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

30 March – 3 April 2020 Running Info

Hello Runners,

What a beautiful day… what a beautiful week!  I hope everyone was able to get out and enjoy some sun– or at least to throw open a window and feel spring for a while?  It’s wonderful that we are still able to get out and run solo, at least.  Our Global Runday last Monday, suggested by founder Paula Mitchell, carried out by each of you, and compiled so beautifully into the WRW Global Run Flickr album by Amy Grace, was absolutely a highlight of my week, and such a great balm to have while adjusting to our new socially limited reality.  Go ahead, click the link and scan through again, you know you want to!  (Apologies for the lack of a gorgeous photo to start the e-mail this week, but gmail has decided not to allow it today!)

Prague.  Let’s just take a moment and recognize that many of us were meant to be running a half marathon in Prague today, and celebrating even as I write.  I could think of cheery, optimistic things to say to try to gloss over it, but I think maybe it’s actually important for us to acknowledge our disappointment together.  Sigh.  You all trained really hard to be ready for the race.  We made it all the way to our penultimate training run, the Kew 11, when the race got cancelled.  It’s no small commitment to have trained that long and run that many miles!  And some of you trained extra hard, from a base of never having run before– I’m looking at you, Beginners Class of 2020!   And at you, devoted coaches to the Beginners’ group (Amy Grace, Jess Browne, Melissa Kay, Paola Gulfesa Di Meo, and Renata Figueiredo)!  You are all so strong and you have accomplished so much!

The Prague Thank You’s.  With apologies to those of you who weren’t going to Prague, today I really, really want to take a minute to acknowledge and thank a few people for their hard work.  Please indulge me as I work through some very big thank you’s that we would normally say in person at the post-race celebration.  And picture us all as we would have been this evening, in a banquet room with nice food and drink, applauding the efforts of the women who planned the whole trip– and this year, sadly, saw it snatched away when it was all ready and waiting for us.  So first, raise your virtual (or preferably, real!) glass to Trip Master Carolyn Perelmuter!  She managed the planning, negotiating, and organizing of everything so beautifully.  Even when little crises erupted– like when it looked for a time like there were about 500 of us planning to attend the race(!), or when registration closed suddenly and we still had many women without race bibs– she was so calm and competent!  And she was right, those things all worked out– or well, she worked them out.  Then in the face of her own personal disappointment with an injury, her enthusiasm for and commitment to the race never waned– and, by the way, she calmly rehabbed and worked her way back to being ready to run the half.  And finally, there are hardly words for the grace with which she handled the unraveling of all her work when Covid-19 came in and stole the show.  Carolyn, you are an exceptional organizer, problem-solver, communicator, and leader.  And most of all you are just a gem of a person.  From all of us… thank you for everything!  We have been so lucky to have you as our friend and Trip Master!

Leading the Beginner’s program with knowledge, advice, warmth, empathy and weekly reassuring e-mails– plus just the right amount of tough love!– is just one of the things we have to thank Amy Grace for.  She is also the force behind anything WRW has to do with technology– our Web Master and troubleshooter also manages our Flickr and Facebook accounts and really, can do just about anything!  This week she spent hours uploading our photos for the amazing WRW Global Run photo album.  She is also the fount of all institutional knowledge about WRW, whether data or history.  For example, because of Amy, we know that of the 128 women who would have been on the Prague trip, 43 of you would have been attending your first WRW race.  For 28 of you it would have been your first half marathon.  There would have been 12 runners from the Beginners’ Class of 2020, and 39 runners who were part of a past Beginners’ group.  Ten alumnae were joining us from around the world.  Thirteen of us in attendance would have run with Paula.  And you will especially want to thank Amy when you see the treat she has ready for us today:  the Prague Photo Directory!  It is attached, see below.  She deserves our thanks pretty much every week for all she does, but let’s take this opportunity to lift those virtual glasses again to say it all together– thank you, Amy!

Quietly behind the scenes, but always up to her elbows in e-mails, spreadsheets, data, and finances is our Money and Membership Master, Sue Wheeler.  But that’s not all we have to thank Sue for– she is involved in every decision made by WRW.  She’s a source of ideas, a voice of reason, and a problem-solver with an eye for details.  For the last two years, Sue has also been the friendly voice to welcome new runners who join our e-mail list.  In fact, since the time of Milan last year, she has welcomed 74 new runners to WRW!  In the lead-up to Prague she did everything from tracking expenses and payments to creating a spreadsheet of all of our flights.  She knows every detail that goes into planning our annual half-marathon trip.  Which is really great because she has agreed to take on the Trip Master responsibility next year when Carolyn heads back to the States!  So raise your glasses once more with a thank you to Sue, both for all that she has done for us, and for being willing to step into a very big role next year.
I hope you all have been wearing your annual shirt and race hat out on your solo runs from time to time.  It’s such a shame we won’t have the chance to line up for a gorgeous team picture in the great kit Marissa O’Malia designed and procured for us (with Carolyn coordinating on the race hat)!  In her first year as Kit Master, Marissa brought us a great set of sportswear options!  And she accomplished it so smoothly and always with a smile!  A toast to the lovely, upbeat lady who keeps us all running in style!

One big disappointment about not actually being in the hotel banquet room and celebrating together tonight is that we have to wait longer to see the 2020 WRW video written, filmed and produced by Megan Marine.  Megan’s productions are brilliant EVERY year, and I cannot wait to see what she has put together for this year!  We are going to hold out a little longer to save it for viewing together in an in real life celebration if there’s any way that can happen before the end of the year.  But now is still the time to raise our glasses to Megan’s creative genius and the hours and hours of hard work she put in to entertain all of us.  Thank you, Megan!  We can’t wait for the screening!!

There are many more people we would be thanking for their roles year round in WRW if we were actually in a big room together– the routes team and the pace leaders, for example– and again, I still hope we may have the chance to do that, so I’m going to save those thank you’s for now.  But today as we think about Prague, I just want to add a few women who took on different aspects of planning the Prague trip.  Here’s to Devy Schonfeld, Mariya Treisman, and Julie Moyle, who organized the dinners and the tours we would have very much enjoyed on the trip this weekend.  Each of them took on their assignment, went the extra mile to get extra accommodation for our large number of attendees, and then went back to the venues/vendor to cancel and pursue refunds when the race cancelled.  Raise your glass to these ladies for the quiet extra efforts they made for us!

Another toast! to those of you who have gone ahead and completed a significant run independently– be it 13.1 or any other distance– over the last days (or who are planning to in the days ahead).  Well done to each of you!  Please post your run on the WRW Facebook page, or in your WhatsApp chats so we all can send our kudos!  I’m not going to attempt individual shoutouts here, because the list will be potentially very large, I don’t want to miss anyone, and I especially don’t want anyone to feel pressured to complete any specific distance.  But a very proud and warm pat on the back to anyone out there pushing herself to do the next hard thing– whether that is running 13.1, or half of that, or, in this situation, simply putting on the running shoes and stepping out the door!  You are SO strong!

Running this week.  As we said last week, we are refraining from posting specific routes by day during lockdown, so that we don’t inadvertently create a social distancing traffic jam!  But here is the link to view many of our routes, in case you need a little inspiration:  https://womenrunningtheworld.com/where-we-run/ .  This week I’m also going to leave off the “Featured Route of the Week” in this note, as attaching the photo directory is going to make this a large message without the extra photo.  Look for that to return next week with maybe some fresh old ideas!
Several runners have found “virtual” events that I wanted to share with you if you haven’t come across them on your WhatsApp chats.  This article offers a list of several running events you can do on your own to qualify for a finisher’s medal.  Another one to check into is this 19k virtual race to benefit frontline healthcare workers.  Visit https://www.facebook.com/realrunningheroes/ for more information!

Training notes and opportunities.  Some of you have forwarded this link to a great article on learning how to run solo.  Thanks for sharing!  As mentioned last week, Karen Hough has offered to extend an invitation to all of us who want to join a private, nonmembership group on the Beachbody platform to complete and track workout challenges together within our group.  This is not meant to be an endorsement of the platform by WRW– but it’s simply a great opportunity offered by one of our members as a way for us to keep our fitness community going during a challenging time, with no commitment and no cost to us.  Many of you have already registered your interest, but there’s still time– just go to this Google Form and register your e-mail by tomorrow, 29 March, to be included in the invitation when Karen sends it this week.  

Speaking of opportunities, many of us have been discussing ways to be helpful in the community as we are on lockdown.  One idea was to offer our services to “run errands”– as in, literally running prescriptions or other needed items to people in self-isolation.  Though we considered ways to connect as a group with one of the community help groups, in the end it seemed most workable to recommend that anyone interested in helping in this way pursue it as an individual.  Many runners have told me they have already registered their name and number with a local pharmacy with the offer to deliver medicines.  Some runners are aware of other organizations connecting those who need help with those willing to offer it (though not specifically through running)– we have contact information for Neighbourcare in St Johns Wood through Marissa O’Malia.  Feel free to reach out to us at this e-mail if you’d like that information.
It feels very strange to end the e-mail this way, and indeed, it has been a very strange one to write.  Thank you if you’ve read this far and you’re still here!  There’s really no way to distill a culminating run and celebration into a flat e-mail.  But this group, and these times, transcend the usual.  I know that most of us are still connecting and supporting each other via WhatsApp– the memes, the videos, the cheers, the photos!  Last week a few of us did a run separately while chatting on a three-way WhatsApp call.  The miles- and minutes-based training challenges by pace group are still going and, I think, still motivating people.  And I know there have been virtual hangouts and cocktail hours via different online platforms.  Let’s keep our community going, and keep supporting one another even and especially while we are separated.  Please do reach out to us if you have a need– we are all here for each other!  And as runners, we are so well conditioned to get through this time– just putting one foot in front of the other, over and over again, as we tick off the miles and the days to the end of this challenge!  I am so thankful to be a part of this group! 
xx Micki

23 – 27 March 2020 Running Info

Hello Runners!
Hope this finds everyone healthy and in good spirits!  Such strange times we are living through.  The photos you’ve posted and sent this week have really been uplifting, as we all try to find a new, temporary sense of ‘normal.’  Lots of new running partners– kids and husbands– and more solo or duo photos, but the really important thing is that the smiles are still there!  
We did manage a last group run on Monday before new restrictions were announced, and the beginners did squeeze in a very happy run to Kew together on Tuesday.  I know the animation above moves quickly (no way to slow it down– I’ve searched!), but it’s worth a couple of spins through it to see those triumphant faces as they achieved their 11 miles!  And with this e-mail, they are officially joining our main group, so a great big WELCOME to the Beginners’ class of 2020!  In addition to your own awesome moniker:  “The Social Distance Runners,” you will always be remembered as the group that kept going, no matter that everything else got cancelled along the way!

WRW Global Run MONDAY!  Our wonderful founder, Paula Mitchell, reached out with a suggestion for this week– a virtual, worldwide run together (except, you know, NOT together)!  The idea is just to get as many of us as possible– from all around the world– out for a run on the same day (but again, solo/duo to respect physical distancing rules).  We’ve chosen this Monday as WRW Runday!  If you can get out, even for a few miles, please take a selfie and either post it to the WRW Facebook page or e-mail it to us.  Amy will make sure it gets posted to our group Flickr page, and you can view all your WRW campadres around the world as their photos come online at this link!  If you are self-isolating, or are in a region where you are not allowed to go out for a run, please send a selfie anyway– we know that you are running in spirit!!

Running this week.  Our Routes Team is thinking about all of our best interests, as ever, and we’ve decided together that we will refrain for now from posting specific routes by day.  That’s to keep us from all encountering each other and facing the irresistible temptation to run in a big group or do a group selfie.  In addition, now that we are not meeting in central SJW or taking public transport back, each of us needs to tailor routes to our home location.  BUT… we would never leave you without maps or directions if you need them!!  Please check out the extensive collection of routes on our website!  And we will still highlight one route that’s not on the website each week, just to help keep it all fresh.  Thanks to all our routemasters through the years for this collection, and a special award to webmaster Amy Grace for having the foresight earlier this year to invest hours and hours into updating this site and making all the maps so clean and interactive– what would we do without her??  

Pace Group Running Challenge.  The Perfect 10s have created a fun challenge to help stay connected in our time of solo/duo runs.  They have challenged themselves to running 500 collective miles by April 17 (they’re killing it– they’ll definitely have to up their goal!).  Each runner who wants to participate is tracking her mileage by week on a group Google Sheet.  The 9s (okay, sometimes known as the Naughty 9s) have joined in with their own sheet now, so it is possible there could be a friendly rivalry stirring up.  And another great thing is that our alumni who have stayed connected can also join in.  Here’s a screen shot (from earlier this week) of the sheet Devy came up with if any other group wants to jump in and create their own!  Thanks for the model, Devy!

I believe the 11s are doing something similar with overall exercise minutes, which is another great idea, especially as we don’t know exactly where things will go with how much we are allowed to be out and about (more on that below).  In addition, we’ve heard about groups within WRW having virtual meetings/hangouts via Zoom or Houseparty, and the Beginners even doing yoga together via a video chat platform.  I love hearing how you’re all staying socially connected despite the physical distancing– if you have any other great ideas or fun experiences, please share!

Coming soon.  We are working with Karen Hough, known to some as ‘The Boss’ for her Thursday bootcamps, to create a shared workout experience that doesn’t rely on being able to get outside and run.  Karen is also a coach on fitness platform Beachbody, and she has agreed to extend an invitation to all of us who want to join a private, nonmembership group with her to complete and track together challenges and workouts set within the group.  If you are interested in joining this group, please register your e-mail on this Google form.  There’s no commitment and no cost, but we will keep you in the loop and let you know when we’re ready to get started.
You are truly a strong, resilient group of women.  I’ve seen nothing but positivity and humor in all the chats and communications I’ve been a part of as we’ve transitioned this week to a new kind of community.  Keep chatting, keep lifting each other up– you are all inspiring!  Most of all, as always but especially now, take care of yourselves, and take care of each other!
xx Micki

Camden/Mornington Crescent – 5 Miles
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, cross the Broad Walk at the ornamental fountain and head along the path with the Zoo to our right. Turn left onto the Outer Circle, past the Avenue Road exit, and right at the second exit (where we usually enter for the canal or park). Run up Charlbert Street to St John’s Wood Terrace and make a left to head back to the High Street.

Website:  http://womenrunningtheworld.com/
Facebook Group:  Women Running The World (request to join)
Email: wrwlondon@gmail.com

16 – 20 March 2020 Running Info

Hello Runners!
What a week. 
I’ve delayed sending this e-mail as things continue to change so rapidly.  At the moment there is no official advice to prevent or discourage our meeting up and continuing to run, so long as we are following guidance on self-isolation if one of us, or someone in our family, is feeling unwell with fever, a dry cough, or breathing difficulties (though as someone pointed out, running up Fitzjohn is not the right time to assess whether you are short of breath!).  We will keep sending routes and encouragement as long as being out and about falls within public health guidance.  We know you all will do what you need to in terms of taking care of yourselves and your families, as well as keeping up with our responsibilities to public health.  
In thinking about our disappointment over the weekend, and looking at the photos you sent this week, I was struck again by how we smile, and run, and take care of each other through it all.  If you didn’t see this on our WRW Facebook page, here is a “cheer up” slideshow from the photos you’ve sent in over the last weeks of our training.  

Running this week.  Monday was our planned 11-mile run to Kew Gardens, and we’ve heard from quite a few people who are still keen to go on this favourite annual trek!  So we’re keeping that on the schedule.  But of course you are welcome to switch gears to a different route if you’re not interested in pushing to this training milestone.  Wednesday we are planning to do the Primrose Hill to Regents Park 5+mile route.  And Friday we’ll go back up to the Heath, but head for a change of scenery in the Pergola for about 6.5 miles.  All maps and directions can be found in the Routes section below.  
Important change to meet-up time/place!!  As ASL has now closed school until at least April 17, we will move to the 8:30 meetup time, as we generally do when there is no school for one reason or another.  In addition, thinking both about public health and perceptions, we have decided to disperse our morning meet-up so we are not such a big group massing on the Barclays corner.  Let’s be sure this is just a temporary measure– we will all come together again for our morning meet-up whenever this virus dies down!  In the meantime, here’s the new arrangement:
8’s will meet in the courtyard next to the old Post Office (across the street from Barclays)
9’s will meet in front of the SJW tube stop
10’s will meet in front of the Duke of York (across the street from Pret)
11’s will meet at Barclays as usual.

Shoutouts.  I first want to say an immense, slightly teary thank you to all of you from those of us– particularly Carolyn, Sue, Amy and myself– who’ve been involved in planning the race, as well as in the decisions over the last several days.  You have been SO gracious, supportive, positive, and appreciative!  We’ve appreciated every single note and word you’ve offered.  You are an exceptional group of women, and we each feel lucky to get to run with you and serve WRW.  
Another thanks to Magali for organising our Elgin breakfast last week– that was lovely, and such a great opportunity to come together after the news of the day before.  And though I hope we will have the chance to do a celebration dinner and properly recognise all who worked on the ‘race that never was’– I can’t miss thanking a few people right here, right now, just in case.  As you know, Carolyn worked tirelessly both planning and cancelling plans regarding everything around the trip.  Sue has spreadsheets of her spreadsheets from keeping all of our data straight.  Amy spent countless hours putting together our annual photo directory, in addition to the countless other things she already does for us!  Marissa designed and procured such fabulous kit– we would have looked amazing all running together!  Megan has a BAFTA-worthy video ready for our entertainment.  Julie, Mariya and Devy organised tours and meals, respectively, working initially to expand capacity to include our huge numbers, and then going back and securing refunds for us when we had to cancel.  This was a fantastic, efficient, great team working behind the scenes, and I hope we have the opportunity to give them all the appreciation they deserve, in person!

Looking ahead.  We all know that things are changing daily at this point.  For the time being, it seems like running is one of the things we can still do– as it’s outside and not a contact sport.  This article in Runner’s World is encouraging, saying “it’s safer to be outside than inside when it comes to disease transmission.”  But of course we know some may not be comfortable coming out to run with the group, or perhaps not able to, given school closure.  Know that we understand and support everyone’s personal decision in these matters!  We will continue to watch for the latest guidance, and will make any changes to our running plans as necessary.  In the short term, that may mean the Routes Team will work out a new schedule with runs that rely less on public transportation.  It’s reasonable to assume that at some point our schedule may be disrupted, but we will get through that together, too!
Stay healthy and sane through all of this, and keep your connections to each other tight no matter what your physical distance!  Sending each of you my best,
xx Micki

Monday, 16 March – Kew Gardens (11 miles)

Bring your Oyster or contactless card and wear running shoes you don’t mind getting muddy if you have them! You’ll be feeling exhilarated as we do our 11 mile run to the cute 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 walkway as we regularly do, to Hyde Park Corner. At the end of the walk, turn right to follow the main cross route in the park—beware of the bike lane! When this ends at West Carriage Drive, cross the road at the crossing and continue on the pathway towards the southwest corner of Kensington Gardens. We’ll run out of the park at the Broadwalk, turning right onto Kensington High Street and continue for about two miles until we reach the Hammersmith Tube gyratory. Run counter clockwise towards the left, ending up on Queen Caroline Street which gets you to St. Paul’s Church green. Run along the green to the right, heading to and crossing over Hammersmith Bridge. Exit Hammersmith Bridge Road to your left, go down the stairs and run under the bridge onto the Thames footpath. Now it’s time to enjoy the view as we run along the Thames for almost four miles—it’s beautiful! We will exit at the 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. Here there are two options. Option 1 is on the route map but option 2 may be easier to remember. The distance is the same. Option 1 – At the 3-way intersection, veer left on Mortlake Road, then shortly thereafter turn right on Cumberland Road, which will merge into Kew Gardens Road. You’ll do a turn to the left onto Station Approach [follow the Kew Gardens Station signs]. There is a Starbucks around the small bend where we’ll all meet up to congratulate ourselves on such a great run! Option 2 – At the 3-way intersection, 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 (it is only 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 congratulate ourselves on such a great run!

Wednesday, 18 March – Primrose Hill/Regents Park (5+ miles)
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.

Primrose Hill/Regents Park

Friday, 20 March – The Heath Pergola (6.3 mile)Head out from Barclays to Avenue Road, then up Fitzjohn’s per all the Heath routes.
Continue past Hampstead Tube Station all the way to the roundabout just beyond Whitestone Pond. At the roundabout, use the pedestrian crossings to cross counterclockwise over to New End Way to Jack Straws Castle (now a personal training gym) and continue past the parking lot entrance and past the bus stop to turn left onto a small street called Inverforth Close. A short way down, there is a trail to the right with a green barrier gate and a sign that says “The Hill Garden.” Here are pictures of the trail:

Follow this trail until you come to an entrance on the left for “The Hill Garden and Pergola”, enter it and go to the right around the big bushes. You will see a beautiful reflecting pool. Run alongside it and up the stairs-you are on the Pergola! Run or walk the length of the Pergola.  Don’t forget to look at the beautiful views, admire the flowers and take a pic or two. Please be considerate and don’t run if others are walking the Pergola. When you have finished with your Pergola time and reached the far end, take the stairs down and turn left to run on the wide trail back to New End Road, turning right to run by Jack Straws Castle and crossing left at the pedestrian crosswalks by the roundabout to put you back on the standard Heath route. Turn left from the crosswalk and then right to enter the Heath. 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 Rd. 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).

And of course there are always the other Heath routes if you prefer:
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.

9 – 13 March 2020 Running Info

Hello Runners,
Happy Saturday, and well done on a strong week of running!  Monday’s Canada Water run was a fun way to get another long one done and dusted, and it’s also great for our photo library, with those Tower Bridge views from both sides:)  But with a sunny Friday run, and a celebrity-sighting on Wednesday, we were spoilt for choice on photos once again.  

Running this week.  Monday we will repeat the new 9-mile Battersea to Big Ben route.  Directions and the map are below, as always.  Wednesday we are doing a 6+ mile Notting Hill loop that will end at The Elgin in Maida Vale for an All-WRW Coffee!  The Elgin is at the corner of Elgin Ave and Lanark Rd, near the Maida Vale tube station, and we will be there from about 9:30 to 11:30.  So even if you can’t make the run, please do stop by the pub (I’m so sorry to warn those of us among the injured that the function room is upstairs… but you know you will have all the assistance you might need– or maybe more than you need– from all of us!).  This is also a chance to meet some of the Beginners’ Group, so be sure to introduce yourself and make them feel welcome!  Friday?  We’re going to the Heath again, of course. 

Prague update.  I know it’s very hard to wait for news and decisions when the whole world is responding to the COVID-19 virus, but that is the space we’re remaining in for now.  You all will have received an e-mail from RunCzech on Thursday with their current status and thinking, and they set an expectation for an update on Monday afternoon.  Our plan at the moment is still to go if the race is on, but we are considering it from many angles, taking in all the new recommendations, and carefully watching all new developments.  Carolyn continues to be in touch with the race organizers, the hotel management and the restaurants to gauge their flexibility, and we are factoring both of those inputs into our thinking as well.  Please bear with us as the situation continues to develop.  And meanwhile… if you haven’t sent in your photo directory google survey yet, please do so!!

Shoutouts and Announcements.  We had several women run the Vitality Big Half in London last weekend, and I missed a few in the shoutouts!  So here’s another try… congratulations to Laura Beal, Jess Browne, Veena Gopal, Alysia Hoyt, Axelia Larsen, and Charlotte Sinclair!  Well done, ladies– and what a great day for running!  As I sit here sincerely hoping I haven’t missed anyone, it feels like a good time for me to remind you to let us know at wrwlondon@gmail.com if you or a friend are running a race– we love to give shoutouts, and it’s completely free!!  
Send out a happy birthday wish for our founder, Paula Mitchell, as we do our lovely run around Battersea Park on her birthday Monday!  Many of us would not be running if it weren’t for her– myself absolutely included!  

And finally, I really, really hate to ask this question… but it’s the time of year when we start to think about who will be leaving us at the end of the school year.  Please let us know if you will be moving away from London, so that we can include you in our plans to give the fondest of farewells.  You can drop us an email (again, wrwlondon@gmail.com) or speak with Megan Marine, myself, or your pace leaders.  And if you’re not quite sure and you want us to keep it quiet for now, just let us know that as well!

Looking ahead.  Don’t forget to come to the all-WRW Coffee on Wednesday morning at the Elgin after the run!  Spread the word amongst your pace groups and to anyone who doesn’t read the e-mail!
Our last long run before the scheduled half will be Monday, March 16 to Kew Gardens for 11 miles.  It’s a great run, so mark your calendars and try not to miss it!  After the half marathon, we will send out a new list of noteworthy runs to work your schedule around– we always do lots of fun ones in the Spring, so there’s plenty to look forward to!
Tomorrow is International Women’s Day, and I just want to tell you all how inspirational I find your strength, your solidarity with and support for one another, and the deep well of joy and gratitude within each of you despite whatever big or small issues you’re dealing with in life.  You are amazing, individually and collectively!  Raise a thought, or even better a glass, to yourselves and one another sometime on this day!  Looking forward to seeing you at Barclays Monday morning, as always…
xx Micki

Monday, 9 March – Battersea Park to Big Ben (9 miles)

Start out from Barclays to Hyde Park, along the eastern edge of the park, and head towards Sloane Square down Sloane Street the usual way.  Cross Sloane Square onto Lower Sloane Street (which turns into Chelsea Bridge Road), then over Chelsea Bridge to the south bank of the Thames.  Turn right into Battersea Park and run along the outer perimeter of the park.  The park paths will meander some but that’s the fun of running in a park!  Once you make your way around the park and back to the Thames, run along the river path back to Chelsea Bridge.  For the final part of the run head back over the bridge and run along the north side of the Thames along the Embankment all the way to Big Ben and Westminster tube station. 

Wednesday, 11 March – Notting Hill to The Elgin  (6.3 miles)
Start out heading west on Circus Road, turn left on Grove End to St John’s Wood Road and go west, turning left on Cunningham then right on Aberdeen to work your way to Blomfield Rd. Run along the street sidewalk and cross the Westbourne Terrace Road bridge. Turn right 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 then run down Ladbroke Grove to Elgin Crescent and make a left. Cross Portobello Road and continue on what is now Colville Terrace until it meets Ledbury Road where we turn right and then left at Westbourne Grove. Run down Westbourne Grove to the top of Bishop’s Bridge, then left down the steps into Sheldon Square (across from the Paddington Station entrance). Stay left along the canal until you can cross the blue bridge at Westbourne Terrace Rd. Run along Blomfield, left on Randolph Rd, left on Randolph Ave, right on Sutherland, and left on Lanark until you reach Elgin Ave and The Elgin.

Friday, 13 March – The Heath (8 miles)
It’s Friday which means everyone up to the Heath. You can pick your distance and whatever you choose, there will certainly be someone else interested in running that distance. All of these routes are on the website.

Run down Circus Rd past Starbucks to the end and turn left on Townshend Rd. Turn right on Acacia then left on Avenue. Cross diagonally over Adelaide Rd to run past the Swiss Cottage tube and proceed up Fitzjohn’s Avenue. Run up the hill to the Hampstead Heath Tube. Continue up Heath St (to the left of the Tube) all the way to the stoplight at E Heath Rd. Cross at the light, continue past the roundabout, and enter the Heath at the first trail entrance on your right. Follow this major trail down past Lime Avenue and other smaller trails, fields and forested areas. As the trail starts to veer right, take the sharp left to run up Parliament Hill. Enjoy the spectacular vista (and catch your breath before continuing down the other side of the hill), keeping left when the path splits and taking a sharp left at the bottom of the hill. Run past three ponds on your right, turn right after the third pond and up the rise to a wide gate (loos on your left here). Go through the gate and turn left along the eastern edge of the Heath. Follow the path downhill then up until you reach the gate on the left that marks the entrance to the Kenwood House grounds. Enter the grounds, turn right to run past Kenwood House, then right again through the gate onto a gravelly path. Follow the path through a gate, and stay on the path as it bears left and passes a wooden bench on the left. Keep your eye out for a small clearing ahead on the left with another bench — when you see it (but before you pass it!) take a hard right down a steep path that crosses a small bridge and heads uphill again. Turn right at the main trail intersect (this is the same trail you ran down at the beginning of the Heath, in the opposite direction) and run back up to where you entered the Heath. Turn left on Spaniards Rd and retrace your steps all the way back to SJW and Starbucks.

If you are not up for a hill run, no problem. Every week there are a group of women who prefer to do a flat run. We can help make sure that you find each other.
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.

2 – 6 March 2020 Running Info

Hello Runners!
Congratulations, we’ve just weathered the wettest UK February in history! (I hadn’t noticed, had you??). Seriously, I am so proud of us all for just getting out there to do our training, no matter what the skies do!  Take a look at those beginners in the collage above and you might even be able to see the snow pelting down (yes, it was pelting snow!) on them as they set out for Wembley in the best of spirits last Thursday.  Amazing! 

Let’s take a second here at the start of this note to talk about the Prague trip in light of the COVID-19 issue, because it really has been a surreal week since we’ve returned from break.  Carolyn is in close contact with the Prague half marathon organizers, and everything is still on for the moment.  We will let you know immediately if we hear of any changes.  Meanwhile, do take care of yourselves and your families, follow the health guidance issued by NHS and the government, stay well, and keep running!  Your WRW team is hoping for the best with Prague, but also working on contingency plans.  Please do fill out the Meal Choices google survey by Monday, March 2; and the Photo Directory survey by Wednesday, March 4.  And let us know if you are planning to go to Prague and did not receive an email about these items!

Running this week.  Plan to arrive at Barclays on time or a little early Monday morning for our film-making phenom, Megan Marine, to get some footage for this year’s WRW video.  After the brief filming, we will run 10 miles to Canada Water.  This route debuted just last year, so everyone please take time to have a look at the route map and description below so we can all help each other out!  It’s a fun route that sets out like our Borough Market and Tower Bridge runs, but then instead of crossing the river, continues along the south side all the way to Rotherhithe, with a loop to finish right at ten miles on a nice little basin area outside the Jubilee-line Canada Water station.  Quite conveniently, there is also a big Decathlon sports store right nearby if you happen to need any supplies for your training or the race.  On Wednesday we’ll do a 2-mile tempo loop around the Regents Park outer circle– see guidance in the Routes section below.  And Friday we will return to the 8-mile full Heath route we’ve been working on learning this winter.  We may have been lost a few times, but so far everyone has found their way back eventually!

Training notes.  You are all doing a great job of showing up and getting the miles in.  Now is the time to keep it steady– continue to follow the planned training, but don’t do anything that’s too much of an increase in distance or intensity.  Our founder Paula used to say that if your legs are sore on the day after a long run, you are running the wrong pace (too fast).  But if you run too slowly on the long run, your hips and knees may scream at you.  Concentrate on your own sweet spot, and keep it up with the stretching, rolling, nutrition, hydration, and sleep.  Make sure you have the shoes and any other kit you will want for the half, and that you break them in on some mid-distance runs rather than on a long one in which blisters could become an issue.  Remember, “nothing new on race day!”

Shoutouts and Announcements.  A salute to a few ladies who are running the Vitality Big Half tomorrow in London– Jess Browne, Veena Gopal, and Charlotte Sinclair.  Good luck, ladies!!  Also tomorrow morning, some members of this year’s Beginners’ Group are running the Regents Park 10K to get that first race under their belts before Prague, despite the London Winter 10K having been cancelled earlier in February.
And finally, a huge shoutout to our fearless founder, Paula Mitchell, who finished the Alps to Ocean Ultra in New Zealand this week!  This was a 200-mile, 7 stage event run over 7 days, with stages varying in length from 29k (18 miles) to 88k (54 miles!).  Another astonishing achievement by the woman who taught so many of us to run, and who gave all of us the gift of this group!  All of her Women Running the World are so proud of her!

Looking ahead.  After this week, we have only two more long runs!  And this week is our last official tempo run before the half marathon.
Monday, 9 March – Battersea Loop (9 miles)
Wednesday, 11 March – All-WRW Pre-race Coffee (details to come!)
Monday, 16 March – Kew Gardens (11 miles)
Thursday, 26 March – Depart for Prague!

I know I say something like this every week, but… I can’t wait to run with you this week!  I love meeting up with the runners from my neighborhood, and seeing others meet up coming from other directions as we all home in toward Barclays three times a week.  And then the miles melt away when we’re doing them together, and we get to feel strong all week for what we achieve together!  Enjoy the rest of your weekend– see you soon!
xx Micki

Monday, 2 March – Canada Water 10 miles
To view the route in detail, click here to for a zoomable map of the route on our MapMyRun site: https://www.mapmyrun.com/routes/view/2407126285. This route takes us along the Thames Path past Borough Market and Tower Bridge to Canada Water tube station (Jubilee line) in Rotherhithe. Head to Hyde Park in the usual manner. At the park, cross North Carriage Road, turn right at the silver sphere, and left just after the Italian Gardens, keeping the Serpentine to your left. Turn right at the end of the Serpentine to run along the southern edge of the park to Hyde Park Corner. Proceed towards Borough Market – past Buckingham Palace and Big Ben, across Westminster Bridge, and left along the Thames Path to the Golden Hinde. Follow the walkway to the right of the Golden Hinde and at the junction with Southwark Cathedral, turn sharply left and follow Montague Close, passing through the tunnel. You are now on Tooley Street. Shortly, you will see the “Number 1” bar on the right and a London map sign on the sidewalk – turn left here (photo below)

Canada Water

Turn right at the end of the passage – you are back on the river. Run under Tower Bridge, turn left down the tiny alley called “Maggie Blake’s Cause” (photo below), then right at the river. If you look behind you, you will see Tower Bridge – we don’t usually get this view!

Turn right off the river at Maguire Street (between the Ask Italian restuarant and the Blue Print Cafe). Turn left on Shad Thames and follow Shad Thames until it ends, then turn left on Jamaica Road. After a short stretch on this busy road take a left into George Row (directly opposite the Tesco Metro on the other side of Jamaica Road. The road sign for George Row is hard to see, so keep your eye out for the Tesco.) Follow George Row for a few blocks, heading back towards the river, then turn right onto Chambers Street. After the Thames Water building site on the left take the next left onto Loftie Street, then right at Bermondsey Wall East. Continue along Bermondsey Wall East – you’ll see glimpses of the river to your left. If in doubt, the black Thames Path/Rotherhithe Village signs point the general direction. Go straight through a narrow passage (see photo below) to reach the historic heart of Rotherhithe where the road turns into Rotherhithe Street.

You will soon see a small burial ground on your right, where Christopher Jones, the captain of the Mayflower, is buried. Then on the left you’ll pass The Mayflower pub, named in honor of his ship. Continue along Rotherhithe Street until you come to a red metal bridge — turn right immediately before the bridge and go down the path alongside a canal, keeping the water to your left. (photo below)

At Salter St, cross the road and follow the path with the water on your left, and continue alongside the water/canal until you reach a large open area with Canada Water station (Jubilee Line) to your right and the Canada Water library in front of you. This is the end of the route, you made it!

Canada Water

There is a coffee shop on the left called Mouse Tail Coffee Stories where you can find some refreshments. And, if you want to shop for athletic gear, check out Decathlon just beyond the coffee shop!

Wednesday, 4 March – 2-mile Tempo Regents
Head to the outer circle of Regent’s Park, taking the normal way to the Charlbert entrance. Turn right to pass the US Ambassador’s house (Winfield House) and continue past the mosque to York Bridge (this is where we sometimes turn left to run the inner circle). At this point pick up your pace, as the “tempo” part of the run begins (see guidance below). Stay on the Outer Circle and keep a sub-race pace back to the Charlbert entrance area (push yourself just past it to the second driveway of the Ambassador’s house for the full 2 miles). If you want a longer tempo segment, carry on to the mosque for 2.15 miles or all the way back to the York Bridge turn for 2.75 miles. Ease into the wide entrance area and have a little recovery jog until your group is all gathered again. Consider a nice and easy cool-down just inside the park, then take an easy pace back to the St Johns Wood High Street for stretching, followed by coffee. Note that the tempo part of this run should be sub-race pace– aim for about 30 seconds faster than your anticipated half-marathon pace. Remember this is 2 miles, not 13! If you are not sure of your race pace, this might be an opportunity to gauge it. Below are suggested times, but these are just general guidelines. Please adjust if these are too fast or too slow, and realise that not everyone in your pace group will be running at the same pace for this run.
For the 8’s – 7:45-8:00 per mile
For the 9’s – 8:45 per mile
For the 10’s – 9:55 per mile
For the 11’s – 10:55 per mile

Friday, 6 March – The Heath 8 miles
Run down Circus Rd past Starbucks to the end and turn left on Townshend Rd. Turn right on Acacia then left on Avenue. Cross diagonally over Adelaide Rd to run past the Swiss Cottage tube and proceed up Fitzjohn’s Avenue. Run up the hill to the Hampstead Heath Tube. Continue up Heath St (to the left of the Tube) all the way to the stoplight at E Heath Rd. Cross at the light, continue past the roundabout, and enter the Heath at the first trail entrance on your right. Follow this major trail down past Lime Avenue and other smaller trails, fields and forested areas. As the trail starts to veer right, take the sharp left to run up Parliament Hill. Enjoy the spectacular vista (and catch your breath before continuing down the other side of the hill, keeping left when the path splits and taking a sharp left at the bottom of the hill. Run past three ponds on your right, turn right after the third pond and up the rise to a wide gate (loos on your left here). Go through the gate and turn left along the eastern edge of the Heath. Follow the path downhill then up until you reach the gate on the left that marks the entrance to the Kenwood House grounds. Enter the grounds, turn right to run past Kenwood House, then right again through the gate onto a gravelly path. Follow the path through a gate, and stay on the path as it bears left and passes a wooden bench on the left. Keep your eye out for a small clearing ahead on the left with another bench — when you see it (but before you pass it!) take a hard right down a steep path that crosses a small bridge and heads uphill again. Turn right at the main trail intersect (this is the same trail you ran down at the beginning of the Heath, in the opposite direction) and run back up to where you entered the Heath. Turn left on Spaniards Rd and retrace your steps all the way back to SJW and Starbucks.

As always, the other Heath routes are always an option:
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.