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.
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
If you’re looking for a 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
Stretching over 287 well-manicured acres and featuring three small lakes, Byrd Park is spacious and perfectly shaded, making it great for a jog at any hour. 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 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
If you find yourself downtown 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
If you don’t mind driving to your running destination, head out to Pocahontas State Park, 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 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