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[move] Where to Run in Wichita

19 July 2010 by Molly Martin 48 Comments

runI am not an expert on running. I don’t run every day. I don’t run every other day. To put it simply, I run when I want to run.

But I do have a few preferences: no music, no watch, no machine. This third preference refers to the treadmill. Stationary running just doesn’t make a lot of sense to me, but I acknowledge its use when the weather is hazardous or when working out seems dreadful without the TV’s distraction.

Even though the weather may sometimes be hazardous due to July’s heat index, I encourage you to leave the luxury of air conditioning and explore some of Wichita’s best running paths. I should really refer to these routes as running/walking paths. It’s the middle of the summer in the ICT; who am I kidding?

The best time to run is at dusk or dawn. Not only will you beat (the worst of) the heat, you’ll also be able to enjoy the natural lighting of the setting or the rising of the sun. So grab a water bottle and bug spray and hit the ground running.

College Hill Park is my home field. I’ll admit that I’m a bit biased and know the area far better than any other. I sometimes follow a counterclockwise loop, avoiding the sidewalk paths and staying along the far edges of the park, which is an estimated half mile distance. For example when I enter the park from English Street, I start by veering to the right and running up the hill, and then I continue to run long the edges. But when that hill looks a bit too daunting, I stick to the sidewalks and don’t worry about exact distances.

Harrison Park (1300 S. Webb Rd.) is similar to College Hill but with a loop along the edges that is about one mile instead of a half mile. I prefer to avoid the sidewalks so I can run this route along the edges. I also prefer to run on grass; it’s easier on your legs.

Chisholm Creek Park at the Great Plains Nature Center (6232 E. 29th St. N.) is a wonderful place to run. Although the paths of concrete, asphalt and wooden bridges are manmade, the surroundings make me feel like I’m running through a picture of undisturbed nature. I love running through the trees, seeing the baby ducks in the pond and catching a glimpse of a deer. This place is a reminder of why I always prefer to run outside. The route that I am familiar with is the Cottonwood Trail, which is a 1.7-mi. loop. A kiosk north of the nature center lists the distances of the other trails, including loops of .5 mi., .9 mi. and 1.1 mi.

North Chisholm Creek Park at 34th and Woodlawn is also a picturesque area, especially for a former cross-country runner. I say this because the area makes me nostalgic for my high school running days; the grassy paths surrounding the fishing pond remind me of a cross-country course. I’m not sure about distance measurements here, but I know a wide loop around the perimeter is more than a mile (I didn’t have a watch or fancy measuring device with me).

Lakepoint is just an east-side ICT neighborhood, but the curvy sidewalk extending between Central and 13th St. can be a convenient running path for nearby neighbors. Running alongside a pond, the sidewalk extends about 1.5 mi.

I know there are many other parks and paths that are favorite spots for the ICT runner/walker. For example, my west-side friends tell me Sedgwick County Park (6300 W. 13th St. N.) is a favorite. I know some people (myself included) prefer just to run along the streets in their neighborhood. Please feel free to sound off and let others know about your go-to places to run throughout the ICT.

(Image Credit)

Related posts:

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  3. [move] Running Just As Fast As I Can: The Finale
  4. [move] Get Walking for a Good Cause
  5. [move] ‘Til I Collapse: Week 2
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48 Comments »

  • Dominic said:

    Sedgwick co park is hard to beat in size and paved trails. Got the concession stand and fountains. But it is a long drive for me to go. I do like the river. You can choose either bank, but one side you can get more tree cover.
    Anywhere you go my advice is don’t be a jerk. I know it’s great to be fit, but still be respectful of others are if someone offers up a smile it’s not hard to smile back.

  • Kelly said:

    If you care about distances but are somewhere like a park, I like to use mapmyrun.com to map my distance. You can actually do a satellite view and if you know the area well enough map out your run that way.

    I actually do most of my running in Harrison Park because I’m not in a great neighborhood. When I move, though, I intend to move to a place where I feel comfortable running in my neighborhood!

  • Nathan said:

    mapmyrun.com is good, but I personally prefer runkeeper.com, because you can both map out your run and, if you have a gps enabled phone, track your run with your phone to get yourself a nice map of distances and speeds.

    For e.g.,

    http://runkeeper.com/user/njbetzen

  • Lacy said:

    As one who runs everyday and avoids the treadmill like the plague (We’re talking only when the ice is too thick or the windchill will freeze my eyes shut), one major gem for runners in this city is often overlooked or unknown.
    The Wichita Marathon Training Route. It begins at Health Strategies (just west of Wesley Hospital) and winds through Sleepy Hallow, College Hill, East-borough, Rockwood, Forest Hills, and Lake Point. It’s an 11.5 mile out and back marked course. Complete with “Aid stations.” A Fire station with water and bathroom at mile 3.5 serves as the permanent fixture. On Saturday’s community members place their hoses and coolers out for runners as well.
    On any Saturday morning between 6AM and 7AM dozens of runners take off for their desired distances. All levels of runners are out on the course supporting each other and creating a strong healthy community of like-minded people.
    A map of the course is located inside Health Strategies. First Gear also conducts a marathon training class every summer leading up to the Wichita Marathon in October.
    While all the other routes mentioned are nice. And there have also been great additions to the cities paths this past year, nothing beats the safe, shaded, protected, and supported Training Route.
    And don’t be fooled, we all run, despite the July heat.

  • Apollo said:

    “Lakepoint is JUST an east side ICT neighborhood…”?! There was an independent study done which found that those who use Lakepoint improve their running time by 71%. Lakepoint has been described as the Yankee Stadium of ICT running paths.

    P.S. Old Railroad tracks on the east side going from Woodlawn to 143rd are very secluded trails. Check it out

  • Mat Lowe said:

    Pawnee Praire Park trail. Me and A group ran it Sunday. 8-10 miles of paved and mostly unpaved trails. Negotiating the trails mad a 45 min run seem like 10 min. Bring OFF we all picked up a couple Ticks.Scenic and beautiful quiet.

  • Steph Barnard said:

    @Lacy – Where is this Marathon Training Route? As in, where specifically on the Health Strategies campus? I can’t find a map of it on the Health Strategies website or anywhere else.

    I have the same issue with the bike paths around here; they supposedly exist and are great, but finding them in the first place is the hardest part.

  • Lacy said:

    Steph,
    It begins on Murdock (the east/west street along the north side of the parking lot).
    The only map I know for sure is framed and inside the gym, very close to the desk.
    First Gear has printed copies, as do I. I’d be happy to get you one. Health Strategies doesn’t support the route, they’re just the start and finish location.

  • Meghan said:

    I took your advice and went jogging at College Hill Park yesterday. I’d never been there before, and what a treat! New surroundings made running much less painful! Thanks! :-)

  • Lynn said:

    @Lacy.

    I am so impressed with your community. I am coming up for the first time next weekend for a family wedding and look forward to running the marathon training route. Wish we had one here in Louisiana.

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