Book review: Runner’s Guide to London

‘There is something truly special about running in London,’ Hayden Shearman insists in the introduction to his new book Runner’s Guide to London. I am not so sure. The longer you stay in a place and the more miles you trudge, the more cynical you become. The wonders you once marvelled at scarcely merit a…

Lessons learnt about running in London

After five years of living in London, I am escaping to Edinburgh in July. Escape is the apt verb. I imagine I’ve run around 10,000 miles in just about every London borough. This is what I have learned. The perception of danger is greater than the reality And this makes me sad. Rarely have I felt…

The truly extraordinary: ordinary people doing extraordinary things

There is something instinctive in human nature for the amateur to celebrate the professional. Radcliffe. Farah. Bolt. Kimetto. Rudisha. We watch in awe as the extraordinary achieve the extraordinary. But there is something more extraordinary than this: the ordinary achieving the extraordinary. I am not saying Colin Dear

Falling back in love with running in London

London and I have fallen out of love. I run along the River Thames, up to Buckingham Palace, through Richmond Park, around the Serpentine and over Tower Bridge. So what, I shrug. It was just a run. Another run. Miles – nothing more. I have been here too long; I am blinded to the supposed…

Running in London: where are the hills?

The run from Keswick town centre to the summit of Skiddaw sees the runner gain around 900 metres in altitude. The only time I have set my watch to this run was during my Bob Graham Round in 2012; Skiddaw was hill number one and not the place – or the time (1am) – for…

Bob Graham blues?

Bob Graham blues? Is there such a thing? If there is, I think I have developed a bout. I feel rather empty; my Bob Graham Round, successfully completed a fortnight ago, has left a mental and physical void yet to be filled by other distractions. I am running my first mountain marathon, the Saunders, in…

The best place to run in Britain

The best city for running? The answer is subjective, of course. Who am I (or anyone else, for that matter) to suggest Nottingham is better than Norwich, or Dundee is better than Derby. We all have favourite places, whether we’ve lived there for 50 years or once passed through on a sunny afternoon and thought:…

Not a PB

It’s now three weeks since London. I still haven’t recovered from the effort of that marathon. Not even close. I attempted to kid myself that I had – by taking part in my local 5k park run in Brockwell Park today. The race mirrored my post-marathon return to running: slow, stuttering and a little erratic. After…

When time is all that matters

There was an advert – for Lucozade, I think – at Custom House, the DLR station for ExCel, that read: ‘ When all you think about for 3,29 is 3,29.’ What runner could not empathise with that? There lies a runner’s obsession: time. Tsegaye Kebede wants to break the world record tomorrow, dipping under 2,04 in the process….

26.2

The gun of the 2011 marathon is now a mere two days and 15 hours away, according to the countdown clock on the VLM website. I took a trip to ExCel today to pick up my number. This might be my fifth London, but I still feel a tingle of nervous excitement when I hear The Trap –…

Body falling apart

I knocked out 222 miles in February, 13 fewer than January (a month that was, however, three days longer). As you can see, I’ve become pedantic about mileage. My London Marathon training of years gone by has traditionally flagged in February, my efforts plagued by injury or plunging motivation. Not this year, it seems. Not so far. With the marathon now six-and-a-half…

Pain by the Thames

No more dreams. Only the grim reality of a five-mile Surrey League fixture at Ham, a muddy cross-country on the banks of the River Thames. These Surrey League races are fast and frenetic; it is no wonder when runners of the ilk of Phil Wicks – a man who can run a sub-29 minute 10k…