7 Sep – Bye Bye London


Well that’s the first week of September done and dusted. Thank you London, for giving me seven run fantastic days and I’ve managed just over 58km in six runs,  making me a happy bunny.

Today was a slower pace, deliberately chosen, to soak up the sights before I return back to Italy. First off a mini jogette through the City, I love Fridays in the City, it’s a lot less frenetic than usual, you see a lot of Casual Friday wear, and folk seem to smile just that bit more.

There’s not quite so many people around – I guess using the ‘working from home’ ruse to start the weekend early. One of the things that’s been fun is to see the changes in the two months since I was last here, some not so great though. On Moorgate there has been a very old fashioned barbers, part of the street furniture in some ways, only noticeable now it’s not there . For as long as I can remember, at least 30 years, Flittner’s had all the old dark brown wood interior fittings, cut throat razors and their staff wore the traditional brown cotton duster coats. They even sold razor blades in waxed paper packets! They were a Moorgate tradition, Mr JCR used to buy his shaving products from them. But now no more, I think they are a victim of the Crossrail development. I assumed they’d successfully dodged that bullet, because they’ve been going strong right through the development. But now other shops on the same side are similarly closed – a bit of a shame, a slice of City history is no more.

I trotted down Queen Victoria Street to cross the Thames and do a scoot to Borough Market and I took a photo of the new potbellied tower. I don’t what fancy name it is likely to have, but this is one bit of modern architecture, I think is a bit rubbish. Into Borough Market where Victorian craftsmanship reigns supreme – well after a bit of 21st Century intervention. The renovations are all done now, and it’s lovely to saunter through the market before the weekend hordes descend and see how well it has been renovated.  At this stage I was roughly 5kms into my run and decided to take  a look at Spitalfields market before going home.

Spitalfields is another similarly regenerated area and now is full of City people, eating, drinking and undertaking significant retail therapy. It’s quiet in the mornings and I was able to pootle through without any hassle whatsoever. Back towards Bishopsgate and City fringes, I overtook 3 RAF servicemen and women on their way to the Honourable Artillery Company on Finsbury Pavement and I took a sneaky left turn into Bunhill Fields, which aren’t so much fields, in fact a now defunct cemetery. Here again the pace changes as we move towards Old Street, the site of the famous Silicon Roundabout. The clothes and the people change, and now so do I, from a jog to a warm down walk to a stop.

It’s time to pack up and get ready for Italy once more. It was a Goldlilock’s run, not too fast, not too slow, just perfect and a lovely way to end the week.

Oh and even better the lovely Bev Cavanagh or Mummycav to give her running monicker donated to my Alzheimer’s Challenge. Thanks so much and I promise once the 2018 km hooves have healed we’ll get together for a run.


(Countries and Places)

A New England – Billy Bragg

Lost In France – Bonnie Tyler

Breakfast In America – Supertramp

Une Nuit A Paris – 10cc

Is This The Way To Amarillo – Tony Christie

Strong – London Grammar

Strawberry Fields Forever – The Beatles

Vienna – Ultravox

Take My Breath Away – Berlin

Tokyo Joe – Bryan Ferry

Black Eyed Boy – Texas

Massachussetts – Bee Gees

Boston Tea Party – SAHB

Avalon – Roxy Music

Solsbury Hill – Peter Gabriel

Big In Japan – Alphaville

Midnight Train To Georgia – Gladys Knight and The Pips

Streets of Philadelphia – The Boss

San Francisco – Scott Mackenzie


Distance 8.57km

Time 53:26

Average Pace 6:14

Elevation gain 63 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Run 1500.98 (over the 1500!!!!)

Kms to Go 517.02


4 Sep -Flukey 5s



After yesterday’s record breaking run, I decided today to take things just that little bit easier and to do a 5km walk, followed by a 5km run home. The walk doesn’t count towards the challenge, just in case you were wondering, as I’d have done the 2000km by now, with all the walking that I do.

There are many types of runners to see in London,  from the sweaty commuters running because they’re in a hurry, carrying rucksacks and wearing business shoes to the ‘men only’ running groups you see tearing up the pavement, in and around the City, and especially on the Embankment. I’m sure they must exist, but I have yet to see a ‘woman only’ running group.

If I’m honest,  I prefer the lone runners just like me; we exchange a secret smile and continue on our way. It was only on Monday courtesy of The Times, that I discovered this isn’t a secret smile, it’s actually a smug smile. Carol Midgley describes receiving a power salute when running in the rain, and she says the following:-

…a salute of smugness which said “Look at us. We’re smashing it.” It said; “See how our effort not to get fat elevates us above all those dry-haired wimps in cars.”

She then describes the famous Cleese/Barker/Corbett class sketch, in which the runner is always Cleese looking down on the other other two, the cyclist is Barker and he looks down on Corbett who drives a car. As someone who is just a touch taller than the late Ronnie Corbett, I delight in the fact that as a short runner I get to achieve John Cleese’s height, even if only metaphorically.

Carol then goes onto say she likes it best when she is actually in the car, and I think I mainly agree, except for one place and that is in London. All too often, your pace as a car driver is not much faster than the pedestrians surrounding you. I often ‘race’ cars along streets, because I know I can run certain stretches faster than they can drive them. Charing Cross Road, where the sweet shop can be found, is one such stretch.

My run started as I ran homewards from Trafalgar Square, having seen the delightful sweet shop window display. Not only did I sport the smug smile, but I broke runners’ etiquette. I ‘draughted’ behind a faster runner  he could act as my unknowing pacemaker. I wasn’t close enough to gain any aerodynamic benefits, but I couldn’t have accelerated anymore to ask him if he minded. If anyone knows a runner who ran from Trafalgar Square towards St Paul’s today, who felt as though he was being partially stalked – then I apologise profusely.

He gave me my fastest km I’ve ever done at 5 minutes 20, needless to say I couldn’t sustain that and my next split was 5 minutes 55, followed by a short of breath 6 minutes 42.  But the sweet sense of success was knowing that I could do a reasonably fast 1km if I had to. Today’s run was short and sweet – it was done at an average pace of 5.56 which I’m really pleased about, because it means I have got faster legs than I’d previously thought.

Mr JCR is enjoying the sweet success of climbing umpteen mountain passes in the Alps, and I enjoyed the sweet success of knowing that 5 minute something kilometres aren’t a fluke. I can actually do them.


Mercy, Rain On Your Parade – Duffy

Chelsea Dagger, Doginabag – The Fratellis

Down In The Tube Station At Midnight, In the City – The Jam

Is She Really Going Out With Him, Breaking Us In Two – Joe Jackson

Can’t Stop The Feeling – Justin Timberlake

Everyday I Love You Less and Less – Kaiser Chiefs

(yes iTunes was on alpha order)


Distance 5.10km

Time 30:19

Average Pace 5:56

Elevation Gain 33 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Run 1483.32

Kms To Do 534.68






3 Sept – Where On Earth?


Day 3 arrives, and my third run begins, all as part of me taking advantage of the cooler weather. Monday morning can be a bit of a problem running in and around the City, because so many commuters are around, but leave it until after 9.30am and miraculously the pavements clear.

Waiting for that miracle was my perfect excuse for not getting out until after 10am. But what a cracking run! I wasn’t expecting anything exceptional, after all this is my third run in as many days and I’ve already clocked up 26km.

But surprise, surprise, my little legs had minds of their own. First stop Postman’s Park – a favourite spot, because it has the unsung heroes wall, which I think is really poignant. It isn’t that busy, unless you’re there on a sunny lunchtime. It’s a nice place to scoot through – although truthfully it’s about a 15 second wonder, but it’s still one of my favourite spots in the City. I had in mind to go up West, towards theatreland and again because it’s a Monday, there weren’t that many folk around. After an uneventful 4kms or so, on St Martin’s Lane, I found myself eye to eye with the rhino. He was standing at my half way distance – just on 5km and a welcome pause to take the pic.

There’s quite a few of the rhinos dotted around London – I’ve seen three to date and although he is plain black, he is my favourite so far. he and the others are being auctioned for charity in October. The last time I was moved to consider a similar auction bid was a few years back, for an elephant decorated in fig leaves. The bids exceeded my then budget, by a considerable margin. As this particular rhino has been created by Gavin Turk – YBA famed for his dustbin bags and sleeping bags exhibition, I am guessing he will exceed my budget too.

Moving on from the expensive rhino, I turned towards home, along The Strand, up to Fleet Street and eventually to St Pauls, where a large crowd had assembled to watch its windows being cleaned. The pic doesn’t really do it justice, there was a water squirt machine cleaning it – and it made one heck of a racket. At this stage I was close to feeling all in and I checked out my pace and found to my astonishment that I’d completed my 8km all under 6 minutes per km. I had wanted to up the pace today, as I’ve been conscious that my Italian runs in summer haven’t been that fast. I know in part the heat/sun is to blame and that I can expect a deteriorated pace, but I was a bit concerned that I might not be able to go as fast as previously.

So to ask the question again, where on earth did that run come from? It made no sense whatsoever to me – usually my day 3 runs are slower, not faster and usually I only do 6/7kms on my third run. But for whatever reason, the magic recipe came together and I was Speedy Gonzales for 9kms.


Breaking Us In Two – Joe Jackson

Modern Way – Kaiser Chiefs

Modern Love, Let’s Dance – David Bowie

Just Can’t Get Enough – Depeche Mode

Vienna – Ultravox

Tesla Girls – OMD

Temptation – Heaven 17

Two Tribes – Frankie Goes To Hollywood

Is Vic There – Department S

Einstein A Go-Go – Landscape

Alison – Elvis Costello

Marvin Gaye – Puth and Traynor

Strong, Oh Woman Oh Man – London Grammar

Get Dancin’ – Disco Tex and His Sex-O-Lettes


Distance 9.27km

Time 54:53

Average Pace: 5:55 (yeeeessss…..)

Elevation Gain 27 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Done 1478.22

Kms to do 539.78





2 Sept – All The World’s A Stage

And all the men and women, merely players. With thanks to Bill Shakespeare for the lines. Actually most of London appears to be a stage on Sunday, with lots of parts of the City blocked off for filming. There appears to be at least 2 different productions on today  – the first near the City with American vehicles and a City square adorned with rustic handcarts – I’m thinking some enactment of  a street food market. The second was in and around the Inns of Court, with one of the many legal firms having had their property rebranded with German signage, and all sorts of foreign registered cars outside, German, Lithuanian and more.

It’s the fun part of living in the City, you never know who or who is going to be around the corner, although it can make doing your run a little challenging as you are often faced with no entry signs due to filming. I still haven’t had the luck of friends of friends who saw Idris in Hampstead once. I can keep on running though – maybe a Hampstead early morning/Sunday run may be in order?

After yesterday’s great effort, I had in mind to do a 10km if I could, to keep the distances up and take advantage of the cooler weather. Although it’s cooler here now, in fact it is warmer than Italy at present, but still great weather for dashing around town.

Today’s dash took me through the City, Holborn, West End, Covent Garden, Euston, Bloomsbury and it was all gloriously sunny. Tourists unable to believe their luck at the sun, although an unlucky few having to lug anoraks and coats, along side their pull along cases. One lady was carrying a duvet jacket and being overtaken by a middle aged lady in shorts and a vest – me. the contrast in clothing layers, I suppose is typical of the uncertainty of British weather.

My pace was nice and even, I must admit to being surprised as yesterday’s run was quite a long one, but I kept an even trot throughout my run. My new purchase of the trail ready water bottle worked out okay, and I had my ‘time and distance’ playlist on. His Purple Highness singing 1999 was a particular highlight when on Tottenham Court Road I caught a glimpse of the London Eye, and it took me back to one New Year’s Eve with our good friends N&A, when we were within spitting distance of the Eye as Big Ben sounded in a New Year. Poetically it would be great if I could say that was 1999 – but it wasn’t.

It was a nice, clean, uneventful run, I ran out of steam at the 11km mark and I’m very happy with that. At that point, one tune ‘This is Me’ came on for my warm down walk – and it’s not my usual type of tune, but recommended to me by my running buddy Nat. It was probably the most appropriate set of lyrics, for how I was feeling at that time. Thanks Nat!

And big shout of thanks to the Kiwi family members, who have sponsored me for my Alzheimer’s Challenge – another boost to the fund and to my motivation. Thanks guys – much appreciated.


Based on Time and Distances – somewhat obliquely…

7 Seconds – Youssou N’Dour and Neneh Cherry

Have A Nice Day – Stereophonics

Perfect Day – Lou Reed

Wake Me Up When September Ends – Green Day

What About Us – The Saturdays

December 1963 – Frankie Valli

Night Fever – Bee Gees

Boys Of Summer – Don Henley

Forever Autumn – Jeff Wayne

Hazy Shade Of Winter – The Bangles

Year Of The Cat – Al Stewart

1999 – His Purple Highness

Disco 2000 – Pulp

Sunday Morning – The Velvet Underground

Fall At Your Feet – Crowded House

8 Mile – Eminem

Steppin’ Out – Joe Jackson

Footloose – Kenny Loggins

I Don’t Like Mondays – The Boomtown Rats

Ruby Tuesday – Rolling Stones

Winter Melody – Donna Summer

Dancing In The Dark – The Boss

Summer of ’69 – Bryan Adams


Distance 11.10km

Time 1:10:30

Average pace 6:21

Elevation Gain 43 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Done 1468.95

Kms to Run 549.05










1 Sep -Black Velvet or A Bare Arse?

The ‘deep water’ sign obviously refers to the Thames behind…

Which of these sartorial choices would you make on any given day, on a motorway? Yesterday saw us travelling up the A14 towards Milan, where Mr JCR and I were to part company. He to the Alps – for cycling in mountains, me to London for a hospital appointment and some homebound admin – oh and sneaky shopping if I could manage it.

In Italy when it comes to motoring, there really isn’t anything you won’t see. Motorbikers travelling at a gazillion miles per hour, wearing flip flops. Yup – seen those. Two cars driving side by side on the motorway, at 50mph, the drivers having a conversation between their windows – utterly oblivious to the mayhem they were causing behind – Yup seen that. The famed/fabled unmarked police Lamborghini  – seen that too.  Therefore, yesterday’s sojourn shouldn’t have thrown up anything unusual. Except it did, en route to Faenza we saw a young woman having ‘done her business’ by the side of the motorway, pull up her white knickers, but not before having flashed a totally bare arse at all oncoming traffic. Now we’ve seen men peeing at the side of the motorway – that’s normal – but our first time to see a bare bottomed woman. Luckily for her or unluckily the sun was out, discretion being the better part of valour, we decided against a photo.

Further on, we saw a black Range Rover, looking quite pimped up. Velvet as a fabric is a good choice for upholstery and clothing, but this Range Rover’s body work was covered in black velvet. That was a first for both of us, it looked quite smart, but you did wonder as to the practicality – it didn’t have any obvious marketing slogans on the body work – but then how would you put them on? Embroidery perhaps? Then it started to pour down with rain, leading us to wonder how much heavier the car gets with all the absorbed water…

I digress, today’s run did not afford me the luxury of either going out bare-arsed – London doesn’t deserve that and I’d get arrested, nor black velvet as running gear, as the temperature was in the high teens, it wouldn’t have been a great choice.

First off, out to find a runner’s shop, as I’d left my water bottle behind in Italy. Today’s route therefore was predicated upon finding a water bottle. First off to the City, a quick scoot in, no water bottles of the type I prefer, so a scoot back out again. Through the City towards Holborn, passing a film crew who had rather bizarrely a US laundry truck in their props. No doubt this will appear in either Sherlock, or Doctor Who or similar in months to come.

Through Holborn and I find a Blacks Outdoor Shop – another scoot in to find the water bottle, and another scoot out again, having drawn a blank. Okay Holborn also has a big runner’s shop – scoot number three coming up and yet another blank. I’m about 5kms in to my run at this point, and decide random running isn’t going to get me a water bottle. Dr Google Maps came to my rescue and on I sauntered to Covent Garden, where I found my water bottle – yay, and a very nice shop assistant, who told me he had spotted me running earlier on. A few shops later, I found the water to put in the bottle. Normal service is restored. From Covent Garden towards Leicester Square – the crowds were queuing at the half price ticket booth and a crowd had gathered in front of a street busker, who had all the gear but no idea. I say he had no idea,  but was successfully getting cash out of the audience, who were basically just listening to a backing track. All he did was make a random accompaniment on a kazoo!

I spent some time in and around the square, because it’s fun to see what’s happening in town and made my way towards Trafalgar Square. It was a glorious morning, and there was quite a spring in my step, as I do love coming home to London, especially when the weather is just that little bit cooler, making running easier. I then aim towards Embankment and saw the sculpture above, the deep water sign made me smile as the lily pond was all of about 8 inches deep. I spent a bit of time on the Embankment, but even on a Saturday the traffic is heavy and the smell of pollution strong. I decided to avoid the traffic and travel back towards the Strand, up Savoy Street and beyond Somerset House.

I then enter one of my favourite parts of town, the Inns of Court, – it always seems quite civilised and quiet and I had a good trot towards home. My final spurt took me through St Paul’s Courtyard and back to the City. At the end of my run, I was pleasantly surprised, although my hips were telling me I’d run quite far, it was a touch over 15km – I haven’t done that in a long time. So a really good run to start my September efforts. It’s nice to be home – well my other home, but nicer still to be in temperatures that are a little more helpful for my challenge. Oh and the first time I’ve run an average sub 6 1/2 minutes per km.

For someone who is known as being a lizard and sun lover, I find I’m a better runner in the cool. And I’m cool with that too.


Locomotion, Joan of Arc – OMD

Master and Servant, Love In Itself, Save A Prayer – Depeche Mode

Let’s Go Crazy – His Purple Highness

Girls on Film, Electric Barbarella – Duran Duran

Help Me Rhonda – The Beach Boys

She’s Electric – Oasis

Down In The Tube Station At Midnight – The Jam

Night Fever – Bee Gees

Tracy Jacks – Blur

Born In The USA, Glory Days – The Boss

Can’t Stop The Feeling – Justin Timberlake

Mulder and Scully – Catatonia

Smile Like You Mean It, Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine – The Killers

Disco 2000, Common People – Pulp

Upside Down – Paloma Faith

Cabron – Red Hot Chilis

Everything Must Go – The Manics

Marvin Gaye – Puth and Traynor

I Ran – A Flock of Seagulls

Runnin’ Down A Dream – Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers

Creep – Radiohead

Strong – London Grammar

Back To Black – Amy Winehouse

Crazy In Love – Beyoncé


Distance 15.23km

Time 1:38:41

Average Pace 6:28

Elevation Gain – 59 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Done 1457.85

Kms to Run 560.15





25 – June – Looking for Shade


It’s 7.30pm and it’s also twenty six degrees, and it feels all wrong, because this is London and not Italy. I have my last London run to do before going back to Italy  and I ’d also like to break the 1100km barrier if I can.

Okay this is going to be challenging, as I don’t usually run in the evening and certainly not in full sun. I take my favourite route up to Holborn and snap the blue sky, just as Meck and Leo Sayer launch into Thunder In My Heart.

I’ve chosen my weather play list and mostly the tracks are about bad weather, and the optimistic one I hoped to hear ‘Mr Blue Sky’ remained stubbornly off the playlist. I run up Hatton Garden and do some mini ladder runs to vary the pace, and having to dodge the overspill of people outside of bars and pubs. Loads of drinking, chatter and an obstacle course for me to deal with.

I don’t know if I feel virtuous running when they are all drinking or just plain stupid for pursuing a tough challenge all of my own making. My run tonight is all about the 1100 marker and keeping out of the sun, which even in London is proving to be quite hard. Eventually, I aim towards Saffron Hill and home and realise I’m still a little short of where I need to be. I decide to head for Smithfield and take the long way home and it is here I find the coolest place to run in central London.

It is Central Avenue in Smithfield Meat Market – the covered Victorian boulevard between the two wings of the market. The avenue gets wafts of the air conditioned meat stalls, the only problem is it would be a very boring run just going up and down a 40-50 metre stretch of walkway. Even the most ardent meat eater might find the meat smell somewhat overpowering after a while.

I leave Smithfield behind and run past St Barts, which has newish graffiti on its walls as a result of it being the scene of Benedict Cumberbatch’s ‘death drop’ in Sherlock. This now has almost mythical status, with new London walks passing there for Sherlock fans.

I wanted to find shade, but mainly found sun and ended up with Sherlock. Not a bad 8km and I managed to beat my 1100km target by all of .19 of a kilometre, but every metre counts.

Next run – la Bella Italia.


Ice Ice Baby – Vanilla Ice

Misty Blue – Dorothy Moore

Thunder Road – The Boss

It’s Raining Men – The Weather Girls

Thunder – His Purple Highness

I Won’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me – Nik Kershaw

Sunny – Boney M

Thunder In My Heart – Meck & Leo Sayer

Purple Rain – His Purple Highness

Since You Been Gone – Rainbow

Sunshine After The Rain – Berri

Baby Its Cold Outside – Idina mensal and Michael Bublé

Cold As Ice – Foreigner

Lightning Bolt – Jake Bugg

The Real Slim Shady – Eminem

Cold – Stormzy

Sunshine On A Rainy Day – Galimar

I Cant Stand the Rain – Ann Peebles

Cloudbusting – Kate Bush


Distance 8.60km

Time 1:02:39

Average Pace 7:17 (mins/km)

Elevation Gain – 30 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Done 1100.19 (yay)

Kms to Run 917.81



24 June – Slow, swooshy, singing

Sunday Morning High Holborn

Sunday morning – nice and quiet, just how I like it. A return to yesterday’s run, see if I can do it a little faster. Usual route past the Crossrail boys, I’m starting to recognise a few of them, but I don’t know if they recognise me at all. Crossing London Wall towards Poultry (yes that is it’s name- nothing else, just Poultry), I make my way towards St Pauls tube and up to High Holborn.

Fewer folk than yesterday, and I run past one of my favourite parts of High Holborn – Staples Inn pictured. It seems so incongruous now, with many modern buildings surrounding it and still there’s a piece of 16th Century architecture holding its own, amongst the hustle and bustle. Except today, no hustle no bustle, except for me working my way up to Gray’s Inn Road once more.

I pass the mouthwatering shop that is Konditor and Cook, with its meringues and three tier cakes in the window, it’s hard to run past here usually. But Sunday being Sunday, it’s shut, saving me both money loss and waistline gain. Towards Theobald Road, it’s lovely and cool and shady and then I see her. The ultimate nemesis, I’m sure she is the Nike swoosh runner ad lady. About 6ft tall, with long blonde highlighted hair in said swooshy ponytail, wearing a vest, short shorts, extremely tanned legs, gold bangles on her wrist and sporting her Beats too.

Oh and by the way, no red face, no sweat, no sign of exertion, just a lovely loping style of run and her pace length is easily double mine. My good humour is punctuated sharply, by the sight of running perfection. Please can someone invent a place where pretty, tanned, non sweaty runners go, leaving the rest of us in peace in our belief that we don’t look too terrible when we run? The rest of my run, was punctuated by sighs and in my head me saying ‘short, dark, chunky runners are okay’. After about 5 minutes of that depressing mantra, I decided singing along to my C25K mentors mix, was as embarrassing as being compared to the Nike Swooshy lady, but I could put it down to middle-aged quirkiness.

A run in three parts – the first 2 and a bit kms, slowish pace, but enjoying the views

The second part – marred by the Swooshy lady – I must stress I wish her no ill-will, I just wish beautiful runners ran somewhere different to me!

The third part – common sense restored, albeit with some very out of tune singing along.


Happy – Pharrell Williams

Smile – Lily Allen

Tiger Feet – Mud

Smile – Gregory Porter

Ice Ice Baby – Vanilla Ice

Under Pressure – Queen and Bowie

Nowhere Fast – Eminem and Kehlani

Compression – Francesco Digilio

Rest – Charlotte Gainsbourg

Miami Vice Theme – Jan Hammer

Never Gone Give You Up – Rick Astley

Ju-Ju man – Dave Edmunds

Marathon – Rush

Advice For The Young At Heart – Tears For Fears

The Winner – Status Quo

Snail – The Smashing Pumpkins


Distance 7.15km

Time 45:07

Average Pace 6:18 (a teensy bit faster than last time – it must have been Swooshy runner affecting my pace)

Elevation Gain 25 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms done 1091.59

Kms to Run 926.41