Wasn’t it great to get back to the Pergola this past week? And, well, to all of our places! If you are new to WRW, welcome– before you know it, you will consider these streets and sights ‘your places’ as well! It has been so much fun to meet and get to know some of you in the past couple of weeks. And it’s been a joy to see so many old friends on the pavements and around the cafes in St Johns Wood! If pictures speak a thousand words, I’ve included the rapid-fire slideshow below for a little novella of our week.
Running this week. Monday we are introducing a standard Wednesday route, the 5.5-mile Kensal Rise loop. This one takes us on the canal west, through Queen’s Park to Kilburn and Maida Vale before turning back to St Johns Wood– OR several runners have mentioned they prefer doing this one in reverse so they hit the canal a little later in the morning. The reason for doing this on a Monday this week is because we’re delaying our destination route until Wednesday so we can see the floral displays for Chelsea in Bloom, which is to coincide with the rescheduled Chelsea Flower Show. When we’ve done this in the past– usually in the spring!– we’ve learned the displays are only just being set up on Monday mornings. The route goes to Sloane Square, then down Kings Road a piece before doubling back to head back to Hyde Park, where it just happens to hit the Serpentine Bar and Kitchen at about 5.7 miles should you have time for a coffee in the park. OR you might choose to do a bit more exploring in the Sloane Square area– our route takes you past a taste of the displays, but there will be more to see, and you can find details at Chelsea in Bloom. The event also carries into Belgravia in Bloom, and some of these are just a few blocks left (or east) of Sloane Square. Finally, on Friday you have your pick of Heath routes– we’re highlighting ‘The Betsy’ (5 miles) and ‘Highgate’ (7.5 miles) in the Routes section below. And– spoiler alert– the Borough Route will be our official pick next Friday! As always, all of our routes for the week, with maps, directions and RunGo links, can be found at the end of this email.
Spring Half Marathon. We have had questions from runners about whether we will resume our spring tradition of travelling to a European half marathon in 2022. Many of you are eager to travel! The short answer is “Yes. We hope so!” Quite a few race organisers are in the middle of hosting fall races postponed from the last 18 months, and so have yet to confirm spring dates. This will delay the announcement a little this year, but rest assured we are working behind the scenes– led by our fearless trip boss Sue Wheeler– and we’re hoping to have a race announcement before the end of October. Stay tuned.
Shirt sayings. On a similar note, kitmaster Marissa O’Malia is working on some new gear for us! The color combo on the annual shirt is always a surprise, and every year we also call for your ideas for pithy but inspirational quotes for the back of the shirt– which is also revealed at kit distribution time. We have had some great ones through the years: ‘We Run the (Social) Distance’… ‘Another Run Stronger’… ‘Any Time, Any Where, Any Pace’… ‘Keep Calm and Run On’… ‘This is my Happy Pace’…’In it for the Long Run’…’We Run London’… and others you’ve seen some of us long-time veterans wearing. So what will it be this year? Send us your ideas!
The rescheduled Hampton Court Palace Half is taking place tomorrow (Sunday) morning at 9am. This is the rescheduled version of the half we did virtually last spring, and I’m not aware of anyone who is running it live at this point. But there are several available entries floating around if you want to take the starting line at the last minute! Let us know– best way is to Whatsapp your pace group, as most of the Pace Group Leaders are aware of who has the bibs available, and thus can help facilitate picking it up! Also, if you did the race virtually and have never written in to receive your medal and shirt, please let us know ASAP and we’ll send you the info to claim your bling!
Shoutouts. A huge WRW shoutout for a super-inspiring run Miki Neant and Kelly Willis are involved in this weekend. They are going to be guide runners at the Self Transcendance 24-hour Track Race, for Sinead Kane, an elite Irish runner who is visually impaired and is seeking to once again be named to the Irish national endurance running team. Miki will be running many hours through the middle of the night with Sinead, and Kelly is on standby to step in throughout the event. See the links above for more on the event and on Sinead Kane. The race is taking place at the Millenium Stadium in Battersea Park if you want to go down and check it out (I think it is closed to spectators from 10pm-6am, though!) OR you can follow real-time results here (search Sinead Kane). For reference, the last time this race was run, in 2019, the first-place woman covered 137.5 miles in the 24-hour timeframe. We are so proud of Miki and Kelly for their involvement in this intense event!
With that, I’ll sign off for now. As always, I can’t wait to be out there running with you again on Monday! Enjoy the rest of the weekend– see you in the park!
Please be aware of pedestrians and bikes along the canal and form a single file whenever needed! You might also want to try running the route in reverse, as commuter traffic on the canal gets lighter a little later in the morning. Start out heading west on St. John’s Wood Road and cross Grove End at the traffic light. Turn left on Cunningham, right on Aberdeen, and cross Maida Vale to the right side of Blomfield Rd. Stay on the right side of Blomfield Road as you run parallel to the canal. Turn left at the second bridge over the canal (at Westbourne Terrace Road), turn right just after the bridge, follow the sidewalk along Delamere Terrace, and join the canal path heading west at this point. Run to the Ladbroke Grove exit. Here we turn right and run over the bridge along Chamberlayne Road to Harvist Road. Turn right on Harvist, which turns into Brondesbury Road, and take that to Kilburn High Road/Maida Vale. Turn right and follow Maida Vale to Hall Road where you turn left and run back to Starbucks. If you want to shorten this route, run west on the canal and turn back at your desired half-way point. (The two mile mark is at the point on the canal when the Westway motorway is over our heads.)
Wednesday, 22 September – Sloane Square for Chelsea in Bloom (5.7 miles)
Everybody starts out to Hyde Park, taking the usual route down Lisson Grove to Seymour Place, etc. Once inside the park, turn left and run down towards the southern edge, following the path to the right before it leaves the Park (Rotten Row). Run to the large gated exit (Albert Gate) before the tall ‘One Hyde Park’ complex, cross Knightsbridge and turn right on Knightsbridge, then a left onto Sloane Street after Harvey Nichols. Follow Sloane St until it ends at Sloane Square.
Turn right and curve around the square to the left heading towards King’s Road. Make a quick left onto Duke of York Square and then a right and a right to run around the square and get back to King’s Road. Turn left and run down King’s Road to Chelsea Manor St (about a third of a mile), admiring the floral displays in the various shops along the way. Cross King’s Road and head back the way you came but turn left onto Cadogan Gardens (before Sloane Square). Take the first right onto Culford Gardens and then a left onto Pavilion Road. Run until the road ends, make a right, and then a left back onto Sloane St. At Knightsbridge, cross the street and head straight onto the passageway – Serpentine Walk. Continue straight into Hyde Park and keep going straight, keeping the Serpentine on your left as you head toward the Hyde Park Benugo where we will all meet up for coffee.
Friday, 24 September – The Heath
RunGo for The Betsy option: https://routes.rungoapp.com/route/dkhuleD0zF
Most Fridays we run the Heath! This week we are highlighting two options depending on where you are in your training. For both options, head out to Avenue Road, then up Fitzjohn’s per all the Heath routes.
The first option is The Betsy. Named for the runner whose favorite route this was, it 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 Highgate (7.5 miles)
Head up Fitzjohn’s, as usual, and continue past the Hampstead Tube and Whitestone Pond to stay on Spaniards Road. Do not enter the Heath at the normal entry point, but stay on Spaniards Road as it wraps around the outside of the Heath, past Kenwood House and past The Bishops Road where Spaniards Road turns into Hampstead Lane. Continue on Hampstead Lane as it edges around the outside of the Heath in a gentle rise until you reach The Grove, where you turn right. [The Grove is a pretty, tree lined street just before the Highgate roundabout.] Run to the first right turn, a lane called Fitzroy Park with a traffic barrier across the road. Pass around the traffic barrier—this is fine! And continue down the road, past lovely homes and a famous allotment on the right side. This road curves downhill to the left and takes you to the entrance of the Heath on your right side, near a set of bathrooms and just before Merton Lane to the left.
Enter the Heath, run past the loos (on your left) and take the path to the left as it runs along the model boating pond, the men’s bathing pond and a third pond. When the sidewalk dead ends, take a right to run along the exercise fields and running track. Exit the Heath past the paddling pool, crossing over the bridge onto Constantine Road. Take a right, running past South End Rd/Fleet Rd, past the Royal Free Hospital and cutting up the path to the left just past the Royal Free’s entrance driveway to take a short cut to Haverstock Hill. Go left on Haverstock Hill, crossing at the pedestrian stoplight to the other side, then turn right on to Belsize Avenue. Stay on Belsize Avenue (its name changes to Buckland Crescent) to Fitzjohn’s where you turn left to run towards Swiss Cottage Library, then scoot over to St Johns Wood Park Road and back to Starbucks.
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
Click here for maps of all of the Heath routes.