Yesterday I took in a very scenic 4 mile marathon training run at Valley Forge Park. This is a great park with miles and miles of trails in a northwestern suburb of Philadelphia. To give you a little perspective when you are looking at Philly on a map:
As a history buff I really enjoy running this park. I won’t bore you with the details, I’ll just give you a quick snapshot of the parks history because this is a running blog after all. On December 19, 1777 George Washington’s army marched into camp at Valley Forge and after a six-month encampment, successfully engaged Lt. Gen. Sir Henry Clinton’s British army at the Battle of Monmouth in New Jersey. You can learn more about its history here. So needless to say from a history perspective this is a great park to run.
These two monuments are in remembrance of the Continental army that was led to the park by George Washington. The inscription on the monument to the right reads:
“In remembrance of the Continental Army led by George Washington, a member of the Masonic Fraternity and in honor of the many Freemasons who were a part of the encampment at this site, the Freemasons of Pennsylvania place this monument so that future generations will know that freedom was as import in 1997 as it was in 1777 and 1778″
But now to the running part….
This park is amazing because it boasts 19.5 miles of designated, marked, running/ hiking trails and 18.2 miles of authorized bike trails. If you need to get in a significant long run, want to enjoy a nice hike, or just run a quick 4- 5 mile training run, this park supports it all. If you really felt like it you could get lost in its trails for hours and hours on end with no stop. As a runner running these trails it literally feels like it never ends. The biking is no joke as well. Last year I used this park primarily to train for the biking portion of my triathlon. I could bike for hours with no stop.
Along with all of the training runs a runner can get in at this park, they also host an annual organized race. The Valley Forge Revolutionary 5 Miler is run every year in the spring. This is a USATF certified course that explores 5 miles of this great park.
Oh and did I mention the elevation? This park has hill after hill after hill. It is a park that will really test you by not just providing you with miles of running paths but every now and again you will have a pretty decent hill you need to climb.
Most importantly this is just a beautiful park to run. There is miles of clear air and views. If you run at the right time you will catch the sun setting over the horizon to get you through those last couple of miles. Luckily I was running just at the right time:
If you can get a chance to run this park it is well worth it. Not only will you get to see some of the great land that our forefathers fought for our independence on, but you will get miles of breathtaking views.