Thursday, 30 October 2014

World's Spookiest Runs

In London's Richmond Park
Halloween is coming up tomorrow, and it caused me relive -- in my thoughts -- some of the spookiest runs that I've done. Over the years, I've run all over the world, and a few places stand out as being especially spooky when running along in the twilight...

The World's 6 Spookiest Runs (in my opinion)
1. Richmond Park, London: Richmond Park is a wide, rolling expanse of fields and woods, with deer grazing the sweeping meadows. There's one section of woods which is full of ancient oak trees, gigantic, hollow and gnarly. In the evening gloom, they look absolutely haunted. 
Another Richmond Park oak
To wander among them is to have an other-worldly experience.
Vlad the Impaler with his castle ruins
2. Bucharest, Romania old town: Romania is, as everyone knows, the home of Count Dracula. He was known locally as "Vlad the Impaler". And the ruins of Vlad's main castle are still to be seen right in the old town of Bucharest. Quite a startling encounter! 

3. Bonn, Germany: The Venusberg hill overlooking town is covered with woods and is full of great running trails. But the north slope of the hill is another spot with some unsettlingly haunting trees. They aren't so big, but they are growing in all kinds of crazy directions and twisted shapes. Another place that feels spellbound.
St. Anthony's Chapel ruins at Arthur's Seat, superb photo by Adrian Hart
4. Arthur's Seat, Edinburgh: Scotland's capital offers a great running experience on the barren, windswept heights of Arthur's Seat, not far from the city center. But running up there in the evening among the crags and heather and the chapel ruins can be a strangely spooky affair at twilight.
5. Klampenborg, Copenhagen: The old royal hunting grounds of Klampenborg is another spot similar to Richmond Park, a huge area of wooded hills and meadows, with ancient trees and lonely trails. Best to get out of there before dark! 

6. Dortmund, Germany: Dortmund is an old steel-making city, one of the industrial powerhouses of the world. On my first trip to Dortmund, many years ago, I ran southeast of the Westfalenpark and experienced a surrealistic run through the old Phönix steel-works grounds at night. From a distance, I had seen its ovens spewing out molten red steel into waiting railroad cars, accompanied by ear-splitting screeches. Endless rows of coal cars rolled slowly through the industrial wastelands to fuel the ovens. It looked like I was peering into the depths of Mordor. So I decided to run through the grounds, trying to avoid any security personnel. I was running up and down steep hills of slag, passed a World War II-era bunker teetering on the edge of a cliff, with exhaust-gas flames and steel-ovens bathing the scene in fiery orange light. The steel works have closed down now, and much of the area is occupied by a lake, but part of the steel plant has been left as a silent industrial museum that can be wandered by the curious. 

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Best Melbourne Running Routes and Trails

Top 7 Melbourne Routes
Everyone who goes to Australia ends up sometime in Melbourne, and is normally glad he/she did. There is a vibrant downtown, pleasant suburbs, redeveloped docklands, nearby beaches and the Yarra River winding its way inland. 

The landscape is fairly flat, but with enough small hills to add a challenge. And the abundant parks and riverside provide a perfect spot to discover the town's quieter corners.
Café in the Yarra River

So, if you're looking for a great spot to run in Melbourne, here are the seven best routes in town.

The Best Melbourne Routes

Tan Track:
This is Melbourne's most popular running route, pretty full of runners most evenings and weekends. And once you see the beautiful setting, looping the botanical garden, you'll know why. Join the crowd for one great run!

Yarra River run, City Center: The riverside in downtown Melbourne is a lively promenade full of restaurants, bars, a casino and lots of people just enjoying the beautiful waterside scene. This route follows both sides of the river.

Fitzroy Gardens: Here's a short run at the east end of the city center, next to the state parliament. Pleasant parkland in every direction.

Albert Park / St. Kilda Beach: On the south side, Albert Park is full of recreational fields and lawns, surrounding a big lake. Combine that with a stretch of nearby St. Kilda Beach, and you've got a lot of open scenery, not so far from the downtown bustle.

Williamstown: This was the original harbor part of town, surrounded by water on three sides. There are pleasant, quiet neighborhoods, a big marina and lots of waterside parkland. If you like waterfront running, this is the place to be.

Yarra Bend trail: Here is a trail far from the city. It follows a wooded trail along the Yarra River, east of town. This is the place to get a feel for real Australian countryside. 

COMING SOON!! Carlton / Fitzroy run: This route takes you through Melbourne's coolest neighborhoods: through Carlton and the University, then back through Fitzroy and a bit of Brunswick Street, the city's hippest entertainment district. I'll write it up soon!!

Monday, 6 October 2014

Celebrating 500K Page Views!

Today, we're celebrating our 500,000th page view! In just a few years, Running Routes has established itself as a popular running resource. And we plan to remain an ad-free service to traveling runners, with lots more routes in the coming years.
Picture courtesy of