Today’s Tortoise and the Hare topic: Favorite route in Charlotte to run
My favorite running route in Charlotte is the flat one. I’ll wait while you try to figure out where that is. No, seriously. Flat routes are so rare in Charlotte when you’re talking about logging actual distance. When I was training for my first marathon I learned that the hard way. So, I try to embrace the hills by telling myself it’s good for my training
My favorite route is actually one I rarely get to run these days. I love McMullen Creek Greenway in South Charlotte. There are 3 entrances, but I park at the Trader Joes / Starbucks one (pro tip: get there early; parking is limited). From there, you can run to the far entrance on Pineville-Matthews Road, about 6 miles, and then back for a total of 12. There’s a bathroom/water stop halfway between, at the Johnston Road entrance, so you’re never too far from a pit stop. The entire path is actually few different greenways that connect, and you get some turf changes (beware the slick wooden bridges after a rain!). There’s good shade over much of the route and it actually is pretty flat.
I wouldn’t run it alone — I wouldn’t run any greenways alone these days, sadly — because it can get kind of secluded during the week. I used to take my dogs out there, and once a loose dog went after Breanna and I found myself feeling quite alone as I searched for help. After that, and another solo incident on another greenway involving a copperhead, I decided greenway runs are better with friends.
Speaking of friends – that’s why I prefer parking at the Starbucks entrance. Because after the run, I like to hang at Starbucks with my running friends. We can relax, drink coffee, talk about how awesome (or sucky) that run was, and feel good about ourselves for being finished while the rest of the city is just getting started (like I said, better get there early to do that trail!)
My most-run routes are a little different, though — McMullen Creek Greenway is quite the drive for me these days. So, when I’m close to home I either run from my house and run around in NoDa — I have a few different routes I’ll take, but I really just change it up a lot — or I’ll run from the yoga studio in Southend. The light rail is fast and flat, like Quinn said in her blog, but it’s sunny and some days that can feel even worse than hills. The benefit to running in NoDa is that there are fun yards and houses to view on your way by and there is a decent amount of shade. The downside to running in NoDa is it can be quite hilly, the neighborhood itself is not very big so it’s harder to get more than about 6 miles without venturing out of the hood, and sometimes crackheads try to hug you or give you a hi-5 (both have happened to me). But I feel safe running here and in Southend alone as long as it’s not dark out.
Where do you run in Charlotte? Do you change your route depending on whether you’re with friends or not?
Make sure to check out Quinn’s blog about her running route of choice. We both agree that running the city is one of the very best ways to experience it!
Also, want to run Charlotte Marathon with us? Quinn is running the half, and I’ll probably torture myself with the full again (marathon #4!). If you want to run it, sign up here and use the code quinnrey.