I’m not a regular runner by any means.
I mean, I try to run around 3 miles at least once a week, but other than that, the majority of the running in my life is me running from a building to my car when it’s raining outside, running up the stairs of my apartment complex so I can get inside and stuff my face with food as quickly as possible, and running from my car into work because I’m late.
Don’t get me wrong. I
love enjoy running. I’m not one of those crazy marathoners (shoutout to my dad), but I’m not on my couch 24/7.
That said, when I do run, it’s always nice to change the scenery a little bit. Most of my runs are along Kernan Boulevard, since that’s near where I live. But I often get tired of that, so I’ll go to the beach or Fort Caroline or something.
The other frequent running spot for me is downtown. Along the north bank of the river walk to be exact. Running downtown is nice. Nice enough for me to continue going back, but it also kind of sucks. Allow me to explain. I usually park at the parking lot where the Riverside Arts Market is held. I then run east towards the Landing. That’s usually where I turn around and go back.
Why it’s awesome:
The water is right next to you, and creates this vibe that really gives you a mindset that says, “Ok. This is cool. I can roll with this.” It’s hard to explain, but if you’ve ever run that close to the water (like the beach), you know what I’m talking about.
You see other runners while running, so that gives you motivation.
*Spots fit runner absolutely booking it in the distance coming toward you*
“Better stop my walk break. Don’t want this person to realize I’m a scrub.”
That’s an actual situation that happens to me frequently while running, and it’s a great way to make you quit slacking off. Even though once they pass by you, you continue your walk break.
You’ve got a great view. The scenery of Jacksonville really might be what keeps me coming back. The skyline with the bridges on the water really makes for a picture-perfect look at our city. Growing up in Tampa, I never really loved the way downtown looked. When I moved to Jax, I fell in love with the downtown skyline immediately.
Why it sucks:
It kind of smells. Every now and then, you’ll get a whiff of something really bad, and that doesn’t make the run very pleasant.
It gets a little loud near the Landing. Personally, I’m an avid music listener on runs. I shamelessly rock my 3-year-old Motorola bluetooth headphones on every run. I don’t want to hear anything except my music while on runs. So when I get to the Landing, even with the volume turned all the way up, I can still hear people at Hooters yelling about a football game or whatever it is they’re watching.
It’s got those ramps … there’s a big long ramp that might as well be a bridge you have to run up on your way towards the Landing. On the way back, you have to run up the spiral runway underneath the Acosta Bridge. I’m not trying to be overdramatic or anything here, but it’s kind of like what I imagine hell is. This is Florida. Roads are supposed to be flat as a pancake. Unfortunately, the run along the north bank of the river walk has other ideas.
Overall, it’s still one of the most frequent running sites I visit. I don’t particularly love it because of all the aforementioned bad things about it, but it’s not too shabby. It’s kind of like cheering for the Jaguars. Watching the games isn’t very fun when they lose, but at the same time, it’s really nice that Jacksonville has an NFL team, so we continue to support them.
If you haven’t gone for a run along the north bank of the river walk, and you’re looking for a decent little place to run, sure … give it a shot.