Greater Cincinnati’s golden age of running


great miami bike trail

I have no excuse to be bored with running routes near where I live, ever.

Greater Cincinnati is going through a golden age when it comes to communities putting money, and volunteer time, into trail creation.

Over the course of seven days in late October, for example, a plethora of announcements about the region’s growing network of pedestrian and bike trails was made.

A ceremony was held to open a new part of the Williamsburg to Batavia Hike Bike Trail on Saturday, Oct. 27. Part of the second phase of the recreational path in East Fork Lake state park, the trail boasts scenic views of William H. Harsha Lake, bridges, and recovered road. Began in 2004, the path will stretch for 13 miles from Williamsburg to Batavia upon completion. The latest stretch completes 4 miles of the new path, along with the running roads already available within the state park.

“This is truly a unique trail which has opened the door to not only the park, but the nature and beauty once hidden from hikers and bikers,” said Mary Ann Lefker, the mayor of the village of Williamsburg.

Lefker added the trail was born out of the economic development plan for her community that blossomed into a seven federal, local, and state agencies project.

Around the same time, across the Ohio River in Northern Kentucky, the city of Covington announced a contract to begin moving forward on its part of the Riverview Commons project, a multi-municipality venture that will include an 11.5 mile pedestrian path spanning two counties. The city also moved forward with funding and plans to expand the Licking River Greenway trail that runs along the Ohio’s smaller tributary.

mmf-trail-mapBeyond that, what already exists includes the Little Miami River trail, The Great Miami River trail that includes 63 miles of path, Anderson Township’s walking and bike path, trails expanding in Devou Park in Covington, Mount Airy Forest‘s tracts with names like Stone Steps and Gummy Bear, the eight miles of scenic Mitchell Memorial Forest bike trails, an unbroken pathway that includes dedicate bike lanes from Sawyer Point downtown to Lunken Airport to Ambinder Park in Cincinnati’s east side near Fairfax. And then the plethora of running and bike friendly neighborhoods? Yeah.

People like Kayla and Donnie know the latter well, especially when it comes to Cincinnati streets. They dedicated a year to running the Cincinnati’s 52 neighborhoods and sharing their experiences at their blog, Run 52.

In 2013 Donnie and I will run in each of Cincinnati’s 52 neighborhoods. We will map our route before we go and write about it afterwards. The route has to be at least 3 miles and we must visit each neighborhood in alphabetical order. We have a year to complete the task, which means we should average one neighborhood per week. We have to run together, but can invite others to run with us.

The duo looks to finish their last neighborhood run before the end of the year. There experience is a fantastic read into why it is worth spreading out and exploring new routes.

The list could go on for what feels like miles. Starting it is like starting to name people to thank at an awards ceremony. Undoubtedly, some well deserving running path will be left out.  (But the Cincinnati Runners’ Club does have a pretty solid list of places for all those I missed.)

So, why am I writing about this? What does it all mean exactly?

First, just being hit by this flurry of recent path development news, I’m reminded how lucky I am to live in this era of recreational competition and fitness. I’m part of a growing sport, health culture, and a region committed to spending man power and dollars on improving infrastructure. There is also an awe-inspiring volunteer culture and economic engine welling up around all of this.

Second, inspired by the Run 52 blog, I want to do more. In the new year I plan to venture out more often and hit new roads. After I mend from the Indianapolis marathon, as I hammer out a list of trails and resources, I plan to run those places and share reviews of those locales here. That might mean a weekly or monthly review of what’s out there, depending on what I can fit in squeezed between my regular marathon group runs and everything else.

Also, I hope to be able share informative, engaging stories about running and runners with a larger audience through where I work. Running is my passion and I never want to tire of it. And like any good geek, I want to share with others what brings me joy.

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One thought on “Greater Cincinnati’s golden age of running

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