Richmond’s natural beauty makes it a great place to go for a run.

With so much natural beauty, great scenery and fabulous people watching, it’s almost a shame to confine your workouts to a treadmill in Richmond. So whether you’re just starting a fitness regimen or training for the Richmond marathon, here are a few of our favorite spots to lace up your running shoes and hit the pavement.

Monument Avenue
If you’re looking to take in a little history with your workout, Monument Avenue makes for a beautiful and historical run. It’s also the place where the fourth largest 10k in the country is run, the Monument Avenue 10K, named by USA Today as one of the 10 great road races in the United States. You’ll run past impressive monuments erected in honor of Robert E. Lee, Matthew Fontaine Maury and Arthur Ashe in this district that was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Where: 3321 Monument Ave., Richmond, VA 23218

Belle Isle
If you’re looking for great view of Richmond or the James River, you’ll find it at Belle Isle. A long suspension footbridge links the island to downtown, and crossing it is just part of the fun. Head out on the gravel road that runs around the perimeter of the island, or, if you’re feeling more adventurous, take to one of the biking trails and explore the island.
Where: Tredegar St., Richmond, VA 23219

Byrd Park
Stretching out over 287 well manicured acres and featuring three small lakes, Byrd Park is spacious and perfectly shaded, making it a great place for a jog at any hour of the day. The most popular trail is the one mile Vitacourse, heavily utilized for running and walking. If you want to venture off the beaten path, take a loop around Swan Lake, where you might get the chance to see some waterfowl.
Where: Boulevard and Idlewood Ave., Richmond, VA 23220

Maymont Park
Maymont Park is a hidden gem amongst the urban sprawl of Virginia’s capital city. Featuring a pristine landscape covered in ponds, waterfalls and gardens, it’s one of the most picturesque of all of Richmond’s parks. If you’re looking for a really tough workout, Maymont has some steep hills that would challenge even the most experienced of runners.
Where: 2201 Shields Lake Drive, Richmond, VA 23220

Canal Walk
If you happen to work downtown or just find yourself there often, the Canal Walk is perfect for a quick yet scenic mid-day run. Meandering 1.25 miles through downtown along the banks of the Haxall Canal, the James River and the Kanawha Canal, the Canal Walk is a popular tourist destination during the summer, so it is best to go during off-peak hours.
Where: S. 14th St., Richmond, VA 23219

Pocahontas State Park
If you don’t mind taking a little drive to get to your running destination, head out to Pocahontas State Park, which is just under 20 miles from downtown Richmond. It’s well worth it, as this popular recreational park is over 7,600 acres and has two small yet scenic lakes. The park offers five miles of hiking trails around Beaver Lake, a five mile bicycle trail and numerous other trails that wind through the surrounding forest. Consider taking a refreshing dip in the park’s pool after a long, hard run.
Where: 10301 State Park Road, Chesterfield, VA 23832

Photo credit: iStockphoto/RichVintage

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