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 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.
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)!
Monday 17 May – ADVENTURE ‘COUNTRY RUN’ – Virginia Water to Windsor – 7.4 miles
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.