Where to run in London: new homes near parks or canal paths for outdoor runners and marathon training
After months of training, hundreds of thousands of runners will take part in the London Marathon on April 28.
Together they will pound the world-famous route from Greenwich Park to the finish on The Mall in front of Buckingham Palace.
Many thousands more will cheer their efforts, which raise millions of pounds for charities every year.
London’s marathon is the most popular in the world. Established in 1981 when there were 6,300 finishers, the Virgin Money London Marathon broke its own world record when it opened the ballot for this year’s event and received 414,168 applications to register for a place — an increase of 7.3 per cent on the previous year.
Compared with many other densely populated major cities, London offers anyone preparing to take part in a marathon a vast choice of places to train, away from traffic-filled streets.
The capital has more than 3,000 parks, many miles of river and canal paths, as well as tracks that weave through woodland and across heathland.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan plans to increase the amount of green space to 50 per cent of what will be the world’s first National Park City by the middle of the century.
Fitness in the UK
That the millennial generation is more active and health-conscious than its predecessors is well documented: 2018’s Time Out City Life Index found them to be four times more likely to exercise than go clubbing in a week.
From boutique gyms to high-intensity training studios, the fitness sector is exploding in the UK and the market is now worth £3.2 billion after growing 20 per cent between 2015 and last year, according to research by Mintel.
While many new-build developments come with swish gyms packed with sophisticated and expensive equipment, they also come with hefty annual service charges that owners must pay to support these extras.
Running has the major attraction of being free and some housebuilders are harnessing enthusiasm for exercising outdoors as opposed to air-conditioned environments by opening up tracks alongside forgotten rivers and disused canal basins.
London’s top training routes — with homes nearby
At Ridgeway Views in Mill Hill, NW7 owners have access to a fitness trail set within 47 acres. Two-bedroom flats start from £569,995 and Help to Buy is available. Call 0330 311 1591.
From £521,000: Help to Buy properties at The Ram Quarter in Wandsworth
In Wandsworth, south-west London, the development around the former Young’s brewery at The Ram Quarter has opened up sections of the River Wandle for the first time to members of the public to enjoy. Help to Buy properties start from £521,000.
Félicie Krikler of Assael Architecture, a practice which specialises in urban design, says: “Running has gone from being an afterthought of developers and designers, to becoming a major consideration within the development process.
“To respond to the growing consumer consciousness around health and wellbeing, many in the built environment are now exploring ways to integrate all forms of exercise into their schemes.”
Riverside runs along the Thames Towpath from Battersea to Kew
The route follows over 12 miles of paved and unpaved track as the river meanders its way through west London — perfect for a long-distance training run.
When the weather’s too challenging, training can continue in the gym at the Millennium Arena in Battersea Park, or try the eight-lane running track.
Coda Residences at Avanton have direct access to the Thames towpath, with one-bedroom flats from £495,000. Call 020 3813 4765.
Run by the canal at Limehouse Basin
From Limehouse Basin, runners have a choice of largely traffic-free canal towpaths to choose from heading east along Limehouse Cut and towards the River Lea or north and west along Regent’s Canal.
Three Waters in E3, where the River Lea, Bow Creek and Limehouse Cut meet, has studio apartments with west-facing balconies from £371,500. Call 020 7776 5755.
Richmond Park’s hilly running circuit
For those with stamina, there’s a 7.2-mile circuit around Richmond Park that involves some thigh-burning hill climbs. Run with others for motivation: the Serpentine Running Club meets every Sunday at 9am.
Richmond Chase is a Berkeley scheme of new-build three-, four- and five-bedroom villas just moments from the park with private gardens and off-street parking. Prices start at £1.48 million. Call 020 3053 6909.
Where to run in south-east London
Experienced marathon runners will tell you that getting to the race on the day is a challenge.
Although public transport is free for all London Marathon runners, if you’re using it you’ll be travelling with 35,000 others trying to catch the same train from London Bridge station.
You can avoid that entirely in future by living near the start line.
Near the heath: the Grays live between Blackheath and Hither Green, “a brilliant part of London for runners”
That’s the decision that Jeremy Gray and his wife Aisling, both 36, took in 2012 when they moved with their daughter Romilly, six, and son Jasper, four, into a three-bedroom terrace house between Blackheath and Hither Green.
This year Jeremy, a seasoned marathon runner, is doing both the Paris and London Marathons, raising money for a cancer treatment centre.
“Location was the most important reason why we bought our house,” he explains.
“We’re a 15-minute walk from the heath and 20 minutes from Greenwich Park. It’s a brilliant part of London for runners. Some of my long runs are spent running along the river to Thamesmead and sometimes as far out as Erith and back.
“Noticing the progress of the new developments in Greenwich and across the river is always a great distraction from tired legs.”
Ideal runners’ country: Greenwich Millennium Village, where one-bedroom flats in the latest phase start at £409,995
Forbury in Blackheath, SE13, is a small development of apartments and townhouses within a short walk — or run — of Blackheath Common. A two-bedroom apartment with a terrace and access to a communal garden is £815,000 (020 3944 2215).
There are more than 50 acres of parkland with miles of traffic-free footpaths on the Greenwich Peninsula, which is wrapped in more than a mile-and-a-half of public riverfront — ideal for jogging.
The Plaza is the latest phase to launch at Greenwich Millennium Village where smart, one-bedroom apartments start at £409,995 (020 8023 8034).