21 – 25 March 2022 Running Info

Hello Runners!
What a gorgeous few days we have had!  Hope you are out enjoying that sunshine this weekend– and we hope to carry some into the week ahead.  It has been amazing to be out in London as the flowers are bursting everywhere and we are hitting some of our favourite destinations.  Even with the Saharan dust-cloud/mud-rain on Wednesday, we got in a great run on the canal and lots of amazing street art viewings– and photos.  Stick together, ladies, we are just hitting our stride and getting on to the best part of our running year!

Running this Week.  Monday is our capstone London run of the year– the much-anticipated 11-mile jaunt to Kew.  This route runs through Hyde Park and Kensington, then follows the Thames from Hammersmith all the way to Kew, crossing on the Barnes Bridge.  From Hammersmith, this path should look familiar to many of you, as it was the first part of last year’s route for the Hampton Court Half Marathon (which, for newcomers, we did as our own WRW event under covid restrictions, in small groups on subsequent days!).  If you are not training for the marathon but you’d like to join for part of the run, you could arrange to meet your group at Hammersmith and run the 5 miles on to Kew, or run the 5+ to Hammersmith and tube home.  

Wednesday is another big day, as we have the WRW Pre-Race coffee!  We’ll take the 5-mile route through Camden Lock and Mornington Crescent into Regents Park for a small loop before stopping at the Regent’s Bar and Kitchen for socializing, celebrating, and taking care of some pre-race business (but note that ALL WRW runners are welcome, not just race attendees!).  Finally, Friday we’ve scheduled an old favorite 5-mile Heath route:  the Betsy.   Take a look at the maps and directions in the Routes section below for all of the navigation help you’ll need for this week!

Announcements.  For everyone traveling to Berlin for the half marathon, look out for a trip-specific email coming in Monday or Tuesday, with all the information you’ll need for the weekend.  Sue has been working incredibly hard to put together all the details and keep current on the latest updates for you.  Seeing it all pulled together truly makes it feel real and exciting!!  One general note here to be sure we’re reaching people who have had to drop from the trip:  the last date for canceling your hotel room with a refund is Friday, March 25th.  You can do this directly with the Marriott via the information in the confirmation e-mail you received from them. 

As mentioned above, the WRW Pre-Race Coffee will be Wednesday after our run (from 9:30, so time for a stretch in the sun if you arrive earlier!) at the Regent’s Bar and Kitchen.  Note that this is for all runners, whether you are going to Berlin or not.  Thanks to Magali Kivatinetz for organising the coffee once again!  We look forward to socialising, sharing important race updates/reminders, and welcoming this year’s Beginners into the general WRW fold (be careful not to freak them out with scary race stories!!).   Food and coffee will be set up inside, but we also have a great space outside if the day is fine!  

Navigating our group dynamic now that there are no Covid regulations is tricky.  We are all a community, and a rapid spread of cases through the group at this point could be catastrophic to people’s plans, even if the health implications are not as threatening as they formerly were.  Please use your own good judgment with regard to group gatherings; for example, consider taking a lateral flow test just to be sure you’re not inadvertently exposing the group at coffee on Wednesday– especially if you feel ‘off’ or have had any exposure ahead of Wednesday’s gathering.  We are not here to nag or police– we just want to try to keep all of our friends healthy and able to travel for the race (healthy always, obviously, but particularly coming into the race week!).  If you happen to test positive at this point, there is time for you to recover and attend the race.  But the person who may be exposed this week may well not recover in time to make the race they’ve been training for all year. 

Finally, please let Melissa Kay know ASAP if you will be leaving London at the end of the school year.  As much as we don’t like to think about it, we do want the chance to give some love to our “leavers” at the half marathon celebration.  Don’t miss the chance to be included.

Training note.  Just one word this week:  Tapering!  That’s what begins after Monday’s Kew run.  For the next 12 days before the race, we get to back off of aggressive training and let our legs rest and build up some energy for race day.  We’ll still run enough miles to maintain our fitness, but these should not be hard miles!  Don’t worry– if you’ve done your training according to plan, then you’ve banked you need.  You are ready to run the half-marathon!  The easier two weeks before the race will ensure you don’t go into it tired and depleted.  Other things to think about during this time include getting good sleep, eating well and hydrating steadily and sensibly.  Expect your appetite to act like you’re still running the big miles– and go ahead and indulge it (but with the nutritious stuff!).  It’s also a good idea to take a break from strength training if that is something you regularly do (and certainly don’t start now if it’s not!).  You’ll be surprised how much extra energy you’ll find in your legs!  (Disclaimer: if you are a serious fitness person or working with another trainer, you will have your own needs and plan).  Mantra for the days following Monday’s run:  Embrace the taper!

Shoutouts.  This weekend is a big one for WRW achievements… on Saturday, four ladies ran the Centre of the Universe 50k ultramarathon– which is an event with a self-designed course of 50k anywhere in London to end at the Camino Ultra official finish line in Hackney.  Big congratulations to Anna Zlateva on her first ultra, which she did solo and unsupported(!) and to Miki Neant, Sarah Nicoli, and Kelly Willis on their big finish on a route that began at Hampton Court.  An additional shoutout to Marissa O’Malia and Bjorg Fribjornsdottir for being their support crew and for providing us with a scouting report for tomorrow’s run along the Thames (trail is in good condition, not too muddy!)  What a gorgeous day for a lot of miles!  
And this morning, another gorgeous one, we had a big crew head out to do the Hampton Court Palace Half!  Congratulations and well done to Laura Beal, Jess Browne, Clementine Drackett, Abby Khatiblou, Clare Missin, and Katie Zolnierz on completing ‘live and in person’ the race that became our virtual WRW half marathon last spring.  I believe there may even have been a celebrity sighting at this one (see below)!

Looking ahead.  We’ll share some save-the-dates next week– your routes team has some great things in store for the Spring!  But in the meantime, just to set your expectations if you haven’t been through a WRW destination race with us yet: 
Monday, March 28:  Tower Hill (7 miles)– taking it easy, as this is taper time for Berlin runners!
Friday, April 1:  many Berlin runners depart, so check your whatsapp to see who is around!  Route will be Heath or Borough choice. 
Monday, April 4:  most Berlin runners return later in the day.  There will be no official WRW route, but use your whatsapp to make a plan!
Wednesday, April 6:  Easy-paced 4-mile route to Whole Foods Kensington.  Some runners may prefer to rest another day, and others who didn’t run Berlin can easily lengthen the route in the park.
Friday, April 8:  Borough Market ‘first-Friday’ run.  Even though it’s not the first Friday.  Maybe April Fools didn’t count??
April 11- 18:  ASL Spring Break, and no official WRW schedule.

Okay, that’s it!  I am SO excited to hit the Thames Path with you all tomorrow!  Enjoy this beautiful day, everyone.  See you in the park tomorrow morning!
xx Micki

Monday, 21 March – Kew via Barnes Bridge, 11.2 miles
RunGo:  https://routes.rungoapp.com/route/3vGe1fClDw

Bring your Oyster or contactless card and wear running shoes that you don’t mind getting muddy if you have them! 

You’ll feel exhilarated on our 11 mile run to the “kewt” village of Kew. We start out the normal way running to Hyde Park. Once in the park, we’ll turn to the left and run down the main path as we normally do, to Hyde Park Corner. Here we turn right to follow South Carriage Drive all along the south side of the park. We’ll exit the park at the Broad Walk, turning right onto Kensington High Street and continuing for about two miles until we reach the Hammersmith Tube gyratory. Run counter clockwise towards the left, ending up on Queen Caroline Street from which you turn right onto the St. Paul’s Church green. Run along the edge of the green, heading towards Hammersmith Bridge (which is closed to all traffic and pedestrians for repair). Turn right at Rutland Grove and a quick left to head to the river, then turn right on Lower Mall to run west along the Thames.

Keep the river to your left — mostly it will be visible, but sometimes there will be houses in between you and the river. After 2 miles, as soon as you pass two boat houses in quick succession, you will come to a Barnes Bridge, a railway/pedestrian bridge. Climb the bridge stairs and use the pedestrian access to cross the river to the south bank of the Thames, then continue west along the river for another 2 miles.

We will leave the Thames Path at Kew Bridge, see photo below:

Run UNDER the bridge and then turn left, past a couple of tiny shops and garages. Run through the small parking lot until you see the stone steps leading to the top of the bridge.

At the top of the steps turn right towards town (not back over the river!) and run along this road [Kew Road] for about a third of a mile until you reach a 3-way intersection, where you will veer right and follow Kew Road along the boundary wall to Kew Gardens until you reach the first main pedestrian entrance to Kew Gardens, the Victoria Gate. Across from Victoria Gate is Lichfield Road (sign posted on the left-hand corner). Follow Lichfield Road straight into Kew village. Starbucks is on the left where we’ll all meet up to celebrate this epic run!

Wednesday 23 March – Camden Lock/Mornington Crescent/Regent’s Park – WRW Coffee (5.15 Miles)
RunGo:  https://routes.rungoapp.com/route/3Oz5Lz9hEF

Head to the canal going eastbound to Camden Lock, where we cross the small, cobblestone bridge, exit the canal and turn right onto Camden High Street (alternatively, turn right just at the bottom of the bridge and go through the opening between the buildings to get to Arlington Road). At the first intersection with Jamestown Road take a right after crossing Jamestown Road and then the first left onto Arlington Road. Run straight down Arlington Road, make a slight right onto Mornington Crescent, follow it around and turn right onto Hampstead Road. At the first intersection, turn right onto Granby Terrace and the second left onto Stanhope Street. Continue down Stanhope until we reach Trinton Square. Turn right and run between the office buildings at Regent’s Place, past the nice fountains, to the end of Trinton Street. Use the pedestrian crossings to cross Osnaburgh Street and Albany Street. Head left to the intersection of Euston Road, where you take a right and run briefly along Euston Road. At Park Square East, turn right through the gates towards Regent’s Park. We enter the park at the Outer Circle intersection and stay on the path on the far right (east side) of the park. After you cross Chester Road, take a left on the second path and follow it, keeping toward the boating lake and running around it all the way to York Bridge, where we will turn left and run to the Inner Circle. Cross the road, turn left, and run the short distance to the cafe.

Friday 25 March – The Heath Betsy (5+ miles)
RunGo:  https://routes.rungoapp.com/route/dkhuleD0zF
Let’s get one last hill in before we head to Berlin.  Named for the runner whose favorite route this was, The Betsy is a shorter option that leaves out the second hill after you reach the tube station in Hampstead.  At the top of Fitzjohn’s, cross over towards the station and turn right.  Take the first left down Flask Walk and continue straight until you reach the Heath.  Enter the Heath and run until you intersect with the wide path.  Turn right and run down the path, curving to the right.  Run the wide path as usual but don’t turn left to run up Parliament Hill. Instead, veer right at that juncture and follow the trail across the ponds. After the ponds, the trail veers left and shortly after there is an opportunity to take a right turn on the intersecting trail that heads towards E. Heath Rd (taking you next to the fields used for the Art Fair, parking etc at different times of the year). Cross E. Heath Rd at the pedestrian crossing, then run on Downshire Hill Rd to Haverstock Hill. Turn Left on Haverstock Hill, running home the usual way (turn right on Belsize Ave, left on Lancaster Grove, right on Crossfield, right on Adamson, then cut through the Swiss Cottage public area by the Hampstead Theatre, turning onto Fitzjohns to St Johns Wood Park Rd to St Johns Wood Terrace and then to Starbucks).

Or if you want something different:
<4 miles:  A great way to ease into running the hill. Run up to the Hampstead tube station and back. If you have trouble running up, think about how easy it will be running down!
5 miles: The Betsy Route
6+ miles:  The partial Heath route OR the Reverse Heath route OR Pergola route
7.5 miles: The Highgate route
8 miles:  The full Heath route

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