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The charity making life better by water

Six reasons to run by water

Running by water gives you even more benefits than your usual jog along the roadside. Read on to find out why.

Person running passed moored boats

Our charity works hard to make sure that our towpaths are always there for you when you need them. Make the most of these wonderful free spaces, ditch the road and explore our canals and rivers by foot.

Six reasons to run by water

1. The scenery is better. Let's face it, pounding the pavement isn't exactly inspiring. Why don't you swap concrete for canals and open your eyes to a whole new landscape. You'll jog alongside colourful boats, see a cornucopia of wildlife and pass some of the country's finest examples of historical buildings.

2. Relax your mind. Our waterways are the perfect place to escape from the stresses of everyday life. Take a run along one of our canals and you'll relax your mind as you exercise your body. You may even find you can run for longer before you feel the burn in your legs.

3. You'll get closer to nature. No matter whether you're in the heart of one of our big cities or out in the countryside, our towpaths are teeming with wildlife. Will you be overtaken by the electric blue flash of a kingfisher or will you get lucky and spot an elusive water vole? These may be rare but you've a good chance of seeing a heron and plenty of other waterway wildlife.

4. Escape the pollution. Who wants a lungful of car exhaust fumes? Take a run along one of our car-free canals and you'll enjoy far fresher air. We're sure you'll feel more refreshed at the end of a canal run compared to your usual road route.

5. A nicer soundscape. Swap honking horns and rumbling engines for the sweeter sounds of birdsong, chugging boats and water flowing through our historic locks.

6. No hills. Unless you make a beeline for one of our iconic lockflights, your run along the canal will be level for most of the way, and there's very little chance of you getting lost.

Running along the canal

Some tips for running along the canal

Our towpaths are great places to spend time, so they attract many different groups of people. To make sure everyone stays safe and has a good time please consider these tips when you're out running

  • Consider removing your headphones. As well as hearing the wonderful wildlife, you'll also be able to hear other pedestrians and cyclists around you
  • It's not the place for sprinting. We want everyone to be able to enjoy our towpaths, take your time and enjoy your surroundings
  • Watch your head. Some of our bridges can be quite low. Watch your head as you're running underneath them
  • Look down as well as up. Please keep an eye out for boat moorings and angling equipment and slow down for any obstacles in your way

Last Edited: 25 May 2023

photo of a location on the canals
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