Tuesday, October 27, 2009

"rave runs"

Rave Runs is a regular feature in Runners World magazine, which allows readers around the world to send in photos and descriptions of their favorite running locations. It's one of my favorite features in the magazine, and oftentimes when I am running here at home in Knoxville, I think about all the cool routes that would be worthy of Rave Runs write-ups. (In fact, maybe I should get Max to come and shoot a submission with me).

I had the wonderful opportunity to run in Washington DC last week, and I spent a great deal of time running along the Mount Vernon trail from where I was staying in Rosslyn, Virginia to however far I could get in the amount of free time I had. It's a beautiful trail along the Potomac and there you go one-by-one past the monuments on the other side of the river. I don't think that I am overly patriotic but there's something sublime about running right there; it's a feeling I am grateful for every time I get to run in DC. And so last week I was feeling jealous of the local DC runners, and I felt very much that we had nothing so great here in Knoxville.

But yesterday I happily reminded myself that I was quite mistaken, and I was once again truly inspired by beautiful Knoxville. I felt 100 percent lucky and blessed to be a runner who calls Knoxville home. Knoxville has over 40 miles of paved Greenways for runners, walkers and bikers; and besides those Greenways there are tons of amazing running spots throughout the city and surrounding area (don't even get me started on the National Park!). And it's fall, and the colors are amazing, so running now is even more beautiful and inspiring.

My Rave Run:

I set out from home somewhere on Gay Street and run south to Hill Street. A lot of the time, I will keep going along Gay, since crossing the Gay Street bridge is probably my most cherished running activity in Knoxville (especially during football season--it provides an incredible view of the river, the stadium and the Vol Navy). But I need a quick way to get down to the river, and taking Hill east by Blount Mansion and James White Fort provides that transition. I run down the hill and into the Ruth's Chris Parking lot, and from there I connect to the Greenway along the river. From there it's a few miles along the river (including the smells of yummy goodness coming from Calhoun's), on and of Neyland, and the Greenway. There are 2 different spots where you get to cross under the road, and you toggle between being adjacent to the river or across the street. Of course this route includes passing Neyland Stadium and Thompson Boling Arena. Then you hit campus, the gardens and the vet school. I like to turn East up Joe Johnson because there's a challenging hill going up to campus, and then I head down Volunteer and back uphill to Lake Louden Rd. That connects back to Neyland. From there, depending on how I feel, I have a number of small routes that take me home through downtown. Depending on the minor turns I choose during any given run, this route can be anywhere from 6 to 8 miles, and, to me, is the perfect way to spend a lovely fall morning.

What are you Knoxville "Rave Runs?"


ashby said...

Man, I miss running in Knoxville. The groomed trails (mulched, not paved) at Ijams are pretty spectacular running as well.

KG said...

It's hard to beat Cherokee Blvd - especially if you add a loop on the grass near the river.

Island Home Park to the end of the Forks of the River Greenway is one of my favorites too, but it's got to be via the Ijams trails along the river.

Wax S. said...

Take a right up the 3rd Creek Greenway at some point from that spot just before the gardens. It runs through Concord Park and out to Bearden. It's a beautiful rolling trail through some light woods and along the creek. Awesome.

B said...

great post. this makes me want to write about my rave bike ride. i just think i will.

Jimbo said...

Trot up Sharp's Ridge to feel like goat. Sprint down to feel like deer.

Unknown said...

I run and ride the Neyland Greenway too. I wonder if I have ever nodded at you? :-)