Sunday, 9 November 2014

Grand Union Canal - towpath running

I'm quite enjoying my regular towpath runs along the Grand Union Canal, not too far from where we live.  Hannah, my youngest daughter has taken up kayaking I am now in the habit of driving her over to her club at Linslade and this gives me the opportunity to have a 10+ mile run.

For the time being I am enjoying it but I can see that sooner or later it's going to be a tad boring, leading to some circular routes being opened up.

As the seasons change from late summer into autumn there is definitely a change in canal life, easily seen from my perspective as a landlubber. The rented leisure boats have disappeared and are moored up.  The floating gin palaces have (almost) disappeared leaving the die-hards to get ready for the winter.

The die-hards can probably be divided into a number of sub-categories but I haven't worked these out as yet.  They could include the younger variety who are slightly New Age judging by their uniform.  Then there is the single man in his 50s or 60s and undoubtedly with a tale to tell.  Perhaps more on these another time.

Nevertheless I am still enjoying this new environment for running and I'm starting to recognise there are some pros and cons:

  • Not much chance of getting lost, even me
  • Normally canal life is interesting to see
  • Fast run potential
  • Running surface is good - often gravel tracks or grass.  Slightly uneven which is good for stability and strengthening ankle muscles etc
  • Well used by other runners in places (especially Linslade to Three Locks) and signs of camaraderie 
  • Nice to see Hannah and her fellow kayak paddlers enjoying themselves

  • Flat, no hills to bring out the best in my running
  • Could soon become monotonous
  • Grumpy anglers who don't respond to a "good morning" and seem to resent runners also using the towpath
  • Encounters with dogs and their owners: most are okay but some are irresponsible idiots who can't control their unruly animals
Click here for the Leighton Buzzard Canoe Club

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