Sunday 22 September 2019

Daily photo - 22: Thames path run

Docklands as seen from Greenwich Park
Today was the day I needed to do my long run. On the agenda was 18 miles to do. Marathon training can be quite dull, and sometimes you get days where you really don't feel like running so far. Don't get me wrong I enjoy running but occasionally I get days where I feel like doing something else - riding my bike, going for a swim, or just lounging around. Even if I do decide to run, it's only really a 5km spin that seems appealing.

On top of that, the weather was not looking great. The weather hadn't been looking too bad first thing in the morning, contrary to what the weather forecast said. After resolving to get ready to run the sky turned black and there was a heavy shower. Perhaps a good excuse to stay home?

I actually felt quite annoyed that the weather turned just as I was due to go out. At these moments I develop a defiant streak and I think, "I'm not going to let the weather stop me!" So I continued to prepare myself and gathered together lots of waterproofs and warm clothing.

As a way to motivate myself I decided that my run would be a trip into Central London. Yeah, yeah why don't I get the number 3 bus, or jump on a train at Norwood Junction? That's not so interesting. How about a trip that takes in various parts of London that I can see up close?

So my route was going to be to take the Waterlink Way, a waymarked route to Greenwich that follows the Ravensbourne River. From Greenwich I would then cross the River Thames via the foot tunnel and then run along the Thames Path all the way to Westminster. Hopefully I would arrive into Central London before the shops closed and I could go to Waterstones and reward myself with a book.

That was the plan - hopefully it would stay dry. As I stepped out of the house covered with waterproofs and with my hood up, also laden with extra clothes I felt very hesitant and wondered if I was doing a wise thing running into bad weather.

In fact, the rain became lighter and lighter. Furthermore, it was still quite warm and muggy and I ended up having to strip off. In fact, as well as running with a small backpack I was now running with a kit bag with my anorak, long-sleeved top, anorak, hat, food and phone.

I got various odd looks as I ran through Beckenham and Lewisham with all my kit. But I didn't care. I was glad to be out, and I was looking forward to going around London.

By the time I reached Greenwich the rain had stopped completely and at times the sun was even trying to come out. The view of Docklands from Greenwich Park was beautiful. Having the silver-coloured buildings juxtaposed against the different shades of green of the trees in the park.

The other side of the river was what I call "old London" - places like Shadwell and Wapping with cobbled streets and old houses of the former dock workers. Following the Thames Path also gives an appreciation of how twisty the River Thames is, and also how dominant the office complex of Canary Wharf is in that area.

Docklands as seen from Wapping
The path had been very quiet, practically devoid of people, but once I reached Tower Bridge the numbers swelled and at times it became difficult to run along the path as it was packed with tourists, particularly around the Globe Theatre, Tate Modern, and Royal Festival Hall.

Finally I arrived at Westminster Bridge where I climbed the stairs to reach street level and I made my way up through St James's Park to get to Waterstones.

Phew, I was there in the nick of time. It had been a fun run, though with more than 18 miles in my legs they were definitely feeling it. With just 10 minutes to spare I had to make a choice. Not being able to think completely straight I just picked up a book quickly - Acid House by Irvine Welsh. The running had put me on a high!

This was the route that I took, as recorded on Strava

Related posts
Another day another run - at South Norwood Lake

South London running route

Trail running in Cheshire, Yorkshire and Bellagio Skyrace too!

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