We love lists so on Tuesdays, over the coming weeks, we are starting a new series of posts “Top Five Tuesdays”. These posts will feature a variety of things to do with running and travelling that we have decided between us (with some negotiation) are our current favourites. This week we start the ball rolling with our top five locations to run. If you have any suggestions for future list please let us know.
We decided to start with our favourite places to run because when we each made our own list then compared them they were identical – no negotiation needed.
So in no particular order:
V&A Waterfront to Camps Bay – Cape Town. We were fortunate enough to spend Christmas in Cape Town this year and this run had been recommended by friends. You can start the route from either end (using extremely cheap and easy-to-get Ubers to get back to where you started) or even do a round trip. The run is about 10k one way with a few undulations especially as you approach/leave Camps Bay. It travels along the beach promenade, boardwalk and pavement and is traffic-free between the V&A and Sea Point. You will have the glistening Atlantic Ocean, possibly with sightings of seals and dolphins for company, on one side and amazing views of Table Mountain on the other. Can’t wait to go back in April.
Jardines del Turia – Valencia. We have written previously about our love of Valencia as a place to run. The Jardines are an area of the city that was once the river bed of the now re-routed Turia River. There is a wonderful mixture of cycle paths, running trails, art installations, fountains, cafés, sports grounds and play parks. The length of the actual Jardines de Turia is 9km, so a perimeter route of up to 20km is easy to follow. If you want to run further, with the Parc de Capçalera joining at one end of the Gardens and the port and beach promenade at the other, runs can be as long as you like. The Turia Gardens are particularly delightful in the spring when the intoxicating smell of orange blossom fills the air.
Central Park – New York City (especially marathon weekend). Central Park is a fantastic place to run at any time. Although we are both city people, we do love these places that you come across in the middle of a busy city where you can escape the crowds and traffic and, except for the occasional glimpse of an iconic skyline, you could almost forget that the city exists. However, on the mornings leading up to the New York City marathon it’s a bit more difficult to escape the crowds – and maybe you don’t want to. On these mornings the park is full of runners from all nations excited about the task ahead, and has a real festival atmosphere. We loved being part of it.
Waterfront – Toronto (at sunrise). Toronto was a real surprise to us. A friendly, understated city which we immediately warmed to; this was partly helped by our jet-lag-dictated early run on the first morning we were there. The route took us east along the waterfront from the city centre, passing parkland, jetties and marinas along the way. The waterfront itself is the lakeshore of Lake Ontario and is 46km in length, so you can run east or west from the city for almost as far as you like. As we were running, we watched the rising sun turning the sky through a series of amazing colours and bathing the buildings in the city with a golden light. This was a really unforgettable run.
Richmond Park – London (any time). We couldn’t leave out Richmond Park – an amazing city green space, and we are lucky enough to have it as our local training ground. The park itself covers 2,360 acres. It is quite varied in terrain, hilly in places, flat in others, with both wooded areas and grassy plains, ponds and even a small river. Although the park is criss-crossed with tracks and paths, a favourite route is to run the Tamsin Trail which basically follows the park perimeter. The trail covers lots of different terrains and is 11.6k long. The park has a number of cafés for post run refreshments – the famous Pembroke Lodge, one time home of Bertrand Russell, and a cyclists’ café near Roehampton gate. There are also a couple of smaller cafés in more remote places – one of our favourites being The Pen Ponds Café. Don’t miss the spectacular view from the top of Sawyer’s Hill of the City of London, including St. Paul’s Cathedral. Look out for herds of deer and some of the 144 species of bird.