Saturday, 22 October 2011

Our First Birthday!!

Today, this blog is one year old, so time for a look back at this last year of life bouncing around the blogging ether....
Woopie, we made it through the first year. Photo from www.mystuffspace.com
There are now 80 running routes online, plus extra stuff about where to go and how to prepare. I have been trying to add a route a week, which isn't always possible, but it's a goal that I normally manage to make. Again, to make this blog a more useful service to all of you traveling runners out there, please send me your feedback on what I can improve. And specific route suggestions are also always welcome.

And anyone out there that has their own route descriptions to submit, well, just send them to me! There are already 6 guest-written routes among those listed here, for some of the most exotic destinations. Thanks Heather, John and Jessi!

During this first year, there has been a steady climb in visitors: According to Google Analytics, the blog is now getting about 2,000 visits each month, and about 3,000 page-views. A more flattering, but less accurate statistic is provided by www.blogger.com, my blog provider, who says I'm getting over 4,000 page-views a month, which includes a lot of fake visits by Russian spammers. Alas, all bloggers have to put up with this at the moment.

But what else does Google Analytics tell me about you visitors?
  • You're looking at an average of 1.6 pages per visit
  • The vast majority of you (86%) come from search engines
  • 90% of all visitors are new, as opposed to returning visitors. 
  • The vast majority of you are Americans, followed by Singaporeans (big surprise for me), then Brits, Germans and people in Hong Kong (another surprise). 
  • Popular route locations are Washington, Singapore, Hong Kong, Paris, Miami Beach, Las Vegas, New York, Rome, and San Francisco.
  • Between 5 and 10 of you visit using an iPad or other mobile device, and a quarter of you are using a mac
  • The great majority of you are using an English browser, but the next most popular languages are German, French and Italian.

I'll keep trying to find and describe interesting places to run as I travel around with my job and the occasional vacation. So bring on year two, and, with it, wishes for lots more great runs for all of us!

Friday, 21 October 2011

Madrid Parque del Oeste Running Route

Click here for route map 
Length: 5.7 km (3.5 miles), terrain gently hilly with 70 meter climb

Madrid running routes:
Madrid Old Town Sights route
Madrid Parque del Oeste route 
Madrid Parque del Retiro route

Madrid Casa de Campo trail run 
For more running routes, see Route List.

Pictures from the creative people at Flickr Creative Commons. Thanks!

If you're staying in central Madrid, after a while you'll have had enough of the hustle and bustle of the endless traffic and the maze of streets. A good run in the massive Parque del Oeste (Park of the West) is just the cure.
Hilly landscape in the Parque del Oeste, photo by Keith Hauser
This run will begin in one of the town's main hangouts, the Plaza de España, then heads through the twin parks Parque de la Montana and Parque del Oeste before heading back through the quiet neighborhood to the east to loop back to the Plaza de España. And there are a lot of interesting sights along the way.

The Plaza de España, photo by Asten
The Plaza de España is located just north of the town center, on the side of the ridge sloping down towards the scrublands of the Casa de Campo to the west. The great avenues, Gran Via and Calle de la Princesa come together here.

The square is lively, often filled with events and and markets, people relaxing on the benches, enjoying the day. The big monument to Spain's great writer, Cervantes, dominates the square.

Don Quijote, photo by Helga
Run straight through the square, downhill towards the western edge. Cross the busy Calle de Ferrez and head into the park towards the right. This is the Parque de la Montana.

Stay close to Calle de Ferrez, heading north. You will run right towards the first surprise of the run: an Egyptian temple, the Temple of Debod. It was given as a present to Spain for the country's help in preserving the antiquities from the Aswan Dam flooding. The temple and its entrance archways sit like relics from another world on the hilltop.
Temple of Debod, photo by leoncito
Run straight back along the side of the temple and then turn right to run past the little bandstand on one of the paths until it runs into the main path, where you turn left to continue northwards.There are some great vistas from this hilltop.
View of palace and Almudena from park, by Marco S. at www.pixelio.de
The path soon comes to the aerial tram, the teleferico, which lifts people out to the Casa de Campo. Take the path to the right here, and run the 50 meters to the Rosaleda, Madrid's big formal rose garden.
In the Rosaleda, photo by Keith Hauser
Run a loop through the garden and then head back out at the north end. You will run past the parking lot for the park visitors.

Turn right at the first path, at the old factory ruins, and run north again. You are now running parallel to the car road, that runs north/south through the Parque del Oeste.

Parque del Oeste lawn, by Roberto Lazo
Eventually, the path will run into the road when the road curves off to the northwest.

Cross the street and take the path uphill, northwards from there.

The path will curve towards the right, heading eastwards through the rolling parkland. Just keep running east through the maze of paths, and you'll eventually come to the park's northeast corner.

Path through Oeste's rolling hills, photo by Roberto Barcia Fadon
Now turn right to run along the eastern edge of the park, parallel to the Avenue del Arco de la Victoria, with its (predictable) victory arch. You'll see the telecom tower, the Faro de Moncloa, across the street, in front of the Museum of the Americas.

Sunset at the park, photo by leoncito
The park ends across from a formidable-looking building, the Spanish air-force headquarters in its gothic-looking building.

Run straight south along the Calle de la Princesa. It's a busy street, to we'd best turn off it at a good opportunity.

That will happen just one block past the air-force building, at the Calle de Benito Gutierrez. Turn right here.

After 2 blocks, turn left on the Calle de Martin de los Heros. This fairly quiet side-street will take you all the way back to the Plaza de España.