Running around Cambridge
In a sporty way not a panic way
If Freshers’ Week is anything to go by, you’ll soon discover that life in Cambridge is all about living in the fast lane. Eight-week terms are buzzing and blitz by in the blink of an eye. You get the gist: life moves pretty fast. Give it a couple of weeks and you’ll be needing to slow down.
“How?!” I hear you cry. Well yes, you can follow that Tab café guide and find yourself a nice spot for a caffeine-fix, but is that what you really need? No my friends, Romans, countrymen (cheeky J.Caesar reference there – yeah I did it for GCSE too). You need to run.
I don’t care if you’re “not built for running”, or you’re “so unfit”. “I can’t run” is, in fact, just another lie you’re believing about yourself. So, use my guide now to give yourself a space to see your strength, get some headspace, work on your fitness, or simply just get out of that quadrangle you seem to have formed between Lectures, Life, College, and Cindies. And no, that is not an invitation for you to claim that there are other ports of call: Gardies and the Van of Life. Consider yourself ever-so-privileged to be about to be let in on some of the CUHH (Cambridge University Hare and Hounds) routes. Here’s the low-down on a couple of the most frequently traversed.
Going all out with detailed instructions for your most basic Cambridge route, let’s start with Fen Ditton (c. 5.5 miles/just under 9km)
- Leave St John’s Plodge and head out to Jesus Green.
- Follow the South side of the Cam past the chimney thing on your right, and continue through Midsummer Common, crossing over the railway tracks via a footbridge (run up the steps, you can do it).
- Keep running across the field until you get to a concrete path on your left.
- Follow that along to the church in Fen Ditton and turn left.
- Run toward the house on your left.
- Go through the kissing gate and run in a leftward direction along the river, crossing a couple of bridges.
- Back through Midsummer Common and retrace your steps home.
[p.s. Fen Ditton Dash is held on 14th October – highly recommend coming along to race. Bonus points for getting to the top of the bridge first, crowned as King/Queen of the Bridge.]
Hopefully after you’ve braced that first one, you’ll be keen to join the 7.20am crew for early morning (but not as early as the rowers!) adventures which include, but are not limited to… the following:
Cabbage Patch (c. 7 miles/11km) for slightly more extended thinking time, space, and maybe poor chat if you run with the Hare and Hounds (kidding, chat is top quality). It’s worth the while, guaranteed. Bit of a tight squeeze if you’ve got a 9am but I’ll leave that to your best judgement as to time of day/how fast you can do this one.
Then you’ve got another classic, Bait’s Bite, all the way out along the river and back – if nothing else, you get to gaze at fit (subjective/objective?) rowers on the Cam. Cross over the river when you hit the lock (or you can just do an out and back jog).
Grantchester Meadows is another shout which the artsy kids in your college will consider a day-trip and picnic event out post-exams and post indie pics of #madeitallthewaytograntchester.
The list continues, but I’ll leave you with one slightly longer route (Sunday Long Runs often consist of this one but we do have a few more up our sleeve); Haslingfield. Save this one for the weekend when you can finish with a big value-packed brunch (would personally recommend Pembroke, the waffles and pancakes are pretty solid).
And if none of that was enough for you, you can always run to Ely (and if you want company, the Hareys usually run it the morning-after their Annual Dinner). Now that’s a solid run.
(p.s. I’ve probably name dropped the Hare and Hounds more than I should have here but seriously, if you’re keen to give running a go hit up the Facebook group or just google Cambridge University Hare and Hounds. Word on the street is they have a pretty edgy webpage reminiscent of the early 2000’s)