Top 5: Places to Run in Alexandria

With cooler fall weather comes the onset of race season, and Alexandria is no exception. Hundreds of runners will hit the city streets for the Woodrow Wilson Bridge Half Marathon this weekend, the .US National 12K in November, and many 5k and 10k races in between. Whether you’re training for an upcoming race or just want to hit the trails for some exercise, Alexandria offers both scenic and urban running routes that will be sure to get you motivated and out the door!

 

1. Mount Vernon Trail

RESIZED DSC_8433_2100x1448_300_RGBImage credit: R. Kennedy for ACVA

If panoramic views keep you going, the ever-popular Mount Vernon Trail is for you. This 18-mile paved route winds along the Potomac River from Arlington to Alexandria, rewarding runners and cyclists with waterfront vistas, green space and a mostly flat course. From Old Town Alexandria, access the trail via Union Street near the Waterfront to head either north toward DC or south toward George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate.

 

2. Old Town Loop

Old Town Historic AlexandriaImage credit: Cameron Davidson for ACVA

What better way to get your blood pumping than with the sights and sounds of Old Town Alexandria? From the Waterfront, take the city’s traditional brick sidewalks west along King Street past the Old Town Farmers Market, the George Washington Masonic National Memorial, and the historic Ivy Hill cemetery. Make a loop via Braddock Road to come back to where you started, or knock some errands out on the way!

 

3. Del Ray Routes

Mount Vernon Avenue in Alexandria, Virginia Image credit: R. Nowitz for ACVA

For a quick run through the heart of Del Ray, Mount Vernon Avenue is a must. Fair warning: You just might find yourself unable to resist stopping to pet the many pooches out on the town, sway to the live music at Evening Star Café or sample frozen pumpkin custard at the Dairy Godmother. If you’re looking for a quieter yet scenic route, Commonwealth Avenue is a popular choice.

 

4. Eisenhower Avenue Trail

RESIZED Founder_s_Park_Biker_2_CREDIT_C_Davidson_for_VTC_2100x1577_300_RGBImage credit: Cameron Davidson for ACVA

To run this flat and leafy trail, start at the African American Heritage Park, where sculptures and benches make for a reflective space, and head west on the asphalt trail that runs parallel to Eisenhower Avenue . It’s about four miles from the park to the Van Dorn Metro Station. You can also make a detour north to Port City Brewing Company—all roads lead to beer, right?

 

5. Join a running group

RESIZED King Street RaceImage credit: Flickr image by Ritchie Rozzelle

Tired of running the same old routes? Join one of the city’s running groups for some accountability and the ease of following a course set by experienced runners. Local running store Pacers offers free morning and evening fun runs in and around Alexandria at varied mileage, in addition to training programs. Are you a beer-loving runner? Port City Brewing Company and Pacers teamed up to create Lagers and Joggers, a weekly fun run that begins and ends at the brewery where you can follow up your 1, 3 or 5 mile workout with a well-deserved pint or flight. Now that’s motivation to get a move on.

 

RESIZED Woody 1Image via Steve Nearman

Everyone’s favorite mascot, “Woody,” will be coming through Old Town for the first time this weekend in the Woodrow Wilson Bridge Half Marathon. Come out to see Woody run–and in the meantime, check out some of Alexandria’s many fabulous running routes!