The ultimate concrete jungle. A run in London may not initially be deemed as the most “at one with nature” sort of run, however, don’t be fooled! London is full to the brim with parks, rivers, paths and loops to satisfy any keen runner in search of an escape. Of course there are classic places in central London to run – this is an insight into a local’s London.
1. From the centre heading north we arrive at the iconic park, Hampstead Heath. The location of the national cross country championships since before time began… the hill offering the most wonderful views of the city. Intrinsically rewarding after a tough grind to the top, then jaw-dropping views complete the feel-good factor. The park is covered with paths and cross country routes as well, finishing with a dip in the ponds afterwards. A midsummer night’s dream.
Arriving there is easy – Take the Northern Line northbound to Hampstead Station or there are two overground stations nearby too: Gospel Oak and Hampstead Heath.
2. From the centre heading West we come to Bushy Park: the national heritage site that serves as the original location of the parkrun. Not only is the park special in its own right for this reason, but it is also frequented with world class athletes, from St. Mary’s University student athletes, to Melbourne track club as they travel the world with the diamond league… a run in this park is bound to be met by established runners or the up and coming – keep an eye out.
Transport links will take you to Teddington station from Waterloo.
3. From the centre heading South East, yet another vantage point to admire the city views, Greenwich Park provides a tough hill session with the most breath-taking views. A quick cut off over the Thames, past the Cutty Sark and onto the Isle of Dogs allows for more exploration, only fractionally adding to total mileage. Don’t let time be a limiting factor, it’s where it began.
Various transport links allow arrival here – Greenwich or Cutty Sark DLR stops, Maze Hill or Blackheathstation from Waterloo.
4. From the centre heading North East, through the hustle and bustle of the up and coming East End, Hackney Marshes serves as an ideal running location. Following the River Lea, feel part of the legacy of The London 2012 Olympic Games. Follow the river either north or south and find an abundance of nature, sporting opportunities or parts of history that inspired a generation.
What’s more motivational than starting in the Olympic park?
The train or overground services allow arrival at Stratford station, from which a short walk, filled with fond memories of 2012 leads you to the River Lea and the start of your run.
5. From the centre heading even further north (marginally inside the boundary of the M25… I mean, is that even London?), Trent Park in the Borough of Enfield is astonishing. Running trails with views of the city is a unique juxtaposition and begging to be explored. Ideal for the Londoner seeking a quick fix of countryside escapism. Trent Park running club also hold frequent races; midweek runs and monthly handicaps.
The final stop on the Piccadilly Line, Cockfosters Station lies adjacent to the park.
Why do you run? Let us know how you get on exploring any of the above routes. Tell us your favourites that we are yet to explore.