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First long run of the New Year

January 3, 2011

I’ve been out of action for a little while with a niggling injury. A really rubbish injury, if I’m honest – I walked a little too far in my office shoes and somehow hurt my foot. After a few runs aggravating the problem I came to the conclusion that waiting it out was the best way to get over the problem. Now my foot seems to have healed (pun not intended) I need to get back on track with the training.

Last year my long runs were based on extending a single route each week. I chose that route because it was predominantly on pavement, and because it largely avoided the need to re-cover the same ground in endless laps. While there are many pretty villages in Oxfordshire and I saw several of them on the run, the route also took in the less-than-scenic Didcot power station, Abingdon sewerage works and the Milton Park industrial estate.

While running in London obviously means I’ll be seeing a lot more built up areas, I’ll also be able to pack in some additional tourism. So, on 2 January, I set out for what turned out to be a 16-mile run.

A 16-mile route to the heart of London

16 miles and just a selection of the tourist attractions passed.

Coming down High Road in Seven Sisters, you can cut a more or less straight line through to the Square Mile in the centre of London. The character of the area changes rapidly as you go through predominantly West African, Jewish and Muslim areas before passing a cluster of Vietnamese restaurants and emerging into the financial district.

Cross the bridge (looking left, you can see Tower Bridge) and turn right, past Borough Market, Southwark Cathedral and the Golden Hinde and you’re on the South Bank. Carry on along the path, past The Globe, the OXO Tower, the Millennium Bridge (eyes right for St Paul’s Cathedral and left for Tate Modern) before the London Eye looms into sight. The Sunday after New Year’s Eve, the South Bank was still littered with Champagne bottles and incredibly busy (in retrospect, I should have guessed that).

Running towards Big Ben, I had to make use of the cycle path since the whole world was keen to stop and take photos across the girth of the whole footpath. Then it was back along the embankment, turning left at Monument to trace my original footsteps into town.

I ended the run tired – it has been a while since I’ve run so far – but with a pleasing lack of pain in my foot. I need to work on distance and speed, but I’m beginning to feel okay about the Virgin London Marathon being about three and a half months away.

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