Running in a new city is a lot of fun. Every route is new and interesting and there’s a lot to discover in a city like London. In addition to some exciting urban landscapes, there’s also parks, trails and canals to run along all across the city. Run tourism, or “sight-running” as it is sometimes called, is quickly becoming my new favourite pastime. It’s the perfect combination of running and sightseeing, and to be honest, a much needed activity to compensate for all the great food and wine I’ve been consuming lately!
I guess I still feel a little bit like I’m on vacation. While I’ve been in London for more than a month, I still don’t totally feel like I live here yet. As a result, it’s very easy to let shopping, eating, exploring and drinking take priority over a workout. However, run tourism seems to be a winning compromise!
The other positive benefit of run tourism is that I seem to be a lot more likely to convince my husband Graham to come running with me if there is a cool touristy landmark or some sort of new destination to find. Last weekend, we decided we would go from our flat to Olympic Park – straight through the heart of East London. There were some really lovely parts along the way, and some not so lovely parts, but it was very satisfying when we actually found our destination. Being new to the city, we get lost a lot. We arrived at our destination having run more than 7K so we decided to be ambitious and run around Olympic Park to make it a solid 10K. With lots to look at, the run seemed to fly by.
Our run ended, coincidentally, right in front of the Nike store at the Westfield Shopping Centre. It was pretty cool to be back there considering when we visited for the Olympics in 2012, we didn’t think we would ever see it again. While there, we also learned about the latest plans for the area. The city is turning the existing stadium into a multi-use space anticipated to be complete in 2016. The stadium, once upgraded, will have an 84 metre retractable roof – the largest of its kind in the world!
This past weekend, we moved to our permanent flat which is very close to Regent’s Canal. I couldn’t wait to check it out and the warm, spring-like temperatures made the prospect of more run tourism a very alluring idea (Sorry Canada!) The canal is lovely. Traffic free for 18 miles, it’s the perfect spot for a peaceful jog. Though it can be quite busy and the trail is narrow. You have to pay attention or you’ll end up adding a swim to your afternoon jog.
Following our run, we capped off with a Sunday roast at a local pub. Absolute perfection. I can definitely see myself making this a habit.