the ideal owner
You’re a keen runner, there’s no stopping you. Morning, evening, night, you don’t care. You must run. Streets are ok, but you long for the wilds, unspoilt meadows and woodland, dirt tracks astride with ferns and wildflowers, and yes, even nettles. It’s the openness, the wideness, the unfettered skyline, the big blue, that compels you. If you love being out in nature, then you’ll love the Heath Extension, it’s a natural circuit. And if that’s not enough you can head down to Golders Hill Park and Sandy Lane, and for those bigger runs, it has to be Hampstead Heath, maybe you take on too much and stop for a coffee, but who cares, it’s your run, your time, the experience is just as important as the exercise.
But you don’t stop at running. You’re brave, you head to the outdoor swimming pools on Hampstead Heath. Perhaps during the winter, the cold is too much so you swim at Finchley Lido or join a swimming club at the Swiss Cottage Leisure Centre, where you decide to do a few weights to beef-up, or tackle a climbing wall.
You cycle of course, mad not to in the spring and summer and autumn months when the sky is so bright and the landscape so verdant. Hampstead Garden Suburb is always so much better viewed by bike, more leisurely, more accommodating. Then there’s the Heath Extension again, if it’s a natural circuit for a jogger then it’s also a natural circuit for a cyclist, knocking miles off your yearly target – and not busy either. Sometimes you cycle to Highgate along Hampstead Lane, following the 210 bus, treat yourself to tea and cake, maybe a scone. Yes, Hampstead and Highgate are hilly, but so what, cycling up them keeps you fit, and whizzing down them is so much fun.
If you’re a serious athlete then Parliament Hill Fields Athletics Track must be your second home.