running around Wimbledon Common
Having been reminded that I wanted to run round Wimbledon Common (thank you) and given how nice the weather was today I kicked on my funky shoes and pinged off. The kit is still really good; this toe-strike thing is feeling more & more comfortable.
Clapham Junction to Wimbledon is a funny zig-zaggy effort at the best of times (i.e. on a bike) and I hadn’t put a heap of effort into planning my route. In short I was lost within ten minutes of leaving the house. Which isn’t a major drama except that being lost in Merton is a bit rubbish. Still I found my way and as a consequence of the detour went past Wimbledon Cemetery which made me think of Michelle (cos she likes cemeteries) so I had a nice stretch of happy reminiscing thoughts. Past the cemetery I was in to Wimbledon and a nice little climb to reach Wimbledon Village. Zip zip and I was in the Common. Oh no, first I had to go past the world’s longest queue of beefy shiny four wheel drives. I’m all for four wheel driving – it’s a lot of fun – but, and correct me if I’m wrong, there’s not a school/ football club/ choir practice in the whole of England that actually requires four wheel drive capability to get Jems & Hugo to the gate. Meh.
I’m not familiar with Wimbledon Common at all so for the next hour I don’t know where I went exactly… I started down a track to a farmhouse, through some foresty part and then along a lovely bit of path beside a little stream. It was here that U2’s ‘One’ came on and you know when you can really remember the last time you heard a song, I had that. I’d last heard this track when I ran in the forest in Annecy. Then I’d belted it out while throwing myself down a rocky path; now I was belting it out on a gentle climb trying to dodge really sludgy puddles.
The path seemed to be leading out of the Common and I came across some rugby pitches so I made a little u-turn back into the trees. These were my favourite type of tracks – really wide with heaps of skinny, bare trees on both sides, it reminded me of the forest at the top of Ella Rock in Sri Lanka.
Then I came across a duck pond, a bit too spade-angular to be pretty but lots of swans to look at. I took a more overgrown path off the pond which meant more mud, holly and fun. And it was here that I think I saw a squirrel which was the only bit of non-bird wildlife I saw which is a rubbish effort. Actually, towards the end I caught the attention of a hyperactive jack russell but he was better dressed than me so definitely doesn’t count as wildlife.
Back on the track I 180-ed to take this big, gentle, slippery downhill that reminded me a lot of The Big Climb that Mark and I did (and I did get pictures of that one). Over the last three months there is one song that seems to be magnetised to my ears, the Human League’s ‘Don’t You Want Me’, so here I am, different surroundings but singing – with a big smile – I was working as a waitress. Yeah yeah.
You may have noticed – I was off-roading in my specifically on-road footwear. Well I figured there wasn’t much I could do once I arrived and I’ll just have to get Dad to clean ’em for me… So while there was more good mud and then some nice turf I also liked it when I got to the windmill and hit a long bit of proper path.
Once I saw the golf course I knew I was close to where I’d started and kind of figured out where I was, and got chased by the jack russell. I took the West and South side roads to go around the last little pond (and nose at the mighty fine houses) then it was back through the Village, down the hill and finish at Wimbledon station. The downhill was minging. I had been considering running all the way home but that downhill wore away at my sore feet and hip flexers, I was done.
So, liked that. Pretty park and I’d like to better know where I went and where to go next time because I just feel there is more that I didn’t see. And I don’t know why I didn’t take my camera with me, bit silly really. Next time peeps, next time, sorry.
Happy with my pace too (this was one of the new shoe things I’ve been figuring out). I ran my on-road half marathon pace which means I was faster than usual if you take into account the off-road parts, because I run a slower off-road pace. Little bonus.
Now, feel free to text me and remind me to stretch so I can go to work tomorrow…
photos from Flickr
Thank you Edward Foley
Thank you Robert Wright