A Run-Walk In Hyde Park

Taking in the world around me at Hyde Park. 

hyde park london england

I am not a runner. But on this particular morning in Paddington, London, I had the sudden urge to go on a run. So I got up early, ate some breakfast, and forced my friend to come exploring with me. After a quick look at the map, we saw that Hyde Park was only a few minutes away. So we strapped on our laces and headed for the park, eager to see what a typical day in London was like, as we had arrived only the day before. After looking at the map at the front gate, we decided to circle the entire park and began running at an average speed.

hyde park london england
But fifteen minutes later, I started getting short of breath. I realized I wouldn’t be able to finish the run — I had forgotten my inhaler and I was probably out of shape. So I slowed down to a walk and awkwardly told my friend that I wouldn’t be able to run anymore. He didn’t mind, and we started to walk at a slow pace, quietly observing what was around us. And I started to notice the things I hadn’t noticed before.
The merry-go-round on the side of the park. The huge diversity of people, most of them with British accents. The men in fancy suits, probably taking a break from work. The sense of calm when compared to the busy streets of London. The dogs — hairier and smaller and more English-looking than the dogs in America. My friend and I walked in silence, making only the occasional comment on what we observed.
hyde park carousel london england

Even though our run turned into a walk, I didn’t mind. I ended up doing what I wanted to after all. My goal in London wasn’t to run through a park with my headphones on, or hurry through the streets trying to reach a destination on the map. I came to London to see the people. To learn about a city, apart from a textbook or the internet. To experience walking around in a park, taking in the world around me.

So I’m glad that I didn’t finish the run that day. Because maybe a run-walk isn’t so bad after all.

Article written by Nikki Somani.

london england hyde park
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