Tag Archives: tourism

London 2017: Running Tourism

I’m back in the U.K. for some charity business and found myself in need of a run. 

So, I planned an interest 5.5 mile route that took in many sights of London. 

I started on Kingsway and headed down toward The Strand and through theatre district. 

This led to Trafalgar Square and the entrance to The Mall. This run along St. James’ Park takes you to Buckingham Palace (“Mornin’ Ma’am!”). 

A swift left-turn takes you back towards the Thames and Westminster. And, yes, I timed it perfectly to hear the seven AM chimes. Dong!

Over the Westminster bridge and then down onto the South Bank and past the Millennium Wheel. It was quite icy down here by the river so I chose to run along the tree line as the roots provide a little extra heat into the ground and reduce ice (top-tip).

Running past the Arty cinemas and museums of the South Bank, I eventually ended up at the Millennium Bridge and crossed back to the north-side. 

This bridge leaves you with one of the most English view available: a clear shot of St. Paul’s Cathedral. Lovely. No time for picture though. 

(This is what I saw; thanks interwebs)

I made a right turn and turned north when I saw signs for Farringdon. After checking my gps, I found the road back towards my hotel and finished in good time. 

A really fast 8:08 pace which feels really fast when you are in a city. I only had to stop for lights four times on the whole run. 

It was again great to see sooooooo many cyclists and run-commuters in London. This always makes me smile. I saw a line of about thirty bikes at one point on my run. Crazy!

I was overtaken once on the route (as I headed up the steps in front of St. Paul’s) and overtook a lot of people while I was out. 

I hope to get out again in the remaining two mornings I have here. 

I’ll try to take some pictures on the next run. Promise. 


It’s a Small World After All

My travels to England have brought me first to Wokingham and my family home. 

I set out on my run realising that u hadn’t brought a water bottle or phone holder with me on the trip. It’s 78F and sunny here and I hadn’t expected that when I was packing. 

I ran out towards Binfield, then on through Hurst to a village called Whistley Green. 

You can always tell you’re in England when there’s a gentle ripple of applause for a youth cricket team to you right and a  cacophony on your left from the village duck pond! 

There were plenty of cyclist out on these country roads and the occasional runner. 

British roads are hire narrow so you have to be on the look out for approaching cars and to try and get out of the way, if possible. Some of the twisty country roads don’t have pavement (sidewalk) and you are out in the traffic. 

I gave way to a couple of tractors and a few fleet cyclists. 

After Whistley Green (sorry, I love that name), I turned and head toward Winnersh and the Dinton Pastures Country Park. As a child we used to bring our dog out here for walks around the lakes. 

En route to the lakes I ran off down a few random public footpaths that twisted through some bluebell meadows that were in full bloom. It is a pretty time of the year to be England. 

The lakes at Dinton Pastures have been made more people-friendly since my youth, which is to protect the grounds, I suspect. There were quite a lot of dog walkers and some more runners out here, and they have an ‘activity centre’ for boating and fishing. 

There were junior ranger nature walks and an epidemiology  centre for people to learn more about the world around them. We just used to have books with us. 🙂

After this, I asked directions back to Wokingham (as I don’t have phone service and wasn’t 100% sure which way to turn). 

I picked up a bottle of water at an Itlaian deli on the main road back to town, then took a back road off through the woods by what used to be the local all-girls school (clearly something that stood out in my childhood memories). 

This lead back through another recreational ground towards my parents home. 

13.8 miles most of which was on unfamiliar roads. Most relaxing and it seems like a very small world with hardly any distance between the local villages. 

Now to clean up and go out for a pub lunch! 

Running Tourism: Extended Tour of Wokingham

As the storm hits the East coast of the U.S., it has also impacted me in England. BA cancelled my flight home yesterday because of the storm so I had an extra day with my parents and an additional chance to stuff a curry down my neck!

One of my friends suggested an extension to my last local running route in Wokingham which I thought I wouldn’t be able to remember… Turns out somewhere inside the dark catacombs of my brain it did get stored away.

However, it did take me through areas I didn’t know before and I had to consult a map twice to find the narrow country roads that got me back to familiar territory.

The park in Woosehill was pretty muddy in places but it made a change to be running through some woodland. Then some of the narrow lanes I vaguely remembered from my childhood (Ludgrove) and exploring on my bike, but it is the faintest of memories.

Here’s the route: all 9.45 miles of it. Rotated for best fit on my phone screen.

2015/01/img_4232.pngWhile out there I stumbled upon this wonderful old hospital building that is enormous but is right in the middle of nowhere.

2015/01/img_4231.jpgWhen talking about the route with my father he said that it went past his golf club and the lake that my brother used to fish (now a nature reserve). I have vague memories of that lake…

9.45 miles in 1 hour 15 gives a pace of 7:56. Not my fastest but my legs felt like lead.

Anyway, I’m back home to get cleaned up and to pack for home, assuming they don’t cancel the flight again. I expect I’ll have to dig my car out when I get there!

Running Tourism: London Day 2

As promised yesterday, I took myself down the eastern side of the South bank this morning.

After the mile run down to the river I crossed on Westminster Bridge and then headed east. The view from the bridge this morning was a little brighter.

2015/01/img_4195.jpgOnce I started East there were plenty of photo opportunities along the river.

2015/01/img_4198.jpgFirst up was St Paul’s Cathedral which still looks good against the skyline despite all the modern buildings that are trying to take over.

2015/01/img_4199.jpgNext up was The Queen Elizabeth The First in a dock. Much smaller that version 2.

The trail around here started to get a little sketchy as it twisted in and it from the riverfront. When I found it next I had this view of a ship and the City.

2015/01/img_4200.jpgNext up was Tower Bridge. This is an iconic bridge and I had never run or walked across it before. I have two pictures of the bridge and one from it.



2015/01/img_4203.jpgOnce over the bridge I headed underneath and back West along the north embankment. This took me past The Tower of London.

2015/01/img_4204.jpgThe run here was also quite twisty but it was at least signposted. A security guard waved me toward one entrance that I would have otherwise missed in my quick run.

I was out for an hour and 37 seconds and covered 7.75 miles. So the pace was… (You should be able to do that in your head)… 7:46! Not bad given all the photo stops.

I have to say how impressed I am with Londoners and their improved fitness. So many people were running along the river and there are many many people using bicycles throughout the City. It is a really noticeable change from when I was last working here 14 years ago. But they could all do with cheering up a little, the miserable buggers.

The run back up the hill to the hotel was hard because of the traffic fumes starting to build. I knew this would be the case but had wanted to have a little more light for the run today, plus I have no meetings that I have to rush too.

2015/01/img_4205.pngOff to see my friends in my home town tonight and maybe take a run around that area. My folks say it has changed completely…

Travelling With Fast Feet

I am in NYC today for a friends wedding/paper-signing event and after a well-behaved night on the town it is time to make myself presentable for the day. But before I do…

One of the best things about running is how little gear you need with you to be able to run while you are travelling. Shoes, shirt, shorts, socks. That’s all you really need. Some would go without the shoes and socks too. Minimalist stylee.

But do I head to the basement gym with a tired treadmill grinding its worn bones and complaining at every step placed on it. Hell no!

Whenever I travel I make sure that I get out early in the morning and pound the streets. Shorts. Socks. Shoes. Shirt. And run. Seeing the soul of a city as it gentle wakes and fills with people allows you to glimpse the genuine character of the place.

Appreciating the empty streets and pavement/sidewalks, or the thrill of getting the timing right for the lights at the cross streets. Perhaps increasing your pace a little as you see the countdown for the crossings expiring at your next street. Building a map of the city in your head and noting interesting buildings whose features are accentuated and seem somehow more alive from the light cast by the low morning sun.

Perhaps you’ll find a river to run along. Target a park. Hit a normally busy shopping district that is a ghost town at this time. Dodge the street cleaners. Saying “Good Morning” to the hotel porters as you scoot by.

Why would anyone pass up the chance to do this. Wherever they go. Whatever the weather. It’s all good.

Sure the hungover business people at your hotel may look at you with a mocking indignation, but it is their loss, not yours.

I’ve run in many places in the US, around the coast of Ireland, the hills of Winterthür Switzerland, along the Danube in Belgrade Serbia, and around the ghosts of my childhood home town and University in England; often revealing things that I didn’t even notice when I was living there.

I wish I’d started running earlier in life as I’ve been to other beautiful places and would have liked to have had the chance to see them this way. Perhaps one day I’ll return and lay down some shoe rubber?

Running is the ultimate way to see a place.

Whether you are traveling for business or pleasure, be sure to throw in your running gear and get out there. You won’t regret it.

My only disappointment for today is that because of this ‘unlearning’ process I have to cut my run short; tempting though it is to ramp up the mileage and take in more sights, that might result in injury. So, just a short two and a half miler today with a pace affected by traffic lights and dodging other pedestrians.

Now to get suited and booted…