Baker Street Tube, Marylebone Road exit by Sherlock Holmes statue | Map
Guided by Andrew
Shortest Version: Run London. With Andy. With live historical commentary.
Customer Satisfaction Version: "best 5 k I have ever done"
Short Version: London 5 Km evening runs with guided commentary. Beautiful scenic routes taking in some of central London’s most historic landmark buildings, stunning vistas and Royal parks. We will be using an app which you will need to download to hear crystal clear commentary as you run. Smartphone and headphones required. However, if it is a very small group we won’t use a smartphone the guide will just talk straight out.
Booking the Run Online Version: https://www.funzing.com/sd/
Longer Version: Picture this – 6.45 pm in the evening. The recharge hour. Day's wound down. You might be feeling a bit sluggish. An hour from now though you're going to be aglow, invigorated, on top of the world, endorphins booster rocketed into your system. You will also be able to captivate friends and colleagues with your new found knowledge of the history of London - this is a guided run remember, with amusing anecdote, facts and legend of the greatest city in the world. Yep, you've just completed a 5 km London Walks Run. Was there ever a London hour better spent?
And if you would like a pint after you have cooled down all our runs are designed to finish near a great pub. What golfers call the 10th hole. (You’ve earned it).
"I gotta say, this was a blast. Really wish I could be there to do the next" @sylk Another happy runner warbling back
Visitors, business people, new arrivals (just-moved-to-London-and-want-to-get-to-know-it-a-whole-lot-better), people who just want to get fit, or people who want to dramatically rearrange the furniture of their daily routine, or, yes, committed runners who want to check out some new 5K routes and learn something about the city...
If you're one of the above – or a wildcard not covered by the above – this one's tailor-made for you. Whether you are discovering London for the first time or rediscovering it a London Walks Run comes highly recommended
Monthly Thursday evening runs are a fixture in the London Walks calendar. There's a different one each month. The start time for all of them is 6.45 pm.
Here's the schedule:
Thursday, August 2 at 6.45 pm from Green Park Tube, Green Park exit (by the fountain and coffee hut)
Thursday, September 6 at 6.45 pm from Tower Hill Tube (meet by the Tower Hill Tram coffee stand)
Thursday, October 4 at 6.45 pm from St. Paul's Tube, exit 2
"the perfect way to shake off that jet lag and get the lay of the land" Another happy runner reporting back (on Tripadvisor)
The cost of a London Walks Run is £10 for adults; or £8 for students, over 65’s and discount holders. Plus data usage on your smartphone (no more than £1.50 if pay as you go, free if you have unlimited data allowance).
Q. Why can't I just do the runs on my own?
A. Well, you can. Go for a London Run, that is. And you're welcome to. But it sure won't have the bells and whistles a London Walks Run has. Because you don't know London the way I do (and the way you will do by the end of the run). And there's the social side – meeting your fellow runners. And the route I've fashioned. And the commentary. And the sheer kick of doing something that is, as my pal and colleague Adam would put it, "bananas" – different and fun.
"brilliant fun" Another happy runner reporting back
Q. What's the difference with this run?
A. The difference – bears repeating, this – is live historical commentary. It’s a first as far as we know. Ain't no other company doing this. We use a sort of walkie-talkie system so you can hear everything clearly through your earphones. And crucially the guide is pretty fit so he won’t be huffing and puffing – he'll be able to talk comfortably into the mic while we get over the ground. Here’s a soundbite – you can judge for yourself. https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-cubpx-6a6451
However, remember, if it is a very small group we won’t use a smartphone the guide will just talk straight out.
Q. How will I hear the commentary?
A. You will need a smartphone and any standard earphones/headphones. Download the free app Zello (www.zello.com) from your app store – it’s available on Apple, Android, Windows and Blackberry. Set up your account with a username. Takes two minutes. We have set up a designated running channel called ‘London runs’, our account is ‘LondonWalksA’. You can either search or find the channel before we start or I will show you how to find it when you arrive. I will then give you the password and bingo we are all hooked up together in our own private group channel.
Q. What's it cost?
A. The cost of a London Walks Run is the same as all London Walks – £10 per adult, £8 for full-time students and over 65s and London Walks Discount Card holders. Under 15’s go free. Plus the cost of your data charges (see below).
Q. What will the data charges be?
A. Very little. Zello uses mobile data between 32 and 121 megabytes per 45 minutes depending on which band you have it on. Gobbledygook? Translation: that’s the equivalent of downloading 3 mins of video or 6 songs or a 300-page document. If you have unlimited data on your phone then of course it will be completely free but if you are on Pay As You Go it will cost no more than £1.50.
Q. What time will the London Walks Run start and finish?
A. The London Walks Runs will all start at 6.45 pm and aim to finish at 7.45 pm. There will be a gentle warm up and warm down before and after included in the hour. The run will be no more than 45 minutes, perhaps less, depending on how fast we go. And then once cooled off the runs are designed to finish next to a really nice pub if you fancy a pint.
"brilliant fun" Another happy runner reporting back
Q. How fit do I have to be?
A. I would recommend that you have run 5 km (3.1miles) before, but if you haven’t you will need to be fit and a fairly competent runner. If you are a beginner please don’t underestimate the distance. I will only ever run at the pace of the slowest runner, but remember it would be unfair to everybody else if that was a very slow pace. This is not a walk but it’s not a race either. We will probably aim to run at between 6/7 mins per Km so that’s 30/35 mins altogether. But we may go faster or slower.
I would say if you can run a 5 Km in 20 minutes then this is going to be a very gentle but enjoyable jog for you. If it takes you more than 45 minutes to run 5 Km then this really isn’t for you. And please remember you will be running at your own risk.
Q. What are the health benefits of a 5 Km run?
A. The combination of the activity's simplicity, its low cost, and medium exercise intensity means that it is often recommended by medical organisations and healthcare professionals. Like all physical activity, regular 5 Km runs can improve cardiovascular function and reduce body fat, as well as having mental health benefits.
Q. Are you a fitness instructor?
A. No, I am not a fitness instructor. I'm an actor and London Walks guide (of 20 years' experience) who loves to run. I have a repertory of over 25 walks including Hidden Pubs of Old London, Shakespeare and Dickens, Haunted London and Jack the Ripper. I have run the Edinburgh Marathon and many half marathons including The Royal Parks, Bournemouth, Windsor, Oxford, Reading, Greenwich and many others. Which is all by way of saying I won’t make you do twenty press-ups when you arrive.
Q. What should I wear?
You should wear a good pair of trainers and comfortable running clothes. For your trainers it’s really important you get the right support so go to a running shop and take their advice. They will probably get you to run on a treadmill so they can analyse your gait. That way they see if there is an excess of pronation (inward) or supination (outward) rolling of your foot as it strikes and pushes off from the ground. They will then recommend a trainer accordingly.
If you haven’t got time for that put your feet in the bath and then stand on paper. When you take your foot off the paper you will be able to see by the shape of your footprint whether you have a high, low or neutral arch. When you go shopping there is a symbol based on the print for each.
Bring along a rucksack which can hold a bottle of water, a tracksuit top or something warm for afterwards and a healthy snack like a banana for afterwards. Get a bag that’s light and fits quite tightly so it doesn’t bang around when you are running.
Do I need to drink before?
Well, not two whisky sodas. But seriously, it's really important that you are well hydrated, so have a drink of water or a sports drink beforehand and leave some for afterwards. But don’t go mad. Also, make sure you have something to eat beforehand. Some people don’t like to eat before a run, but most experts recommend you do – have a snack – a banana is really good.
Ok Andy, brief us. Where we going?
Next up Regent's Park on a spring evening: May 3rd at 6.45 pm from Baker Street Tube (meet at Marylebone exit, next to Sherlock Holmes statue).
Regent's Park is brilliant for running, it even has its own six-lane 1930's cinder surface purpose built running track (its free to use any time), there are many designated runs (see the map below).
Our run is in the evening so we are going to do the Outer Circle (purple run). It's 4.45 km but we will make it up to 5k. What's the difference with our run? The commentary. Regent's Park is stuffed with great stories. And the icing on the cake? John Nash and Decimus Burton's stunning regency stuccoed villas and terraces. Present residents include Saudi Princes, Damien Hirst, Sacha Baron Cohen, the Candys and of course the US ambassador (Winfield House is set in acres of private parkland). And that's not to mention London Zoo! How many 5 ks have the sound of lions, gorillas, elephants and meerkats in the background?! A gorilla escaped a few years ago – but only to the zookeeper's store next to his den. Kumbuka, a twenty-nine stone silverback was re-discovered after a lockdown having glugged 5 litres of undiluted black current squash.
What else? Dickens, Oscar Wilde, Arthur Conan Doyle and Sherlock Holmes. There's more: the London Mosque, Madame Tussauds, the Post Office Tower, Regent's Park Theatre. To say nothing of tales of that reprobate – the Prince of Whales (that's Wales), the Regent himself.
And to top it all, our route is gaslit! See you there.
The June - October routes and maps will go up here very shortly (I'm writing this on March 8th).