the last, turbulent years of her life.
Every time you complete a walking or running activity, you'll advance along the virtual map between More and Kimbolton Castle, unlocking podcasts and postcards from Catherine at milestones along the route.
Earn beautiful bling, stay focused and make your miles more fun. Run or walk the 99 miles, choose to complete it in 2, 4, 6 or 8 weeks and sign up today.
EARN BEAUTIFUL BLING
Celebrate your achievement with a beautiful limited edition Catherine of Aragon medal. Exclusively designed for this event, with lots of special touches for history-lovers.
Medals will be sent to you after you've completed the event and are bound to stand out in your collection.
UNRAVEL FASCINATING HISTORY AS YOU GO
This challenge tells the story of Catherine of Aragon after her 24-year marriage to Henry.
History tells us a lot about Catherine's time as Queen, and the overlap with Anne Boleyn. But then the narrative tends to follow Henry and Anne, leaving the last years of Catherine less well known.
Over the 99 miles you'll learn about how this courageous woman held her head high as she was banished from castle to castle, starting with More, stopping at Hatfield, Enfield, Ampthill, Buckden and ending at Kimbolton where she died.
For those who have already signed up
HOW DOES IT WORK?
We've partnered up with My Virtual Mission for this event so your whole journey is managed through their amazing tech platform - available through their website and in an easy-to-use app.
RUN OR WALK
Wherever you are in the world, complete a running or walking activity - whatever distance you like. Measure it using a GPS tracking device or take a photo of your treadmill screen. Lots of people have fancy GPS watches but there are plenty of free apps (e.g. Strava) that you can download on your phone that work just as well.
LOG YOUR ACTIVITY AND MOVE ALONG THE VIRTUAL MAP
Once this activity is logged in the My Virtual Mission app, you'll see your figure move along the virtual map. You can set it to automatically sync to some apps, or manually upload a photo of your GPS evidence in seconds. This journey tracks the movements of Catherine of Aragon in the last years of her life. We pick up her movements at The More in 1531 which is the start of the virtual map and then follow her to each place that she stayed (Hatfield, Enfield, Ampthill, Buckden) until her death at Kimbolton.
UNLOCK PODCASTS AND POSTCARDS
When you reach certain places along the map, you'll unlock a postcard or podcast to tell you more about her time there. For example, Hatfield is the first stop along the route, so after you've logged 18 miles, you'll get a postcard. This will appear in the My Virtual Mission app/website and you'll also receive it by email. Along the 99 miles, you'll unlock 3 podcasts and 5 postcads.
SEE YOU ON STREET VIEW
At any time in your journey, you'll be able to check out your virtual surroundings on street view. You might even bump into someone with a matching Tudor hood! We've created Tudor hoods so that you can change your profile pic and channel your inner Catherine - just for fun!
SHARE YOUR EXPERIENCE WITH OUR AMAZING COMMUNITY
The Secret London Runs Connect Facebook group is full of like-minded walkers and runners. Come join us and share the fun.
EARN YOUR MEDAL
Once you go over the finish-line we'll send you your medal in the post to celebrate your 99 mile journey. This is the first of a 6-medal set, each dedicated to a different Tudor queen. Collect them all and earn a beautiful finisher's centrepiece too.
£24.95 or £28.95 with a buff
Motivation and accountability for 99 miles
Unique medals with original illustrations
Unlock loads of history along the route via postcards and podcasts
Access to the "My Virtual Mission" platform for race mapping, tracking and street view, and synced activity uploads.
Choose your timeframe - set a how for how long you want to take to complete the challenge.
Take part anywhere in the world and join our amazing community in the Secret London Runs Connect Facebook group.
FOR THE AMAZING FEEDBACK SO FAR
"I am really enjoying Catherine of Aragon and cannot wait for the rest of the queen challenges. I've done quite a few virtual runs now, but this is the first one I've done where I feel like I'm not doing it completely on my own."
"Really enjoying the Catherine of Aragon challenge. The perfect combination of two of my favourite things; history and running. History has so often been written by men, about men, so it’s great to find out more about the women behind Henry VIII and their journeys. Looking forward to discovering lots of fun facts about the other 5 Queens too over the course of the year!"
"The Catherine of Aragon / Six Wives Challenge transcends all virtual runs - as does the stunning medal. From day one I learnt so much as it's a fascinating history lesson on the hoof. A lot of it took place around an area I'd lived in for years, and I had no idea about a fraction of the information which I unlocked en-route via the postcards and podcasts. I can't wait to run with the other 5 wives and the lovely Secret London Runs community of runners."
"The podcasts are amazing!!!"
"I loved the Catherine of Aragon challenge. Learning more about this amazing Queen and what she went through while virtually walking in her shoes was really inspiring and it’s got me looking forward to the next challenge. The podcasts and postcards which accompanied the route were also a delight."
Well, I’m 64, I’m overweight and unfit, and I’ve been out walking every day since the challenge started come sun, rain, wind and snow. I gave myself 8 weeks to complete 99 Miles of Dismissal and it looks as if I may do it in exactly half that time. I am so thrilled! I simply could not, and would not, have been able to achieve this without the support from this lovely group"
SHEILA DONNELAN JONES
Podcasts and postcards are unlocked as you move through certain places along the virtual map (triggered by your mileage total). You'll receive a pop up in the My Virtual Mission app/website and an email to celebrate too.
The journey starts at the More. The first time you register an activity (however long or short), you'll get the first podcast. But we also send this to you in the confirmation email when you sign up, in case you're too excited to wait.
Then you unlock postcards at Hatfield (after 15.7 miles) and Enfield (27.4 miles) and then your next podcast at Ampthill (67.2 miles).
Then at 89.8 miles you'll get your final podcast to tell the end of the story and keep you company on the final 10 miles of the journey. Meanwhile, you'll get a postcard at Buckden (93.4 miles) and a final poscard at the end of yours (and Catherine's) journey at 99.8 miles.
THE JOURNEY EXPLAINED
Scroll up from the bottom to see the route
Frequently asked questions
What happens if I want to change the time frame I do the challenge in?
We want you to do what you feel comfortable with so please choose a realistic time frame to complete your challenge in. But we understand that things get in the way. The challenge is actually open all year, and you won't get shut off at any point. So if you fall behind, don't worry! The goal is really just for you!
Why has Secret London Runs teamed up with My Virtual Mission?
To run this event we have teamed up with My Virtual Mission to allow you to 'virtually' see the route that Catherine of Aragon would have taken on her journey of dismissal. Once you have created an account and joined the mission you will be able to sync your activity app e.g Strava or Garmin to the platform so it automatically uploads your activities. You will also be able to see yourself moving along the map, and when you reach key milestones on Catherine's journey this will trigger postcards and podcasts so you can learn more about the history of this Tudor Queen.
99 miles! Can I break it down into smaller chunks?
Yes of course. When you sign up you can choose how long you think you’ll need to complete the distance. There are options from 2 weeks to 8 weeks. You can do it all in one go if you want to, although we strongly advise against this if you are not well trained to take on this ultra distance. Most people will break it down into lots of smaller distances and use it to help them keep fit or train for another event. Lots of participants will do a mixture of running and walking.
Does my entry for Catherine of Aragon get me entry to all six of the queens?
No. Each event is separate and you will need to sign up to each one individually. Of course once you’ve created a My Virtual Mission account however, you just need to ‘join the mission’ for each queen as they open. The entry fee goes towards our tech fees for My Virtual Mission, your unique medal (it included illustration fee because we got the images created especially) and all the historical research and content. We really couldn't price the event any lower and stay in business.
Do I have to do all six events?
Not at all. You can do one, two or all of them. Entirely up to you. However we have designed the medals so they all interconnect and you’ll get a special Tudor Rose gold coin to commemorate your incredible achievement if you decide to take on all six.
What if I don’t want to sign up for a My Virtual Mission account?
You don’t have to sign up for my virtual mission, and you'll still recieve your medal if you decide not to. However the price of your sign up covers the cost of operating all the cool technology which you’ll benefit from as part of this challenge. Tech like being able to see how far along each queen’s journey you are, comparing how you are doing to other participants, receiving the postcards at key milestones, and access to our podcast. Plus we're using My Virtual Mission for evidence uploads. So really, we think it makes sense to sign up so you don’t miss out on the full challenge experience.
Are these the exact journies of the Queens?
In a word...no! Lots of the roads are different now to the 16th century. And although we know details of all the journies we're following, history often doesn't tell us the exact route taken. The important milestones that we highlight on the route are perfectly true to history and we give you as much information as we can about those places.
When will I be able to sign up for the next Queen?
We're aiming to release one queen every 2 months this year (but hopefully more regularly)! Each journey takes a lot of research, so we hope you understand. Anne Boelyn will be in March. Each journey is a different distance - and some of the longer ones will incorporate cycling and crosstraining miles.
Can I walk the whole thing, or section of it?
Yes, you can walk the whole thing. Or you can mix up running and walking. Others might prefer to leave it as a running-only challenge. You set the challenge for what will help to motivate you.
How do I record my activities?
For this mission you can use any app or watch that records distance - or photos of your treadmill screen. The My Virtual Mission platform - who we are partnering up with for this event - allows automatic syncing for the following apps: Apple Health, Strava, Fitbit, Under Armour, Runkeeper and Garmin. But activity from any other apps (or photos from treadmills) can be added manually in a few seconds.