Length a short 3.2 km (2 miles) but extensible with 1-mile laps of Mary Murray Drive loop, terrain: flat
Here's a nice run, far away from the tourist crowds in the Charleston old town. While the tourists are wandering the magnificent old streets at the south end of the peninsula, there is also a great park run further north, at Hampton Park. The park is surrounded by some pleasant, gentrifying neighborhoods, like Hampton Park Terrace, and it is also bordered by The Citadel military college. This run combines that green parkland, waterfront campus and quiet neighborhoods for a really beautiful route.
|Live-oak in Hampton Park|
During the Civil War, the racetrack was used as a prison camp for Union troops, and over 250 died there and were buried in a mass grave. Then, in 1865, when the city was surrendered to the Union Army and the white residents had fled, the town's newly-freed black population celebrated a precursor to Memorial Day at the race-track. They reburied the Union soldiers into single graves and then 10,000 people held a procession there, decorating the graves with flowers and singing liberation songs, they then sat down to picnics and watched Union soldiers parade around the grounds.
The graves were later transferred to national military cemeteries.
|Firemen out exercising in the early morning near the pond|
Nowadays an oval road, Mary Murray Drive, follows the original racecourse around the edge of Hampton Park. Mary Murray is a one-way road with a big bike lane, and is fine for running. The course is exactly a mile long, letting you easily add as many laps as you wish to this short route to lengthen it to your needs.
|Along Mary Murray Drive|
To start the run, turn westwards towards the gazebo in the park and start running! The gazebo was left over after a big international exhibition held on the site. You'll see spreading live-oak trees dripping with Spanish moss to either side.
Now continue straight across the grass and cross the little bridge over the pond, and continue over the grass at the other side.
|Crossing the pond|
NOTE: You can start the run here, if you need a place to park.
Now turn left and follow Mary Murray until the left-hand curve. Here, continue westwards along Jenkins Avenue, passing through the gate into The Citadel. It's a private college, but it's open for runners like us.
|The Citadel entrance on Jenkins Avenue: just cruise on through and hang left!|
|Cadets crossing Summerall Field|
|The estuary at the pier|
After the sports fields, Hammond Avenue passes some housing for faculty (officers), and curves to the left.
|Faculty housing on campus|
At Richardson, turn right, then left to get you back to the south end of Summerall Field.
Now turn right on Lee Avenue and run eastwards out of the Citadel campus and into the Hampton Park Terrace neighborhood.
|Along Moultrie Street|
Now just follow the south edge of the park until Ashley Avenue, where Mary Murray Drive curves to the north, and follow that curve past the baseball field.
In just a few steps, you'll be back at the start, and can now add one or more laps along Mary Murray to add some distance. Have fun!