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Running on Primrose Hill

"I hate…this hill," a weary woman complains between gasps for air.
 The narrow stretch of land that leads to the top is the final test. Will she own the mountain, or will it own her?

Casual joggers and marathon trainers alike challenge themselves daily on Primrose Hill in Regent's Park. Many consider it one of the best running routes in London.

Over 200 feet of grueling incline pushes fitness seekers to their limits. Once they get to the top, however, the payoff is immediate. A panoramic view of the beautiful London skyline awaits them.

Primrose Hill is widely considered as one of the best hills in London. It has been a landmark in London for more than 500 years.

The hill was even the scene of a magistrate's murder back in the 17th century. Since then, the hill has been used for target practice and fencing matches. More recently, the lofty rise is a place of recreation as well as fitness.

Looking up from the base can be overwhelming for runners, especially if their muscles are already cramping with fatigue.

So what is it that keeps them going? One said he loves the difficulty because of the feeling of accomplishment he has afterwards. The hardest days are often the most rewarding for him.

 

A sight for sore thighs

Another has been running the same route for years and she loves pushing herself to improve. It's her favourite London jog and the view from the top makes it worth the sacrifice for her.

Some prefer to make the trek on their own. Others join running clubs to make it easier. It does not matter what the inspiration is to press forward; it could be an encouraging companion, a pumped-up song, or sheer inward drive. All that matters is that you keep going.

Besides, once you reach the top of the hill, you will feel like you have conquered the world. Every drop of sweat and every aching muscle tell a story of endurance.

Joe Catalona, a running coach, said: "Many people shy away from hills. They make it easy on themselves, but that limits their improvement.

"The more you repeat something, the stronger you get," he adds. 



The big question is, are you ready to tackle it? There are six designated running routes in Regent’s Park, which are ranked by difficulty level. Pick one, lace up your trainers, and be on your way.

Words & images by Wendy Anstead

Visit Primrose Hill, Primrose Hill Road, NW3 (020 7486 7905)
Nearest tube stations: Chalk Farm (Northern line), Camden Town (Northern line), St. John’s Wood (Jubilee line), Baker Street (Bakerloo, Jubilee, Hammersmith & City, Circle & Metropolitan lines).

More articles by the author:

Birds of London or flying rats?

St Paul's in perspective

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