HOUSING: Mapping London’s running paths, gyms and sports fields (png)

Tired of home workouts? Bored of the do-everything-from-home routine?

Lace up Mustangs, the Gazette is here to tell you about the countless places in London where you can get a good workout in, all while maintaining a six-foot distance from the next gym rat. 

From north to south and east to west, here's where you can safely workout in the forest city this year.

Trails and paths

If you're a runner, biker or are looking to go out on a long walk, the Thames Valley Parkway is the spot for you. With over 40 km of paths that go in three directions, the trail system has entry points all over the Western University area.

The TVP is an asphalt path, divided by a yellow line down the middle for two-way traffic. The path isn’t continuous as certain trail points merge with side streets before picking up again a few hundred meters later. Look at a map before heading out or follow signs along the trail to ensure you are on the right path. 

The trail’s epicenter is right near the Forks area downtown and then travels west, southeast and north. The north branch travels right through campus, passing by Elgin Hall. Recent bridge additions to the path were completed within the last few weeks, extending the trail’s north branch through Ross Park to the North London Athletic Fields and beyond.

The TVP runs west of campus, so it becomes harder to access the further east you live, instead head to the Medway Valley Forest if you live east of campus. It runs just east of Brescia University College and Huron University College.

Trails are harder to find if you live to the north. The TVP breaks to the west just north of campus and the Medway Valley Forest is east of campus, so you might be out of luck.

Tracks

If scenic running isn’t your thing, you don’t have to look far to find somewhere to run.

The track at TD Stadium is usually open for student use, even when the football team is practising on the field it encircles. Head to the separate asphalt path that goes around the gates of the stadium if the track team or another group is practising on the real track, so other runners won’t ruin your session.

Victoria Park, an obvious option, isn’t a track per se, but it's sidewalk circles the park’s grassy fields. Try it out if you live southeast of campus near downtown London and don’t want to catch a bus to campus.

Tennis courts

The University Tennis Centre is conveniently located on campus across from the Music Building near Talbot College. Its location makes it accessible no matter where you live, thanks to the bus pass. The UTC’s six hard courts are bubbled to be usable for year-round play. They are the likely best quality court you’ll find in London.

The catch? They aren’t cheap to use.

A winter student membership costs $99 and court fees are an additional $12 per student per hour. If you're a diehard player, this is the spot for you but if you only plan on playing a few times in the fall or spring, don’t change your housing plans to get close to these courts. 

If you live southeast of campus, Gibbons and Picadilly park both have tennis courts. Gibbons is right off of the TVP just south of campus, and Picadilly is farther south just east of the Jack Astors on Richmond Row. Piccadilly also has a basketball net if your looking for a spot for some half-court 3-on-3.

Both the north and east areas of London have tennis courts and parks available for use. Ambleside Park near Masonville has some tennis courts available and if you live east of campus check out Wychwood Park.

Indoor gyms and fitness centres

London is home to a large number of indoor gyms and fitness centres that have adapted to the new normal of fitness during a pandemic. 

On the north side of the city, you’ll find two GoodLife Fitness facilities: the London Sherwood Forest Mall and the Masonville Mall locations, along with a YMCA in Stoney Creek. There’s also a 9Round Fitness and you can always visit the Western Student Recreation Centre if you book a workout time in advance.

South London has even more registered fitness centres for you to check out. There’s GoodLife Fitness London Southdale, the Movati Athletic Bostwick location, F45 Training White Oaks and a variety of more niche workouts like crossfit and yoga.

There are plenty of small businesses students can use in downtown and central London. Athletic Fluency, MVMT Strength and Bodyworx Personal Training Studio among others have all been able to stay in business during the pandemic. There are also larger chains in the downtown area, including the GoodLife Fitness London King and Wellington location and Centre Branch YMCA.

The west side of the city features a similar array of fitness centres. There are three different Fit4Less locations, including Oakridge Park, Proudfoot and Westmount. Wonderland Movati Athletic, Bostwick YMCA and the GoodLife Fitness London Talbot Village location are also west London choices for larger companies. REV3K, Hybrid Fitness Centre and Forest City Fitness are smaller businesses you can visit as well.

In the east, you can find two GoodLife Fitness locations, London Oxford and Adelaide as well as Revkor London East, Powerhouse Training Systems and CrossFit London among others.

Outdoor sports fields and recreation centres

If you’re worried about coming in contact with COVID-19 while indoors but still want to get a good workout in, many of London’s recreation centres have open soccer fields for any kind of training you’re looking to do.

On the north end, you can go to Dan Pulham Field, Stoneybrook Recreation Field, Windermere Field and North London Volleyball Fields.

In the south of London, there’s the Southcrest Baseball Diamond, Nicholas Wilson Park, St. Lawrence Park, White Oaks Park and Arthur Ford Park.

The west side of London has the Byron Optimist Sports Complex, Greenway Park Soccer Fields, West Lions Park and Gresham Heights Park.

London’s east end has a noticeably higher number of sports fields available to the public. There are eight fields in the area, including Ted Early Fields, McMahen Park Baseball Diamond and Kiwanis Park.

Students have a stockpile of options to get their reps in if you want to get away from any unmotivated home workouts.

If you decide to take your training to any of these locations, remember to stay safe, socially distance and wear your mask in public areas when physical distancing is a challenge.

Let’s get physical, Western.


 

This article is part of our annual Housing Issue, read the full issue online.

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Jordan Bloom is a Sports Editor for Volume 114 of The Gazette. Email him at Jordan.bloom@westerngazette.ca or find him on twitter @JBloomSports

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