January 11 2018
A runner shares a personal essay documenting her years as "the runner" in rural South Dakota.
For avid runners, “Austin has it all,” says ultrarunner and local Scott Towle. “There are countless options to run road or trail, and there are many off-road, dedicated running path options. We also have a great running community and races supported by local clubs and shops.”
One convenient destination is the loop around Lady Bird Lake in the center of downtown. It’s mostly unpaved (you’ll pass over crushed gravel and dirt), and the six bridges that cross over the body of water (also known as “Town Lake”) give you distance options ranging from 1 to 10 miles.
The live music–loving city is also home to multiple greenways, the most popular being the Barton Creek Greenbelt. The main trail, which is just outside of downtown, is just more than 7 miles from end to end. Park at the Zilker Park trailhead, where there’s a restroom right next to the Barton Springs Pool (if it’s hot out, plan to take a post-run dip in this 68-degree, naturally fed oasis). Choose your distance with an out-and-back from the Zilker entrance, where you can add on one of the many side trails—there are more than 20 miles of terrain—for extra distance or elevation. Good news for Fido: The trails are very dog-friendly.
Towle recommends these nearby post-run spots, all on Barton Springs Road: Austin Java for coffee; food and people watching at Shady Grove; a smoothie at Juiceland; or beer and snacks at Uncle Billy’s Smokehouse and Brewery.