The Olympics is coming. No, not here this time — in Rio. On 21 August 2016, the closing ceremony will take place, and, by then, one London woman hopes to have completed an Olympic challenge.
Freya Rodger intends to try her hand at every sport open to women in the summer Olympics — but she plans to do it by making use of whatever is free around London. For example: the thought of doing the 5,000m is a horrible thought. Yet lots of us do it every Saturday at a ParkRun. Tick.
Canary Wharf set up some beach volleyball courts over the summer: tick. You can try out BMX for free at Hornfair Park in Greenwich: tick. The marathon is nasty and there's no guarantee of getting a place for the London one, so Freya did two half marathons on successive weekends: tick. As for the 100m — yeah, you could go to a track, but a friend pointed out to Freya that really it's just like running for the train in the morning. So one quiet day soon, she's going to go to a local station, mark out 100m on the platform and do the sprint. (We're not going to say which station for fear the operating company will have a strop.)
What about things like fencing and archery? Surely they need specialist equipment and venues? Luckily, the daughter of one of Freya's friends is one of the best fencers in the country, and has offered the services of her club in Greenwich. Blackheath Women's Rugby Club has also promised to let her join in a scrum.
"Some events won't be pretty," she laughs, citing gymnastics, pole vault and the long jump. And then there are the events that make her anxious: equestrian (particularly the jumps), diving and synchronised swimming.
And why is she telling us all this? Several reasons. Firstly, to prove that sport doesn't need to be regimented, expensive or boring. Secondly, there are still plenty of events Freya needs to do — so drop her a line if you think you can help. Thirdly, Freya's doing all this partly to raise money for Bloodwise and Macmillan Cancer Support — because what we haven't mentioned yet is that Freya recently had non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and she'd like to give back to the people who helped her.