For about two years of my running life, going for a run meant getting the runs. My runs were either fartlek dashes between restrooms or cross country bush bashing between shrubbery with suitably-sized leaves.
During this phase of having an over-active gut, the Royal Parks were a haven. A toilet block every mile is standard for most Royal Parks and they are well-maintaned, clean and tidy, and, most of all, open when they say they'll be open (I wish I could say the same for other London parks).
However, the Royal Parks are feeling the pinch on their pennies. The £1.5million yearly bill to keep these, often life-saving, toilets clean and functioning has become too much. Faced with the option of shutting them or charging for their use, thankfully they've chosen the later, slapping us users with a relatively minimal 20p fee (beginning Feb 2015).
At the height of my colitis mis-adventures nature could call 5-10 times in one run. So doing the math, I'd be looking at £1-2 for toilet breaks every single run. Ten runs a week and I'd need a bum bag just to carry all the 20p coins I'd need for emptying that same bum.
Of course, my case was pretty extreme, and thankfully my bowels have settled down now. But the main issue for us runners is just the practical logistics of needing to carry 20p every time we head out the door with the trainers on.
Where do you put that 20p? Under your inner sole?
Rattling around in a jacket or shorts pocket?
Or do you drill a hole through the 20p coin and tie it to your laces? Would this even work in the paying machine? Is it legal to drill holes in coins?
And what about if it's just number-ones? Do you save your coinage for number-twos and just find a large enough bush?
Children's toilets will still be free in Royal Parks, so you could always run with a small child in a buggy. Then get them to mind the buggy while you "inspect the loos".
Anyway, jokes aside, I must commend the Royal Parks for not making the disastrous move to board up the bathrooms for good and also the fact they've kept the fee low. And the majority of public toilets in London do already carry a small charge (10p to 50p seems to be the norm), so it's not that different to what we already manage elsewhere.
But this carrying coins situation certainly presents a few extra logistical challenges for the runner.
Do you carry pennies for your peeing or do you just use the bushes? Share your tips below ...
Read the Royal Parks' official announcement.
Hayden Shearman is the author of the Runner's Guide to London.