Team Awesome’s Favourite Running Routes
For many runners, their favourite running routes are like their favourite shoes: sure, you’ll switch it up from season-to-season, but you’ll often keep coming back to the ones you love.
We asked some members of Team Awesome to tell us about their favourite routes in Ottawa and beyond. Read on to learn about the routes they love and why they love them.
Noel Paine – Ottawa, ON – 13K
Five or six mornings a week, I lace up my shoes and head east towards Parliament Hill. I catch a glimpse of the Peace Tower and think about how lucky I am to be living in the National Capital. I pass the Chateau Laurier, the National Gallery of Canada and the Royal Canadian Mint.
In the winter, the perk of running past these landmarks is that the sidewalks are, for the most part, cleared. I then travel over the two bridges on Sussex and smile thinking how this will be part of my Ottawa Race Weekend Marathon route. I repeat to myself that I will be strong on race day and look forward to the familiarity of these roads. I then come to Rideau Hall, marking the start of my journey home.
Over the years, I’ve realized that this route holds significance to me not because of its stellar running conditions, but simply because it’s mine. I know each kilometre intimately and every pothole and bend in the road. This route is my happy place.
Martin Dompierre – Ottawa, ON – 12K or 15K
One great place for winter running is along the Rideau Canal, as the bike paths on each side are cleared of snow. I start at the Maison du Citoyen in Gatineau, pass by the Museum of History, then go across Alexandra Bridge. That makes for 12 km if I turn back at Bank, or 15 km if I go all the way to Bronson.
On my way back, I take DuPortage Bridge so I can run in front of the Parliament Buildings. Oh, and one more thing: parking is free on weekends in the Maison du Citoyen’s heated garage.
Jimmy Proulx-Roy – Montreal, QC – 10K
One of my favourite Montreal routes is the 10K I run on Mount Royal. It’s a mixed-terrain run (climbs, flats and descents) right next to downtown Montreal, and the trails there remind me of the ones in my rural hometown.
When I reach the top of the mountain, I’m always taken aback by the amazing view of the entire city from the Chalet du Mont-Royal. I take two minutes to rest and look at the skyscrapers, the bridges and the Saint Lawrence River in the distance, and to reflect on my upcoming challenges.
P.S.: You can run a few extra kilometres on the summit along a path that passes the Mount Royal Cross and shows you the city from a different angle. It’s well worth the effort!
James Koole – Toronto – 10K
My favourite route is what I call “The Flag Run.” It’s exactly 5K from my house, down to the lake and out to a City of Toronto flag on a pole along Ashbridges Bay. I run this as an out-and-back, making for a 10K route that I often run on Wednesday evenings while marathon training.
The run starts with a steep downhill to the lake, then follows the waterfront trail through the Beaches area. In the summer, there are hundreds of beach volleyball players out playing. No matter the season, there are always many runners and cyclists out on the path to keep me company.
The landmark Leuty Lifeguard Station is at the 3.5km/6.5km point. And, being an out-and-back, the route also ends with going up that monster hill in the last kilometre to keep things challenging.
Nina Ryan – Orleans, ON – 6K
My favourite runs are the ones where I step out of my usual routes around the neighbourhood and go off to explore new areas – the further off the beaten path the better! This one venture in particular had me running in between fields of farmland alongside harvesting vehicles. I later discovered that this was the NCC Prescott-Russell Recreational Trail.
It’s not too far from home and a pleasant change of scenery from streets and traffic. In fact the last time I was out there I even passed a few girls out on an afternoon hike with their horses! So far my routes using this trail have been about 6k.
Danielle O’Hanley – Toronto, ON – 6K to 16K
Lately, my favourite route is an easy run through Toronto’s West End. I like this route because it takes me through a few interesting neighbourhoods: the Junction (where I can peer into the little cafes and shops), Baby Point (where there are huge houses and interesting seasonal decorations), Bloor West Village (great for people watching) and High Park (for the greenery).
It’s fairly flat, but has a few hills to keep things interesting. Most importantly, this route can easily be adjusted to different distances depending on how far you want to go. I’ve run it as anywhere from a 6K to a 16K
Do you have a favourite route in your city? Share it with us on Twitter!