If you’re like me, sometimes the best way to blow off steam is by going for a nice, long run. Running is not just good for your health, but it also gets your brain to release Endorphins into your blood stream, which makes you feel happy and positive. If I’m having a long day, I’ll often just try to drop what I’m doing so I can head out on a run, refocus, and get those Endorphins going. It can be a great study technique, depending on the circumstances of course.
Here at W&M I am fortunate, because Williamsburg, in my humble opinion, is one of the best places to run in the world. Just stepping outside my doorstep, I often find myself struggling to decide where exactly to go because of the wealth of options around me. Here are a few of my favorites;
1. Campus – Start with campus! It is very run-able, and you can put together several different loops that wind through quiet roads where you won’t have to worry about cars. Running the boundary circle with Jamestown Road, Ukrop Way, and Richmond Road comes out to 2 ¼ miles, and there are countless points to duck into the heart of campus from there and create your own run.
2. Duke of Gloucester/DOG Street – This is the quintessential Williamsburg run. From Boundary Street at Confusion Corner to the Colonial Capitol is exactly ¾ of a mile through the heart of Colonial Williamsburg (CW). Adding a few laps or side streets, you can easily turn a CW run into a decent length run. It’s crowded during high tourist season, but it’s a beautiful run, and you don’t have to deal with cars. In addition, DOG Street is lit and patrolled around the clock, which means it is a prime, safe spot for late night runs.
3. South England Street – South England Street is about midway through CW perpendicular to DOG Street. If you take it south, past the Williamsburg Lodge, it turns into what is basically a 1 ¾ mile access road that winds through a golf course and features some good size hills (for Williamsburg). It ends at the starting point for the aptly-named Carter’s Grove Country Road, which winds at least 4 more miles through the forest all the way to the Busch Brewery and Kingsmill, and is the path of the annual Colonial Half-Marathon.
4. South Henry Street – Starting again at Confusion Corner, if you take Boundary Street south it turns into South Henry Street, a two lane road that winds past the Law School and the Cedar Grove Cemetery. It is about 2 miles out to Route 199, where you can either turn around or hop on the Colonial Parkway and head back.
5. Colonial Parkway – As I mentioned in an earlier post, from the Newport Avenue entrance near campus, Jamestown Beach is about 3 miles away on the Colonial Parkway, and makes for a nice long run that you can combine with a dip in the James River. There is usually ample shoulder space on the Parkway, and it is a beautiful place to run. Something to take into consideration; the Colonial Parkway Murders from the 1980’s remain unsolved. I’m just sayin’. (Side note: the Colonial Parkway Killer is an overblown urban legend, most of the murders were really far from Williamsburg.)
6. Fitness Trail – The Rec Center maintains a mile-long Fitness Trail in the back of campus that winds through the woods surrounding Lake Matoaka. Not only is it a dedicated trail for running, but it also features stations with different things like pull-up bars and parallel bars, to give your run an extra kick.
7. New Town / Around Lake Matoaka – If you start again at Confusion Corner and run up Jamestown Road, take the first street on your right past the Business School, Mill Neck Road, which winds through Walnut Hills, a quiet neighborhood. Mill Neck will put you out onto John Tyler / Strawberry Plains Road, which eventually meets up with Monticello Avenue at New Town. If you take a right on Monticello, take that all the way to Richmond Road, you can take a right and follow that down right back to where you started. There’s ample shoulder space and a few sidewalks, but it makes for a good 5 ½ mile loop.
Well I’m not going to give away all my secrets, but that’s a good sampling of my favorites. As you can see, there are plenty of options in Williamsburg, long and short, that give you the opportunity to get those Endorphins going.