HENRY VIII'S WIVES
VIRTUAL MILEAGE CHALLENGES
Stay motivated with Secret London Runs' mileage challenges. The twist? Each challenge follows in the footsteps of a Tudor queen in an important journey she made during her life.
As well as a medal for each Queen, you'll unlock podcasts and postcards when you get to important places along the way and mapping technology that allows you to chart your progress along the route.
Of course, you'll also share your experience with our incredible community.
6 MEDALS TO COLLECT
THROUGH 6 UNIQUE CHALLENGES
ALL 6 CHALLENGES ARE OPEN UNTIL THE END OF 2024
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."
"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."
"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."
"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 podcasts are amazing!!!"
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
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.
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, Hever is about 22 miles along the route for Anne Boleyn. Once you've clocked up 22 miles of activity, you'll unlock a podcast telling you more about Anne's time at Hever. This will appear in the My Virtual Mission app/website and you'll also receive it by email.
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!
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 journey. There are 6 medals to collect, each dedicated to a different Tudor queen. Collect them all and earn a beautiful finisher's coin too
TIME TO TELL ANOTHER SIDE OF THEIR STORIES
CATHERINE OF ARAGON
99 MILES OF DISMISSAL
Follow in the footsteps of Catherine of Aragon after she was dismissed from Henry's court in 1531. History tells us a lot about the first 20 years that Catherine spent 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.
We pick up her story at The More and follow this courageous woman as she was banished further and further away from court - to Hatfield, Enfield, Ampthill, Buckden and ending at Kimbolton - until she died.
From £24.95, or £19.50 without medal.
45 MILES OF FORBIDDEN LOVE
Anne Boleyn - she's ruthless, feisty and ambitious, according to the history books. Her story usually gets picked up around the time that Henry VIII started to notice her, but what about the less-worldly girl who arrived at the English Court in 1522 and fell in love with a courtier?
In 1523 Anne Boleyn and her lover Henry Percy ignored the expectations from court and became secretly betrothed. When Cardinal Wolsey, the King's chief advisor, found out, the match was forbidden. Percy was sent up north to marry another and Anne was banished to Hever. This journey follows a younger, broken-hearted Anne as she travels to Hever and then accompanies her on her eventual return to court at Eltham Palace.
Complete the challenge in 1, 2, 4 or 6 weeks.
From £24.95, or £19.50 without medal.
167 MILES OF BITTER RIVALRY
We think of Jane Seymour as a quiet, meek and passive Queen - Henry's one true love. But is there another side to her?
Run or walk 167 miles on the Royal Progress of 1535 from Wulfhall to Greenwich. Along the way, we'll explore the theory that Jane accompanied Anne Boelyn and Henry VIII on this trip, and question when their courtship truly began.
This longer journey will have more podcasts and postcards to keep you going - as well as the option to add cycling and cross-training miles to your walking/running/steps to help cover the distance. Choose from a 2, 4, 8, 12 or 16 week goal to complete the challenge.
From £29.95, or £21.50 without medal.
ANNE OF CLEVES
363 MILES TO WEDDED BLISS*
Option to complete the challenge as a team of 2 or 3. Each member needs to sign up individually.
The ugly one, right? Wrong! Anne of Cleves was 24 when she was "chosen" to marry a fat, lame 48-year old Henry VIII.
We'll follow the journey of this young princess from her family home in Dusseldorf, Germany and accompany her, full of hope, across the Netherlands, through France and over the English channel to a very disappointing meeting with her husband-to-be at Rochester.
This longer journey will have more podcasts and postcards to keep you going - as well as the option to add cycling and cross-training miles to your walking/running/steps to help cover the distance. You'll also be able to team up with one or two other participants and share the distance. Just sign up like normal (or with a season pass) and then you'll be able to create a team in My Virtual Mission when the time comes.
Choose from a 1, 2, 3, 4 or 6 month goal to complete the challenge.
From £31.95 per person or £23.50 without medal.
24 MILES UNTIL DEATH DO US PART
History paints Catherine Howard as a silly little girl who didn't quite know what she'd got herself into. Alternative histories tend to focus on the sexual abuse she suffered as a child, but very few look at her final 24 miles. Silly or not, we'll follow this unfortunate 19 year old girl as she was seized from her home at Hampton Court and placed under house arrest at Syon House before, eventually, being taken up the Thames on a barge to the Tower of London for her execution.
Complete the challenge in 1 or 2 days, or 1, 2 or 3 weeks.
From £22.95 or £17.50 without a medal.
45 MILES THE GRIEVING WIDOW
Despite popular belief, Catherine Parr was far from a middle-aged frump by the time she became Henry VIII's 6th and final queen - the one who survived.
How did this passionate and clever queen react to the death of Henry VIII? We'll follow Catherine as she retreats from Whitehall to Greenwich in the January of 1547 and then accompany her to Windsor for her husband's funeral. How might Catherine have felt as she watched her husband buried next to Jane Seymour, as per his request?
Complete the challenge in 1, 2, 3, 4 or 6 weeks.