Guest post submitted by Laura, a resident at N. Highland Steel Apartments
This past Saturday, March 31, I was able to take part in the Atlanta Track Club’s Atlanta Women’s 5K. One of the main reasons I chose to run in this particular race is that it took place in the neighborhood adjacent to mine, so I was literally able to walk to the starting line from my apartment at N. Highland Steel! While running, I was reminded of some of the things I love most about living in town — I saw a few people I knew out on their porches, plenty of Intown neighborhood dwellers walking their dogs, and several non-race runners simply enjoying the morning’s beautiful weather. It was a great way to start the day – and running down Moreland through Little Five Points was quite the experience!
Most of my training for the 5K took place on the Freedom Park PATH Trail, which winds its way from the Old Fourth Ward through Inman Park, into Candler Park, and beyond (see photos below). Many of you runners will agree, it’s nice not to have to wait at intersections for lights to change (though some days I take the street route just for that built-in rest time!), and the greenery and homes along the path are beautiful. The Freedom Park PATH Trail is also a great way to cut through the neighborhood to run errands on foot or bike, as it provides easy access across Freedom Parkway. I can’t wait until the Beltline opens and connects even more of the dots in this area!
There are of course plenty of other great running paths around town. In fact, on a recent drive, I discovered what might be a hidden gem: Morningside Nature Preserve (photos below). It’s about 3 miles from my apartment, so it’s drivable, bikeable, or, if I’m feeling really ambitious, runable! The preserve is nestled among the gorgeous historic homes of Morningside. Though the trail is relatively short (2 miles at most), you quickly forget that you’re in the middle of the city. A set of wooden stairs takes you down into an open meadow area, and then a bridge across a creek sets you back in to wooded area complete with a few gentle hills. Only as you emerge from the trees, see power lines overhead and hear a train coming do you remember that you’re still within the city limits.
Now, I will admit, while I was gearing up to run my 5K, I wasn’t always up for running outside, so it was great having access to X3 Sports right next door to my apartment. I headed down there on cold, dark mornings, rainy afternoons, and on recent days when the pollen was giving me fits. I’ll likely hit the elliptical there when summer arrives full-force and I can’t handle the humidity.
FYI – there are plenty of other great neighborhood races coming up as we begin festival season here in Intown Atlanta – the Sweetwater 420 Fest 5K (registration includes a beer!), the Virginia Highland Summerfest Road Race and Inman Park Festival’s Rocket Run. I’m also looking forward to the Beltline Eastside 10K, even though it’s not until December. I wouldn’t call myself a serious runner by any means, but these races are really approachable even for beginners, so I encourage you to join me and get out there!