[move] Where to Run in Wichita
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.