By: Brian Elder
As we are less than one month away from the Chick-fil-A Half Marathon we thought that we would share a location to run in Athens that will help prepare you for the race because this is part of the first three miles of the 13.1 mile race course. Just below downtown Athens is the North Oconee River Greenway, which is home to the major trail system located in Athens-Clarke County. The great thing about the Greenway is that it offers a variety of options and distances for runners. You can log a short, medium, or longer distance run depending on the day, but unfortunately if you despise out and back loops, unless you make your way off the trail and change up the route back you will have to face this.
The Greenway allows runners to start in multiple locations, but Dudley Park offers a great option to begin. Parking is free along many of the surrounding roads and in the parking lot at Dudley Park. Before you hit the trail here is a fair warning: If you have never been on this Greenway, the path can be difficult to locate initially and it stops and restarts because of breaks caused by roads like North Avenue and Martin Luther King Drive. It can be confusing at first but once you discover the route, it opens a great option for long runs. Once you have figured out the system, one of the best options is to run along the Greenway until you reach College Avenue where you can make your way towards the trails at Sandy Creek Nature Center. This paved path makes a trail connection that offers the chance to really log some miles and get in longer training runs which are a great option for someone training for a marathon or half marathon this spring. The longer miles can be added once the Greenway reaches Sandy Creek and you can begin to run along the trails around Lake Chapman. There is the Lakeside Trail and Buckeye Horse Trail that you can run on. I recommend lakeside because it offers a great view and you can avoid the leftovers from horses on the wider path.
If you need a preview of the Chick-fil-A Connect Half Marathon course you can take a look here or preview it along this route we have given. We are looking forward to race day and seeing people run connected in the streets of Athens once again!
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.