Ah yes, 2022, a breath of fresh air and for many, a time to lace up those old shoes and chase those fitness resolutions we penned in our new planners. Over the last two years, I rediscovered my passion for distance running. What better way to get out of the house during lockdown than throwing on your shoes, blasting some pump-up jams on your headphones and logging in some miles? And let me tell you the city of Atlanta is a fantastic location for this. The abundance of parks, nature trails, and easy to navigate neighborhoods makes Atlanta one of the most popular cities for running. In fact the "Peachtree Road Race" hosted by the Atlanta Track Club is the world's largest 10k where over 70,000 runners apply for 60,000 available spots! Highlighted in this article are some great neighborhoods to run in and some of the local clubs if you so decide to add an invigorating social aspect to your workouts.
Local Club: Highland Runners (All running levels are welcome)
Meeting: 1st, 3rd, and 4th Tuesdays at 6:30 outside Highland Runners shop. 2nd Tuesday 7:00 outside Shake Shack on the BeltLine (finish the run and get a free beer/shake courtesy of the club)
This neighborhood is definitely the location I frequent the most as a runner. Apart from being a loyal member to the Highland Runners Club, there are many different routes to take depending on your mood. If you want hills you can tackle E. Rock Springs NE down to Briarcliff, if you want a flat steady distance you can take North Highland all the way into Inman Park and take in the lovely smells of Bar Taco and Barcelona Wine Bar as you hit the 5 mile mark. And last but not least the Morningside Nature Preserve Trail offers an abundance of loops with a fantastic wooden bridge, and a lovely stream that makes you forget you're in the city.
Local Club: Atlanta BeltLine Run Club (All running levels are welcome)
Meeting: Thursdays at 6:15 location varies, a different brewery each week.
The pride and joy of Atlanta, the BeltLine is wonderful for the social runner. Due to the flat, even, well maintained pavement, and 22 mile length there is a workout for everybody on this path. One of the biggest cons with the BeltLine is the high amount of foot and bike traffic especially on nice weekends. Make sure to stay alert during these runs. The Atlanta BeltLine Run Club meets on Thursdays at 6:15 each week and rotates between different breweries. Make sure to visit their website or socials to see where they are meeting next.
Local Club: Big Peach Running Co. (All running levels are welcome)
Meeting: Tuesdays at 6:30pm and Saturdays at 7:30am @ Big Peach Running Co. Midtown
Running in midtown can be an exhilarating experience. There's definitely something magical about running in the evening with all the big buildings and bright lights. With the lights at night it makes for a safe running environment for those who enjoy a workout after work or early in the morning. Running towards the east you have Piedmont park, or you can pass the ark and hang a right on Monroe Dr. to link up to the BeltLine. Coming back west on 10th street includes a gradual hill that took me by surprise my first time!
The great thing about the sport of running is it can be a solo sport as well as a social sport. Running with clubs can challenge you as you begin to race against other member's paces as well as help build consistency by holding each other accountable. Another reason to include running into your daily life, is how inexpensive it is to get started. All you need are some workout clothes, shoes, and that's it! No gym membership fees, and local running clubs are free to join. If I missed any of your favorite running neighborhoods, or clubs feel free to comment below. Happy new year, and don't forget to stretch!