Run, forest, run…

Bronwen opts for dodging cowpats over post-pub detritus as she takes her Vachery training into the woods


Well it’s two weeks closer to Vachery and my training is still decidedly patchy. I’ve told myself that once I’ve handed in my last piece of university work next week I’ll have a look at the training plan I’ve been given… and am already two weeks behind on. But for the moment I’m still fitting bits in as and when I can: swimming occasionally; cycling a little more. Mostly running.


My regular running route takes in a little bit of green (the lovely Clissold Park in Stoke Newington), but is on the whole fairly urban. This is fine for the most part – I find it’s a good way to be nosy at what’s going on in my local area – but on weekend mornings the normally safe pavement transforms in to a bit of an assault course. But not the kind you’d find on the Krypton Factor or Gladiators (more’s the pity); the obstacles I have to avoid are patches of broken glass, spilled chips and regurgitated kebab. Delightful.

On those occasions I find myself longing for a lovely countryside run, or access to somewhere like the beautiful Central Park (where I had the pleasure of running last month). So whenever I head home to Wales to see family, I try to make the most of the green, green grass of home and indulge in some picturesque training.


On my most recent visit I went for a run through the woods about ten minutes from my parents’ house. It’s a great route because it’s nice and undulating, has lovely views, and (most importantly) when I’m running there I can imagine I’m Jodie Foster in the opening scene from Silence of the Lambs.

There are still hazards to avoid – tree roots poking out of the mud, stinging nettles on either side of the path – but these are still infinitely nicer to hop over than the post-pub detritus I usually encounter on my London circuit. Once I emerged from the woods I ran through a pretty village, along a river and joined a path traversing some fields (where cowpat avoidance became the new game).

From there the route took me along some quiet back roads, which led me gently back home… with not a chip or a smashed pint glass in sight. My rural run left me a little muddier than I would have been after a London run, but I definitely think there’s something satisfying about getting a bit dirty during exercise – it makes you feel like you’ve been somewhere.

What’s more, from what I’ve heard the Vachery run route is along pretty countryside lanes, so I’m looking forward to that part a little more now. Or at least dreading it less…


The Vachery Triathlon takes place on 21 July in Surrey, with more info at You can follow Bronwen’s progress here and on twitter at @bronwen_morgan