Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Running in Columbus, Ohio: Olentangy Trail

Business travel isn't always fun, especially when flying domestic, but I love to discover new places especially when they are as runner-friendly as Columbus, OH. Downtown is pretty boring, especially at night and during the week, when there isn't a big hockey game, but the Mayor and his Parks & Rec are really committed to getting the local community fitter.
They designed a network of bike paths which extend dozen of miles from downtown, ideal for some long runs. Incidentally, the weather this week has been perfect, quite sunny after a major storm on Sunday and temperature around 70F at the end of the afternoons. I was able to go on a run twice this week and enjoy the 14-mile trail along the Olentangy river. It's now time to taper again before this Sunday's 50K race.
Needless to say, Columbus is the nationwide capital, like Cupertino is for Apple. Here is Nationwide's headquarters, a 1978 building on Nationwide plaza:
On the Nationwide Boulevard, you pass a monument which looks like a ruin from Italy or Greece, with Corinthian-style columns:
Well, thanks to Google, I learned that this wasn't coming from Europe but the remains of a local train station, Union Station #3.

The best way to catch the Olentangy trail from downtown is to hop on Long Street and run toward the West, you will find a trail starting in North Bank Park and a bridge going over the estuary of the Olentangy River and its confluence with the larger Scioto River.
The bike path has mile markers which you can't miss:
The path goes on for miles along the quiet river:
After 2.5 miles, you run along the campus of the Ohio State University (OSU), home of the Buckeyes:

At about mile 4, you pass under the Lane Avenue bridge,
where you can stop and cross over to visit a very special monument to honor cancer survivors on the other side of the river, an opportunity to think of all the people who know who are battling cancer so courageously:

See my Picasa photo album for more pictures of the 16 motivational plaques around Victor Salmones' sculpture:

On my way back, after sunset, I started seeing flashes in the dark bushes and wondering if I was hallucinating... No, I can still run 16 miles safely, it was just a myriad of fireflies or, as the locals call them, lightning bugs. They are quite hard to photograph while flying but look closely at this black picture, you should see a fluorescent green spot (it not, you need to see your eye doctor! ;-).
And here is a closer look and more interesting view of a Photinus firefly:
Again, that's only one of the trails composing a much larger network, some trails still under construction or only planned, but a major commitment to bikers, including commuters, something which reminded me of what I've seen in Scandinavia for instance in Sweden this winter.
With that, if you ever stop by Columbus, Ohio, you'll know where to run!

Have a great rest of the week and see some of you at Skyline 50K, that will be my 8th consecutive one, 47th 50K race, looking forward to it!

1 comment:

Mark Tanaka (Ultrailnakaman) said...

Will remember this post just in case (my parents live about 90 miles away, so you never know).