Warning: this is literally just me venting about why running in London is the worst.
Running got me fit. In lots of ways, I love it and it’s changed my life for the better. And when you run an organised race you get one of those foil blankets and you get to quote the first episode of Sherlock “I’m in shock. I’ve got a blanket!”
But when you do it in a filthy, hellhole full of inconsiderate numpties, it’s also rubbish at times.
- The weather is always against you. Maybe it’s because I’m near the river, but no matter what corner I turn, I’m running into the wind.
- The air is filthy. Pollution and smokers mean every breath, you’re taking a big old lungful of nasty. When I went home to Scotland and did a 10k that I hadn’t even trained for, I averaged about 25 seconds less per kilometre than I do in London when I’m running regularly. That’s the difference fresh air can make.
- The roads and pavements are terrible. There are trip hazards everywhere you go, and you never know which seemingly innocuous paving slab is going to soak your feet and send some freezing cold muddy water up your legs. Usually just after you’ve regained the feeling in your feet from the previous icy blast.
- Drivers that like to ignore zebra crossings, or drive aggressively into the massive puddles on the dreadful roads to soak pedestrians.
- Cyclists that go through red lights or cycle on the pavements. They shouldn’t be there. Yet they are.
- People that don’t look where they’re going. Tourists and smartphone zombies are the biggest culprits. Yet somehow it’s the runner’s fault when they step out in front of you.
- People in general. I once was running through the dodgy streets of Elephant & Castle when I passed a little girl – about 4 or 5 years old – and her dad. She started running, and her dad said “On you go, see if you can beat that fat girl.” I don’t really care what he says about me, but where do you even start?! Setting his daughter up for a lifetime of insecurity if he makes her think a very average sized woman is fat, and discouraging someone from doing something healthy in case they get ridiculed. That little girl now knows people like to have spiteful opinions, very loudly and very publicly. Dick.
- Your earphones will always wiggle their way out of your ears.