Saturday, 5 March 2011

London Regent's Park Running Route

Click here for route map 
Length: 6.2 km (3.8 miles), terrain contains one hill

London Running Routes:
Best London Running Routes: Overview
Docklands-LimehouseRegent's Canal and Camden Town  
Hampstead Heath  
3-Parks Route: Hyde Park, Green Park, St. James' Park  
Regent's Park  
Hyde Park   

Heathrow Harmondsworth Moor  

Richmond Park
Notting Hill
Victoria Park
Wimbledon Common Trail Run
Royal Docks/ExCeL Route 
Kew / Brentford Thames Run  
For more running routes, see Route List. 

Pictures taken in winter: I'll try to replace them after a repeat summer run!

Regent's Park is one of the many great runs you can do in London. I just ran it again last week while working in the area. If you are staying in Paddington, Marylebone or Bloomsbury, this is the biggest and nicest green area to run around in. And combined with the neighboring Primrose Hill park, with its great view over central London, it offers variety and interest: beautiful gardens, athletic fields, lakes, a zoo, canal boats, bordered by elegant homes all around. Even in the winter (my last run here was at the end of February) the park is beautiful, and I was surprised at how many different flowers were blooming.
The Regent's Park neighbors
Like the other royal parks, Regent's Park is not open at night. It opens every day at 5 a.m. Closing time varies from 4:30 pm in Nov.-Dec. to 9:30 pm in May through July. For more details, check the park website at:

The Regent's Park/Primrose Hill Park Route
We'll start the run at the southwest corner of the park, near the Baker Street tube station. Baker Street runs into the park's bordering Outer Circle road at Clarence Gate. The long, thin Boating Lake stretches along the park edge here, with footpaths on either shore. So let's head towards the water and turn right before the footbridge, to run eastwards along the edge of the park, with the water to your left.

The Boating Lake, looking towards the Inner Circle
Across the water to the left you can see the buildings of Regent's College, sitting right in the park. The park land once belonged to a monastery, but was confiscated by Henry VIII and then used as a royal hunting grounds, but has been a public park for last 175 years.

Even in late February, you can find daffodils and crocuses in bloom
You will soon cross York Bridge road and keep running straight ahead, eastwards with the Outer Circle to your right. Before you come to the east edge of the park, turn left on the path leading through the formal Avenue Gardens, with its fountains and beautifully tended plantings. Run straight north on this path through the whole park.
Avenue Gardens
It later goes slightly uphill towards a gothic white-stone monument, passing the "Honest Sausage" café. You'll see the athletic fields stretching to each side. In warmer months, they're filled with people playing mainly cricket and (surprisingly) softball, but also rugby and football (soccer).

You'll soon see the London Zoo coming up on the left side. The zoo occupies the north end of the park. You will then run over a footbridge over the Regent's Canal, with a few narrow-boats moored along its banks. You can have some beautiful runs along Regent's Canal: to the east, the towpath goes to the Camden Locks in Camden Town, and to the west it goes to Little Venice, but that's another great run (see the Regent's Canal Route)!

Regent's Canal with narrow-boats
The park ends here at Prince Albert Road. Turn left and run the one block to where Primrose Hill Park begins on the right. Cross the street to the right to the park and take the path that heads diagonally through the park. Head up to the hilltop through the sycamores. This is the hardest work of the whole run. The hill is 256 feet (78 m) high. At the top, take a look around, you've earned the great view. You can see all of central London, with the financial towers of the City to the left, the BT Tower in the middle and the London Eye ferris wheel and the top of Big Ben towards the right.
View from Primrose Hill
Continue running down the west side of the hill, taking the path back towards Prince Albert Road along the west edge of Primrose Hill Park. Cross the street and follow the path straight ahead, with the zoo to your left. The path soon splits, and you can take either way. They both lead through the athletic fields towards the boating lake.
If you take the right-hand path, follow it along the lake as it curves to the left, and comes back together with the left-hand path at Longbridge, a footbridge over the lake. Cross the bridge and you'll come to the Inner Circle. This road is lined with villas from earlier days, and Queen Mary's Gardens in the center. This is the most beautiful, cultivated part of the park.

Daffodils in February
Turn right on the Inner Circle and run past the Open Air Theatre (Shakespeare in the park!) until you pass the Garden Café, where you turn left to take the path into Queen Mary's Garden. Follow the path along the right edge of the circle, past the beautiful wrought-iron gates, then run along the pond, then through the circular rose-garden. 
Queen Mary's Gardens Gate
After the rose garden, turn left to take the path back to the center of the gardens and then turn left again to head out southwards through the gates. You will come to the long arm of the boating lake again, but this time turn right to run along its north bank. When you get to the footbridge at Clarence Gate again, turn left and cross the bridge to leave the park.

Sunday, 27 February 2011

San Francisco Marina Green to Fort Point Out-and-Back Running Route

Click here for route map 

Length: 7.01 Kilometers / 4.36 Miles, terrain flat

By Heather Marr

Thanks, Heather, for this great route along the San Francisco bayside north shore through Chrissy Field to the Golden Gate Bridge! I'm sure this article will start a run on orange wallpaint... Also see Heather's more exotic route description for Montevideo Rambla Out-and-Back

Pictures by the photographers at (thanks!) and GoogleMaps StreetView

San Francisco running routes:
Best San Francisco Running Routes: Overview 
Marina Green to Golden Gate
Downtown/Embarcadero/Chinatown/Nob Hill
Ft. Mason/Fisherman's Wharf/Telegraph Hill/Lombard Street
Golden Gate Park
For more running routes, see Route List.

It’s been over a year since I lived (and ran) in San Francisco, and because I’ve been residing in very flat Uruguay, there’s no way I could immediately start pounding the hills of my former city if I were to visit right now. If you’ve just arrived from a similarly vertically challenged locale, try the following route a time or two before tackling something more challenging. You might even want to take your camera.

Worth taking your camera? View from Fort Point. Photo by G. S. Rom
My favorite time to do this route is early morning. It always seemed that the winds were significantly weaker then. Plus, it’s just quieter. Sunset is gorgeous on the rare clear evening, but usually the fog starts rolling in at around 5 p.m. or so. If you go after dark, take a flashlight or wear a headlamp, as parts of this route are not always well lit. In general, temperatures in San Francisco are perfect for running: plus or minus 13 C or 55 F.

The Marina Green to Fort Point Route
Start at the west side of the Marina Green. If you’re driving, there’s a good chance that here you’ll find something quite precious in San Francisco: a free parking space with no time restrictions (well, provided you’re not there between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.). There are also decent public restrooms right next to the Marina Yacht Harbor.

View towards Golden Gate Bridge from Marina (GoogleMaps StreetView)

Run a little way south to the end of the Green, and turn right onto Marina Boulevard. Stay on the pedestrian side of the shared path for bikers and pedestrians, and ogle all the yachts in the harbor (or the bay view homes across the street).

Marina Boulevard houses, photo by GoogleMaps StreetView
At around 1 km., right before you get to the lagoon, make a right onto a trail heading toward the bay, until you get to the wide, dirt pedestrian trail (which runs parallel to the paved path you were just on). Make a left onto the trail.

Path towards the lagoon, photo by GoogleMaps StreetView
Continue past the lagoon (on your left), and on past Crissy Field, a large, green park that used to be an airfield as part of the United States Presidio Army Base until the base closed in the 1990s. If you’re running in the afternoon, you’re likely to see windsurfers enjoying the beach at the east end of the field (East Beach).

Windsurfer near lagoon. Photo by Michaela Schöllhorn
By now, you might feel as if you’re battling a ferocious headwind (or tailwind, in which case, enjoy the ride!), but the stunning views of the Golden Gate Bridge — whose vibrant International Orange is touched up continually by a team of thirty-eight painters—should be enough to bolster any sagging motivation. If you need additional distraction, try to count the Bugaboo strollers on the trail (this is still the Marina District, after all).

Side note: Want to paint your living room the color of the Golden Gate Bridge? I knew you did! Just have your paint store mix up a can or two for you using the following information. The PMS code is 173, or the CMYK percentages are: C=Cyan: 0%, M=Magenta: 69%, Y=Yellow: 100%, K=Black: 6% (

When you’ve reached the end of Crissy Field, you can stop to use the restrooms at the Warming Hut Bookstore and Café if necessary. The pedestrian trail ends shortly thereafter, merging into Marine Drive.

View of Alcatraz, photo by Alexander Hauk
Run along Marine Drive, curving around northward till you’re running alongside the Golden Gate Bridge. If the waves are right, you’ll see a few surfers braving what was apparently the first surf spot in North Central California, with breaks directly under the bridge.

Fort Point and the Golden Gate Bridge, photo by W. Broemme
Touch Fort Point, which was built before the American Civil War to protect San Francisco Bay from hostile warships. The Confederate ship CSS Shenandoah planned to attack San Francisco, but the Civil War ended before the ship got to California. (Encyclopedia of Civil War Shipwrecks By W. Craig Gaine, from

Turn around and run back toward the Marina Green, enjoying the view of downtown San Francisco (and possibly a lovely tailwind).

If it happens to be around brunchtime when you’re done (in San Francisco, that means anytime between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., but only on weekends), follow in the tradition of the San Francisco Road Runners circa 2004 and head over to Bechelli’s for typical American fare such as bacon and eggs. Located at 2346 Chestnut Street, it’s about a 10-minute walk from the Marina Green, straight down Scott Street (then make a right on Chestnut).