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I enjoy running on all different surfaces. Some of us are park runners, some of us like to venture through neighborhoods and some of us like running on trails (not my favorite, but I will). If you’re searching for new places to run, then here’s a list of areas scattered through Birmingham to introduce you to some courses without direction. And if you’re an indoor runner, find your wild heart and take a trip through some of these neighborhoods to find the joy of outdoor running.
Broadway St / Oxmoor Rd
Broadway street runs from Green Springs Highway down to Oxmoor Road. Broadway has a nice sidewalk that runs all the way down, with the exceptions of a few parking lots (one that leads to a great Italian Restaurant, GianMarco’s). The neighborhood is bright and compiled of old and new homes. At the end of Broadway are yummy restaurant like Saw’s BBQ and Taco Mama. I’ve seen walkers, runners, dog walkers and stroller-pushing moms traveling down Broadway. It’s about a mile long and if you make it a lap, that makes 2 miles. In the neighborhood surrounding it is Homewood Elementary and Middle school so there’s plenty of other side streets to check out throughout the area.
Mountain Brook Area
Jemison Trail and Mountain Brook Village
Jemison Trail is one of the best trails in Birmingham, in my opinion. It’s long (plus), the scenery is great (plus), and it’s shaded (super plus). Starting at 2400 Mountain Brook Parkway, walkers and runners can park their cars along the trail where parking is marked and take a nice run, walk, or stroll through Mountain Brook. Plenty of walkers bring their furry pets to enjoy the trail as well. There’s even benches throughout it to give you a break here and there.
Not too far from Jemison Trail is Mountain Brook Village. While the main circle can get a bit traffic heavy, the surround neighborhoods are beautiful and very scenic. It makes for a nice run or walk with hills and nice houses to admire. There’s a CVS and plenty of cafés including a Starbucks (my favorite) in the area so after your run, you can even cool yourself down with a delicious Frappuccino.
Lakeshore Trail is a 5.2-mile out and back roadway for walkers, bikers, stroller pushers, dog walkers, you name it. I frequently walk and run this trail in the mornings and it’s never busy or clustered. I like to enter on the side of Columbiana Road and South Lakeshore Drive (where there’s parking). Trees surround it so parts of the trail are shaded, while others aren’t as much (run faster to get to the shaded part). The trail runs along Shades Creek that’s filled of wildlife like turtles, salamanders and birds. You might spot some throughout the course. It ends at Target, The Fresh Market and Brookwood Village so if you need to make a stop, there are options. Just a bit of advice, I wouldn’t run on Lakeshore at night because it can feel a little creepy. Actually, that goes for all night runners, take precaution when running in the evening.
Downtown/Railroad Park area
I’m sure everyone is familiar with Railroad park. To add something new to your easy run around the park, take a detour and pass by Regions Field. There’s plenty of sidewalk area to run and not feel like you will be hit by a car. Runners can also run through the rainbow LED lit tunnel that’s on 18th Street South. As you go deeper into the downtown area, it becomes more traffic heavy so I wouldn’t suggest running that way unless you plan on stopping every block for a red light. UAB isn’t far though, so if you travel that way there’s plenty of campus to run through.
Get out and run. If there are more neighborhoods or trails you’d suggest, share them with us.