On Wednesday I was invited to the Olympic Park in London to see the BT Studios and the filming of Rugby Tonight. Given that my coach arrived in Victoria and the Olympic Park is at Stratford, East London, it made perfect sense to spend the afternoon running across the city.
After a spot of lunch and a wander up Park Lane looking at all the things I will never afford – cars, property, a martini at The Library Bar – it was time to start running from Marble Arch. I headed out the wrong way on purpose, heading west and in to Hyde Park to see the venue for the Olympic Triathlon. The first landmark I bumped in to though was a statue of Achilles, ironic given the amount of strapping I had on my own ankles!
Having had a good look at the Serpentine I’m quite glad I’m not an Olympic triathlete.
Turning back and finally heading East, I linked up the 3 royal parks in central London, taking in a few landmarks on the way.
From the parks I headed down to the river, and was in for a bit of a shock. I’d never seen the Thames so high! In places it was breaching the river wall and flowing across the pavement. Added an extra level of excitement seeing the city like this, I love that every journey across London is different.
Following the river makes for easy navigation, so I was able to open my legs and enjoy the light rain and cold breeze taking in the sights and sounds of the city. I’ve always loved London, and running through it’s streets is the perfect way to see the best of it. Until the river floods your path that is…
At this point I had to turn away from the river and things got a lot less interesting. Heading in to unknown parts I was forced to refer to my A-Z with annoying regularity. The open paths of the Thames were replaced with the crowded streets of Aldgate market and the ever present threat of traffic. There wasn’t much to enjoy about the next few miles, there were no landmarks to target or more interesting roads to aim for, it was just a slog through East London. The only high points came when I ran along Savage Gardens and sang to myself and saw my first giant poster of Jennifer Lawrence, that put a spring in my step!
As the sun went down I strode in to Victoria Park and the last few miles. It was nice to be away from the hustle and bustle again, I love finding these hidden oases and running is surely the best way of doing that. By now the rain was a little more persistent but I hardly noticed as I reveled in the joy of running.
Almost too soon I was arriving at the Olympic Park and the end of my 11 miles across London. I could have taken in a gallery and spent a fiver on the tube instead, but I’m so glad I didn’t!