A Pretty, Shitty, City

I have been dreading my run all day. This morning I slept in until…get this…12.15pm, and woke up to find I could barely walk, my calves were so tight (probably from all those stairs yesterday), and seeing as my partner had sorted out the kids for half of the day I felt like I was taking the piss getting up and going straight out for a run, so I waited till the end of the day…well the screening of the England game to be exact before I said “just popping out for my run”

I knew by the time I got to the top of my road it was gonna be a crap run, my Garmin didn’t want to play ball and my headphones are well and truly finished, so I thought maybe I just have to accept this and focus on something else…which is when I noticed the lady just ahead of me bending down to pick something off the floor, maybe she had dropped something I thought…but no, there she was again crouching down, it was only when I got a little closer that I realised she was picking up dogends. (Cigarette Butts) Nice!!

I live in Stratford. Stratford.

East London…not Stratford Upon Avon or Stratford Ontario…I live literally a 2 minute walk to the stadium where last Summers London Olympics took place, so as you can imagine it’s quite an exciting place to live what with all the regeneration and that, and it is…but its also still the same shitty place it’s always been.

In fact me and my sisters used to take the micky out of people who lived in Stratford, this was when we lived 5 minutes up the road in Forest Gate (which isn’t much better to be quite honest). Our unofficial name for Stratty was in fact St.Ratford, as in Saint Ratford…in honour of all the little hood rats you see lurking around.

But I have lived here now for over 6 years and I am secretly quite fond of the place and seeing as I have always been interested in the local history of this part of London, I thought why not do my ‘ole tour guide’ bit as I rack up the miles (or not as the case might be) during Juneathon.

Right first stop my local corner shop run by a young turkish guy who just so happened to be standing outside having a fag as I ran past, he mumbled a shifty kinda hello and I smiled. I normally frequent his establishment for large bags of chilli doritos, 3 for £1 watermelon flavour sugary sweets and bottles of overpriced red wine.

Then onwards over a slight hill towards the greenway (where I ran yesterday) the greenway runs from hackney to beckton and is the sewage line basically, but above ground its a tranquil nature lined route making a perfect running and cycling path, cutting through horrible traffic laden swathes of East London. The bit near me served as an access point to the Olympic Park last summer, but the massive bridge that was put up to help the hundreds of visitors across has since been removed. What is actually quite funny is that very few people listened to the advice of TFL and LOCOG to alight at West Ham for the Olympic Park, so on the whole that entrance remained pretty quiet meaning the bridge wasn’t really needed.

Next we come to Danes Yard a new…ermm….well I’m not really sure what it is, but I see it when I’m in my car coming over Bow flyover all lit up, I know there is a restaurant in there but not sure what else. It sits by the canal and looks very trendy, but this evening it was closed. There goes my plans of getting the other half to take me there for a meal on Wednesday (which is my birthday by the way) Why is it called Danes Yard? It might have something to do with these little beauty


The Dane’s Yard building is thought to date back to between 1898 and 1905. It has housed many different businesses since then, most prominently it was used as a printing ink factory belonging to the Dane Group of companies. They placed a red, white and black ceramic tile panel to the facade of the building showing their cartoon illustration of a Great Dane.


I reached the roundabout by McDonalds, crossed under the flyover and started heading back (I’ve already run 1K by this point). I passed the Porsche showroom, pausing momentarily to let a cyclist past. He shouted out “Go on luv” which baffled me, as he was a porky looking chap in steel toe capped boots and a workmans jacket on…so what was it a fellow fatty pat on the back?



A little further up we are back at thegreenway, where the most amazing sunset was creating a beautiful silhouette of the olympic stadium and the orbit, and then in front of me was the lavender girls…another mural saved and included in a new development. The lavender girls are a remnant from Wharton house built in 1937 as the factory and office of Yardley’s of London Ltd.

Notice the real runner who passed me…he gave me a look like “You running or what?”

Almost home now, passed a derelict site where an Esso garage once stood, now it’s replaced with huge concrete drums to stop travellers descending, but it didn’t stop a strange-looking lady who seemed to be setting up home for the night.

Ahead of me I could see the light installation at the top of my road which consists of about 50 balls hung across the road which change colour every 30 seconds or so I would have taken a picture of it but my phone was now completely dead.

I started to pick the pace up again and approached from behind 4 guys who I assumed had been staying in the holiday inn and were making their way to Westfield for the night, they were dressed up for the night but still looked a bit rough round the edges so rather than overtake and risk a dodgy comment or a slapped arse (No SERIOUSLY that has happened to me – Read This if you don’t believe me), instead I dodged the oncoming traffic and crossed the dual carriage way. Better to be safe than sorry!!

300 meters to go, the smokers are out in full force outside the Gala Bingo, and then just to finish of my run and restore my faith in Stratfords inhabitants I notice a group of boys aged about 12-13, playing runouts in the playground to the rear of my development. Well they were counting down from 10 something you don’t see many kids of that age do these days. Ahhhh Runouts!!

So there we have it I ran 2.4K took some pictures and have found a potential theme to explore through my running this month.


11 Responses to “A Pretty, Shitty, City”
  1. lostjogger says:

    Hehehe, love your post. I’m just round the corner at Bromley-By-Bow. Didn’t realise the Greenway was a sewer! And well done for getting out!

    • fattymustrun says:

      Who knows we may run past each other and smile or say hello in the near future.

      Surprised you didn’t know about the greenway, the pong in the summer is a dead giveaway!!

      • lostjogger says:

        Indeed, must smile more!

        The Greenway I must confess I’ve ran a few times and those were all as part of the East London Half in April.

        Also Dane’s Yard. Foodwise it’s overpriced and the service needs improving. Good for drinks tho (tho not necessarily a bargain).

  2. Nice one. Really get a feel for running round your little bit of the capital.
    (And it’s always nice to have discovered a theme to take the pressure off thinking of something new for the next post, isn’t it?!)

  3. FitBits Tess says:

    Haha great post – and I agree with notmuchofarunner – it’s good you’ve found a theme for your posts – I was thinking earlier it’s gonna get boring for people if I just write ‘today I ran this’, ‘today I did that class’. Best get my thinking cap on… 🙂

  4. Stratford actually looks quite prosperous in comparison to the rest of North London going by these pictures. I guffaw quite heartily when people suggest the Olympics has regenerated the East End. Au contraire; the Olympics has smartened up a very tiny corner of North London…the rest is still a deprived hellhole. As backed up by the fact that 5 of the worst 20 places in Britain to live are in North London (LB Islington/Hackney/Newham/Tower Hamlets and Haringey). And, yes, Manchester in one of the ‘top 20’ too before you cokneys get your knickers in all of a twist.

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