Another welcome to our 2020-21 running year! We are so excited to restart WRW on Wednesday, September 2 at 8:15 (see below for more meet-up details!). Can you believe it’s been nearly six months since we had to abruptly suspend our official WRW runs on March 16th? We can’t wait to see you all (from a distance) and feel that WRW energy again! If you are new to our group– WELCOME! Please bear with us as we work through all of these very specific instructions to find our new normal– I promise it will be worth it! A few of us will be waiting on the paths inside the Wellington Place entrance to the park, wearing our bright orange hats, to help greet and direct people to groups on Wednesday morning. If you are new to WRW, please find us so we can say hello and help you find the right group to run with on your first day!
Hopefully you all received and read the “Return to Running” e-mail a couple of days ago. If you did not receive the full instructions (one runner received only the map– and you know there will always be text when it’s coming from me!!), please read them here. That e-mail lays out all the basics for how we will start running together this year, and it is absolutely essential that we all follow it so that we can do all we can to keep everyone safe and to continue meeting. I’ll summarise it again:
- Our new starting point is St Johns Wood Church Gardens (at the end of St Johns Wood High St, and on Wellington Road across from Lord’s Cricket Ground).
- Wear a mask the entire time we are in the gardens.
- Meet in pace groups (see locations below), gather in groups of six or fewer (6-packs), and observe social distancing.
- Our pace group gatherings (in the 6-packs) need to be of 30 people or less, so for now pace groups must maintain separate spaces in the park.
Our official routes will be limited to loops to start the year, and there will be two routes each day– 8s and 10s will run one, and 9s and 11s will run the other. The ‘Hustlers’ group will run their own routes to start (more on this group below!). We will run in groups of six or fewer (again, the 6-packs) and leave the park at 2-3 minute intervals so our 6-packs don’t converge. The routes– all detailed below– have been carefully edited to help keep us out of busy areas at busy times, so we will all need to read them carefully and be prepared to help each other navigate!
Covid-19. Our general Covid-19 guidelines can be found here. Please be sure you have read them and are prepared to observe them as we resume running. In addition, please remember to be especially considerate to other members of the public as we return to the streets. Everyone has a different comfort level in this time, and tensions are tending to run high. Give plenty of space to pedestrians on the pavements. If we are confronted about running together, be courteous and do not allow a negative interaction to develop (even if someone is rude to us). We believe we are conducting ourselves within government guidelines, but we do not have to make that argument to every critical passersby.
Hustlers (formerly known as the ramp-up group). We are so pleased that Tamar Brooks will once again lead a very special group for runners who are coming back from injuries or are returning to running after a lengthy hiatus and want to ease back in gently. She and Fernanda Spinelli will lead a program of running with walk breaks that will steadily build throughout the Fall. This is Tamar’s third year of leading this program, and it has been a great success! Please e-mail her at [email protected], or you can e-mail us at [email protected], for details.
Beginner Group. The first day for the Beginner group will be this Thursday, August 3. Our Tuesday-Thursday Beginner group is for true beginners, women who have never run before. The program starts out with one-minute intervals at a very slow jog, so is not appropriate for anyone who is able to run even a mile or two. Please help us spread the word about our beginner group– it’s really helpful if beginners can find their way to us sooner rather than later! If you know of (or meet) anyone who is interested in the beginner group, have them email us at [email protected]. Amy Grace and her fantastic lineup of coaches– Jess, Melissa, Renata and Paola– are excited to lead another new group of women through this fun and life-changing experience!
Running this week. A huge thank you to our Routes Team– Darcy, Erin, Dinae, and Melissa, with support from Amy– for getting us back on the pavements with all new routes for our current circumstances! Wednesday we will begin as we usually do, with a 5ish-mile run through Regents Park. We have two different routes below, one for the 8s/10s and one for the 9s/11s. Obviously this will be our first experiment with splitting routes, but hopefully we can all keep from running into each other in the park! Also, since it’s so close to home, it’s easy to modify the run if you’re not quite up for 5 miles yet, or if you want to do a bit more.
Friday we will return to the Heath. However… we will not be running up Fitzjohn’s Avenue as usual this fall. We simply can’t add to the congestion on that street in the early morning (especially once British schools are in session), so we’ve created two alternate routes for getting to the Heath. In addition, some of the routes below are slightly different within the Heath both to make the mileage and elevation gain turn out right, and to help us not all be running the same paths. There are two different distance options mapped for each route below, and of course most of us know the Heath well enough to run longer or shorter as needed. All of the routes do currently come down Fitzjohns on the way home, partly so that we can avoid sending large numbers directly by the Royal Free Hospital. After this week we’ll assess whether we need to re-route to take some of us back to St Johns Wood via a different path. And in the meantime, if you’d rather not do the steep downhill, you can reroute from the Heath to come out at South End Green and cut through Belsize Park. (For those of you new to the area, just ask a returning runner for help with this!)
Whew! I hope that all makes sense. Please feel free to reach out with questions or observations. We are doing our best to think of all we need to consider in this, but we are open to input if you have ideas or spot potential issues. As we work toward finding what will work for us in this time, let me just offer a reminder of the advice we usually include in this first e-mail: take care of yourselves, and take care of each other!
I won’t be able to give the customary first-day welcome to everyone together, but know that my heart– as with many of yours, I’m sure– will be full and happy to see this group together again!
Wednesday 2 September – Regent’s Park (5 miles)
8s & 10s pace groups – Regent’s/Primrose
From the church gardens, run down Prince Albert Rd to the Charlbert entrance to Regent’s. Run straight, pass The Hub and at the next intersection after that, make a sharp right and run with the water on your left. Curve around and then turn left to run over the bridge. Turn left after the bridge to run past the Boating Lake and keep running around the edge of the park (keeping inside the park). The path will start making its way to the left, putting you at the fountain at the highest part of the Broad Walk. Go straight over the Broad Walk and keep to the right to run along the edge of the zoo. Cross over the Outer Circle and then Prince Albert Road. Once in Primrose Hill Park, turn right and run to the far edge, the turn left and run at a slight diagonal and make a left to run up to the top of Primrose. Head back down towards the Elsworthy exit and go out and turn left on Elsworthy. At Avenue, turn left and cross where you can, then turning right on Acacia to head back to SJW High Street.
9s & 11s pace groups – Reverse Inner/Outer
From the church gardens, make your way to Allitsen Road and run down Allitsen to Primrose Hill. Enter the park and turn right. Cross over Prince Albert Road to head into Regent’s Park. Once across the Outer Circle, turn left to run around the outer edge of the park. After 1.5 miles, turn right on York Bridge to get to the Inner Circle. Run all the way around the inner circle and exit the way you came in on York Bridge. Turn right to continue running around the outer edge of the park, exiting at Avenue Road (NOT Charlbert). Turn left to run along Prince Albert Road to SJW High Street and Starbucks/Pret.
Friday 4 September – The Hill! (5 or 6 miles)
It’s Friday so it’s hill time! To avoid the school crowd on Fitzjohn’s, we will be running reverse routes that take us up another way and back down Fitzjohn’s after the school run is finished. The routes also avoid Royal Free Hospital so pay close attention to the street turns to avoid getting lost!
Getting to the Heath – 8s & 10s
From the Church Gardens, cross SJW High Street and take either Greenberry St or Barrow Hill Rd to Bridgeman St. Turn right onto Allitsen and left onto Charlbert. Take a quick left and then a right onto Ordnance Hill and run up to Swiss Cottage. Pass the tube and turn right onto Belsize Lane. Take the first left onto Daleham Gardens, keeping left onto Akenside Rd. Turn right onto Lyndhurst Rd and then the first left onto Lyndhurst Terrace. Turn right onto Thurlow Rd and run straight until you enter the park. Take the first path on the left and follow the curve to the right between the two ponds. Then… follow the directions below for your distance/hill preference.
Parliament Hill – 6 mi
Keep running straight to go up Parliament Hill the way we normally do. At the top, take a left on the dirt path and veer to the left at the second path and then turn left at the next path. Veer to the right and shortly rejoin the path we usually run down (turn right to go up the hill). At the entrance to the Heath, turn left and run back via Fitzjohn’s and to SJW via SJW Park/Ordnance.
Note – for anyone wanting more mileage, you can easily continue on from Parliament Hill to do the regular Heath 8 mile route – just follow the normal route after running up the hill.
Reverse Betsy – 5 mi
Take the second path on the left and run to the normal Betsy intersection. Turn left and keep running straight to exit the park on Well Walk. Keep running straight until the Hampstead High Street. Turn right and then left to run back to SJW via Fitzjohn’s and SJW Park/Ordnance.
Getting to the Heath – 9s & 11
sExit the church gardens at the gate on the St Johns Wood High Street side, cross the street, and run a short distance to make a right on Allitsen Road. Make a left on Townshend Road and follow it to its end, then make a right on Acacia Road and a quick left on Avenue Road. Cross Avenue at the first crossing to run down Elsworthy Road. At the end of Elsworthy, turn left onto Primrose Hill Road and follow it until you turn right onto England’s Lane. At the end of England’s Lane, cross Haverstock Hill and go right just to take a left onto Parkhill Rd. Follow Parkhill to its end, then take a right onto Mansfield Road and a left on Roderick Road. At the end of Roderick, you will see the Heath entrance across the street.
Elsworthy to Heath Reverse 6 – 6.4 miles
Once you enter the Heath, turn right and run along the path above the track. Turn left after you pass the cafe on your left. Run straight along the path until you reach the end of the second pond. Turn left and run straight along the path until it reaches a T. Turn right and follow the path as it curves gently and then joins up with the path we take to enter the Heath on our standard 6-mile route. Exit the park at Spaniards Road and turn left to run down Heath Street and Fitzjohn’s Avenue to Swiss Cottage. From Swiss Cottage take St Johns Wood Park to Ordnance Road and turn right on St Johns Wood Terrace to end on the High Street.
Elsworthy to Heath Reverse 5 – 5.3 miles
Once you enter the Heath, turn left and stay to the left until you cross the pond, then carry on taking a basically straight path to exit the park at Well Walk (where the normal Betsy route enters the park). Follow Well Walk until it turns into Flask Walk, and then carry on to the Hampstead High Street. Cross the street and cut through Oriel Place to Heath Street, and then turn left to run all the way down Fitzjohn’s Avenue to Swiss Cottage. From Swiss Cottage take St Johns Wood Park to Ordnance Road and turn right on St Johns Wood Terrace to end on the High Street.