Those staying in Columbia and looking to get into running for some summer fitness are in luck. With the help of the South Carolina cross country club, here are four great spots to run around in Columbia.
Riverfront Park and Riverwalk
Those looking for a simple, but complete path should check out Riverfront Park on the Columbia side of the Congaree River.
“If you want to go for a really long run, it’s good for that or if you want a really short run, it’s good for that too,” junior cross country club Vice President Katy Hall said.
In addition to having a lot of length, the trail itself is very straightforward, according to Hall, which makes it ideal for those who may just be getting into running and want to stick to simple paths.
The Congaree River’s trails don’t end there though, as on the other side of the river lies another trail — the West Columbia Riverwalk.
“There’s people always out there, but it’s never too crowded and you can pretty much go either direction," junior cross country club Treasurer Nicolas Piazza said. “It’s a nice long trail along the river and well maintained.”
This trail is also friendly to new runners, having plenty of spots to rest along the path. According to Piazza, the riverside view and path style make runs there very enjoyable
Another path the cross country club recommends is around the Elmwood Cemetery.
“It’s a nice run,” junior cross country club Secretary Moira Stewart said. “It’s sort of uphill going to the cemetery and then downhill. It’s a smooth run, you don’t have to push yourself really hard if you don’t want to.”
In addition to the smoothness of the path, the cemetery holds other quality traits that one might not find running elsewhere around Columbia.
“As weird as it sounds to be running in a cemetery, it is nice, especially in a city, because there's not many places you can run without cars or other people,” Piazza said. “Part of the route is along the road in Columbia, but then you get up to the park and then further into the cemetery and its just nice paths and not much traffic.”
The trail goes beyond just running about the cemetery. For the club's exact path, runners can start going up Lincoln Street to Finley Park. From there, one takes the Vista Greenway Trail, which leads up to Elmwood Cemetery. At that point, individuals can travel about the cemetery in any path.
While experienced runners can feel free to run the whole way described above, beginners can also just jog throughout the cemetery by themselves, as it contains a wide variety of pathways to explore.
Owens Field Track
Lastly, the Owens Field Track is an area that provides individuals several exercise options.
“There’s a public track there, so if you want to get some speed work in, just run on the track where you know the exact distance of what you’re running,” graduate cross country club President Jack Wegmet said. “There’s also a frisbee golf course there, which means that it’s great for trail running if you want to get off the hard surface and get onto some soft stuff, like grass or dirt.”
The area also has some nearby roads with bike lanes where one can practice running on a road instead of a track or trail.
This area is great for people of all levels, as experienced runners can do a variety of work outs, whereas novices can start with any exercise they would like.
Overall, Columbia contains an abundance of great areas to run. After discovering new spots, learning about every different path is the next step to keep one's running routine fresh.
South Carolina students interested in joining the Carolina cross country club can learn more about the club on their Garnet Gate page.