Find here a summary of digests previously sent by email to Zafiri subscribers, sequenced in reverse chronological order. Digests are the sole “newsletter” type of update sent by email, issued once every two months. They offer an abridged version of what’s being going on, demonstrating the scope of Zafiri in a succinct format.

January, April, July

May, April, July, September

July, October, December

February, July, December

May, November

January, April, December

October, JulyMay, March, January

July 20th, 2024

An initial hotel review in Gothenburg has been reinforced by a city guide for Sweden’s second largest city. In the south-eastern corner of England, art town Margate is now mapped. Michelin restaurant and hotel L’Enclume has been added on the opposite side of the country, a Lake District gateway.

Corte in the heart of Corsica is a new highlight on Zafiri. Stay at Hotel Dominique Colonna which clings to a bank on the ebullient Restonica. Or lodge at guesthouse Casa Vanella overlooking the island’s 2600m spine. A Napoleonic voyage via Marseille would connect Corsica with the Roman city of Arles, now home to annual photography event Les Rencontres – note Le Collatéral.

For members, Zafiri Trips take place between Oslo, Marlow and altitude running in Marfa, Texas around New Year’s Eve. Members have 15% off at El Cosmico – a West Texas hideout with Sheridan tents and aerostreams crossing the aisle in terms of Far West architecture. See the Strava Club for event details.

April 1st, 2024

Port cities theme this Digest – Helsinki, Istanbul and Gothenburg have now been added to Zafiri, each with notes for runners, cyclists and swimmers. That’s the Nordics covered with the exception of Stockholm and Reykjavik (remember Oslo and Copenhagen).

The warmer latitude of South Africa’s Western Cape balances icy Baltic dips. Greyton and Tulbagh are two new locations for runners and mountain bikers, part of a tour which includes Stellenbosch and coastal Hermanus.

We’re launching a collection of discounted hotels in May – Mr. and Mrs Smith for people who sweat. If you have upcoming travels and need hotels booked, please email me with a list of destinations so we can advise and secure you a 15-20% discount. More to follow later in April.

January 6th, 2024

The Eastern seaboard of the U.S. is now covered with athletic items in Philadelphia documented. That connects a string of cities from Manhattan to Washington D.C. via Baltimore.

In Europe, a guide for Barcelona has been published in sync with the completion of four towers of Sagrada Família, 140 years since work began on Gaudi’s masterpiece. At 60°N, our most northerly city is now Oslo, also 50th city guide in the collection.

Upcoming Trips for members include Stellenbosch and Provence in March – access Trips for £90 per year. Londoners should note the Marlow 5 road running race in May (Strava event). Plans for a weekend in Bruton are in place, and Nice or Girona in the headlights later in the year – email me if you’re interested.

September 29th, 2023

With the revival of weekend trips for Subscribers, we have Lourmarin, Provence and Stellenbosch, South Africa scheduled for 2024. There are plans underway for trips in Girona and Nice – email me if locations appeal.

This summer we featured two endurance coaches offering services in Chicago (triathlon) and New York City (running).  

These two cities come with further orientation in Minnesota – Twin Cities (Saint Paul & Minneapolis) has been impressively audited by running coach Sam Renikoff. Swap the Mississippi River for the tumbling Avon to find a hotel review and training notes for Bath, England.

We’ll be at the Marlow Half Marathon / 7-miler on the first Sunday in November, with coffee scheduled for afterwards. Attend via our newish Strava Club where other weekend trips, London workouts and race dates will be published.

July 13th, 2023

To mark a midpoint between the Commonwealth Games and Summer Olympics, new items for Birmingham and Paris. A hotel review with training notes for the English industrial city, and the more affordable Mama Shelter East has been added to the Paris City Guide.

A new Bangkok City Guide charts the athletic side to a Tiger economy boom. Our first Indian city guide is more movement and mobility than Modi – Mumbai has been meticulous documented by local Sierra Winters, a second guide following Durham, North Carolina.

The foundations of Hadrian’s Wall have been revived with the landing of a Norwegian-Northumberland menu from restaurant Hjem. Hjem is also within reach of athletic meets with Tyneside AC and Kielder Forest for cycling and stargazing. 

To continue to Indian theme, Kerala-based photographer Adityakrishna S Menon has been interviewed about his environmental work, for which he was highly recommended in the Natural History Museum’s Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year (2022).

April 6th, 2023

Five years after we published training notes for Marfa in West Texas, Lone Star State coverage has tripled with a city guide for Austin and hotel review for Dallas.

In Europe, a review of Bestseller/ASOS Anders Holch Povlsen’s constellation of properties and fleet of Trek hardtails been debuted – Killiehuntly near Aviemore on the western edge of the Cairngorms. Due South and the Côte d’Azur is centring around Marseille.

Penang, Malaysia and Kuala Lumpur are documented with a pair of hotel reviews – our second foray into tiger economies where roadways are less porous and endurance infrastructure lacking.

December 28th, 2022

Who predicted that 20 years after the release of Eminem’s Lose Yourself, an image central to the lyric would manifest in Detroit? Motor City is now home to a diner serving Mom’s Spaghetti and Marshall Mathers is the proprietor. Metred carb-loading blends with updated waterfront trails and a multisport offering on Belle Isle.

The home cities of other wordsmiths have been visited. Training notes Franz Kafka’s Prague and Elvis’ Memphis are paired with reviews of two choice hotels. Hip-hop’s centre of gravity is also documented in the Atlanta City Guide (subscriber-only).

As Brazil’s president-elect Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva assembles his cabinet, look to Richard Mosse’s landmark London show Broken Spectre. The scale of deforestation, indigenous relocation and cattle farming is the Amazon basin is captured – overview from Aesthetica Magazine. The work is touring – now it’s at National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne until the end of April 2023.

Subscription Update
A weekend trip in Manchester has been set for May 5th – 7th. Plan is to run Friday evening, finishing at Rudy’s Pizza. Then ride with Rapha on Saturday, dinner at Erst. Sunday morning swim at the 50m Commonwealth tub. Whitworth Locke is the best accommodation for those out of town. View trip and discount code for nights.

Monthly subs are re-introduced – $5pm. Annual is now $25pa – subscribe using discount code FESTIVE50 for 50% off before Monday 9th January.

October 27th, 2022

Delia Owen’s Where the Crawdads Sing introduces a Carolinan agenda with Asheville and Greenville now documented. Savannah, Georgia has been charted with careful attention to The Grey, a converted Greyhound Station which is home to one of America’s most exciting chefs.

A hotel review of The Russell in East Nashville provides a first Tennessee waypoint, complete with extremely heavy dishes and an attempt to balance these with local running crews and swimming lanes.

To make sure the training doesn’t also go south this winter, look up runs, rides and swims that we’ll be posting through our new Strava Club. Detroit and Dallas have runs scheduled, with London-based fixtures coming from mid-November.

A read: Grist cover an environmental dilemma for North Carolina where an estimated 426,600 metric tons of lithium can be mined – enough to produce 50 million EVs.

July 21st, 2022

We welcomed the mid-year with a 35th City Guide – Auckland carefully documented. Boulder and Bristol have also been added to the collection.

Other guides from the archive have been updated. The new Elizabeth Line stretches London on an East-West access, meaning that Paddington is now backable – Design Hotel Inhabit is the address to book into for inventively healthy daytime menu on par with Cafe Gratitude (DTLA / Hollywood).

Other updates: Munich is now updated with the spacious Schwan Locke from Locke Hotels. Request Room 211 when staying at The Pineapple in San Diego. In Copenhagen, La Blanchina swimming spot and zero-waste restaurant Amass have been upvoted.

Two summer reads. Margaret Talbot for The New Yorker on the de-coupling of the fitness industry and raw exercise itself. South of Palm Springs is The Salton Sea which currently releases toxic dust from its exposed sea bed, but may also be a source of Lithium. Balancing rehabilitation and extraction with Climate goals remains complex.

December 17th, 2021

We finally made it to Vienna, chasing down Eliud Kipchoge’s sub-2 marathon coup before the year’s close. Sheffield pairs the symphonies of the Habsburgs with the Steel of Industrial England. With a national park starting within the city limits, Sheffield is deserving of its Outdoor City moniker.

Some UK travel and a visit to Germany opened city guide updates guides for Munich and Edinburgh where superior hotels have opened under the Locke Living brand. Hope Street Hotel in Liverpool have completed their spa and gym, while extensions in Somerset continue to broaden Bruton’s offering (we’re back there at the end of January for the next Hauser & Wirth opening).

Circular design from adidas appeared in a landmark show at The Design Museum off Kensington High Street, London – a visual reminder that linear design has reaching the end of the road, also indicting of General Motors’ Alfred P. Sloan and titans of a previous era.

July 16th, 2021

Most will have received one dose of their vaccine by now. We’ve doubled-down – running, cycling and swimming options in 40 cities are now covered on Zafiri – and introduced group discounts for businesses (plug: share with HR).

The latest addition is Melbourne, profiling one of the world’s most athletic towns. As for Trips, Bruton and Manchesterare scheduled for UK-based subscribers. Other city and weekend trip combinations:

Elsewhere, adidas had a bumper Run for the Oceans campaign in May with over five million partipants clocking a total of 60,000km in a day. Tracksmith have also been active, opening an enchanting outpost in Beacon, 90 minutes by train from Grand Central.

February 20th, 2021

We’ve matched the new foundations in Washington by fastening down a cornerstone of the South-West – San Diego City Guide is now live for subscribers.

75 miles south of San Francisco is another new Pacific waypoint with training notes for Santa Cruz added to a review of Hotel Paradox, from Marriott’s respectable Autograph Collection. The entire West Coast is now covered from Vancouver to Cabo, with a T-junction created if shoot east along Interstate 10 to Palm SpringsPhoenix and Marfa.

Liverpool trip between lockdowns provided room for considering endurance and revival in one the UK’s foremost legacy cities. Other industry is found in Kenya via Enda, a running shoe mostly made in the country.

Joe’s environmental efforts in D.C. may tilt the environmental agenda. Near to Palm Springs in Southern California, problems caused by toxic dust from the disappearing Salton Sea are being fixed – read Palm Springs’ Desert Sun overview. In broadening access to outdoors and increasing buy-in for nature in urban settings, Flock Together is increasing participation from POC in London.

November 21st, 2020

20 years after the capital of New South Wales held the first Olympic triathlon, we published our Sydney City Guide. Given that NSW is relatively unhindered by coronavirus right now, its lidos, coastal runs and nearby national parks are especially enviable. We clamped down the Pacific Plate to the north with the Tokyo City Guide – more Olympic milestones to look forward to.

For those in England waiting for the end of Lockdown 2.0, look to At the Chapel in Bruton, Somerset. The village is renowned for being one of Ernest Hemingway’s writing places, a reputation that’s now being eclipsed thanks to art and ecology investments.

In June, we checked into a webinar that addressed diversity in triathlon, also profiling a campaign to distance inner city oil drilling from residents in Los Angeles – learn about District 15. There’s hope that the new adminstation in D.C. protects public lands in Wyoming – the Red Desert included.

Since races are off and parkrun is on hold, make an effort to check into your local facilities when allowed (hint: search for your city guide and copy + paste the Directory section into your task management app). And if you’re looking for a post-COVID race strategy, “What Motivates Champions Part 2” from MX Endurance might provide some ideas.

May 29th, 2020

Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama spent two decades locked down in Lisbon between voyages to India. 500 years later, the Lisbon City Guide is now live, matched by another mid-millennium story in the shape of the Florence City Guide. Balance renaissance with current day – an eco hotel in Cape Town and a pioneering road cycling itinerary from Pyonyang, North Korea.

No doubt restricted travel will have you thinking about what training is on your own doorstep. If your neighbourhood isn’t covered by the 40+ towns in our city guides or hotel reviews, send me an email to see if I have some notes. If you are more liberally cloistered in a rural setting, set routes according to four compass directions, strapping on your goggles if bordered by open water.

Still though, set a horizon for yourself by doing research on next trips. Have a search through Zafiri’s 700 posts for inspiration, including:

We’ll also be using this period to keep an eye on environmental projects by reviewing one per month. Right now dam builders are tinkering in the Balkans, completing contentious projects while inspectors remain homebound.

On accounting matters: the Zafiri Subscription to unlock city guides has been simplified and set to £10 per year. Let’s see if it can be useful to consolidate or catalyse your training as we enter the twenties.

December 31st, 2019

In the final moments of the decade, we’re floating back to altitude with a Mexico City Guide to route outdoor gyms (below), and more effectively navigate NAFTA (Cabo covered). A more thoroughbred triathlon city is addressed in another city guide – welcome Zurich.

Latest property reviews include the new Whitworth Locke in Manchester, also perhaps the best hotel gym we’ve seen. On England’s south coast in Brighton, the creative Artist Residence is a short sprint from a prime open water swimming spot. A third hotel would have been a favourite for both Montagues and Capulets, Cinque Rooms in fair Verona.

Stepping beyond facilities and infrastructure for athletics: the concern for environmental issues is higher than ever. In fisheries, Patagonia’s ARTIFISHAL documentary raises the alarming health and habitat implications of eating farmed salmon and trout. In responsible apparel, look to a legacy post “Responsible Apparel Consumption for Athletes.”

April 12th, 2019

As fashionable crowds descend on Lombardy to recline on designer sofas, we’ve gathered together the on-trend athletic facilities in our new Milan City Guide. Things are less refined in South Africa where a combination of infrastructure, altitude and competition made the Johannesburg City Guide a joy to write – enough to justify its reputation as a town for endurance athletes.

At the end of 2018, I spent my own brief moment reclined and strapped into a massage table in Manhattan, the outcome being a documented assisted stretch experience. In other posts, a recent trip to D.C. allowed for a diversion to nearby Baltimore, a legacy town that is going through urban renewal sufficient for Joie de Vivre Hotels to open Hotel Revival. Other items from the winter included a consideration of shoes for the season ahead, and so a moment to review a year running with the adidas Adizero Adios.

Plans to establish city guides for Indo-Australian and Pacific Plates are afoot. Never hesitate to get in touch if you’re exploring beyond the collection of 24 city guides and need recommendations.

January 3rd, 2019

Here wrapping our first year of Zafiri’s City Guides, with the recent publishing of DenverCopenhagen and Durham, North Carolina getting us to a total of 22. Keeping to this cadence in 2019 will ensure that the collection soon meets the needs of a good volume of athletic travellers in Europe and North America.
Other items from the past two months include the reviewing of Sweat Equity, a business book for those baffled by the continued growth of fitness clubs like Barry’s Bootcamp and Flywheel, two of our favourites. A trip to the East Coast of the U.S. presented an opportunity to try out the socially conscious Eaton DC, a new hotel brand from the same group behind The Langham.
On the business front: we’re at just over 250 subscribers, presenting healthy but still insufficient revenue with pricing at £25 per year. Upcoming outreach to triathlon clubs for group deals should put the City Guides in front of existing clusters of consistent and determined athletes.

October 6th, 2018

I’m just back from a weekend in the Bavarian Alps at vegan hotel SeinZ, substituting the clamour of Munich’s Oktoberfest for cold water skinny dipping and mountain biking. The final weekend trip of the year takes place in two weeks in Upstate New York, road cycling in the Catskills – do join for some Autumn riding.
Earlier in the summer, some time in Geneva was enough to try out La Cour des Augustins, a centrally located design hotel. A more local excursion to a tiny pub-hotel in the Chiltern Hills30 miles west of London was another summer highlight – drop in for the night, or swing by for a meal. The surfacing of training concerns when travelling through Namibia in February inspired a short guide to African safari properties, forcusing on those that are stocked with equipment to appease athletic wildlife enthusiasts.
New city guides includes an assessement of Baron von Hausmanm’s work in Paris, and a salute to fast-footed Eliud Kioproge, who recently set Berlin alight in the city’s marathon. Other city training infrastructure includes a napping studio in London, as well as guide to what to expect from Barry’s Bootcamp classes, useful if you’re on the road or if you find yourself in a winter rut.

July 19th, 2018

Three more city guides have published over the past two months, documenting the essentials for endurance athletes visiting AmsterdamHouston and Singapore, so signalling our first city guide for Asia. Amsterdam’s hospitality highlight arrives in the form of a series of boathouses recently converted into tiny hotels, while Singapore and Houston share victories in building infrastructure for athletes surrounded by humidity and urbanism.

New hotel reviews provide entry training notes for Pittsburgh and Berlin, while a guide to napping in New York bolts onto the existing Manhattan guide. A summary of dynamic running crews in Portland, London and New York serves as a useful primer to a new era for athletic clubs and improved standards.

Finally, weekend trips in Bavaria (September) and upstate New York (October) are still open for booking, with the Catskills, NY trip being in greatest demand.

May 9th, 2018

We’re now in May, and the West Coast of the U.S. has been won. New city guides are out for PortlandSeattleHollywood and Downtown Los Angeles. Let me know if you want guides for any European cities published soon – a balancing act is due.

I’ve just returned from a Trip cycling with Catskill Collective in Upstate New York. Fabulous riding and there’s an idea to return to their cabin for the second weekend of October – message me if this is of interest. In Europe, another Trip will be taking place 21st to 23rd September out of a vegan hotel near to Munich, coinciding with Oktoberfest for those who want to combine Bavarian countryside with beer.

On the business front, I’ve switched the subscription over to an annual £25, and monthly £3, for city guides only. Trips will continue to happen and be broadcasted by email, but they aren’t formally part of the subscription.

A note to the check out the hotels section of the website where far-flung properties in West Texasthe Namibian desert and south coast of England have been reviewed in the past three months, with training notes added for good measure.

March 13th, 2018

By now there’s a good chance you’re thinking about the upcoming racing season. The Beast from the East has moved from British shores, California’s snowpack was recently doubled in a single storm and the mercury in New York is expected to rise through the mid-40s this week.

New City Guides finally pay attention to Manhattan, as well as the more tempered Vancouver. Further east, a city guide for Cape Town is the first to chart southerly latitudes, balanced on the other side of the equator by the more frigid Edinburgh.

On the horizon are a pair of Trips, one for Londoners interested in knocking around the Chilterns (23rd – 25th March), and a second for New York cyclists in a converted cabin in the Catskills, taking place over the first weekend of May.

January 1st, 2018

This email includes the first digest in a bimonthly cycle of updates from Zafiri. Here goes:

In November and December, initial City Guides were published for six locations.
These first versions included the discretionary split of Brooklyn from its islandised neighbour, and Venice & Santa Monica from the rooftop distractions of downtown L.A.. London was tackled as a whole, while the endurance gems of Munich, Rome and San Francisco ended up being the most compact.

First Trips are now out, with one discounted weekend happening at the end of the week near London, and another over the first weekend of May in the Catskills north of New York. New Trips for Napa Valley and Palm Springs might entice Californians for weekends in May.

The first two months of 2018 will be important for the opening up of new Trips and the growth of subscriptions to break-even. New City Guides shall be published each Friday and focus on towns that host major conferences. Discount code EARLY75 shall be active during January – do share among your most athletic friends for 75% off their new subscription.

Subscribe to Zafiri for free to receive access to all City Guides and receive digests by email.