As a keen runner and traveller you can only imagine my delight when my friends at Secret London Runs set me a challenge: "Lucy" they asked me, "how many running tours can you do in a year?"
So what is a running tour?
A combination of running and sightseeing – running in-between places at which a guide will share facts, history, anecdotes and/or stories at each stop. Running as opposed to walking allows the participants to cover more ground and combine learning with fitness which is a win win in my eyes - and also so much better than sitting on a stuffy bus.
I'm excited about this challenge - and happen to think that I'm perfect for it.
First of all, I'm a lover of all things fitness. I loved running the London Marathon last year, play striker in hockey and exercise whenever I can - of course, my running shoes get packed on every trip.
Speaking of trips, my job, working as airline cabin crew allows me to travel all over the world.
I love to explore and find out about the places I visit and believe that the running tours are the best way to combine the two.
Over the next year, I'm going to try to take part in as many running tours as I can around our magnificent planet. I'll post about all of them on Instagram, and write about all my latest tours each month on Secret London Runs' blog - hopefully to give you some inspiration for your next trip!
My first tour of the challenge
Of course, it made sense to kick off my challenge on Halloween with Secret London Runs' Run for Your Life! Ghost Tour! I joined a 30-strong crew of fellow ghost-hunters. From talking to the other friendly runners on the tour, it was so lovely to hear that almost all of them had been on numerous other themed tours with the company and were back for more!
We started at St Pancras Old Church - one of the most haunted places in London. Vanessa, the (very engaging) founder of Secret London Runs, told us some creepy tales about the graveyard before we set off. The 5 miles covered parks, pubs, streets and a canal - stopping to have a breather and hear scary tales of hauntings, treachery and gruesomeness. I loved the stories - they were things I would never have otherwise learnt and running in the dark added to the glorious spookiness.
Near the end of the tour at the Magdala pub - the murder site of David Blakely (killed by Ruth Ellis - the last woman to be hanged in Britain) - we all noticed a little lady join the tour. In true British fashion we all assumed she was freeloading and said nothing - it turned out she was a journalist who had reported on the crime at the time of the murder and was able to confirm and add some additional details to Vanessa's story - amazing!
And - not wanting to give away too many spoilers -I think I saw some actual ghosts from some of the stories we were told around the course! I was constantly on edge and loved it! We ended with a much-needed (optional) stiff drink and a snack.
Next I'm heading to San Diego and Seattle and I'll be trying to find a running tour in my new home town, Birmingham!
I hope you'll enjoy following my adventures enjoy and they might even inspire you to join a running tour - in London or on your next trip. Not sure if your destination has a running tour set up? Check out a comprehensive list from our friends @runningtoursnet.