Canada

London, Ontario

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London is located in southwestern Ontario, at the confluence of the Thames River along the Quebec City-Windsor corridor. Home to Western University, this city of nearly 400,000 people is a major educational and economic center. The scene for running in London is especially vibrant and attractive for a relatively small city — there’s a great infrastructure of routes, clubs, and events for runners. Running highlights include 30+ km of trails along the Thames River, which feels like one large linear park. There’s also a nice network of preserves (called ‘Environmentally Sensitive Areas’) that have multi-use paths and trail running for all abilities.

For the Thames River paths, we’ve mapped several route options incorporating the paved Thames Valley Parkway, adding some loops that include Greenway Park and Springbank Park. Another great place to run in London is around the Western University campus and adjacent parks and paths. For some gentle trail running, we love Kilally Meadows and Westminster Ponds. There’s also trail running for all abilities at Fanshawe Lake.

Runners should note that winters in London are cold, averaging nearly 200 cm of annual snowfall. The city does a good job of keeping the main running paths cleared of snow. Runners should note that some of the trail running spots might be favored by XC skiers in winter. For getting around London, there’s a pretty good bus system.

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Some of our favorite runs in London, Ontario

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Thames Valley Parkway

London, Ontario

The 30 km of paths along the Thames River are the signature run in London, featuring water views, parks, and woods. The main path is the Thames River Parkway, which runs for some 16 km along the river, with a 3 km section heading north to Gibbons Park.
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Greenway Park and Springbank Park

London, Ontario

Combine the Thames River with trails in these two riverside parks. Nice mix of riverside paths and undulating inland paths through fields and woods. The London Pacers running club has mapped 10k and 5k routes, including a popular 5k cross-country course.
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Westminster Ponds & Pond Mills

London, Ontario

Popular nature preserve in the southern part of London with 11 km of trails. Fairly easy trail running on terrain that includes meadows, bogs, woods, and some five ponds. Much of the trail system is on boardwalks. Popular spot with birders
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Thames Valley Parkway

London, Ontario

The 30 km of paths along the Thames River are the signature run in London, featuring water views, parks, and woods. The main path is the Thames River Parkway, which runs for some 16 km along the river, with a 3 km section heading north to Gibbons Park.
Explore

London has warm, pleasant summers and cold, snowy winters. Summer high temperatures average in the 26C (high 70s) range, and nights can cool off. It can get humid, and there are numerous days where the temp tops 30C. Fall is gorgeous but gets chilly by the end of October. Winters are long and cold — not as severe as Montreal and Ottawa, but colder and snowier than Toronto. Runners should come prepared. Average high temps in January are -3C (28F) and lows are -11C (teens, Farenheit). There are 200cm of snow annually, though this can vary from year to year as much of the snow is lake effect. Fortunately, London does a pretty good job of clearing the important paths of snow. The lake also contributes to some overcast and thunderstorms in summer.  ClimaTemps.com

For access to the best running, we recommend staying in Central London, generally east of Richmond St. There are lots of hotels in this area, and they’re all within 1-2 km of some of our favorite routes along the river and other nice parks. There aren’t that many hotels near the Western University.

RUNNING STORES

There’s a good number of running specialty stores in London, and numerous sporting good stores that also sell running gear.

As for running specialty stores, there’s a London location of the omnipresent Running Room.

Another very cool spot is Backroads London, which is a combination running store and taprooom (can’t think of a better combo!). They also do several running related events and social runs each week.

You can also buy running gear at MEC, Sport Chek, and National Sports. There’s a New Balance outlet as well.

GROUP RUNS

Running Room and Backroads London feature regular group runs and other running events.

London Pacers Running Club is a very active running club in London. They’re involved with all sorts of group runs and running events in town.