We did it! What a joy to see you come together again last week! Thank you to everyone for being so conscientious about our new way of operating through the Covid times, as well as for your feedback, ideas, and support. You were brilliant!
So, as we move into another week, a brief reminder/summary of our new mode of operation: we meet with our pace groups in St Johns Wood Church Gardens, wearing masks. Quick or distant hellos are great, but we have to mostly stay in separate groupings to observe government guidelines. Within our groups we observe social distancing and form into packs of six or fewer to head out on our runs, leaving 2-3 minutes of space between departing packs. And, of course, out on our routes we give pedestrians plenty of room. All of the specifics can be found here, if you missed it the first time around. And our general Covid-19 guidelines can be found here.
One further thing we should think about in our new MO, is how we spend our post-run time. Though many of us, myself included, really enjoyed seeing each other on the SJW High Street after the run last Wednesday, we probably need to be more careful about how we congregate in that time. As with all the other elements of our plan, we need to think about public perceptions in addition to public health, as we are so identifiable to the community. Even if we are maintaining social distance on the high street, we don’t want to look as if we’re overwhelming the space. Let’s all try to be conscious of our overall spacing (not just how far away we are from the person closest to us). Last week some six-packs took their coffees back to the SJW church gardens, where there is plenty of space to spread out. Or if you are in for just a short coffee, let’s try to make sure we are spaced along the high street rather than clumped on the corners. And THANK you for being understanding about our flood of instructions and recommendations as we try to make sure WRW can continue to find a new normal without getting cross-wise with the community or the authorities!
Running this week.
Monday we will be trying some new routes to Hyde Park. We’re going to avoid our normal route down Lisson Grove, because it is a high pedestrian traffic area during school drop-off times. Once you reach Hyde Park, you can choose to turn around and run back for 4 miles, run your desired extra distance in the park (our standard routes can be found here), OR, in keeping with first-Monday tradition, follow the routes on to Big Ben. Though it will mean organising transport back to SJW (running, walking, biking, or public transport), we wanted to put the route in for those who might want to keep our old traditions in these very new and different times. Wednesday we’ll return to Regents Park, using the same basic routes as last week, but reversing which group runs which. And Friday we return to the Heath, also switching up the routes. Please look at the maps and directions found below. In this time of running in smaller packs, it’s especially important that we all have a good idea of where we are going!
Announcements and Shout-outs.
This will come as no surprise to those of you who have just joined us and have already received a lovely welcome note, but I wanted to give a very big shout-out and thank you to Jen Iannazzo! Jen has agreed to take on the role of managing our membership and email lists. We can’t imagine anyone better to give a warm welcome to our new runners, and to help keep us sorted and organised! Thank you, Jen!!
Our Tuesday-Thursday Beginner group got underway last Thursday with a great group of women! As you know, the group is for true beginners, women who have never run before. It 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, have them email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It feels like an exercise in optimism to talk about races, so here goes! The Royal Parks Half has announced a ‘surprise lottery’ for places in their rescheduled race, now planned for Sunday, April 11. The ballot opens Wednesday, September 16, and will be open for a week. If races are happening in the Spring, we will, of course, plan to take WRW to one! There are so many unknowns at the moment that we can’t say what the exact timing will be– but likely late March or early April, as usual. Another local half marathon planned for that timeframe is the London Landmarks Half on March 28. It is possible that might conflict with any race trip we might conjure, but we thought we should bring it to your attention in case you wanted to hedge bets. (Last year the London Landmarks was on the same weekend as our Prague race and, in the end, both were canceled).
I can’t wait to see more of you in the week ahead! It has been such a pleasure to return to running ‘with’ you all. There’s something special about being out there together– even at a distance– after our six-month hiatus. Seeing another WRW ‘six-pack’ across the park is still a little thrill for me, and I hope many of you have felt that way as well! Hope the week ahead brings a fresh sense of a new normal to you and your families! See you in the Gardens…
Monday 7 September – Hyde Park (4- 6.5 miles)
The Hyde Park routes offer something for everyone in terms of distance, looping routes (to and from St John’s Wood) and destination runs with the option of walking, cycling or tubing back to St John’s Wood.
Instead of heading to the park our usual way we are going to avoid busy Lisson Grove and run via Regent’s Park or Westbourne Terrace. Both routes are approximately 2 miles to the park entrance. From there you can turn around and head back for a 4-mile route, or continue through the park to add mileage.
8s and 10s pace groups – Hyde Park via Westbourne Terrace
From the church gardens exit towards Wellington Rd, cross at the zebra crossing and turn left. At the traffic lights turn right on St John’s Wood Rd. Run along St John’s Wood Rd and turn left at Cunningham Place and right at Aberdeen Place, which turns into Blomfield. Run along Blomfield towards the canal. Do not get on the canal but instead cross over it and take the Westbourne Bridge under the Westway (A40). Run south on Westbourne Terrace and, at the fork, bear right to enter Hyde Park at Lancaster Gate.
6 mile option – Run along the west side of the Italian Gardens and continue along the south side of The Serpentine until you reach Hyde Park Corner. Run through Wellington Arch and turn left to enter Green Park. Run to the Green Park Tube (4mile route) on Piccadilly and head north (turn left) to Berkeley Street. After Berkeley Square Gardens, turn left and then right onto Davies Street. Run north on Davies to the Bond Street Tube. Go left on Oxford and then right onto James Street. Run north on James which becomes Marylebone High Street. At Marylebone Road, turn left and then right to enter Regents Park at York Gate. Once in Regents Park, turn left and run along the Boating Lake back to the mosque exit. Return to the church gardens or Starbucks.
To get to Big Ben, there are a few options depending on the mileage you want.Option A – follow the route for the 6 mile option above but after running through Wellington Arch, continue on to Big Ben the usual way (Run past the Victoria Memorial down the mall and enter St. James Park. Run over the pond and out of the park, turning left onto Birdcage Walk and down into Parliament Square to Big Ben.). This will give you close to 5 miles to Big Ben. Turn around and run to Green Park to make it 6.
Option B – upon entering the park, turn left to run up the hill and then cut diagonally across the park over to Hyde Park corner and follow the usual route to Big Ben from there (Run past the Victoria Memorial down the mall and enter St. James Park. Run over the pond and out of the park, turning left onto Birdcage Walk and down into Parliament Square to Big Ben.) This should make it closer to 4.5 miles to Big Ben. Turn around and run to Green Park to make it 5.5 miles.
9s and 11s pace groups – Hyde Park via Regent’s Park
From the church gardens, run down Park St to the mosque to enter Regents. Once in the park, turn right and run along the outer circle of the park and exit at Baker St. Turn right on to Park Rd, then left onto Ivor Place and left again on to Gloucester Place. Run along Gloucester Place towards Oxford St. Once you cross over Oxford St, Gloucester Place becomes Park St. Continue along and turn right at Brooke St and enter Hyde Park. To return to St John’s Wood, turn right and run towards our usual entrance to the park. To make the run longer, pick up any of the regular Hyde Park routes from where you enter. Click here for the routes.
To go to Big Ben intead, upon entering Hyde Park, turn left and run along the eastern edge of the park to Hyde Park Corner, under the arch and down Constitution Hill. Run past the Victoria Memorial down the mall and enter St. James Park. Run over the pond and out of the park, turning left onto Birdcage Walk and down into Parliament Square to Big Ben. Turn around and run back to Green Park to make it 5 miles.
Wednesday 9 September – Regent’s Park (5 miles)
8s & 10s 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.
9s & 11s 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, then 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 turn right on Acacia to head back to SJW High Street.
Friday 11 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
Exit 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.
Getting to the Heath – 9s & 11s
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.
Click here for maps of all of the Heath routes.
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