Keep on running in the South East

Whether you run for fitness, walk for wellbeing or you’re training for an event, our waterways offer ample opportunities to help you reach your goals

Running on the Grand Union


Would you like to run the Virgin Money London Marathon in 2019 on behalf of the Canal & River Trust? We’ve been allocated a limited number of spaces in this incredible event, and we’re keen to hear from keen runners who would like to take part and help raise vital funds to help make life better by the water.

Plan your route

Whatever your level of running ambition – whether you’re training for an organised event or just getting started – the flat surfaces and convivial atmosphere of a canal towpath can give you just the boost you need.

For Cate Spenceley, waterside running was her route back into fitness. ‘I started the Couch to 5K challenge last March,’ she says. ‘I’m not a runner at all, so ‘flat but interesting’ was my main criteria when I first took it up. Being by the water feels safe too, although I don’t run in the dark.’

It’s not just the easy gradients that appeal. ‘The scenery is lovely,” she says. ‘And I’m lucky my route takes me alongside a field that’s home to a friendly horse who sometimes gallops along with me. I meet lots of other runners, cyclists, walkers and dogs too – it feels sociable. Once I get to 5km, I can either turn round and run back again or go to the pub and jump on the train home.’

For runners in the South East region, there are rich pickings when it comes to canal-side routes. The Grand Union Canal and Oxford Canal cut through some of the more picturesque parts of the country and provide challenging nearby terrain as well as breathtaking views.

Beginners can take it easy along any of the canal towpaths in the region, but if you want to push yourself, the Chiltern Hills are just a short jog away.

A not-too-punishing introduction to them would be to start at Tring station and head along the canal towards the Tring Reservoirs Nature Reserve and Marsworth, bear right to Pitstone then left towards Ivinghoe before tackling the long, steady drag up to Ivinghoe Beacon. Stop to catch your breath and survey the stunning scenery before descending, picking along the Upper Icknield Way towards Bulbourne. There you can either stop for lunch at the Grand Junction Arms or head back along the canal to your starting point.

Fancy a challenge?
Did you know that the Trust has a few limited places to run in the 2019 Virgin Money London Marathon? If you’re interested to run for us in this iconic event, helping to raise funds for our work, email us to register your interest at and we will be in touch with more info.

Just starting out?
Find your nearest waterway and plan your running route on our website.

Bosede Bisiriyu