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Recommended local routes

Our very own Wimbledon Common which you can link up via Robin Hood Gate to the Tamsin Trail in Richmond Park

Thames Towpath – head west or east!

Follow the Wandle all the way to Croydon!

Box Hill to Reigate (and back if you’re keen)

Midsummer Munro” out and back route from Box Hill café

The Surrey 3 Peaks

The Capital Ring – a great adventure which passes straight through the heart of Wimbledon. Complete in stages or in a “oner” if you’re keen!

Links for more information:

Fell Runners Association – lots of ideas for adventures all over the country – International Ultra news and events

SLOW – local orienteering club for navigation skills and practice and home of one of the two fell races in the South East, the ever popular Box Hill Fell Race!


Something we hope never to need

Of course, you should consider your safety in all of your running but it matters even more when you are off the beaten track, potentially in remote and difficult terrain. This isn’t a safety check list but more of a guide of some things to think about.

  1.  If possible, try not to run alone. Not only is it more fun in a group, it’s also much safer!
  2.  Carry route details and a way to navigate. I prefer a map and compass as they don’t run out of battery but these are only any good if you can use them effectively when the wind picks up and the mist comes down! Most phones now have a GPS and can display mapping. If relying on your phone, make sure it’s waterproof and the batteries will last.  Also, expect not to have internet connection – if you do, it’s a bonus! Check out the OS Maps app or Outdoor Active for good mapping with the ability to store maps offline.
  3.  Try to be self-sufficient, and respectful of the volunteers who might have to come rescue you, but call for help before you deteriorate into a bad state. Mountain Rescue would rather guide off a lost runner than carry off a bad casualty.
  4.  Always leave details of your trip with someone. If possible, someone wrapped up safely at home but in the worst case, you can leave a note in the windscreen of your car. Include an outline of your route, start time, expected finish time (be generous!) and a time at which people should begin to worry. If you’re leaving details with someone inexperienced, write down who to contact, how and when and include what to say to them. An example might be calling 999 and asking for mountain rescue: “My name is YYY and my number is YYYY. My partner set out for a run and I’ve not heard from him beyond the time he expected to check back in and he asked me to call you. He set out to run up solo to Snowdon summit at 0900 following the Watkin path from Pont Bethania, returning the same way. He expected to return by 1400 and said to call at 1530 if I hadn’t heard. His name is Gareth Tomlinson, mid 40’s male, wearing a dark green base layer, red fleece and black waterproof with orange backpack. He is experienced, has water, food, whistle, torch and a foil blanket with him. His number is XXX.”
  5.  Consider using an app with a “buddy beacon” feature. This lets your nearest and dearest track you. Just be aware that these do rely on an internet connection so let your followers know not to panic if they don’t see you move for a while.
  6.  Be reasonable with your expectations and carry suitable provisions for your planned duration. If you’ve only ever run a flat half marathon, don’t head out solo for 80km across the mountains! Carry or have guaranteed means to get enough water, food and warming clothing for your expected time out. If expecting to find water from your surroundings, consider how you will purify it. There might be something unpleasant in that stream 50m up from where you are.
  7.  Keep an emergency kit for longer adventures and try to only use it in an emergency!  As a minimum I carry a spare warm layer, whistle, small torch, some strapping tape, small scissors to cut it, a foil bivi bag and a gel.
  8.  Carry a hat and gloves and keep your warm clothes as dry as possible. Freezer ziplock bags are ideal for this!
  9.  Stay alert for hyperthermia. This could be a topic for a whole webpage but as a friend once said to me “any idiot can get cold, it takes a wise person to stay warm”. Add layers before you think you “need them”. Zipping up a jacket or putting on gloves can be hard with frozen fingers. Also be very aware of wind and when you might get into exposed positions. It can be fine climbing a hill but when you get to the exposed ridge or summit, it can get very cold very fast and a comfortable situation can go downhill very quickly.

Of course this is all just part of body management and very much part of the game. If you’re not sure, perhaps seek some more experienced company but don’t let it put you off!