As thousands of runners across the UK gear up for the London Marathon on 24 April, The Resident picks out the best running clubs and shops in Wimbledon, Clapham, Putney and beyond…
Words: Madeleine Howell
Whether it’s completing a marathon or a triathlon, hiking, skiing or tennis that takes your fancy, Profeet can start you on the right foot with biomechanical analysis and custom insoles.
867-869 Fulham Road, SW6 5HP; 020 7736 0046; profeet.co.uk
2 Clapham Pioneers
Attention, eager sprinters: while there’s no shortage of running clubs to choose from in Clapham, this club offers training geared towards specific races. Just home from a group trip to the Lisbon Half Marathon, the Pioneers meet like clockwork every Tuesday evening for an instructed warm-up and a number of alternating routes.
Wingate Square SW4 0AF; claphampioneers.co.uk
3 Wimbledon Windmilers
The 700 strong Windmilers also often meet by the windmill. Throughout the week, the club offers both race running and multi-sport training for triathlons. With accredited coaches, close links to the British Triathlon Association, and a team dedicated to organising fun events, this is the club to join if you’re looking to step up your sporting and social life.
Wimbledon Common; windmilers.org.uk
4 Sporting Feet
Conveniently close to the Thames Path, Putney is the place to go for a gentle jog and a change of scene – and the crew at Sporting Feet are there to help you pick the perfect shoe. They’re kept busy kitting out members of Putney’s many clubs, such as the recently founded Putney Running Club, Run Club Putney and – just for the girls – Runny Honeys.
3 Lacy Road, Putney SW15 1NH; 020 8780 0558; sporting-feet.com
5 Thames Hare & Hounds
The Thames Hare & Hounds is ‘the oldest cross-country club in the world’. Newcomers of all ages and abilities are welcome to join training, races and socials. Hare and Hounds recently took part in the Dash for the Splash 10km on the common and the Hampton Court Half Marathon. Next up, they’re training for the National Masters’ Road Relays – and planning a summer wine party, of course.
Wimbledon Common; thameshareandhounds.org.uk
6 Wandle Runners
This friendly group welcome runners of every level, and sets out to enjoy Wimbledon’s gorgeous green spaces without too much pressure or competition. The Wandles think running should be free, but ask for a donation of £5 a year to support conservation charities – such as the London Wildlife Trust, which is restoring Wimbledon Common’s lowland bogs.
Magdalen Road SW18 3NY; wandlerunners.co.uk
Stock up on all the running gear you could possibly need at this fitness emporium just by Clapham High Street station. There’s no excuse not to work up a sweat with their exhaustive range of colourful active wear, GPS watches, accessories and supplements – not forgetting the all-important high-viz for evening or early morning outings, and shades for sunny days.
Arch 632, Voltaire Road SW4 6DQ; 0844 332 5641; sweatshop.co.uk
8 Wimbledon Common Park Run
Not a race, but a timed 5k for both runners and walkers, this bunch pride themselves on inclusivity. Every Saturday morning near the windmill, all and sundry are invited to come and take part for free. It’s a great way to give reluctant relatives their first taste of running, or just to get younger members of the family out and about in the fresh air and into the muddiest of puddles.