8 – 12 June 2020 Running Info

Hello Runners!

What a strange and stormy Saturday!  Hope you all got out and had some fun, but managed not to get caught in the downpour.  Congratulations to the ASL Class of 2020 and their parents on Graduation Weekend, as well as to everyone observing academic or other milestones with your children in the coming weeks.  Though the celebrations in these strange times may not be what we pictured, I hope they will be happy, and I’m certain they will be memorable!

WRW End-of-Year Zoom Celebration– Sunday at 5-6:15pm!  Please join us Sunday evening (yes, tonight!) for our year-end celebration!  We will share some memories, say some thank you’s, screen the annual not-to-be-missed WRW Movie, and say goodbye to our leavers.  You should have received an invitation in a separate email, but here are the details again:  

Topic: WRW End-of-Year Celebration, 2020
Time: Jun 7, 2020 05:00 PM London
Join Zoom Meeting


Race Around the World… We MADE it!!  This week we powered from just off the coast of Iceland all the way to Portugal to say hello to Litsa Savastano, and then… back to London!  We’re home!  In just 11 weeks, 129 WRW runners (including alumnae) logged enough miles to run all around the world– the long way– with detours to visit friends in far-flung places.  That’s a staggering 26,167 miles, and I think we can call that a good use of our lockdown time!  Special thanks once again to Devy Schonfeld for fueling the idea and navigating us all the way!  

WRW Routes on your phone.  Amy Grace has continued to add some of the new routes created from your fun lockdown running ideas to the new WRW RunGo page this week.  You can check them out here, join the group, download the app, and take the routes with you for WRW adventures in London all summer!  

Beginner Running Group, 2020-2021!!  Please let us know (wrwlondon@gmail.com) if you hear of anyone who would like to join the Beginner’s class of 2021.  The Beginner’s program is one of the very best things about WRW– any of us who have been through it will tell you it can be a 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, especially with the brilliant ‘ramp-up’ pace group, can help people who have been runners before ease back in to it and join in our M-W-F runs.

I really can’t believe, after all our weeks of living and running through this lockdown, separately but together, that it’s suddenly the end of the 2019-2020 running year.  This will be the last weekly e-mail until the end of August.  Our first run, if we are back to a normal schedule, will be September 2.  It’s always hard to say goodbye for the summer, but this year has been unique.  Together we have discovered what a strong and supportive community we have in each other.  For me, finding the depths of your caring, fun, and creative spirits while we worked to stay connected and take care of one another, will be one of the best memories I take with me from this crazy year.  

For our dear runners moving on to new adventures next year, our best and fondest wishes go with you.  But wherever your next stop takes you, we will always be your community– we are Women Running the World, after all!  
xx Micki

P.S., Don’t forget to join our celebration on Zoom tonight!

1 – 5 June 2020 Running Info

Hello, Runners!

Another gorgeous week here in California… I mean, umm, London.  Hope you’ve all been out enjoying it!  In fact, I’m pretty sure you have, because I have a lot to write about this weekend!  So I’ll jump right in.

WRW Race Around the World.  Let’s lead with our global run this week… we’ve made it to Iceland!  Bravo on all the miles added this week– since lockdown began we have logged over 24,000 miles!  As we cruised through Reykjavik, we sent big shoutouts to alumnae Asdis Karadottir and to Gudrun Aspelund, who just left us at the start of the lockdown to go and help with the government response to Covid-19 in Iceland.  We miss you here in London, Gudrun, but we’re proud of the important work you are doing!  On to Portugal to see Litsa, and then back to London before school lets out.  Come on, ladies, keep running– we’ve got this!

Running this week.  You can see in the photo collage at top that Perla Greenup got out and ran the route to see last week’s scavenger sites (Notting Hill Blue Door/Debenham House Holland Park/Thin House Kensington).  Love it!  Also… my apologies if I sent anyone off course!!!  The Thin House is not at 5 Thurloe Place, as I reported, but at 5 Thurloe Square!  (Sorry!  And thanks, Perla!).  
A few of our explorers have added some other new attractions to our growing list.  Miki Neant sent photos and details for a “Sculpture in the City” run, taking in a number of sculpture installations as part of a 9th annual exhibition event in different areas of London every summer.  So here’s another great reason to go for a run in the City!  This website shows all the artworks as well as a map:  https://www.sculptureinthecity.org.uk/artwork/9th-edition/?type=list .  And below is a stunning preview, along with some additional graffiti shots, from Miki’s photo safari.

We also have more Quarantine Quests up on the WRW website!  The amazing Amy Grace has created a route to take in the NHS Street Art we featured a few weeks ago (from several of the 8’s).  It’s 6.8 miles one way, so could either be an out-and-back half marathon, or you could get creative with a Santander Cycles return ride (pack some Dettol wipes) or maybe even a taxi.  She also created a Notting Hill and Holland Park route that incorporates several points of interest, including the Blue Door and the Debenham House mentioned last week (from Janelle Meyer).  Most exciting of all is the new (to us) app Amy is working with:  RunGo.  If you register and search WRW, you can join the group page and download our routes with audio directions for your phone!  This could be a game-changer for some of us (raising my hand).  Huge thanks go to Amy for setting this up and learning how to get the routes in!  We’ll keep working on adding more, and hopefully it can be a really helpful tool for summer running as well as whatever kind of running we are doing when we come back in the fall!

Leavers’ Run/Sights of London.  The annual Leavers’ Run is a time-honored tradition with WRW.  In more normal times, we would head out all together on a 4.5-mile route that takes us past some iconic London sights, and we would stop at each one to have a big group photo taken.  Though we are sad to miss the group effort this year, the basic route is below.  The addition of the return run makes it a little longer, and obviously you may want to customise it to begin from and end at your home rather than Barclays.  If you do the run this week, either alone or as a small group, send us the photos and we’ll try to put together a Leavers’ Run photo compilation next week!  These are our usual photo spots:

  • Hyde Park Sphere (where we enter the park)
  • Buckingham Palace
  • Big Ben (but substitute a photo of Westminster Abbey or detour down to the river and get the London Eye!)
  • Trafalgar Square
  • an additional sight this year could be the Piccadilly Circus billboards with the NHS thank yous

Announcements and Shoutouts.  Look out later this week for your invitation to the WRW End-of-Year Zoom Celebration, which will be next Sunday, June 7 at 5 pm London time.  This is our alternate to the post-race dinner in Prague this year, and though we are so sad to miss that special event (and all that went along with it), one silver lining is that this year we can include everyone in the celebration, not just those who made it to the race.  Please do feel free to join us from wherever you are– if you care enough about WRW to read this e-mail, you are welcome to join us!!  Not only is this a great chance to make (contactless) contact before the end of the year, but also, we will debut Megan Marine’s brilliant WRW film– which is absolutely a highlight every year!  If you haven’t had the pleasure of Zooming at some point during the pandemic, be sure to go to the website (zoom.us) and make sure your software is installed and up-to-date sometime before the event.

As Lockdown guidelines are set to change in London this week, we are all looking forward to the chance to be together more.  It may even be that some of you clever runners can figure out to how to do the Zoom celebration in a small group from a garden with good wifi and multiple screens or the room to be socially distant.  Just saying.  But also a reminder to all, since we are now an identifiable presence in London– especially in our SJW neighborhoods– whether we mean to be or not.  The rules now officially allow us to run together, but let’s be extra considerate about social distancing and giving other pedestrians space.  I have found it is most often not the runners who are at fault in those traffic-jam, too-many-bodies-too-close-together situations, but that everyone seems to want to blame us anyway.  So just a gentle reminder to all of us to keep trying to do the right thing (and lest that sound like a lecture, I’m saying it with the fresh memory of having been yelled at by a cyclist Friday morning!)

Beginner Running Group, 2020-2021!!  Please let us know (wrwlondon@gmail.com) if you hear of anyone who would like to join the Beginner’s class of 2021.  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, especially with the brilliant ‘ramp-up’ pace group, can help people who have been runners before ease back in to it and join in our M-W-F runs.
There are so many notable things going on with this group– families running together, people completing multiple-multiple half-marathons and other adventure runs, celebrity encounters, and even a few ‘last’ London runs and goodbyes already.  It’s a joy to hear how you’re all getting on and staying connected.  The way you’ve risen to meet this challenging time with spirit, positivity, creativity and compassion is truly an inspiration.  I hope the week ahead holds more sunshine and the chance for some more happy reunions.  You all deserve it!  To borrow Jane Novak’s old sign-off line– keep running!

xx Micki

25 – 29 May 2020 Running Info

Good morning, Runners!

Happy Bank Holiday!  Even in this very strange year, this holiday weekend feels like the kickoff of summer, which in itself is something to celebrate.  I hope you are finding things to enjoy and to look forward to as we start this season.  The roses and other blooms about the city are out in full glory, the skies have been clear, and we still have the unique opportunity to run a quiet London.  And when we finish our runs now, some of our favorite post-run coffee options are even available for takeaway!  Life is still very different from what it used to be and what we expected it to be.  But considering that at one point those of us in London thought lockdown could mean we might all be confined to our own homes– and some of us in other locations actually were under strict controls– we do have reasons to be thankful.

Race around the world.  Don’t stop running and logging those miles!  This week we reached 21,550 miles, taking us to Chris in Atlanta, and to Poornima, Jody, Linda, and a whole host of WRW alumnae in the New York/New Jersey/Connecticut area.  We took a detour west to say hi to Marni in Toronto, then turned back toward Europe and now we are headed out to sea.  Devy figures we still need at least 5000 miles to get ourselves across the Atlantic with visits in Iceland and Portugal before landing back in London.  We should make it back just about perfectly– let’s not leave ourselves stranded for the summer!

Running this week.  Janelle Meyer continues to excel in creating map art with her runs, as you can see from this week’s examples below:  the virus run and a boat-inspired run.  I think I’m going to have to try the ‘coRUNa’ run this week (name inspiration from Megan), just because it might be fun to take the little detour at every park exit to create the spikes!  Wouldn’t it be entertaining, though possibly a little dangerous, to see the whole group take it on when we are allowed to run together again?

Also from Janelle (thank you!) come a few ideas for new sights to run by for your lockdown running selfie collection.  

  • The Blue Door House in Notting Hill (from the movie) is just off our Notting Hill route (at 280 Westbourne Park Road).  
  • The grand Debenham House in Holland Park is just on the other side of the park from the path we usually take through (8 Addison Road).  
  • And the Thin House, true to its name at only 6 ft wide, is in South Kensington (5 Thurloe Place) just a few blocks south of Hyde Park.  

The three spots could easily be combined on a run, but it would be even better to have a few more points to add for a West/Southwest sights run– so send us any ideas if you know these areas well!

Announcements and Shoutouts.   A big thank you to Carolyn Perelmuter for all the work that went into organising our refunds from the Prague trip.  Thanks also to Devy Schonfeld, Mariya Treisman, and Julie Moyle for their work in unwinding the dinners and tours they had planned, and for retrieving the deposits– sometimes requiring quite a bit of persistence!  And another round of thanks are due to our team who has taken on getting the refunds into each person’s hands:  Carolyn, Darcy Fautz, Amy Grace, Jen Iannazzo, Melissa Kay, Kelli Novak, Marissa O’Malia, and Sue Wheeler.  

Keep the spot on your calendar for our June 7 WRW Celebration at 5pm (GMT).  It will be a Zoom event, but we are awaiting any new government guidance before we give the specifics.  We likewise have not forgotten about our beloved annual ‘Leavers’ Run,’ and though it can look nothing like it usually does, with all of us running en masse and taking big group photos at London landmarks, we will at least publish the route and a virtual group observance next week (again, awaiting any potential changes to official lockdown policy).

Meanwhile, enjoy another beautiful day in another beautiful week.  Send us a post-run coffee/beverage selfie!  Miss you all, and love running into some of you out on the pavements.  Take care, and keep running!

xx Micki

18 – 22 May Running Info

Happy Sunday, Runners!
As we roll through another week, I hope this finds you all in good spirits and finding silver linings in this strange season.  In fact, one of the legacies of the lockdown might be that we have gained a strong new skill set in finding (or creating) the positives in any situation.  As I think about the updates I’m getting from people in various pace groups, as well as the Facebook posts and Whatsapp chats, I’m struck by the creative energy going into staying connected, staying active, and having fun together from a distance.  I’ll give you a ‘run-down’ (ugh, sorry!) on all the pace groups this week…

Ex-beginners, Class of 2020.  The Globetrotters created and played a new running BINGO game this week!  Amber Borst put together different Bingo cards for each person in the group– including a special custom one localised for Canan, who is currently running in Turkey– and these ladies took off across the city, documenting their Bingo hits with photos.  My personal favorite is the square that requires a picture of Nidhi looking out her window– it must have been a busy day on the pavement in front of her building!  Some other Bingo photos are included amongst our other photos this week.

Rainbows & Unicorns/ Sole Sisters.  The 11s continue to chat, support and share on Whatsapp.  They’ve had some socially distant runs going as well, including a re-run of the Winter 10k route, which was reportedly gorgeous and probably a lot less chilly than the usual event!  I can’t possibly hope to observe everyone’s birthday in these e-mails, but I did happen to hear that one of the runs this week was a birthday run for Shahka… so happy birthday!

Perfect 10s.  The 10s recorded a few more half marathon completions and some fun themed runs like the Florence Nightingale homage by Rebecca (in Mayfair area) or the (maybe inadvertent?) baby animals run by Carolyn (elephant statues and real ducks).  Several 10s also got to give distant greetings at a street ‘concert’ in the Loudoun Rd area on Saturday.

Naughty 9s.  Likewise, a few more 9s ran half marathons this week (some were repeats), and some made it back to running or hit new milestones after time off for injuries.  Nines coach and fun-mentor Dinae sent a lip-sync challenge from the U.S. to liven up the chat, and some States-based alumnae popped in to the conversations.  Megan continued to find statue (and topiary) ‘running buddies’ that none of the rest of us have ever noticed, this time running up to Hampstead.

Crazy 8s.  These ladies are covering a lot of miles, both on foot and on bike; and they are continuing to discover stunning lockdown sights, including some new graffiti.  A few of them biked to Lewisham this week for some of the graffiti artwork included in our photos.  Though it would make for a long out-and-back run, Marissa suggests one could run partway and (armed with hand sanitiser/wipes) take a Santander Cycle the rest of the way.  These ladies also sent one of the happiest Zoom screenshots I’ve ever seen– clearly they are enjoying their ‘get together’!

WRW Race Around the World.  You keep putting in the miles, and Devy keeps moving us along the map!  This week we made it to San Francisco, Bakersfield, Manhattan Beach, San Clemente, San Diego, Phoenix and Boerne, TX!!  Sending up a virtual fist-bump to Yianna and Kathy A, Jenn, Kathy M, Carol, Shan, Robin, Libby, MaryLee, and Claire!  And popping a confetti cannon as we roll into Boerne to greet our WRW creator, Paula Mitchell!  What a great week for miles– we are now at a staggering 19,325 recorded together since lockdown.  Here we come, Chris Roberts, blowing through Atlanta this week!  If we haven’t already passed you, there’s still time to add yourself to the itinerary, distant friends.  And on that note, another thank you to Devy Schonfeld for tracking miles, adding destinations, and keeping us from getting lost!

Announcements and Shoutouts.  Amy Grace has turned Miki’s City of London scavenger hunt run (from last week’s e-mail) into a bona fide route with directions and a map, and then popped it onto our website!  Check it out under the heading Quarantine Quests on our website.  We will keep working with the suggestions you’ve already sent, and do feel free to send us any cool new sights to find!

Carolyn and Sue have been working out the details of what, how much, and how to get refunds to you for the portion of the Prague trip expenses we could recoup.  We are happy to say that we will be able to give back a good portion of what you paid back in February, if you were going on the trip.  Look for an e-mail soon with details on the refunds and how we plan to execute them under current circumstances.

And finally, don’t forget to save the date for a virtual year-end WRW celebration, Sunday, June 7– late afternoon or early evening.  We are still working on the format, but it will be fun, colorful, and it will feature the (must-see) annual WRW film created by the incomparable Megan Marine!  Please let us know if your end-of-year plans have changed and you are now leaving London (or if you were leaving and are now staying!). 
Have a great week, ladies!  Keep running, keep smiling, and most of all, keep taking care of yourselves and one another!  This may seem like a long road, but we know how to keep going, mile after mile.  Another joke, another story, maybe a tear and then some encouragement.  But always just one foot in front of the other, as we do.  Sending lockdown love…

xx Micki

P.S.- Thank you for my WRW mask, Tamar!  Isn’t it cool?

11 – 15 May 2020 Running Info

Hello Runners!
Happy U.S. Mother’s Day to all the Moms out there!  Whether you are blissfully baking banana bread while having family singalong time, or you’re gritting your teeth while mediating spats through day #4342 of enforced family togetherness, you are undoubtedly working harder than ever to be an anchor in your family!  In this group, it’s a safe bet that each and every one of us, whether a mom or not, is care-taking in some way.  I admire the unique strength of each one of you, and I love seeing— through our social media circles— the beautiful, funny and sweet ways you each go about taking care of the people in your lives, whether children, partners, pets or friends!

WRW Race around the World update.  We are making progress on our trek around the world!  After six weeks of running, and only two weeks after officially tackling this challenge, we are almost to San Francisco, having run over 16,000 miles together (but, um, separately)!   Devy has given us a beautiful, updated map— this week is probably the last chance to add yourself as a destination if you are in the U.S., so let us know right away if you want us to ‘swing by!’  Meanwhile keep running and exercising— remember, 10 minutes of other exercise counts as 1 mile in our plan!  And if you haven’t been participating, it’s not too late to start.  Contact your pace leaders for details on how to add your miles to the group.  For alumnae we’ve set up a spreadsheet anyone can access— join anytime, record anytime— at this link:

Games Runners Play updates.  At least a couple of runners have tackled Bjorg’s London Monopoly challenge on foot, as well as some on bike! Amongst this week’s picture collages you’ll find Vera with her kids, and Stephanie surveying a new Monopoly ‘acquisition’!  I also wanted to highlight our first map art submission, which Janelle came up with to celebrate her daughter’s first birthday (remember Colette was ‘on board’ for the Milan trip last year?).  I also found a second creation on Strava, and I’m hoping Perla Greenup won’t mind me sharing her heart run!

New Games Runners Play.  Several of you sent in suggestions of landmarks and interesting spots for scavenger runs— thank you!  We are continuing to work on the list, but we already have a few hunts ready for you, thanks entirely to Miki Neant, Megan Marine, Amber Borst and Amy Grace.  
First up is Miki’s City run, highlighted in the photos— including her map!– below.  Miki reports that the streets were quiet in this area (at least, as of a week ago), and she lists the following things to look for:  the Holborn Viaduct red bridge with statues and staircases, St Sepulchre’s Church and London’s first drinking fountain, Christchurch tower and the Christchurch Greyfriars church Garden, Angels in the sky, St Paul’s Cathedral, and St Lawrence and Mary Magdalene drinking fountain.  There is a lot to see in this neighborhood!  If you head out on this run, feel free to send us additional spots to hunt for, as well as photos!

Next is Megan’s Statue Visits run.  Some of our standard routes cruise by statues we don’t even notice anymore.  Megan took the time to look them up, find new ones, and stop to appreciate these neglected ‘running companions’ of ours!  (Some photo credits also go to Jennifer Egsgard, who must have been on a similar wavelength this week!) Here’s a great guide she shared on Hyde Park Statues from the Royal Parks website: https://www.royalparks.org.uk/parks/hyde-park/things-to-see-and-do/memorials,-fountains-and-statues .  A couple of entertain-yourself-on-a-run ideas?  Take as many statue selfies as you can.  Or see how many animal statues you can find.  And don’t limit yourself to Hyde Park, of course.  This city is covered in statues:  just try running around Westminster, Trafalgar Square, or Leicester Square without running into a dozen of them.  Create your own statue hunt and share it with us!

Last but not least on this week’s list is Amber and Amy’s NHS Street Art tour.  We’ve all seen some of the amazing NHS-oriented street art in the news.  The map below covers some you can search out in person in the Brick Lane area (you can look up our Brick Lane route at https://womenrunningtheworld.com/where-we-run/destination-runs/).  The photos along the bottom of Amy’s map couldn’t be linked to specific locations, so finding them will truly be a hunt, and the photos a real trophy!  There’s also a treasure trove of graffiti art at the Leake Street graffiti tunnel near Waterloo, which is also where the NHS Superhero graffiti featured in the top collage can be found!  It’s not far off of our Borough Market route, and the collage below comes from Miki’s recent run there.

Save the date, and other announcements!  Mark your calendars for Sunday, June 7th!  While we eagerly await further guidance from the government about how our social interactions might change in the coming weeks, we have been planning different ways we might celebrate the year of WRW.  Stay tuned for more information on what that will look like (mostly virtual, no doubt), but meanwhile we wanted to get the date to you.  We’re thinking late afternoon or early evening London time will allow some of our friends around the world to participate.  And, as if you need any extra motivation to keep the date open, we will finally be premiering Megan Marine’s brilliant annual video originally created for the Prague celebration!

Also, as we think about end-of-year celebrations, we have to think of the sadder side as well— the goodbyes.  Please, please let us know, if you haven’t already, if you are leaving London at the end of the year.  We don’t want to miss giving anyone a proper WRW sendoff!

To close, I wanted to highlight some of the WRW families out running or playing together— see the photos below.  Several WRW kids got out for runs with (or without) their Moms this week.  Just a few we’ve heard of?  Jen Ianazzo’s daughters, Devy Schonfield’s son, Julie Hojlo’s son, Shannon Ashton’s son (first 5k!), Rebecca Emery’s son (a 100k week!!!), Vera Kunda’s sons (out for Monopoly) and my own daughter (who will kill me if you tell her I mentioned it!)… and I’m sure the roll call could go on and on!  Again, celebrating you strong women, the powerful example you set, and the great care you take of the people (and pets) in your lives!  Have a wonderful week, keep running, and stay connected!

xx Micki

4 – 8 May 2020 Running Info

Hello Runners!

Happy May to all!  Time does pass, apparently, even when the world seems to have stopped!  And all of you fantastic runners carry on with creative positivity, surprising and delighting with your pictures and the stories of how you are injecting these days– even the rainy ones– with fun and fitness.  It’s so inspiring, so this e-mail is going to be loaded with photo run-spiration!  

Running this week.  There have been a handful of serendipitous meet-ups while out on the run this week.  Some of the photos above are from planned socially distant runs, and some are just from chance meetings.  Either way, it is such a lift to see another WRW person out on the pavements!  
Apparently it was a soggy week in the virtual realm as well as IRL, as we sped across water on the Pacific Ocean on our ‘Race around the World.’  We’ve collectively run over 14,000 miles in the last six weeks!  Devy’s map shows that we are closing in on California, where we will visit several WRW alumni.  She has updated the list, found below on the map with names/locations you’ve sent (or someone has sent on your behalf).  Let us know if you want to be added to the itinerary, it’s not too late!  I know we have alumnae in Seattle, Denver, Chicago, Boston, New York, DC, Atlanta?  Let us know if you would like a ‘run-by!’  Also, if you are an alum and not already being counted on one of the London pace group tallies, feel free to add your name and your miles to the WRW Alumnae tally at this link:  WRW Alumnae Race Around the World Challenge .

Games Runners Play.  For a little fun this week, I’ve reached out to your Pace Group Leaders for more ideas on how to creatively entertain ourselves while running solo, or socially distant.  Here are some of your amazing ideas (complete with photos and credits!):

Monopoly.  Bjorg Fridbjornsdottir created this epic running game for the 8’s, who did a first run-through last weekend!  The idea is to visit all the properties on the Monopoly board and collect a street-sign photo at each.  She has included the list of properties (with Monopoly colors, of course!)– it’s an ambitious run, but could be split into socially distant teams or run on different days.  And as the 8s note, it’s also a family friendly biking expedition/game during these lower traffic days!  Below is Bjorg’s game key, a map of the entire course, and some fun photos from the 8’s adventure.

Scavenger Hunt.  This one is the brainchild of Amy Grace, and we need your help to bring it live.  In Amy’s words:  “Running on my own, and leaving from my own house, has forced me to create new routes.  While it is not as much fun as running with the group, it has broadened my horizons and led to discovering some previously unknown places.  I thought it might be fun to create a scavenger hunt of little places or points of interest that you have found, or have always loved, on your runs.  For example, I discovered Hampstead Cemetery, a small cemetery in West Hampstead with some lovely monuments.  It would be great to get some new places to head for to change up our routines a bit.  For London-based WRW runners, if you have a place or point of interest that you’d like to share, take a photo of it and email it to us at wrwlondon@gmail.com along with a description (or Google map location) of where it is.  We aren’t sure what format the scavenger hunt will take until we see what we get from you all – so stay tuned!” 

Relays.  Last week’s house-to-house relay by the 5 ladies who had planned to run the London Marathon was a great way to observe Race Day and take part in the 2.6 Challenge to raise funds for the charities that were impacted by the cancellation of the Marathon.  Mariya Treisman took on the route-making task to plot each runner a 5.25 mile route beginning at their own home and ending at the house of the next runner, where they handed off the virtual baton (appropriately represented in these times by a toilet paper roll!).  Because we all had the routes in advance, many people were out along the way, cheering on the runners in colorful, noisy, but always social-distance-appropriate fashion!  Some of the runners were even accompanied by their daughters– the WRW of the future!  Photo highlights below…

The Ex-beginners Class of 2020 are already planning their own home-to-home relay event, and in the meantime, they continue to meet up for yoga/squats and coffee via Zoom.  You can see their socially distant run photo from this week in the center of the top collage.  It’s beyond great to see them still coming together!

Map Drawings, and Every Single Street.  There has been some talk amongst the 11s of a Map Art Challenge to see who can create the most interesting picture on a run-mapping app.  The possibilities are seemingly endless, and we look forward to seeing any local artwork that may come out of this!   Every Single Street is another map challenge we’ve heard of elsewhere.  Perhaps less creative, but still a good group challenge, this one involves taking a section of the London street map and trying as a group to have someone run on every single street in the map.  You tech-savvy types may have a more streamlined way of managing this, but I would think mapping app screenshots and a group organizer could make it work.

Shout-outs and Announcements.  It’s time for another big shoutout to Karen Hough, who volunteer-coached a group of forty women who signed up for an indoor workout challenge group on Beachbody (announced during the earliest days of lockdown, and now ended).  Karen was amazing about posting challenges, videos and even healthy snack recipes within our group on the app.  Some of us (ahem, speaking of myself here) may have been a little less active and motivated than we’d like to admit, but still loved the tips and videos and so very much appreciate Karen’s time and effort!  And in other health-related news, a shoutout goes to Jeannette Boulind, who has been making gorgeous face masks and collecting donations for the NHS– to date nearly £1000!  Bravo, Jeannette– you make us proud!  If anyone would like to order one of her masks, the link is here.

Finally, we wanted you to know that as we wait to see how things will develop in London with regard to social distancing and lockdown rules, your WRW team are considering different ways of celebrating the end of our year together.  You didn’t think we would just let the year go uncelebrated and the leavers quietly slip away, did you??  Stay tuned in the next weeks for more, and please, please do give us an update at wrwlondon@gmail.com if your plans for the end of the year have changed!  
Meanwhile, keep on doing what you’re doing!  You are rocking this challenging time– even making lockdown look good!  But even saying that, we know it’s not all only smiles all the time… if you are struggling, please, please reach out to one another, or drop us an e-mail.  We’ve all had our ups and downs through this time, we’re all in it together, and we are all about taking care of one another.  Sending another week of lockdown love– beautifully illustrated in the photo WRW Alumnae Yianna Xenakis sent from San Francisco where she placed a WRW lock up at the top of the Marin Headlands during a recent run.  Stay well everyone!

xx Micki

27 April – 1 May 2020 Running Info

Hello Runners!
Another glorious week of London lockdown weather!  Our photos show that many of you are getting out (as much as allowed!) to enjoy the sun and get a little running in.  The posts, photos, and notes I see are such a highlight of every day– I’m so glad everyone is staying connected, and so thankful for this supportive community. 

Race Around the World.  Thanks to everyone for getting behind our group-wide virtual run around the world!  And enormous thanks to Devy Schonfeld, who is now tracking miles totals and managing our route and our progress.  Once all the numbers were in from the past five weeks since lockdown began (in London), we had tallied…drumroll… 10,077 miles (16,217 km) already run!  How amazing is that?  Below is the first version of the map she has created for us– some of you may be surprised to find yourselves (and your approximate locations) on there, as we just did a quick, back-of-the-envelope inventory of WRW ladies along the route!  Please send any corrections to me at wrwlondon@gmail.com, and also let me know if you’d like to be added to the map!  We’ve also created an alumni tracker if anyone out there reading this wants to join in to record and contribute miles– here’s the link, just jump in and add your name and your miles.  We’ve also decided to include other types of exercise at the rate of 10 minutes = 1 mile, for those who are limited, perhaps by lockdown circumstances, in the actual running they can get out to do.  Be sure to give your updated mileage by Sunday evening each week, so your pace leaders can pass it on to Devy.  Can’t wait to see where we get to next week– California, maybe?


Running this Week.
  In a normal world, tomorrow would have been the 30th Virgin London Marathon!  We had FIVE strong WRW runners who would have been running it;  Kate Ballbach, Laura Beal, Megan Marine, Bridget Perry, and Mariya Treisman.  And we would have, no doubt, organised a big cadre of WRW supporters to cheer them on with silly posters, pom-poms, bright hats, ambitious transport plans to get us to multiple viewing points, and cheering voices that would have made all the other runners and spectators turn and stare!  Running a marathon is such a big commitment, and we are disappointed for our friends who had geared up mentally and trained quite a bit already by the time the event cancelled.  But in true WRW spirit, these ladies have found a way to put a positive spin on the day, despite social distancing rules!  These five runners will do a 26.2(ish) relay tomorrow morning as part of the 2.6 Challenge to help support the charities who have lost much of their funding through the cancellations of multiple fundraising events such as the Virgin London Marathon (which alone raised £66.4 million for thousands of charities last year). 
Starting at 8:30am tomorrow (Sunday), each will run a circuit beginning at their own house and ending at the home of the next runner– approximately 5.25 miles for each, mostly in the St Johns Wood/Maida Vale/Primrose Hill area.  I’m not sure if I have their permission to include the routes (!), but I’m going to do it, in case anyone wants to slip out for a socially distant bit of cheering!  These ladies all happen to be in the 9s pace group, if that helps at all with figuring out what time they might reach a given point on the route.  We can also send an update to the Pace Leaders as each leg begins, so if you want to be kept in the loop, just ask them to relay that information to your chat.  We hope to see them run in the official marathon, now rescheduled for October, but for now we will be cheering (virtually and IRL) for them tomorrow!

Shoutouts and Annoucements.  So many of you have managed to hit the half-marathon mark on solo (or duo) runs!  A big congratulations to everyone for that!  We’ve also heard that some ladies have run multiple solo (or duo) half marathons in the last five weeks.  I realise it’s entirely possible I will miss someone, but I still want to shout out huge kudos to the ones I know about.  Meredith Snizek (6), Kelly Willis (6), Bjorg Fridbjornsdottir (5), Miki Neant (?) and Perla Greenup (3), Marigold Dooley (2), Karen Hough (2), Wiebke Liu (2), Janelle Meyer (2), Carmine Najjar (2) and Lauren Young (2).  Well done, ladies!  If I’ve missed anyone, please send me an update so I can give you a shoutout next week!
On a more somber note, Jess Browne has asked me to pass along her thanks to all of you for the love and support you have shown her and her family in the last couple of weeks, since the loss of her son, Ignacio.  Jess is one of the most loving and giving people I’ve ever met, and she has given so much to WRW and to each of us, for some as a coach and a mentor, and for all as a friend.  Our hearts will continue to be with you, Jess.

Our community has grown steadily in numbers over the last several years.  But I would venture to say it has grown exponentially in depth over the last few months.  Regardless of where we all are physically located, our connections with one another are for many a support and a source of joy.  Dinae sent a note from Philly the other day talking about a study that shows how spending time with our female friends is one of the best things we can do for our health.  Apparently, our time together releases serotonin, which combats depression, among other things.  And we women further have the ability to handle stress not just with “fight or flight” but with “tend and befriend.”  Even when we can’t be physically together, we can “tend” the relationships that nurture us.  Thanks to you all for this!  Sending lockdown love and best to all!
xx Micki 

20 – 24 April 2020 Running Info

Dear Runners,
Good morning.  I’m sorry for being late with this week’s note.  It’s been hard to find words this week.  Sometimes when that is the case, it’s better to let pictures speak; so I wanted to begin by sharing some of the many flower photos the WRW London community has posted during this difficult week.  We won’t be sharing names or particulars here, but our hearts are with those in our community who are grieving.

Running this Week.  Last week’s casual mention of the 10’s challenging themselves to run to Singapore has blossomed over the last few days into a bigger challenge for all of WRW.  We’d like to join all together to try to virtually run all the way around the world!  What better way to show our community spirit and live up to our name??  The idea is to track all of our miles run during this lockdown and social distancing time, pool them together, and see how far around the globe that will get us.  Devy Schonfeld, the spark behind the original lockdown miles challenge, has agreed to help us plot our course around the world with stops to give virtual fist-bumps to our runners who either live far from London or have dispersed from London because of the pandemic.

So how will this work?  For those currently in a Pace Group, your Pace Leaders will post a link on your WhatsApp chat to a group Google sheet on which you can record your miles for each week.  The Pace Leaders will share that information with Devy, and we’ll include an overall progress report for how far we’ve made it in the weekly e-mail the following weekend.  AND because we want to make this accessible for everyone who wants to be able to participate, even if running is limited by local lockdown rules in various locations, or homeschooling/caregiving demands, we are including other forms of exercise in this challenge at the rate of 10 minutes of exercise = 1 mile!  

So all you have to do to participate is follow the link you’ll be sent via WhatsApp chat, go into the Google sheet, and enter your name in the left column.  Then just update your miles total (or exercise minutes converted to miles) by Sunday each week for the Monday-Sunday period.  Here’s an example of the very simple tracking sheet (with names blocked out) we’ve already been using to challenge ourselves to a different goal (I’ve only just changed the title!):

9s Run Around World Challenge

If you are not on an existing WhatsApp chat but would like to participate, here is a link to a sheet for you to use as a new ‘Alumni Group’: 

Finally, if you are not in London and you’d like us to consider running by you on our round-the-world route, please send your location and a photo of yourself we can crop to pin on the map, and our amazing Map-master Devy will try to include you in the route!

More to do with Miles.  Inspired by Captain Tom’s amazing fundraising efforts, one of our runners let me know this week about a scheme that would allow us to easily and individually convert our miles into some giving.  Charity Miles is an app you can download to track your miles and ‘donate’ them to one of their 40-some charity partners.  The allocation of miles across the charities determines how a pool of money the organisation has raised from corporate sponsors will be allocated to the various partners.  In other words, you get to use your miles to vote for the charity of your choice.  Thanks to Carolyn Reeves for the idea!

Looking ahead.  We wish a meaningful celebration to all who will begin observing Ramadan this week, understanding that social distancing deeply affects this holiday for you.  When we come out of lockdown and begin running our routes together again– and we WILL do that!– I will have to re-learn how to write this weekly e-mail filled with route information, training tips passed down to us through the years by Paula for our half marathon prep, and a few observations about either how wet we got running in the rain the previous week, or how beautiful it was.  In the meantime, keep sending your ideas, your photos, and your miles; and we will keep ourselves connected and, hopefully, inspired through this really exceptional pause.  
Sending all best to everyone in London and around the world this week.  We are in this together!  Reach out here or in your group chats if you need a little boost.  Stay well!
xx Micki

13 – 17 April 2020 Running Info

Good Morning, Runners!
For those of you celebrating, Happy Pesach, and Happy Easter!  As we head into week four of the London lockdown, I want to make special note of all the smiles in the photos from this week. You ladies are so inspirational in your determination to make the best of this time!  Updates I’ve heard from all the pace groups highlight the many ways we are staying connected and supporting each other.  In addition to everyone keeping lively pace group chats going with lots of humor and support, we’ve got the ex-beginners continuing yoga and squats twice a week, and all of the groups hosting Zoom hangouts (including an 8’s birthday celebration).  There are also the continuing combined-mileage challenges (will the 10s total mileage during social distancing be enough to get them to Singapore? Australia? Will they make it back to London?), and we have collectively been celebrating everything from a hard-fought, first run back from illness, to more solo half-marathon completions (including the ‘First Annual, Fourth Week of Self-Isolation’ weekly half-marathon).  

Running this week.  Most of us have probably established our go-to routes from our homes by now.  But one idea for something fresh and fun is to create a custom “Friend-ly” Route.  If you look at a street map starting from your own house, and pick out a friend who lives maybe 1.5 to 2 miles away, you can probably design a 5-mile loop route that runs past the homes of a dozen or so more friends– and if you post that on your chat without names and ask people to shout out their addresses if they’re on the route and want to be a part of it (no obligation, of course), you will likely discover even more people on or near the route.  Then whenever someone runs the route, she can text when headed out the door, and friends can be looking out to give a wave or a socially distant hello as the runner passes.  Even better, those on the route might want to put a colorful sign or one of the bright WRW hats in a window, so that even if no one is home, runners on that route can feel less alone knowing they’re passing all these friends!  And best of all– if there are 12-15 people living on the route, it gives that many runners a fresh new run.  Here is a sample route (with houses still unmarked) that includes about 15 runners so far:

How great would it be if we could collect a set of routes covering different neighborhoods?  (Hint, hint…)

Obviously we are all acutely aware of our physical proximity to others when we are running these days.  A simulation that went viral this week (no pun intended) shows the wisdom of keeping even more distance than the 2 meters recommended if you are running or biking, because you are moving more quickly into the ‘slipstream’ of a person you are passing.  In fact, if you are running behind someone, the article recommends a 4-5 meter distance.  Here is the link to the original article published on Medium this week (thanks to Tamar).  I should mention that there is some controversy now about methodology and peer reviewing, but it still seems like good information to have and logical advice to consider.  Also on the topic of running in a time of social distancing, here is a piece we all might identify with– “What I Yell About When I Yell About Running.”

Training.  It bears repeating every week that one of the most important things we can do for ourselves in terms of training these days is to be kind to our bodies.  Stretch, do some yoga or other cross-training, and… keep away from zombies?  A fun idea we’ve heard about from a few different sources (including Jennifer Egsgard) is the “Zombies, Run!” app which allows you to run your own route with a presumably zombie-infused narrative that will give you a little extra incentive to pick up the pace at various intervals on the run (all while minding social distancing, of course!).  Though all the reviews I’ve heard have come from people under 14, I’ve downloaded the app and can’t wait to give it a try!  In other workout app news, a huge thank you to Karen Hough for managing the ‘WRW Distance Runners’ group on the Beachbody app– it’s another fantastic way to connect and motivate for all kinds of lockdown fitness activities.  

Earlier this week someone sent me an article by a cyclist on ‘rediscovering the joy of riding alone’.  So much of what the author says can be applied to those of us who are accustomed to running in a group as we’re forced to transition to running solo.  In the spirit of finding the good in a bad situation, there really are things we can learn and even appreciate on this unusual journey.  Like the sudden ability to run in the road much of the time.  Or the novelty of running on Oxford Street in mid-afternoon any day rather than just our one, annual, pre-dawn outing on that route.  Or the flexibility to start your run when your body tells you it’s ready to go, rather than convincing your body it will be ready at 8:20, like it or not (do we all know what I’m talking about here?).  Or finding all of these new ways to virtually connect with one another, and bonding even further through this shared experience.  The more we look for the things to appreciate, the more we find to be grateful for.  Gratitude builds upon itself and lifts us up as it rises.
Hmm, yes, sometimes I get carried away a little.  But just hoping that you all are doing well in every way.  Take care of yourselves, take care of each other, and do reach out if you are in need of support.  Stay well, and have a beautiful week!
xx Micki

6 – 10 April 2020 Running Info

Hello Runners!
If we can’t actually be headed out on Spring Break this weekend, Mother Nature has at least been kind enough to give us glorious sunshine for a lockdown consolation prize!  What a beautiful weekend we’re having.  I hope everyone is able to enjoy it one way or another.

Running this week.  As long as we continue to be allowed our daily exercise, I hope you’re finding good ways to use it.  We are not posting routes, as you know, so that we don’t inadvertently set in motion our own WRW traffic jam and social distancing disaster!  In addition, since we’re all coming from different directions rather than starting at Barclays, and every run needs to be a loop that gets us back to our homes, it makes more sense to have us each plan our own.  But if you need some inspiration, you could have a look at “Where we Run”– our standard routes posted on our website.  If you have been out for a run lately, especially when the weather is fine, you know that it can still be pretty crowded, especially in the parks and later in the day.  It’s a great idea to go early if you can, and some runners have reported that city street-based routes have been less busy than any park routes.  Whatever route and time you choose to run, please take good care of yourself by giving plenty of space to anyone who hasn’t quite gotten the hang of social distancing yet.  

“Running this Week” now means something entirely different than it has in the past.  In the present circumstances, every run, every walk, every positive decision to do something for yourself, is a milestone.  If you are feeling down or overwhelmed, know that you are not alone (even if we are, actually, physically alone)– everyone is dealing with some level of anxiety or other mental stress at the moment.  And many studies have demonstrated that a higher-than-normal stress level can significantly affect one’s physical stamina and ability to recover from exertion.  So if you are feeling extra tired, and you don’t understand why you can’t run the way you could just a few weeks ago, try to go easy on yourself.  It’s a very normal physical response to mental and emotional stress.  Running, walking, or any kind of movement should be a great way to help us stay physically and mentally in good shape during the lockdown– endorphins can be such a help!  But running should not be something that adds another level of stress.  Celebrate whatever activity you can do, but don’t condemn yourself for what you can’t!  And reach out to your running friends if you need support– we are all in this together.

On the flip-side, if anxiety is making you a running junkie and your mileage has shot off the charts in the last couple weeks, take care of yourself!  Enjoy the endorphins and the outdoors, but pay attention to your body and don’t break yourself!  Rest is also a good counter to stress.

Training Notes.  Either way, whether you are sitting more than usual, or running more than usual, your body could benefit from some extra stretching and cross training.  Try some yoga or pilates along with a generous amount of stretching.  There are so many options available online or via free apps right now, I won’t even attempt a run-down, but here is a link to a top-ten-free-online-workout list that came out earlier today.  Or you could actually try doing one of those hilarious throwback workouts that are circulating all over our WhatsApp chats right now (don’t forget your leg-warmers and headband)!  

Shoutouts.  So many of us have done milestone runs this week– whether that means 13.1 miles, some other distance, getting out for a first solo run, or covering a new distance after an injury.  Congratulations and so very well done to everyone!  It’s a pleasure to see all the photos– and especially when they also feature children or a spouse out running alongside us!  

A special shoutout to our ex-Beginners, the class of 2020!  It is SUCH an achievement to make the transition to being able to run even without the pack, and yet many of you signed up for the Plan B Challenge and completed 10k runs this week.  Congratulations!  We cannot wait to start running with you whenever this pause is over.  I’ve gotten special permission from ex-beginner Kelli Novak to share part of a note she wrote to the Beginners’ Group coaches, because it shows the incredible attitude these ladies have had through this experience, and it’s a reminder of how lucky we are to have running and this community in our lives:“I know you guys thought you were training us for a half marathon, but in reality it turns out that you were training us for something much more important, difficult and longer than a marathon; you trained us to dig deep, notice our resilience and provide us with a level of fitness that will not only God willing keep us all healthier through this, but mentally able to better withstand the onslaught of change and attendant anxiety when the world turned on its side for a while.  How empowering to have these skills and this physical ability at this precise moment in time.   Moreover, you provided the opportunity for us to connect with each other, which is now a bedrock of solace and community at a time when it is so desperately needed.”  

I hope you are all finding laughter, comfort and encouragement within our community, wherever you find yourself physically residing for this time.  Sending WRW love all around the globe.  Stay well!
xx Micki