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Great running routes while on travel - part I

Running routes with a waterfront view in North America

I have been fortunate to travel extensively during my career and usually include running shoes in my carry-on luggage.  Running as a regular exercise regime is low-cost and low-maintenance in terms of travel packing.  It also can be enormously helpful in recovering from a long day of travel and time zone changes.  The number of times I have literally hit the ground running upon arrival to a destination is countless.


In my retirement (or ‘relaunch’) years, I am not putting in the same amount of running mileage as I used to.  Mainly this is because I have found other outlets for exercise, particularly CrossFit.  But when I travel for pleasure, I still take my running shoes as I find it is a great way to explore a destination, especially if it is on the waterfront.

a five mile route along the Embarcadero in San Diego

In terms of waterfront routes, I have several favorites.  Along the embarcadero of San Diego you are treated to low flying aircraft, ginormous naval vessels and the occasional harbor seal. This route has a very broad (or wide) pavement section between the Hilton at the Convention Center and the Hyatt next to the Seaport Village.  The route narrows after that and up to the airport.  The roundtrip from the Hilton Bayfront to the airport is about 5 miles.

a five mile route along the Seattle waterfront

On Seattle’s waterfront you are treated to several impressive mountain ranges, a sculpture park, flying salmon (at Pikes market) and prospects for whale sightings.  When based in downtown Seattle, I like to find my way to Pike Place Market (but make it early to avoid the crowds) and then down to the waterfront out to the Olympic Sculpture Park and then along the trail to Myrtle Edwards Park.  I have been fortunate to see whale spouts out in Elliott Bay in the fall during this run. The roundtrip from downtown to Elliott Bay Park is approximately 5 miles.

a four and a half mile route from downtown Vancouver to Stanley Park

While jogging along the sea wall at Stanley Park in Vancouver one can witness towering fir trees, indigenous carvings, bald eagles and an impressive Vancouver skyline.  Many of these amazing views are accentuated during sunrise, sunset or with a rainbow as a backdrop.  A run along this route in the spring is amazing for the flowering trees at the entrance to the Park near Lost Lagoon.  But the olfactory senses are most tested after a rain when the evergreen aromas from the various fir trees are at their most robust.  The roundtrip from Canada Place in downtown Vancouver to the Totem Poles at Hallelujah Point is approximately 4 ½ miles.

four mile run along Charleston sea wall

A terrific waterfront route in Charleston, South Carolina encompasses The Battery seawall and Waterfront Park and is best run in early morning when the only traffic you will encounter is other fellow runners (and a few dog walkers).  This route affords outstanding waterfront views over the Ashley and Cooper rivers, as well as an introduction to the unique residential character of the ‘Holy City’.  The roundtrip from Riley Waterfront Park along the seawall to the Coast Guard Station is approximately 4 miles.

Haines Point is a three mile loop on flat elevation

A favorite closer to home is the Haines Point loop within East Potomac Park off the National Mall in Washington, DC.  While running this loop you are treated to landings and take offs of aircraft from Reagan National Airport and distant views of DC’s most famous landmarks, including the famous cherry trees.  Because it is dead flat, this loop is a favorite spot for cross training with biking and running intervals.  The roundtrip encompassing Buckeye Drive and Ohio Drive is approximately 3 miles.

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