It started out as a 9-miler. I hadn’t yet seen Regent’s Park on my London visit. Roughly gauging the distance, I was off on a sunny 60-degree morning. Skirting the edge of Hyde Park, then down Oxford Street winding around people headed for their office and appointments, seriously talking on their cell phones with apparently a heavier agenda than me. Me, I’m just running.
Taking a left off Oxford, I find my way through several zig-zaggy streets to an opening to the park. I plan to do a half-circle and return back to my flat. As I pass the London Zoo entrance, I see a towpath below with a few people biking and walking. Hmm, better check this out.
Entering the towpath, I get a beautiful view of a few boats making their way down the canal.
Then, I hear some beautiful birdsong. Looking up, I see a netting and discover an aviary overhead, my free look into the London Zoo (a senior runner has to be frugal).
Continuing on I see a sign that reads “Cyclists Dismount” and the path becomes a series of permanently harbored boats on the canal side and a variety of seating and gardening plots on the wall side.
Here the path ends, so I exchange a few greetings with owners, puttering about their boats and gardens.
Returning down the path, I decide to check out the opposite end of the canal, you know, just to see where it goes. After roughly a mile, an arched metal bridge ends the path and what do I come upon: Camden Lock Market.
Having told my traveling friend emphatically I wasn’t interested in seeing this market, here I am. And, it is a wonderful market. Pausing my Garmin, I make my way through the warren of hats, hand-made clothing, crafts, books and food. Oh, the food. Every ethnic cuisine you might want is here.
Spotting a cook stirring a huge, beautiful pan of paella I knew it was time to leave. With at least of 5-mile return trip, I dared not indulge.
Back to the path into Regent’s Park, across the road is Primrose Hill which gives an extraordinary view of the park and surrounding sites in London.
After a short but tough run up to take in the view and back down to the outer circle, this time I come across a side path to a beautiful track. Several casual runners are using it and I wouldn’t leave without doing at least one loop.
Again back to the outer circle, I see I can give a short visit to the inner circle and the Queen Mary’s Garden, then cut across for my return. Here, the flowers are still brilliantly beautiful in this unusually warm London September. Residents at ease with this day are enjoying a morning coffee in lawn chairs.
Seriously now, it’s time to finish this run. Routing through Marylebone to the Marble Arch and Hyde Park, I stopped at the open air cafe near the Senior Playground (in this case senior is not limited to seniors like your author, but anyone who is not a child), I chose an energy drink for the cooldown.
My 9-miler had grown to a 16-miler with every mile enjoyed. I walk mile 17 back and prepare for something more sedentary for the remainder of the day.