Seven weeks and counting! Today was something of a milestone as I broke the 20 mile mark for the first time, completing 21 miles over three and a half hours of running! After the success of last week’s mini mission to the Black Country, I decided to visit some more of my favourite places, with a focus on landscape spaces.
I started through the city, visiting the fantastic Eastside City Park. I am a big fan of the European aesthetic of this space, from the Corten columns and finely detailed hard surfaces to the neatly pollarded trees. I took the opportunity to run past the stately Curzon Street Station before heading out for a tour of the atmospheric streets of Digbeth, which after my home neighbourhood of Moseley is my favourite part of the city.
With these sorts of distances to cover, it helps to have long distance objectives so with this in mind I headed out to Edgbaston Reservoir, through a horizontal snowstorm! On the way I made a minor detour for Oozells Square, a wonderful landscape design crowned by the fabulous Ikon Gallery, a former Martin and Chamberlain school. This space is at its best in spring when the trees are in blossom. You can bet I will be back with my camera!
And so to the reservoir, a favourite spot for runners, as well as a great place to get a view of the Birmingham skyline. Running around the reservoir my heavy legs (earned from a poorly timed trip to Snowdon the previous day!) felt renewed and I thought for the first time that I might actually cover a decent distance. I decided to test the theory and made a beeline for the recently listed St James’ House, John Madin’s first office and a building I have loved since the first time I saw it. I am very glad to see buildings of this type and age are receiving the recognition they deserve from the listing process – although I was disappointed to see another Madin building, the Natwest Tower miss out.
I wound my way through Edgbaston’s polite, leafy streets past the cricket ground and into Cannon Hill Park, surely one of the finest examples of Victorian park design in the country. From here I joined the River Rea corridor until it meets the Grand Union Canal where I began the last leg of my journey back to the Jewellery Quarter. I’ll be honest – the last few miles were a challenge! Luckily the route is stunning, with beautiful landscape scenery and enough landmarks like the University campus, Edgbaston tunnel, five ways and finally the Cube to keep my head up! I feel very lucky to have such a wonderful city to run through.
I know the next few weeks will be the hardest, but I am feeling very positive about completing the marathon and raising money for Birmingham Conservation Trust in the process.