In three weeks I’ll be heading to Cape Breton for a family event (YAHOO Nick & Trace). Like most runners, I enjoy different scenery and challenges, so this got me to thinking: where is the nicest place you’ve run?
Voted one of the best Islands in the world (and #1 in Canada) by Leisure + Travel magazine readers, I’d have to say that the most beautiful place I’ve ever run is Cape Breton.I grew up on the island so I do happen to feel quite biased in this decision, but I’ve run on other islands and this one is by far the most beautiful; bursting with colour and personality. (And of course, great people.)
Of the 276.33km of the Cabot Trail, I’ve run 66.88km. Of course, not all at once (I wish.) For several years I participated in the Cabot Trail Relay – a 17 stage relay race through the trail. The race itself was a ton of fun and the camaraderie of runners has been unmatched anywhere else (at least for me.) The challenge of the trail, the jovial spirit of the teams (or most, anyway) and the milestone of being able to say “I ran part of the Cabot Trail” is well-worth the ups and downs of training. Now, if Westjet would lower their prices for flights going West to East, I would be one happy camper and make it out there annually!
I’ve also participated in the first Race to the Sea in Port aux Basque, Newfoundland. I can truthfully tell you I absolutely HATED every minute of this run. The scenery was beautiful and the people were wonderful, but I did NOT enjoy my run. I ran leg #8, which was a 12.4 km run from the ferry terminal to a cemetery. I mentally blocked a lot of things during the race (like not drinking any water)…but I do remember being at the base of a hill and a onlooker told me that the finish line was at the top – he lied! I still had a bit of ways to go – and hills. It was hot. And muggy. And they were so lucky it was a free bar (sponsored by I don’t know who, some beer company) because I was fit to be tied. I had an awesome team (despite them trying to scare the shit out of me by lying & telling me to watch for moose up ahead)! And other than the running part, the team + celebratory drinks were the best! We also got screeched in, which was hilarious! And then met one of the Canadian Idols. It was a cool race.
And as much as I complain about the difficulty of running in Alberta, there are some pretty beautiful places to run. In the next few weeks I’ll be running hills in Springbank. YAHOO! The icing is that despite being pretty steep, the view of the mountains is incredible. When I first moved to Alberta it was January and Calgary was experiencing a Chinook. At the time I thought it was the strangest thing in the world (I had just left the cold, damp eastern Canadian winter.) But I put on my shorts and went for a run. It was so bizarre! I do remember it being harder to breathe, but I guess over time it’s gotten easier.
These are the three nicest places I’ve run.