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Running, Cycling & Gym

Running in Thetford Forest

By no means would I want to suggest that I am a 'go to' authority on running for fitness and all that it can bring a person but I do know this much! We are completely fortunate at the hotel to be surrounded by absolutely first class running trails and tracks in the heart of the beautiful Brecks where the most traffic you will see are the friendly two carriage trains that trundle through on the line between Norwich and Cambridge and who's regular passengers are probably well used to seeing me hitting the trails alongside the river!

The railway line weaves through a fatastic stretch of glorious managed forest and the village of Santon Downham serves two purposes in my view! One it is the HQ of the Forestry Commission in the East of England (although it is just a tiny beautifully kept hamlet where the road rail and river come come together.) And two? It forms the hub of all the runs you could ever want to do and at any distance you fancy completing.

The trails are, in the main, very level and a mix of sandy loam, flint and some tarmac from more recent times. To run on they are just fantastic and in my view it is Brandon's best kept secret as you can make up any distance you care to run from just a few km to a very decent 10 km loop and using that as a starting point you can up your distances ever so easily to 12 14 16 18 and even the full 21.1 km that half marathon runners would favour.

If you get a sunny day (and it's still great on even a cloudy or wet one!) the running is just fantastic and the number of times I have been pounding along with the deer alongside on the fringes of the forest looking me in the eye and standing stock still as I go past are too frequent to chart!

I have even taken to running the trails at night with a very serious headlamp on which catches the retinas of deers rabbits foxes and a few creatures I'm sure not of when its pitch black! That's a sign of how steady the going is though! That you can safely run it in the dark (providing you're ok with such a thing!)

In short if running or cycling on trails is your thing and you like the idea of getting away to a retreat where the staff understand your hobby and will go the extra mile to help you go yours then the Bridge Hotel is an absolute must. There is a small private gym onsite at the hotel for warming up and down with a good selection of hand weights. an aerobic step, a lightweight bench to press a barbell, a decent sit up board, a running machine, a boxing bag and gloves and bodyweight straps and chin up bar,

There are a good selection of DVDs to work out to including Insanity and T25 which are personal favourites and it is fine to ask to borrow these (Just ask Matt) and get some tips on using them while you are resident.

In the summer months when the weather is with us there is nothing finer than stretching out on the lawns by the river and going for an early run in the forest before breakfast.

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