This post was originally seen on the Hale and Hearty 7k Blog, and is the first in a series of posts on various places to run in North Florida.
The Health and Planning Council of Northeast Florida (HPC) serves serves the Baker, Clay,
Duval, Flagler, Nassau, St. Johns and Volusia Counties. They strive to promote health and fitness throughout the communities which you can learn more about on their website.
One of their initiatives is the Community First Hale & Hearty 7k, which I participated in last June. The Community First Hale & Hearty 7K Running Series celebrates healthy communities while encouraging happy and healthy places.
With the goal of hosting a 7k in each of the counties that HPC serves, it is good to learn about the running and walking routes available to you in your community.
Sometimes a new running route is all the motivation needed to encourage me to lace up my shoes and hit the road or sidewalk or trail. I will drive an extra 15-30+ minutes just to run in a new location with an interesting running route. Sometimes I feel like a trail run or a bridge run or a nice flat paved course. All these running options are available throughout North Florida.
I thought I would share some of my favorite running routes with you and hopefully you’ll share your favorites with me! Feel free to email me your favorite route, and maybe you’ll see it in an upcoming feature right here!
Together we can RUN THIS TOWN!
The Greenway Trails at Nocatee
The Greenway Trails at Nocatee are hidden among the Nocatee community between Jacksonville and St. Augustine. For many, the most realistic way to get to the Greenway Trails is to take Philips Highway (or A1A) south to Nocatee Parkway.
Turn onto Clearwater road, driving past the Publix. Soon you’ll see the Water Park. (The 2 story water slide and zip line is hard to miss!). Enter and drive behind the waterpark and into the park itself. You’ll pass a dog park on your left and some tennis courts on your right. The dog park is great too if have furbabies! Park near the tennis courts.
In general, the running trails are made up of 3 prongs that all connect in the middle. Each prong is a 1/2 mile long. If you park near the tennis courts (where it says “Trail” on the map above), you’ll enter the trails close to the center area where the prongs all connect.
The trails are nice because they aren’t really “trails”. They have nice, wide paved pathways. Parking near the center of the trails makes it easy for runners with different distance/pace goals to meet up and run together. If one runner wants to run 3 miles, but another runner only wants to run 2, you can run together for the first two miles. After that, the one runner can easily head to their car, while the other finishes up their last mile on their own. At any given point on the map, you’re never really more than 1/2 a mile away from your car (if you park by the tennis courts). You can also change up your route to drop someone off by their car.
If you have friends you like to run with, but don’t run the same pace, the trails work well also. Since each prong is only 1/2 a mile long, you can all run on the trails at the same time at your own respective pace without being that far away from each other. It’s a lot of fun and quite motivational to give a friend running by a friendly high-five.
There’s a few bridges too, which help to break up your run and add a little excitement.
There’s also a few football fields too. It’s fun when there are games because it gives you something to watch while you’re running by.
Occasionally they host events like 5k runs on the trails. The picture above is of a motivational message left over from a Girls On The Run 5k, a great non-profit organization with the goal to teach young women life skills through dynamic, conversation-based lessons and running games.
The trail ways are also very Electric Vehicle friendly and you’ll often see a golf cart zipping by.
I encourage you to find a friend or two and head out to the Nocatee Greenway Trails.
Do you have a favorite area of town to run? Email me your favorite route, and maybe you’ll see it in an upcoming feature right here!
Together let’s RUN THIS TOWN!