By: Brian Elder
In today's post for the "Where to Run" series, we head back home to Athens, Georgia and give runners a look at a unique place to run in the Classic City as they prepare for the upcoming Chick-fil-A Connect Half Marathon. Many people like to run in the intramural fields at Lake Herrick, others run down Milledge avenue or through Sandy Creek Nature Center (coming soon on Where to Run), but one place that is often overlooked is Memorial Park. Located between South Milledge Avenue and South Lumpkin Street, Memorial Park is an ideal location for runners to test out a great combination of trails and roads.
Here is how you get there. If you are running down Milledge Avenue away from Five Points, you can take one of two entrances into the park. Runners can turn right on Gran Ellen Drive, passing Milledge Avenue Baptist Church, and follow the road to the entrance of the park. Runners can also continue down the road and take a back entrance to the lower section of the park while adding an extra quarter mile. The back entrance is located off of Woodland Hills Drive as runners make their way to the dead end of the street. Once you reach the end of the road a narrow trail is ahead that parallels the dog park to the bottom where the pond is located in Memorial Park. If you try to reach the trail or park from South Lumpkin Street, there is a small sign on the left side of the road that leads to the trail as you make your way down the hill that can easily be missed. If you miss the sign to enter the trail there is no need to worry. Continue down the hill and take a left on Gran Ellen Drive to make your way to the main entrance.
Once in the park, there are often ducks that are in the pond waiting to be fed or if ducks aren't the kind of animal that intrigues you, stop by the Bear Hollow Zoo up the steep hill to visit the bears. Once you make your way up the steep hill, I recommend following the road until you reach the Bear Hollow Wildlife Trail. This trail makes a loop and is a great trail to loop on two or three times. Running in the opposite direction on the trail also provides a good change of perspective and allows you to experience the ups and downs of the trail at a few different locations to break up any monotony. Test it out on an upcoming run and let us know what you think! If you have any places that you run let us know in the comments so we can try them out ourselves!
Brian Elder is a learner, amateur explorer, and runner that is going to run until it takes him somewhere. He is a graduate from the University of Georgia where he studied English and Religion. After running competitively on trails and roads, he fuels with an appetite so big you would swear it’s competitive. Follow Brian on Instagram.