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Hello Runners! Here we are, at the last e-mail and coming onto the last ‘official’ week of WRW running for the 2021-22 year. But before we get to the goodbyes, how about a quick look back to the fantastic runs we had together last week? The Tower may not have been fully blooming yet, but the run to Tower Hill never disappoints, especially when the weather is fine– and despite the forecast for the week, we had some very fine days. And what a great turnout we had for the Sights of London/Leavers’ Run on Friday, followed by the 2nd Annual End-of-Year Picnic in Regents’ Park. Everyone looked so relaxed and happy (and summery!) at our casual gathering. I had to join a little late, and it was a beautiful sight to walk up to all of you gathered– all together!— in the green and sunny park.
Running this week. On the last Monday of every running year, it’s tradition to do one last run to Big Ben. Even though we actually just did this run– with the ‘Sights’ run rescheduled to last Friday– we are going to keep it on the schedule. It’s tradition, after all, and still a great route. With any luck, more of the barriers from the Platinum Jubilee will be down and we will be free to run the parks again. It’s just 4 miles to the Westminster tube station if you need to get back for your end-of-year to-do list, or you can carry on from there or run back to SJW. And for Wednesday, our last official run of the year, we’ll do a quick tour of Regents Park, with the 5-mile Regents’ Park/Primrose Hill loop. From Friday, we’re on our own to organise our runs independently for the summer. Which brings us to…
Announcements and Shoutouts. Though most of us are connected to our pace groups via Whatsapp chat, one of the great things about running in London if you are around in the summer, is getting to run with people from other pace groups! We open a WRW Summer Running Whatsapp chat each year to help facilitate meeting up and planning. Many of you may already be on this, as it’s a continuation/revival of last year’s group, but I would encourage anyone spending time in London this summer to try connecting and making friends across our usual pace groups. The link just above will get you connected.
If you hear of anyone who would like to join the Beginner’s class of 2023, please connect them with 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.
A shoutout to Rebeca Ernrooth of the 8s, who (a little birdy told us) paced a friend the last 50 miles of a 100-mile race on the South Downs Way last night. What amazing support! Though there is no weekly e-mail through the summer to keep track of the shoutouts for all the amazing things you all are doing, I would love to hear about them. Keep us up-to-date on your adventures– maybe there will be a summary of shoutouts at the beginning of the next running year.
Yes, we are still doing e-cards for the Leavers! Stay tuned for the links in a separate e-mail, so you can sign and post photos for our WRW friends who are moving. Cards will stay open for signing until one week from today (Sunday, June 19). Instead of a WRW e-mail on that day, our leaving friends will receive their cards via e-mail.
And finally… Closing out the last e-mail of the year, you know that I will wax both grateful and nostalgic. First, I am so grateful for all of you– that you keep showing up day after day and week after week for yourselves and for each other! And I am so very glad we have been able to run together this full year. Even with some early masking requirements and ongoing concerns regarding Covid exposure and isolation protocols, it’s been a joy to return to running together without all the restrictions we faced over the previous two years! And I am thrilled that we managed to get back to our destination half-marathons, with a grand-slam of an event in Berlin, thanks to the Herculean efforts of Sue Wheeler and team! Maybe a few years ago we would have taken all of these things for granted, but the perspective we’ve all gained over our pandemic years begs us to take a moment and appreciate every single wonderful thing we’ve been able to add back into our lives this past year!
And now for the nostalgic… every year, we rush up to this week and the end of the school year with the same blinding speed at which we do our interval training on Wednesdays in January (😉)! And then we reach the end, it’s over, and we are out of breath but we can’t believe it went by so fast. It’s hard to say goodbye to our friends who are leaving, but as we say each year, every alum we add to our ranks just reinforces our group name and identity– we are running the world, after all. To those of you leaving London, as well as to those already reading this from abroad: you will always be a part of WRW! And as we were reminded this year when we finally got to reunite with so many old friends in Berlin, reunions are wonderful! To those of you returning to London next fall, I can’t wait to build the 2022-23 version of WRW with you (our first official run will be August 31st)!
Sending love and wishes for a fantastic summer for all… xx Micki
Monday 13 June – Big Ben (4-8 miles) RunGo: https://routes.rungoapp.com/route/JDPjKnb1VC Traditionally, we run Big Ben on the first and last Monday of the WRW running season. We all know the way by now – choose your distance!
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. Run along the eastern edge of the park to Hyde Park Corner, under Wellington Arch and down Constitution Hill. Run along the edge of Green Park, past the Victoria Memorial and cross The Mall at the traffic light. Run down The Mall and enter St. James Park. Run over the bridge across the lake and out of the park, turning left onto Birdcage Walk and down into Parliament Square to Big Ben. Those running four miles will take the tube back to SJW from here and those running eight will turn around and follow the same route back. You can also make it a five-mile run by turning back at Big Ben and running to the Green Park Tube Station, then tubing it home.
We’ll keep it close to SJW for our final run of the year for those who need to get back home quickly. Start out as if we’re headed for the Heath, running down St Johns Wood Terrace until it reaches the T. Turn left, then right, then left again at Avenue Rd. At the crossing just a short distance up Avenue Rd, cross over and run down Elsworthy Rd a short distance until you see a small road on the right that ends in the entrance to Primrose Hill park. Once in the park take the path that angles to the left, then bear right at the first fork and left at the second. This will take you up for a fantastic view from the top of Primrose Hill. After you’ve caught your breath, take the path that goes down on the right (if you are looking out toward London), then curve around to the left at the first split. Follow this path all the way down the hill to the crossing at Prince Albert Rd. Cross at the zebra and head straight into the park via the bridge and across the Outer Circle (NOT a zebra, please note!). In Regents Park, take the path that angles to the left, running behind the zoo. Cross the Broad Walk by the fountain and continue across on the path that heads toward, but not all the way to, the perimeter of the park. Follow this to the far corner, and then turn right to run along the southern edge of the park, inside the fence. Continue to follow this around the boating pond to run across the little bridge at the far end of the pond, then bear right to follow the contour of the pond to its end. Continue on the same path until it meets the diagonal path that runs behind the zoo (the same one we ran in on). Turn left to follow that to its end and then turn left onto the Outer Circle and follow it for a short distance to the crossing at Charlbert. Exit the park and take Charlbert to St Johns Wood Terrace to finish at our Starbucks/Pret corner of the High Street.
Hello Runners! Whew! What a weekend! Whether you were in London or traveling for the extended weekend, it has felt like a whirlwind, and is sometimes hard to remember what day it is! While we had to reschedule our ‘Sights of London’ run last Wednesday, I think most of us took in plenty of sights over the weekend. I know I’ve seen spectacular photos on social media from some of our intrepid runners who went right in and got a front row view of Jubilee festivities (well done!).
Running this week. Monday we are planning to run to the Tower of London to see the ‘Superbloom’ wildflower moat created for the Platinum Jubilee. We last ran there in April, when the moat had just been tilled and the wildflower seeds sown. It will be fun to see the progress on tomorrow’s run– routemaster Erin Roth has given us a scouting report in the ‘Routes’ section below. One rather big caveat to this… there is a major tube strike planned for tomorrow, June 6. It is unclear what stations will be closed, but TfL journey planner seems to indicate it will still be possible to travel home to SJW from Tower Hill. We should check updates tonight and tomorrow morning, and then each of us decide what level of ambiguity we can live with– and whether we are willing to get Ubers/taxis or use other alternate means of transport home if necessary. If you prefer to stay local, there are plenty of great routes on our doorstep. Wednesday is a little more straightforward, as we’ve planned a simple standard route around the Inner and Outer Circles at Regent’s Park.
And Friday, finally, we have the Sights of London/Leavers’ Run we postponed from last week! Directions are below, and assuming things are slightly more back-to-normal in London, we will attempt to run as one big group. Please, please do be careful both of other pedestrians, and of traffic— it’s so easy to get distracted when we are in the midst of a big pack!! At the end of this run, you can choose to tube home from Charing Cross (Trafalgar Square) or to run on through St James Park and back to Green Park tube station. We will notplan a big meeting at Benugo St James Park, as we our End-of-year Picnic is scheduled for Friday at 12:30 in Regent’s Park (rain date is Monday…so stay tuned)!
End-of-Year Picnic Friday! Our end-of-year picnic tradition began just last year under the last bit of social distancing rules, when we were looking for a way to celebrate the year together-ish. But it was such a fun and easy outing, that we’ve decided to keep it going! This is a BYO event– bring your own food, drink, blanket, etc.; or coordinate to whatever extent you want within your pace groups or with friends. The point is to enjoy this time together– not to add the stress of another ‘event’ at the end of the school year. So do this in a way that works for you, but of course as always with that inclusive WRW spirit if you do start making plans to coordinate. This year we will not need to separate into groups of less than 30, thank goodness! But we will need to spread out some if we have a good turnout. So we’ll plan to situate ourselves in the general area of the park shown below, in the Inner Circle in the area in front of the fountains and near the restaurant and public toilets:
Plan to roam amongst the group and see friends across pace groups and, definitely, to seek out and send good wishes with those who are leaving London this summer!
Announcements and Shoutouts. If you hear of anyone who would like to join the Beginner’s class of 2023, please connect them with 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.
Though most of us are connected to our pace groups via Whatsapp chat, one of the great things about running in London if you around in the summer, is getting to run with people from other pace groups! We open a WRW Summer Running Whatsapp chat each year to help facilitate meeting up and planning. Many of you may already be on this, as it’s a continuation/revival of last year’s group. Follow the link just above to join if you want to keep up with London running friends, or find new ones, this summer! A couple of runners (thanks Sue and Tamar!) forwarded information on the ‘Corgi Trail’ treasure hunt open in London this summer. It looks like such a fun way to run and explore once all the Platinum Jubilee festivities and our own end-of-year events are done! Routemaster Miki Neant jumped right on and has created a route that takes in 19 Corgis! Here is the RunGo link! She notes that 4 of the Corgis are inside hotel property (which presumably it’s okay to enter to view, just something to be aware of!). This site offers more details and a map.
Look out in the photos and in the coming two weeks for familiar faces of WRW alums visiting London! I’m afraid to start name-dropping, lest I miss anyone (or invade anyone’s privacy), but I have heard of so many beloved visitors hitting town in these next two weeks, it should be very exciting to see some old friends on our runs or about town! And on that note, our last official run will be next Wednesday, June 15. For both runs next week, we usually keep it simple and close to home, as there is so much going on at school for all our runners who have children finishing their year. I can’t believe we are crashing in on the end of our fantastic year together already! Enjoy the rest of your weekend, friends! I’m dashing out the door for one of the Platinum Jubilee street parties. Hope you, likewise, are celebrating (or perhaps recovering!) well! Look forward to seeing you out on our London routes this week! xx Micki
Monday 6 June – Tower Hill (7 miles) RunGo: https://routes.rungoapp.com/route/eckLcQj4pf Today we will be running across, along and back across the Thames, and in and around some of the oldest parts of London. The sights will be stunning! As an added draw, we will have a view of the Tower of London’s Superbloom, created in honor of the Platinum Jubilee. Ten thousand metric tons of soil were craned in and twenty million seeds were cast by hand in the Tower’s moat, to lay dormant until rain and warmth created the ideal conditions for growth. Although the full bloom is still a couple of weeks away, many flowers are out and the changes made to develop a new landscape in this historic location are very cool to see! Come back with friends or family to walk through the moat and try out the slide as well (tickets required, sold out for 6 June).
If you don’t want to do the full 7 miles to the Tower, simply end at Borough Market for 6 miles, or stop at Westminster for 4 miles.
We start off as though we are running to Borough Market— down Grove End and into Hyde Park, under Wellington Arch, along Green Park, through St James Park and towards Big Ben then across Westminster Bridge. At the end of Westminster Bridge, exit left down the stairs and run along the Thames Path past the London Eye, Royal Festival Hall, Blackfriars Bridge, Tate Modern, Shakespeare’s Globe to the Golden Hinde, admiring all the landmarks as you trod past. Follow the walkway to the right of the Golden Hinde and at the junction with Southwark Cathedral, turn sharp left and follow Montague Close, passing through the tunnel. You are now on Tooley Street. Shortly, you will see a Legible London standing road sign for Tooley St/London Bridge (photo below) – turn left and go through the passage to meet up with Queen’s Walk/Thames Path. Turn right onto the walk. Continue on the Thames Path past the HMS Belfast, City Hall and Potters Fields, to Tower Bridge. Climb the stairs up to the Bridge (don’t go under the Bridge), then run across Tower Bridge (the views!), continuing past the Tower of London (more views!) until you reach the stairs down to Tower of London Park. Take the stairs down and follow the paved path along the park. Just past the park is a junction in the path-turn right to run in a tunnel under Tower Hill Road, past part of the original London Wall and up to the Tower Hill tube station. Now, think of all the history you’ve witnessed in just 7 miles!
Wednesday 8 June – Regent’s Park Inner/Outer Circle (5 miles) RunGo: https://routes.rungoapp.com/route/BoeFK1Khvv From the Church Gardens head down past the church and turn left onto Prince Albert Road. Run to the pedestrian crossing where we will cross and head to the Outer Circle. Turn right and run on the inside of the circle past Winfield House which will be on your left. Continue around the Outer Circle until you reach the traffic light at the intersection with York Bridge. Turn left and proceed to the Inner Circle. Run one complete loop of the Inner Circle and back out across York Bridge where we will take a left and continue on Ulster Terrace which is part of the Outer Circle. At the next large intersection take a left and continue on the Outer Circle, heading north back towards the Zoo and Camden. Pass the entrance to the Zoo on your left and continue to the bridge at North Gate which we will cross to reach Charlbert Street. Run up Charlbert Street until St John’s Terrace where we turn left and run back to the High Street for a stretch before heading to Starbucks or Pret.
Note – you can make this a 4 mile run by cutting out the inner loop.
Friday 10 June 2022 – Sights of London/Leavers Run – Big Ben, Embankment, Trafalgar Square (5 miles) RunGo: 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 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. Please be mindful of other pedestrians on the pavement, and give them plenty of space to pass us– especially on narrower areas such as Lisson Grove!
We’ll stop for group pictures at:– the silver sphere fountain as we enter Hyde Park – Wellington Arch – Buckingham Palace (from the Mall as we cross into St James Park this year, with all the bunting flags!) – Big Ben (from the corner diagonal) – London Eye from Embankment – Trafalgar Square lions/fountain/National Gallery
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 the silver sphere (one of our WRW landmarks) for the first picture! Run along the eastern edge of the park to Hyde Park Corner, under Wellington Arch (stopping for a photo) and down Constitution Hill. We expect it will not be possible to stop directly in front of Buckingham Palace because of the Jubilee blockades, so we will plan to stop as we cross the Mall into St James Park to take photos if, as expected, traffic is blocked off (if it’s not, we’ll improvise!). Run over the pond and out of the park, turning left onto Birdcage Walk and down toward Parliament Square for our photo with Big Ben. Run toward Westminster Bridge and turn left onto Embankment for a shot of the London Eye across the Thames. Then cross back over Embankment and run back to Whitehall, turning right to run to Trafalgar Square for one more photo. You can head back to St Johns Wood directly from Charing Cross at Trafalgar Square, or run back through St James Park to Green Park tube station.