The Stragglers main club night is Thursday at the Hawker Centre in Ham. Every week rain or shine, snow, ice or hail members will turn up for a run. And lets face it, once you get going, whatever the conditions, it always feels worthwhile. But to be honest, the best nights are during the lighter summer evenings when the temperature feels clement and the trees are coming into full leaf.
Thursday night was one of those evenings. At 7.30 Mark Pattinson lead a warm up session, then Phil Davies the club Captain announced groups. We try and offer groups to cater for different paces and objectives. As there was a gap at around the 9.00 – 09.30 pace I offered to take a group for a run of about 5 to 6 miles. A group of 15 of us headed off for Richmond Park, entering through the Ham Gate, then following the main path towards Petersham. We then followed a slanting uphill trail to culminate towards the top of Richmond Hill at the gate leading in to the gardens surrounding Pembroke Lodge. It’s a tough climb but worth it for the view alone. Pembroke Lodge gardens are worth a visit if you have not seen them. A Hankerchief tree is almost in full flower and great views of London can be had from King Henrys Mound with a direct line of sight to St Pauls Cathedral. Not to mention Ian Dury’s bench…
We continued on to the Richmond gate and I then led us down the steep path to Petersham gate. Its always a bit tricky but quite fun. This evening it was still extremely muddy in places and one of our number took a spectacular slide and came out coated ( but still smiling, I think!). Not sure of the pace we averaged but probably around 9.30 over 5.5 miles.
A bonus for me was the appearance of long time absentee member Geoff Miles. Geoff it the Run Director at Osterley parkrun and a previous running partner. Good to have a chat over the last couple of miles.
Great run but I could feel my left calf niggling and stiff afterwards despite stretching. Need to watch this if I am going to get a good run on Sunday at the Richmond Ranelagh Half Marathon. Still great to get out for the first proper summer evening run.