By: Brian Elder
As the Chick-fil-A Half Marathon is quickly approaching, the streets of Athens will once again be filled with runners of elite talent to first timers. For those training and doing long runs in the upcoming weeks, we want to continue to offer some great places to run as you prepare for the race. One of the best places to run in Athens, Georgia is along Prince Avenue and the neighborhoods surrounding Normaltown. Connecting downtown Athens to the eclectic neighborhoods of Cobbham and Boulevard, Prince Avenue is one of the best roads to run in the city. Both sides of the road have sidewalks and crosswalks and when the weather outside is nice they are frequently used by runners and walkers alike.
One of the best ways to see this side of town is to park your car downtown on a Sunday afternoon (parking is free on Sunday) and start your run from your parking spot. As you make your way from the backside of downtown Athens, away from the Creature Comforts Brewery and Little Kings Shuffle Club, you will quickly approach the Bottleworks on Prince. The Bottleworks shopping center, a building that originally served as a Coke bottling factory, was developed in the beginning of 2002 and continues to grow. Hendershots coffee and Athens best Vegetarian restaurant, the Grit, have been staples and make for great post run stops, but the newer additions of Taziki's Mediterranean Cafe and Sea Bear Oyster Bar have helped fill the strip.
As you continue past Bottleworks and reach around half a mile from downtown, runners can make their way past the best bookstore in the city at Avid Bookshop along with a great place to shop for food throughout the week at Daily Groceries. As runners continue and approach Milledge Avenue, a road with the greatest volume of runners on any given day, they will make their way towards Athens Regional Hospital and Normaltown.
If you have run from downtown you are probably around 1.25 miles at this point and from here your options of where to run only grow. Option 1: Run until you reach Oglethorpe Avenue and the new Normaltown addition of Automatic Pizza to take a left to explore some of the beautiful homes in the Boulevard neighborhood. Option 2: Run through Normaltown until you reach Sunset Drive and take a left to run at Bishop Park. The options at this point are endless. My advice is always to run until you "get lost" and make your way back along the path you originally started on at Prince. If you are worried about getting lost, that is why we always advise running connected with others.
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.