I must have really phenomenal friends because soon after I finished my first Marathon in October of 2016, my dear crazy friends presented me with this question, “Wanna run a 31 mile trail race?” Hmmm, our “crazy” must unite us because I said yes.
A DNF (did not finish) is the tally which all ultra runners have come to face at some point and time in their running careers. To some it's a rite of passage to truly being called an ultra runner. To others it is the credence, the tangible proof that you have failed. It will sit with them, it will dwell with them, and it may end them as a runner. But to the incredible strong, resilient, and humble ultra runners, it will tear them down before blazing a fire in their soul and building them up stronger and better for next time.
Two weeks ago Alex Harris wrote about the amazing individuals that he has met through the trail running community. Although each has different reasons for turning to trails, he says a common lesson is that trail running is "a passion to do better, push further and overcome any pains or aliments in your life." The responses to the question he posed to his fellow trail runners, "why do you love running trails?", were so overwhelming that we posted the quotes in two installments. Enjoy reading all the reasons this community shares a passion for climbing rocks and crossing streams mid-run.
I have been running for the past 2.5 years, and most of my experience has been on the road. Completing 3 marathons, numerous half marathons, 10ks, 5ks, and even an obstacle race or 3, I never had any real experience with running trails. However, after completing my 2nd marathon, I found myself unmotivated and almost ready to leave running behind. That’s when I found ultramarathons and trail running.
Have you ever wondered about the best places for a run or walk in the Baltimore area? Or maybe you are just bored with your usual run. Here are a few places to run near each of our stores to change up the routine.
Charm City Run Annapolis (Anne Arundal County)
B&A Trail– This trail is flat and fast with water fountains every few miles. Running Distance (Out and Back) 0-26 miles (more if you use it to connect to the BWI Trail)
Quiet Waters Park–. With its wooded trails and beautiful grounds makes it one of the favorites in the area. A big plus is the big playground for the kids afterwards if you running buddy is a little one. Running Distance – 6 mile loop
Kinder Park Farm — While most of the route is paved, there are several places throughout the park to duck into the woods and run along the dirt trails used by Arch Bishop Spalding’s Cross Country Team. This park also has a couple of water fountains, bathrooms, and two playgrounds. Running Distance3-5 mile loop
USNA -–Almost half of the route is run along the water and is beautiful in all weather, so much so that it seems too special not to share with a running buddy. Things to remember – No Headphones Allowed and You must have your ID with you. Running Distance 4mile loop
Charm City Run McHenry Row (Baltimore City)
Inner Harbor Run – Start from Charm City Run McHenry Row and head down the promenade towards the Science Center and Aquarium. You can run the promenade and docks all the way to Canton and back for any distance from 1-15 miles.
Fort McHenry Run – Start at Charm City Run McHenry Row and run to the entrance of Fort McHenry. It’s a mile from the store with a mile loop around the Fort. It’s a great way to see the water and city. Water fountains and bathrooms are at the park. Running Distance3-5 Miles
Patterson Park – A challenging loop with hills to get a great workout. The loop makes it convenient to your car and allows you to vary the distance. Running Distance 1-6 Miles
Charm City Run Bel Air (Harford County)
Ma & Pa Trail – The MA & PA Trail is a walking, running & bicycle trail/pathlocated on portions of the former Maryland & Pennsylvania Railroad corridor in Bel Air and Forest Hill, Maryland. The MA & PA Trail is 3.3 miles long from Edgeley Grove in Fallston to Williams St. in the Town of Bel Air. The Forest Hill segment is 1.75 miles long.
Susquehanna State Park – Susquehanna State Park contains over 15 miles of marked and maintained trails; ideal for hikers, trail runners, mountain bikers, equestrians and nature lovers. The terrain varies throughout the river valley. The different trails have ratings ranging from easy to difficult.
Charm City Run Columbia (Howard County)
Lake Elkhorn – Located right near our Columbia store, this 37-acre lake, in the village of Owen Brown, was built by the Columbia Association in 1974 with a watershed of about 2,500 acres. The path around Lake Elkhorn is 2 miles. There are also connecting trails to add on to the distance around the lake. Running Distance 2 miles and up
Patapsco Valley State Park – The park is nationally known for its trail opportunities and scenery. They have 170 miles of trails, with 70 of those miles identified as maintained trails. A great place to get away from it all and walk, hike or run. Park includes both technical trails and paved paths. All distances available.
Centennial Park – This park makes up 325 of Howard County's 7,000+ acre scenic park system. It features a 2.4-mile paved pathway that circles the lake as well as the 7.3-miles of interconnecting paved pathway that links to surrounding neighborhoods. These trails are great for walking, riding, or biking, and make for a perfectly serene place for some exercise.
Charm City Run Timonium (Baltimore County)
NCR Trail -The Northern Central Railroad Trail (NCRT) extends 20 miles, stretching from Ashland Road in the Hunt Valley area to the state line. The trail is 10 feet wide with a stone dust surface. The most popular activities on the trail are hiking, jogging, bicycle riding and horseback riding. Out and back trail allows for any distance from 1 mile to 40 miles.
Loch Raven Reservoir – This weekend running spot provides paved road and off-road running north of Towson. Park at the corner of Morgan Mill Road and Loch Raven Drive to enjoy beautiful scenery on a Saturday or Sunday morning. You will see many runners on the road as well as on the extensive hiking trails throughout the woods. On weekends Loch Raven Drive between Morgan Mill Road and Providence Road is closed to cars to allow use by pedestrians. Please note that it is not safe to run during the week as traffic is heavy with commuters. You can walk/run 1-30 miles along this route.