As a sport that predominantly takes place outdoors, the link between athletics and the weather is closer than most. Unlike in cricket or tennis, rain very rarely stops play. Howling winds and extreme heat are also conditions in which athletics meets still go ahead. In fact, athletics is one of the few sports where the weather is written into the rule books – a tail wind of two metres a second is the highest speed allowed for records to be ratified. But despite the sport’s apparent ‘suck-it-and-see approach’ to weather, hosting the World Championships in Doha in late September still appears to be a crazy idea. To prove the point, the women’s marathon was given a midnight start on Friday evening, even though the air temperature was still around 32 degrees Celsius, with humidity recorded at 70%. Unsurprisingly, twenty-eight of the sixty-eight starters had to withdraw due to the heat. The events being held inside the Khalifa Stadium have, thankfully, taken the weather into account and no morning sessions have been scheduled. Furthermore, the cooling technology installed inside the stadium, consisting of cylindrical vents around the interior perimeter blasting out cool air, means that when it’s 40C outside, it feels like 23C inside. Good news for the athletes, but The Weekly suspects Greta Thunberg would have something to say about it as she continues her commendable efforts to raise global environmental awareness.
Another week, another occasion when the flexible office sector dominated the commercial property headlines. First up we had WeWork founder Adam Neumann resign as chief executive after it failed to attract enough support to greenlight an IPO. Having established a global platform spanning 111 cities in 29 countries, with more than 527,000 members and 12,000 employees, reports are now circulating that WeWork has put a halt to the signing of new lease agreements in the hope of reining in their running costs. On Thursday, analysts S&P Global cut the company’s credit rating deeper into junk territory. At the same time, a new report was being released by The Instant Group confirming that over the past twelve months, flexible workspace has made up 35% of commercial property transactions in London. The report also shows that there are more sub-5,000 sq. ft. offices available now than at any time in the past ten years. With vacancy rates in this size range of the conventional leasing office market on the rise and a major occupier going through a rough patch, office landlords at both ends of the size spectrum are now likely to be feeling rather less comfortable than they have for a while.
Bull and Bear are on Day 14 of their 100-day journey around London, visiting weird and wonderful places and then sharing random, yet inciteful facts about them. On Thursday, they bumped into Jonathan Cook, a self-confessed lifelong Tube “geek” who was bidding to beat the record for the quickest time taken to visit every Tube station. Competitors have been trying since 1959 to see how quickly they can visit all 270 stations and get their name written into the record books. To put this task into some context, there are eleven electric Underground lines, covering 250 miles, making it the third longest metro system in the world and the largest in Europe. Up to 1.4 billion passenger journeys are made each year, more than the total for the entire UK national rail network. In other words, it’s long and very busy! The rules now clearly state that participants must visit all the stations on the system, not necessarily all the lines, and they can connect between stations on foot or by using other forms of public transport. Sadly for Jonathan, he just missed out on the world record, which stands at 15 hours, 45 minutes and 38 seconds. Apparently delays on the District Line were to blame! Of course they were. If you are, however, tempted to give the challenge a go, it might be worth waiting a couple of years until the two new Tube stations on the Northern Line extension down to Battersea Power Station are finally opened to give your record a chance of having some longevity!