Running in London is different. For starters, pedestrians do NOT have the right of way. Ever. Aside from the fact that I am continually looking the wrong way at every intersection, cars will rarely yield to you. Step out in front of a moving car, you will probably be hit. Every intersection presents a scary, potential death trap. Adding further complication is the fact that all the roads are curly so I’m continually lost. For someone with a generally poor sense of direction, this is a tough city to navigate. That handy grid system that most North American cities seem to have does not apply here. GPS is my friend.
Despite the obstacles, I have managed a few pleasurable runs so far. On Sunday, we decided we’d run south to Tower Bridge and circle back along London Bridge. It sounded good. We could take in some touristy sites while getting a bit of exercise at the same time. Turns out, this wasn’t an original weekend idea. Running on these bridges on a Sunday afternoon was more akin to agility training with all the people strolling along. While it afforded lots of picturesque photo ops, it was definitely hard to get a consistent pace going. Regardless, still a nice 6.5K run to start my running adventures here in London.
On Monday night, I joined the Adidas 26rs, the run club that runs daily from the London Marathon Store. I discovered this group a few weeks ago and was thrilled to find out that they have a nightly run from the store. Only 4 other runners joined for the weekly 5K. The run leader blamed the “winter” weather for deterring people. I find it comical that no matter where you are, winter deters people from outdoor activity even if a blustery winter night here in London is still 5C. Sorry Toronto.
Coincidentally, the route planned for Monday’s run was very similar to my bridge run except the reversed direction. I was pleased to see that the crowds we encountered Sunday afternoon were greatly diminished on a Monday night.
With a nice slow pace, I was really able to appreciate my surroundings. The bridges looked so beautiful at night, and it was nice to be able to appreciate the atmosphere since I had a group to follow. It was also good motivation to keep up with the group. Stay with the group, or be lost forever in London. With a nice, comfortable pace, I was able to chat with the run leader and grill him on the best places to run in London. He was a wealth of information recommending various parks and trails around the city. I’m excited to explore some less populated areas for running.
I’m thankful there’s a thriving running community in this city, and there’s a seemingly endless number of races to run. This is a very good thing, because the other awesome thing about London is the abundant places to eat and drink. This reputation about the food in London being bad is really, really, wrong. I need to run to compensate for all the increased eating and drinking. Thankfully, there’s a lot of opportunities to do that.
In other news, I made a logo for Thoughts and Pavement. I think I will put it on a tshirt and wear it to races. #ShamelessSelfPromotion