One of the luxuries of lockdown has been a total absence of anything to do. Nothing is open, no theatre shows are on. Mercifully, we have been spared the horror show that are pantomimes, though I imagine they will return with a vengeance. I could have spent lockdown getting ‘fat and sassy’ (see below embedded video for reference, if outraged. NB: the remix video is excellently sassy), but I felt an uncontrollable desire to go outside. Since we were largely allowed to do so, I began going on more and more runs. In traditional fashion in this blog, I shall now recommend to you a run which can be done by people of all physical abilities throughout the centre of my favourite city.
The run, which is embedded below, can be started at any point on the trail below. It is aimed to take in what I consider to be the key highlights of the city centre.
Beginning then at the University of Law (though as I say you can start anywhere on the loop), You would run down the hill towards Snow Hill. You can take in the superb St Chad’s Catholic Cathedral, which is a typical Birmingham red brick building. You would then cross the St Chad’s Queensway and turn right on Colmore Row. This allows you to run past the glorious St Phillip’s Cathedral from the other Christian denomination.
From there, run to Victoria Square where you can take in Birmingham’s iconic Town Hall and Council Building, both of which are jewels in the Birmingham crown. From there, take a left down Chamberlain Square, taking in the staggering Birmingham Museum and Art gallery as well as one of the Joseph Chamberlain Clock, which is now housed in an open square with refurbished paving. Thence, run past the Birmingham Library, which is the building in the cover image of this post.
This is the difficult bit. Walking through the ICC will give you a chance for a quick break and enjoy an, in my opinion, underrated building in Birmingham. This is currently closed for refurbishment of Symphony Hall at the time of writing. My advice would be to run down the right side of the ICC if this is still the case when you undertake your run.
The map is wrong here as Google is not aware of the multitudinous pathways around the Birmingham canal network. You can run directly from the bridge across the ICC (towards Pitcher and Piano) and go on in a straight line past the Ikon Gallery. There is a staggering collection there at the moment which I managed to see before the latest lockdown. Highly recommended.
Turning right towards Brindley Place, you will enter the last stretch of this run. Get on the canal behind the Sealife Centre and run all the way to St Paul’s Square. This is flat and sometimes down hill. I would echo Matthew’s recommendation about slowing down when running downhill. This way you do not use up energy stores trying to match the pace when the path flattens out. So much of running is about conserving energy.
Finally, after the breathtaking underside of the Emerald Living Space, a building which sits over the canal over shortly after Newhall Street, turn left and come off the canal. This is another aspect of the map which is wrong on account of Google’s seeming anti canal prejudice. You can get off after the underside of the Emerald Living Space. Just watch out for the huge white pillars which support the building and turn left here.
Finally, run past St Paul’s ‘Other Christian Denomination’ Church, up Caroline Street and rejoin the University of Law . This completes the run.
I hope that those of you who undertake this run enjoy it. Others I hope have enjoyed the commentary on highlights of central Birmingham. It goes without saying that this is an equally lovely walk, weather permitting.