Monday, July 21, 2014

Tour de Charlotte: Week of July 21

 Le Tour de Charlotte
Le Tour de Charlotte: Week of July 21
Charlotte is a great place to run, and throughout the month of July, we're going to prove it! From group runs and races to running stores and trails, CRC's Tour de Charlotte will bring you news and events to help you stay connected to all things running in the Queen City.
Places to run in and around Charlotte
Trails, Tracks, and Safe Neighborhoods
Last week's email was all about who to run with; this week's email is all about where to run. From Freedom Park and the Dilworth Speed Loop to the Davidson trails to the Whitewater Center, Charlotte has a lot of great places to run!

For additional information or directions to any of these running spots, be sure to check out our Resources page.

Uptown and Central Charlotte
We may not have Central Park, but learn these routes, and you'll be able to accommodate runs of nearly any distance. Also, you're bound to bump into other runners along the way, so be sure to say hello!
  • Dowd YMCA - Morning or afternoon, this is always a great place to meet up for a run. Check out our Facebook groups (Seven Minute MilersMy Pace or Yours,Dawdling Gazelles (DGs)) to see who is running when. Bathrooms and a water fountain.
  • Freedom Park and Sugar Creek Greenway (4+ miles) - You can park at the entrance to Freedom Park off of East Boulevard. Run around the lake, test your 40m speed at the NFL Play 60 KidZone, or hop on the Sugar Creek Greenway, which will give you about 4 miles one way (from Park Road Shopping Center to 7th Avenue). For longer runs, run from the Dowd or connect to the Booty Loop, the Dilworth Speed Loop, or Latta Park (see below). Bathrooms and water fountains.
  • Booty Loop (3 miles) - It's not just for cyclists! This loop is approximately 3 miles long, but it's easy to connect with other nearby routes. You may spot a water fountain, but you'll have to head back to Freedom or the Dowd for a bathroom break. Note that the sidewalks are not well lit in early morning or late night.
  • Dilworth Speed Loop (1000m or 2 miles) - The "speed loop" is a short loop around Dilworth Road East and West that is great for interval training. Starting near the corner of East Boulevard and Dilworth Road West, you'll find the road marked every 100m for 800m. Continue past the 800m mark and turn left on East to complete your 1000 and jog back to the start. For longer intervals, you can get up to 2 miles if you add Worthington to Cleveland to Tremont, then cut back to Worthington on Lennox (or ask a seasoned vet for a tour!). This route is well lit, and most of the drivers know to watch for runners, but please be careful. No bathrooms or water fountains, but you may get lucky and find a port-a-potty or a friendly neighbor with a water cooler on their porch.
  • Latta Park (Less than 1 mile) - This small park is not much of a park, but there is a bathroom and a water fountain. Run the perimeter en route from the Dowd to Freedom or hop on the short, but shaded, trail on a hot day for a brief respite from the sun. Don't confuse this with Latta Plantation (see below).
  • Tracks
    • AG (Alexander Graham) Middle School Track - This track is open to the public when students are not around, so you'll likely see groups congregating there in the evenings. It's a concrete track, so don't bother bringing your spikes. Also, there are no public restrooms or water fountains, so be prepared. Note that although the track is marked correctly, one complete lap in lane 1 only about 390 meters, so it's usually best to run in lane 2.
    • JCSU (Johnson C Smith University) - This track is also open to the public when not in use by the university. There is limited parking, so it may be easier to run from the Dowd.
East Charlotte
  • McAlpine (9 miles) - Home to one of the South's best known cross country courses, McAlpine is a Charlotte runner staple. Keep your eyes open for construction and closures as they pave part of the trail, and be sure to lock your valuables in your car. Bathrooms and water fountains at the main entrance.
  • Sherman Branch (11 miles) - 11.6 miles of flowing single track. 600 feet of climbing. Recommended direction is clockwise, enter at Kiosk.
West Charlotte
  • US National Whitewater Center (13 miles) - Loads of great trail running, but you might as well try out some other activities while you're there! Parking is $5, or you can purchase an annual pass. Check the website before you head out there to confirm that the trails are open if it has rained recently. Also, check out their calendar page for races and group runs.
South Charlotte (including SC)
  • Anne Springs Close Greenway (7-9 miles) - These trails are across the border in Fort Mill, SC, but it's worth the drive! The land is privately owned, so bring $3 to pay to keep the park up. Also, the trails can be a bit confusing, so it may be wise to run with somebody who knows the trails the first time you go.
  • Renaissance Park (6 miles) - Follow the signs from the ball fields. Technical, single track trails. Watch for trail closures if it has rained recently.
  • Colonel Francis Beatty Park (7 miles) - Often overlooked, but a great place to run! Directions and maps online.
  • McMullen Creek Greenway (6 miles one way) - With a mix of pavement, dirt, and boardwalk, this greenway is prominently featured in the annual Charlotte 10-Miler. Park in the lots off of Pineville-Matthews Road or Rea Road. There is a bathroom and water fountain at the 4 mile marker and a port-a-potty at the Pineville-Matthews entrance. Watch out for closures due to construction to the I-485 overpass.
North Charlotte
  • North Meck Park (3.5 miles)
  • Fisher Farm (5.25 miles) - Near Davidson.
  • Davidson Trails (7 miles) - The trailhead is past the football practice field. Club founder and former president Aaron Linz wants you to know that you should watch out for snakes!
  • Latta Plantation (10-15 miles) - One of the longest trail systems in the Charlotte area. There is a nice combination of wide carriage trails and single track trails. Trail maps available at the nature center. Watch out for the horses (or whatever the horse might have left behind!). Not to be confused with Latta Park (see above).
  • UNC Charlotte Trails (4-10 miles)
  • Mallard Creek Greenway (4-15 miles) - Maps and directions available online.
  • Reedy Creek Park - Maps and directions available online and at the park entrance.
Be Smart. Run Safe. Although all of the running spots discussed here are generally safe, always use caution and be smart when running! When possible, run with a friend or group of friends (see last week's email!). Watch out for cars, bikes, wild animals, and shady people. Wear appropriate and safe clothing (e.g., reflective clothing and lights if it's dark). Be mindful of the weather. Wear a Road ID. Be sure to stay hydrated. In other words, use common sense! 

For maps of these featured runs and more, check out the CRC Map My Run Page.

For information on parks throughout the Charlotte Mecklenburg region, check out Tar Heel Trail Blazers or the Charlotte Mecklenburg Parks Department.

Did we miss one of your favorite running spots? Let us know, and we'll add it to our Resources page.
Featured Event This Week
CRC Group Run at the Whitewater Center - Please join us for a group trail run on Thursday, July 24th at 6:30 PM! We are teaming up with the weekly Whitewater Center River Jam run. 1.5 mile, 3 mile, and 6 mile options. Stick around afterwards for River Jam - there will be live music, food and drinks until 10pm. Meet at the trail center at 6:15 PM for a 6:30 PM start.
Update from Last Week: More Group Runs!
Last week, we asked you to let us know of any group runs that we left off our list, and you sent in some great ones! Keep them coming!
Happy running!
Charlotte Running Club

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