Challenges: Visit all Halls on University Park in Half an Hour

‘Why on earth am I running on to campus at half seven on a February morning?’ I thought to myself as I jogged up the hill past George Green. No doubt the few early birds out and about on University Park were thinking the same thing, yet a Features contributor must do what a Features contributor must do.

The challenge: to visit all the halls on campus in thirty minutes; no leisurely morning stroll across the Downs for me then. I’m not much of a jogging person, preferring the muscle-building satisfaction of the gym or the fast-paced excitement of handball.

Plus, I was running on an empty stomach, so what had looked like a fun challenge when I signed up for it did not seem quite so appealing on the day.

I began at Cripps at 7:36am, meaning there weren’t too many onlookers; let’s be honest, running around campus taking pictures of the hall signs is a pretty weird thing to do. As you can see, I used Snapchat to document the exact time I reached each hall (and, more importantly, to tempt my friends to write for Features and experience the excitement of an Impact Challenge).


After nipping over to Hugh Stew, I cut across the Downs to Lenton & Wortley and then Lincoln. Ah, Lincoln. The sight of it brought back memories of the Ocean-hangover-curing Saturday brunch, my room with its picturesque view of the Downs, and the glitz and glamour of formal dinners (I won’t go into the dodgy mustard mash, 5am fire alarms, and seen-better-days JCR…). It’s always interesting to think about who inhabits a hall after you’re gone. When I was there, each block had its own unique character, characters. But who are the BNOCs of Lincoln this year? Who’s sleeping with who? And who’s in Room I3? I’ll probably never know.

My route then took me past Derby, Sherwood, and Rutland. The hardest part of the challenge was undoubtedly the stopping and starting. Each time I paused to take a snap, the lactic acid in my legs built up that little bit more, so I was grateful for the chance to up the pace as I ran past David Ross to Nightingale.

And then I reached Ancaster, a hall in which I spent a lot of time last year thanks to it being the home of a close friend of mine, none other than one of the Features editors. In an attempt to add a sprinkling of sophistication to its ‘laddy’ identity, Ancaster adopted ‘Carpe Noctum’ (‘Seize the night’) as its motto. And seize it we did, on many occasions throughout first year. Apart from that time we turned up at Ocean before it was open – a case of seizing the evening.

(As you may have noticed, I forgot to add the clock filter to this one. But that doesn’t matter, I still passed the challenge…right?)

Finally, I breezed past Cavendish and Willoughby and reached my final destination, Florence Boot (my mother’s hall) at 07:55, well before the half hour mark. I even managed to jog the rest of the way back to Dunkirk.

So would I recommend this challenge? It’s hardly strenuous, and better athletes (and quicker photographers) would find it a walk in the park. Moreover, it was interesting to explore campus in the quiet of the morning, with most of the people I saw also out jogging, and it made me feel like a first year again.

Living in a house has a very different feel to living on campus, and while in most ways I prefer it, the sense of community you get from living in halls is something I miss a little.

So this challenge could be a fun way to explore campus if you’re a fresher, a trip down memory lane if you’re a second or third year, or even a source of running motivation if you’re trying to keep fit. Who knows, maybe next time I’ll include the Jubilee halls and give myself an hour.

Tom Hughes

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Featured Image: Jill Forsdick

Embedded Images: Tom Hughes


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