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ARU lecturer prepares to run from source to sea

Published: 21 May 2021 at 14:00

Dr Véronique Chance

Thames Run is a 240-mile, 14-day live artwork as part of the Estuary 2021 festival

Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) lecturer Dr Véronique Chance is about to put her body as well as her soul into her art as she prepares to tackle a 240-mile run as part of the Estuary 2021 arts festival associated programme.

Thames Run: Source to Sea will see Véronique, an artist and a Senior Lecturer in Fine Art at ARU, run the length of the river over 14 days as part of a live performance artwork. Véronique is part of the Running Artfully Network (RAN), which champions running as an artform as well as a physical endeavour.

Beginning at Thames Head near Kemble, Gloucestershire, on Monday, 31 May, Thames Run: Source to Sea is Véronique’s most ambitious work to date and builds on previous challenges including her Great Orbital Ultra Run, a 150-mile run and live transmission that took place alongside the M25. She aims to complete Thames Run: Source to Sea by arriving at the Isle of Grain, on the south side of the Thames, on 13 June.

Véronique’s work focuses on the human body and the relationship between performance, technology, and spectatorship. Her runs are performed in specific places, along pre-determined routes, and are shared through mobile technology that tracks her journey and relays live images of her viewpoint and location.

As her body is tested by the demands of long-distance running, the limits of technology are also challenged as she communicates her experience. During Thames Run: Source to Sea, audiences will be able to follow Véronique’s progress through GPS tracking, live streaming, and social media, while a daily blog will also form part of the work.

Véronique said:

“I am not good at running and running definitely does not come naturally to me. Running, particularly long-distance running, is something I find particularly difficult and challenging; it hurts, it makes me feel vulnerable and weak, but it also makes me feel attuned to my senses and to the limits of my body. I have to think about my heart rate, about breathing, about pace, about hydration, about food, about energy, about injury, about not falling over.

“In this sense I find running a fundamentally human activity. I am not interested in competition nor am I interested in achieving a personal best, but I am interested in the continuous tension it holds for me between success and failure. More importantly, it is for me about being in the present moment.”

More information about the run, including links to follow Véronique’s progress, are available via her website http://www.veroniquechance.com/work/thames-run-source-to-sea. Artwork from Thames Run: Source to Sea will also go on display in September as part of Totally Thames 2021 and APT Open Studios, London, in partnership with the Thames Festival Trust.

Photograph of Dr Véronique Chance by Richard Allen