Over the pond, running is hot!

Just got back last night from 10 days in England. Had lots and lots of fun, spending half the time in London and the other half in Henley-on-Thames, staying in a rental house on the water on this street.

We managed to get in about five runs while there, although they were all easy runs as I’m tapering (translation: lazing about on vacation) prior to the Westchester Half Marathon this weekend.

First, the running: I did most of the runs in London on Clapham Common, which was interesting. It was a challenge to construct a route that didn’t involve crossing the street a zillion times (primarily because I still can’t train myself to look “the wrong way,” and I don’t want to end up being one of the four or so clueless yankees who gets mowed down in London every year). But we did a spectacular run in Henley a few times, which started along the Thames and then went up into the hills, through sheep and cow pastures, woods and charming backstreets, then back down into town on the main road in. We even spotted signs for the Henley Half Marathon (also this Sunday). Dang! If I’d known, I would have gone a week later!

Second, the runners. I was last in England about two years ago, when I also ran in London. This time around, there were a lot more people out running. It definitely seems to have taken off as an activity. But what was odd is that most of the people we saw out were under 30 (some in early 20s). It was unusual to see someone in the (cough cough) masters category like ourselves. So now I’m wondering if running is the latest fad, which will disappear as the next one takes over (we saw young people on rollerskates — not rollerblades — in Hyde Park practicing “roller disco” moves, so anything can happen, I suppose).

The trip was a lot of fun, with time spent reconnecting with family, and a couple of new Londoner friends made over the summer while in the Grand Canyon. I managed to eat fish and chips a record three times, and I lost count of the pints I downed in various pubs (the best one being by Gales Brewery). I even got to go to a live football match (Southampton Saints vs. Queens Park Rangers)!

Anyway, it’s good to be back and I appreciate all of the comments on the last post about the Slate piece. I’ve got lots of work to catch up on before the weekend, so my next entry may be a post-half-marathon report. Wish me luck on Sunday!

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