Hello Runners! I hope you are having a fabulous bank holiday weekend! How great is it to have nice weather finally arrive for this long weekend, along with more relative freedom to travel and hang out with friends? And even though we had to contend with some rain and even hail earlier in the week, our beautiful photos only highlight the great destination runs our pace groups chose– so be sure to take a moment to cycle through the rapid-fire slideshow below! Running this week. We have a super short ‘official’ running week, as Monday is a bank holiday and Friday each pace group is on its own to plan a breakfast run. On Monday (and all holidays), we usually move our start time to 8:30, and whoever shows up at SJW Church Gardens to run chooses a route. It’s a good idea to check your WhatsApp chat for running buddies, though, as we’ve moved more toward making arrangements ahead of time over our last year+ of running socially distant. For Friday, hopefully everyone who wants to be is dialed in with plans and reservations for the pace group destination breakfasts. If not, please check in on your WhatsApp group, or give us a shout here at email@example.com, and we can get you connected with one group or another! For anyone not doing the breakfast run, we suggest either a Hyde Park loop, or a Borough Market run for a Friday treat! Which leaves us with Wednesday– the annual Sights of London/Leavers’ Run! This short run we’ve done as a big group in the past, with photo stops at some iconic London sights. This year we will do this in pace groups, so we can stay below the 30-person rule in our photos. Stop for a photo at each of the designated spots (see route description below). Finish at the Benugo in St James Park, where there should be adequate space inside and outside for us to gather in appropriately sized groups for a goodbye coffee. Please do try to keep some separation between groups as necessary– we never know how restaurants are going to respond to our separate groups but collectively large presence, especially if many of us happen to wearing our WRW kit! Announcements and Shoutouts. A big shoutout goes to our founder and friend, Paula Mitchell, who last weekend ran the Jemez Mountain 50-miler race in New Mexico. Not only was it a high altitude endurance challenge, but she also had to contend with bears on the course and a close encounter with a rattlesnake! Congratulations to Paula, and glad you are safely through it! Meanwhile, last weekend in the Pacific Northwest, some of our Seattle alumnae ran their Spring half marathon! Congratulations to Kim Stone, Ann Sharma, and Molly Johnson (who was on injured reserve but still showed up to cheer on her group and bring the shirts and medals!). Well done to all! And I have a feeling I may be missing some shoutouts as things open back up– do keep us posted if you are ‘off to the races!’ And finally, a shoutout to our friend Phil, who took a tumble on Monday’s run– we are thinking of you and looking forward to you rejoining us when all healed up! If you hear of anyone who would like to join the Beginner’s class of 2022, please connect us or pass along their contact info to firstname.lastname@example.org. As anyone who has been through this program knows, it can be an amazing, life-changing experience! The program is for people who have truly never been runners 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. Our regular M-W-F group can help people who have been runners before ease back into it and work up to joining our M-W-F runs.
Looking ahead. The WRW End-of-Year Celebration is set for next Friday, June 11, beginning at 1pm in Regents Park (arrive from 12:30 if you can to help secure spaces for each group!). The rain date is Monday, June 14. And sadly, our last official run of the year will be Wednesday, June 16! A happy, relaxed remainder of the bank holiday to everyone. Let’s have a great run together Wednesday, as we squeeze our group meet-ups and memories into these last few weeks of the year! We’ll see you out in the gardens and on the pavements! xx Micki
ROUTES Monday 31 May – BANK HOLIDAY – meet at 8:30 and choose your own route, or consult your WhatsApp chat for group plans!
Wednesday 2 June – Sights of London/Leavers Run – Big Ben and back to St. James BenugoRunGo: https://routes.rungoapp.com/route/0BRroh4Wm4 This is a great run! Even if you haven’t run in a little while – come along! We run as a (BIG!) group, although will need to keep it to no more than 30 of course, and we wait for everyone at the lights so we can stick together. (If we get separated we’ll wait for everyone at the photo points.) The total distance is 4.75 miles and we stop often. We’ll stop for group pictures at:– the silver sphere fountain as we enter Hyde Park– Buckingham Palace– Big Ben (or the London Eye from Embankment if you prefer)– Trafalgar Square
We head to Hyde Park via the usual route. Start heading west on Circus Road and turn left on Grove End and follow south as it becomes Lisson Grove. Cross over Marylebone Road and continue on Seymour Place until the end. Turn right and cross over Edgware Road and then left to enter Hyde Park at the intersection with Stanhope Place. We’ll stop at Speaker’s Corner for the first picture! Run along the eastern edge of the park to Hyde Park Corner, under Wellington Arch and down Constitution Hill. We’ll stop in front of the gates of Buckingham Palace for the second photo! 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 for our third photo! Turn left on Whitehall and run to Trafalgar Square for our fourth picture. Then we’ll make our way back to The Mall and the Benugo in St. James Park for some celebratory coffee.
Friday 4 June – Choose your own breakfast spot destination runGather your pace group to decide on a great place for breakfast and then run to it! The sky’s the limit! Let us know if you’re not connected with a group for this event!
Hello Runners! We’ve made it! For the first time this year, we don’t have to think about keeping ourselves in groups of six or fewer! From Monday, we can pretty much go back to our old pace group format, in which we start off together and naturally fall into whatever groupings we fall into along the way. If we have an amazing turnout, we might have to make sure we are not ever in a group of more than thirty women, but that should not be a problem! You have been amazing through all of this, runners of WRW– getting through this time with grace and patience, learning to adapt, and looking out for one another through all the restrictions. I am proud of this community!
But first, a word about our last week in six-packs, because it was a good one! The Race Hat run in Hyde Park on Monday was a great way to show our varied colors, with everything from the Lisbon light blue to the Nice orange, the Milan pink and this year’s white. Our first official race hat debuted 11 years ago, for a race on an island in Lago Maggiore, Italy. But the oldest hat we have in the group still running in London is the Lisbon 2012 edition, worn by Amy Grace, Jane Novak, and Darcy Fautz. Alumna Maureen Fossum (Budapest), who comes to run with us at every destination race, is the only person we know of who has all 11 hats! It’s pretty amazing to see people sporting all those different colors and realize that this group is made up of women who’ve joined us at different times through the years, but have each run their way into the story of WRW! Which leads to the next highlight of the past week– our Ex-beginners group made their first trip up to the Heath on Friday! Well done, ladies!
Running this week. Monday is our run to Windsor Castle from Virginia Water! We will be taking an 8:50 train from Waterloo (one-way fare is £11.20), which will get us to the start at around 9:30. Please communicate within your pace groups if you are wanting to travel together (in groups of fewer than 30!!). You will need train tickets (paper or mobile), as contactless will not work! Plan to either purchase your tickets on your mobile device ahead of time (www.thetrainline.com), or be at the train station early enough to purchase them before departure. Please plan well for this, as the rest of the group cannot wait if someone misses the train! For the return, there are trains to Paddington from Windsor and Eton Central at 5 minutes after the hour (47-min journey) and 25 minutes after the hour (29-min journey). This fare is another £11.20. There is also a train from the other Windsor station– Windsor and Eton Riverside– to London Waterloo at 23 and 53 minutes after the hour, taking just under an hour. *Please note: there have been major train disruptions recently, and so there is a possibility of delays. You can monitor the status of return trains on the Great Western Railway website (https://www.gwr.com/travel-information/travel-updates/live-network-updates) or on thetrainline.com. Also, as the weather does not currently look ideal for the day, be sure to dress well for the rain. And you might consider carrying a running backpack with some dry clothes (in a plastic bag!) to change into after the run.
Full route directions are in the Routes section below, so please take a look and try to familiarize yourself with them– RunGo will have directions, but it won’t have the photographs to help show the details. Routemaster Erin Roth deserves huge credit for creating the run a couple of years ago, as well as for going out and taking (and annotating) all those photos!
Wednesday we are stalking (get it?) the Chelsea Flower Show, which has been postponed to September. Though the gorgeous flower displays we’ve enjoyed running through on the Sloane Square streets will not be there, we thought it would still be fun to explore the area we usually just run through on our way to Westminster or Battersea. This time, instead of running straight through, we’ll hang a right on King’s Road, just after the square. You then have the option of stopping for a coffee in Duke of York square, or running on another kilometer to circle by the gate to the Chelsea Royal Hospital, where the Chelsea pensioners (retired British army veterans) reside, and then turning back up to run alongside the Saatchi Gallery and finish back in Duke of York square. And finally, Friday. We are heading for coffee at the Benugo in Hyde Park, via the canal west, Ladbroke Grove, and Holland Park. It’s a great 7-mile run, with a little of everything– stretches along the canal, on city streets, in the park and over a hill.
Announcements and Shoutouts. Several runners are taking on a half marathon in Windsor on Sunday morning. It will likely be a wet and muddy one, so good luck to all!
If you hear of anyone who would like to join the Beginner’s class of 2022, please connect us or pass along their contact info to email@example.com. As anyone who has been through this program knows, it can be an amazing, life-changing experience! The program is for people who have truly never been runners 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. Our regular M-W-F group can help people who have been runners before ease back into it and work up to joining our M-W-F runs.
And do please let us know if you are planning to leave London at the end of the school year! Goodbyes are sad, but it’s even sadder to miss the chance to say goodbye and give our friends the WRW send-off they deserve!
Looking ahead. Don’t forget to make plans in your pace groups for the Choose-your-own-adventure route next Monday, May 24! Have fun brainstorming and planning, and let us know if you need any help. We’d love to hear your plans this week, so we can include them in next week’s note for anyone not connected by Whatsapp, who might want to join an adventure.
The WRW End-of-Year Celebration is now on the books for Friday, June 11, beginning at 1pm in Regents Park (arrive from 12:30 if you can to help secure spaces for each group!). The rain date is Monday, June 14. More details to come, or feel free to get in touch with any questions!
Save the dates. Here are the highlights for the rest of the year, just so you can mark your calendar to not miss them!! Monday, May 24 – Choose-your-own adventure (by pace group). What will your group decide? Ally Pally to Finsbury Park? Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park? Brighton? Seven Sisters? Let us know if you need ideas or are wondering what routes we might have in the areas your group is interested in running. Wednesday, June 2 – Leaver’s Run/Sights of London Friday, June 4 – Destination breakfast with your pace group. Which Dishoom… or Eggslut or other tasty breakfast… suits your group? It’s up to you to decide your route to breakfast this week! Friday, June 11 – WRW End-of-Year Celebration, 1pm, Regents Park (arrival from 12:30- 1:00). Wednesday, June 16 – last official WRW run for the 2020-21 running year!
I can’t wait to see you all out there this week! Rain or shine, it will be so great to celebrate running together again with a few less restrictions! Enjoy our running adventures this week, try to stay dry, and keep smiling (and running)! xx Micki
ROUTES Monday 17 May – ADVENTURE ‘COUNTRY RUN’ – Virginia Water to Windsor – 7.4 miles RUNGO: https://routes.rungoapp.com/route/t1z5f9cjgT Travel: SJW Jubilee line to Waterloo (10 minute journey), Waterloo train to Virginia Water (8:50am, 41 minute journey), total outbound travel about 1 hour. Return from Windsor & Eton Central Station to Paddington (30 or 45 minutes journey). Pricing: tube fare + £22.40 (£11.20 one way to Virginia Water + £11.20 one way from Windsor to Paddington) Exit the Virginia Water train station and turn right, taking the stairs up to Christchurch Road.
CAREFULLY cross the road and turn left. Stay on Christchurch Road (be sure to take the correct exit off the roundabout at .8 miles) until you come to the T-junction at a traffic light. Turn right and immediately cross the A30 at the traffic light. This is a very busy road so please use caution!! Continue right down the A30 for a very short distance and turn left into the Virginia Water Lake car park, then follow the walkway through the Visitor Centre.
Turn right at the lake on the paved path and follow this paved path along the lake, past a totem pole and across an intersection.
You will see Obelisk Pond on your left, and as you come up the path past the pond turn off at the dirt path on your left.
Stay on the dirt path, over a bridge with stone benches, and then up a straight, grassy path with a huge field on your left. Continue to the end of this path and turn right through the large white wooden Cumberland Gate.
Continue on this paved path, past houses on your right, and past other paths turning off. Continue through the intersection with pink buildings on your left. Go straight to pass through the black metal gate into Windsor Deer Park.
Follow the main path here as it winds through the park. You will come to a low stone bridge (see below); just after the bridge you will run up the grassy hill towards the grand statue of King George III, known as the Copper Horse. King George III was monarch during the American Revolution and father to 15 (!) children, who later in life suffered from mental illness. His dissolute son George IV commissioned this statue and inscribed on it “the best of fathers” despite the fact that father and son apparently despised each other.
Take in the view then head straight down the hill for 2.5 miles until you reach the gates of Windsor Castle. On the way you’ll pass through a large wooden gate and cross a busy road — take care!
At the castle gates, turn left onto Park Street and continue onto the High Street. You’ll pass a statue of Queen Victoria, see the castle walls on your right, and on the left is a passage called Jubilee Arch which leads you to the train station.
Lots of options for food and drink – your choice! If you prefer a longer run, there are many options once you reach Windsor Great Park. Take your phone and explore! Here is a link to the park website with more information: http://www.windsorgreatpark.co.uk/en Wednesday 19 May – Sloane Square – 5 – 5.75 milesRUNGO: https://routes.rungoapp.com/route/jlOYEUSV7B Despite The Chelsea Flower show being postponed until September, we still think a springtime visit to this beautiful neighborhood is worthwhile. Start out the regular way to Hyde Park. At the silver orb turn right and run along until you reach the Italian gardens where you’ll turn left. Run along The Serpentine until you reach the end. Cross over the South Carriage Rd and exit the park by the French Embassy. Cross over Brompton Rd, turn right and run towards Harvey Nichols (on your left).Turn left on Sloane Street and run all the way down to Sloane Square. At Sloane Square turn right and run along The King’s Road and The Duke of York Square will be on your left. From here you may choose to have a coffee and meander around the neighborhood, or continue exploring by running on to take a left on Smith Street. This quickly turns into Durham Street, and then you take another left on Royal Hospital Road. You will see the Chelsea Royal Hospital on your right. Just after these buildings, take a left on Franklins’ Row and then continue onto Cheltenham Terrace, run past the side of the Saatchi Gallery, and finish in Duke of York Square. When you are ready, you can take the tube home from Sloane Square.
Friday 21 May – Holland Park to Hyde Park Benugo – 7 milesRunGo: https://routes.rungoapp.com/route/uKxwpqhOoZ We start out the same as our traditional Notting Hill Route: Circus Rd to Grove End, to St Johns Wood Rd to Cunningham, to Blomfield to the Canal, going west past the Westway to Ladbroke Grove. Once on Ladbroke Grove, run south all the way until it ends at Holland Park Avenue. Cross Holland Park Avenue, take a right and then a left on Holland Walk, just past Aubrey Road. Holland Walk is a pedestrian way. Run up Holland Walk until the first entrance into Holland Park on your right, opposite the Duchess of Bedford Walk. Run into the park and then turn left on the Broad Walk which goes the length of Holland Park. Just before it ends at Kensington High Street take a left onto the quiet Phillimore Walk. Follow Phillimore Walk, which runs parallel to Kensington High Street, until you reach Hornton Street, where we take a right and then a left onto Kensington High Street. Continue on until you reach Kensington Gardens, where you enter it at the junction with the Broad Walk, just before Palace Gate Road. Take the Broad Walk to the first path on the right which turns into South Carriage Drive. You’ll run past The Albert Memorial and cross West Carriage Drive at the light. Continue on South Carriage Drive but make a left at Albert Gate (just past where the Serpentine ends) and run across the path and over to Serpentine Road. Turn left and you’ll see the Benugo along the water. NOTE – the RunGo route continues on to Green Park although there is a comment at the place where you should turn.