by Seth Weiss
Philadelphia is a great running city, with many easily accessible paths waiting to be explored. The Philly Runners group, established in March 2002, can help you plan your run, give you safety tips and identify others who want to get outside year-round. Philly Runners organizes three weekly outings, and all fitness levels are welcome. (Runners meet on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.) Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned strider, get the lowdown at phillyrunners.org
Here are some of their recommended routes to help you reach that runner’s high:
1. The most popular running route in the city is the 8.5 mile loop formed by MLK and Kelly drives with the Philadelphia Museum of Art on one end and Falls Bridge on the other.
2. The Schuylkill Banks Trail, which feeds into the loop above, can be accessed from all bridges from South Street to JFK Boulevard. There are also grade level crossings at Locust and Race streets.
3. The Schuylkill Towpath can be accessed from Lock Street in Manayunk, just off of Main Street. The trail heads west to Valley Forge and beyond, and now connects to a bridge that leads to Bala Cynwyd, which can be accessed from the corner of High and DuPont streets.
4. For runners in Northwest Philly, Forbidden Drive, a relatively easy trail, can be accessed from Lincoln Drive, Northwestern Avenue and points in between. For serious trail runners who want lots of rocks, mud and hills, there are trails that run along the ridges above Forbidden Drive.
5. Pennypack Park runs west to east in Northeast Philly. One good place to access the park is from the parking lot at Pine Road, at the western end of the park, near where Pine crosses Pennypack Creek. There is a paved path that runs the length of the park alongside the creek, and other trails that come off this path.
6. For runners on the eastern side of the city, the Ben Franklin Bridge offers a nice hilly run that also provides great views of the city and the Delaware River.
Seth Weiss is the leader of Philly Runners, an all-weather, year-round running club that is open to everyone.