We're off to the United Kingdom for a virtual running tour around London with our local guide, Ben.
Tell us a little about yourself and your relationship with running?
Hey everyone, I’m Ben. A jack-of-all-trades kind of guy. I’m currently working for an antiques delivery company but also dabble in some videography and photography work.
I’ve spent several years running in and around London and love how this incredible city has so much to offer. Let me show you a little bit of it!
Describe the running culture in London?
Running in London is whatever you want it to be. There’s a scene, a culture, a style, a crew, a group to fit your personality - and if there isn’t one, then it’s probably one of the best cities in the world to run on your own.
Whether you want to join your local running club (of which there are plenty in London), or you just want a way to meet new people in a completely relaxed manner, you won’t be disappointed by what’s around.
Where are the best places to run in London?
I have lived all over London but there are 3 routes that I can’t help but love.
Central London - Southbank
Firstly, there’s a 10K loop round Southbank. It’s best to run this route either early in the morning or late in the evening as it is prime tourist walking territory and can get VERY busy. But don’t let that put you off, the loop takes in some of the most beautiful sights of London including Tower Bridge, St. Pauls Cathedral and The London Eye. Strava
East London - Regents Canal
I’m also a big fan of East London, my old stomping ground. There are an abundance of parks, but one of my favourite routes is running from Wapping up the surrounding canals to the Olympic Park and then the East London running mecca that is Victoria Park. It’s a wonderful way to feel like you are “away” from the hustle and bustle of the city while still being very much in it. The canals are wonderfully relaxing to run down while the sight of the Olympic Park is incredibly inspiring and motivational. It’s super quiet as well most of the time so you can just pick and choose your way around. A couple kilometres further away is Victoria Park which is very relaxed with big open paths. You could happily run any part of the canal, but from Limehouse to Broadway Market is one of my favourites, not least because you can finish on the market and grab some amazing food and drink! Strava
South London - Dulwich and Crystal Palace
For my final local spot, you’re going to have to head South and tackle the undulating climbs around Dulwich Park and Crystal Palace Park. Both parks themselves are great, but the connecting run between the two is arguably one of the best places to get fit, with some serious sections of elevation. Regardless of whether you choose to run the hills or not, the views overlooking Canary Wharf and the City are stunning.
Are you a member of a running club in London?
I have been a member and Crew Captain of Midnight Runners London for the past 4 years.
From humble beginnings where a few mates wanted an excuse to hang out, we now have running communities in 12 cities around the world. Our motto is “It’s never just running” and that is exactly how we like it. Running brings us together but you don’t have to consider yourself a runner in order to get involved. We offer a place where new people can meet and socialise, you can push flat out at the front with the fast runners, or just chill and chat at the back. Our Tuesday Bootcamps are an experience, and if you’re ever in town, be sure to check us out.
There are also several other great clubs including Run Dem Crew and Track Life LDN along with clubs like GoodGym that allow runners to connect with their local community.
Where is the best place to buy running gear in London?
With the rise of online shopping, it's good to see you can still get to the shops! The Running Works is a really understated, independent running shop in the heart of Aldgate. The staff are incredibly knowledgeable and offer their own running group, while the selection of running shoes and clothing is great. Oh, and don’t get me started about the coffee....
Tell us about the best local races in London?
Firstly, less local, more just - every person's bucketlist… The London Marathon. But for something a little more lowkey, I would thoroughly recommend Night of the 10K PB’s - this race normally operates at Battersea Park Track and gives you the opportunity to race for a 10K PB. It attracts big names and the beauty of it is the layout. The crowd quite literally stands on the track cheering the runners on. You can be standing in lane 3, and watch some of the fastest runners in the UK and your mates give it the full beans!
Can you recommend a local dish/venue to eat after a long run or race in London?
I’m an absolute sucker for food… luckily London offers some of the best in the world. For runners, let’s not be silly here, time to get the carbs in. I’d thoroughly recommend heading over to Maltby Street Market. It used to be a bit more low-key and local than the infamous Borough Market, but it is becoming increasingly popular. Nevertheless, the street food options are fantastic and if you are into a tipple or few, there is what is known as the Bermondsey Beer Mile, where many craft breweries have set up shop under the railway arches. One of my favourites is the FourPure Brewery Taproom, check them out! And if you’re wanting to support a running hub, you have to check out London City Runners, they have a wonderfully welcoming Clubhouse under the Bermondsey arches where you can grab a drink or a bite to eat.
Thanks to Ben for a great job taking us for a virtual run (and a beer) in London!
One last thing...
If you've enjoyed the content on this site and would like to support me by buying me a coffee, it would be greatly appreciated.