One of the things I like best about being a runner is exploring a new city on foot. Unfortunately, when I'm not training for a race, this luxury goes by the wayside. However, this summer's marathon training got me out for a fantastic long run on a recent trip to Louisville.
The Louisville Riverwalk runs 6.3 miles from downtown Louisville to Shawnee Park on the city's West End. The trail runs adjacent to the river for a bit, and then passes by working railroad tracks, through wooded areas, past parks and a golf course, and eventually ends up at Shawnee Park (which itself has a 1.3 mile running loop around its grounds). Along the path are various lists of river-related trivia embedded in the asphalt, which help take a runners' mind off the many miles stretching out before her. I wound up running just under 16 miles in perfect weather.
What struck me the most was that is was not very crowded, unlike the trails here in the D.C. area. On the way out, I could count on one hand the number of people I saw along the trail (which was, quite frankly, a little unnerving for a female running along). And, of the runners I saw along the trail, there were no other women. It wasn't until I got to Shawnee Park that I saw a woman running (with a male running partner). She caught sight of me, and began clapping, saying, "Yeah! A woman running! I like to see that!" It made me wonder if it was such an odd sight for a woman to be running in Lousiville.
Fortunately, on my way back towards downtown, I saw several female runners. I think most of them were with the Leukemia Society Team in Training group, but it was good to see them out there nonetheless.
All in all, it was a fantastic place for a run, and it cemented my love of running in Louisville (the scenic loop in Cherokee Park is a close second). However, it also made me grateful for the strength and diversity of the running community here in D.C.