As hard to believe as it is, particularly today, spring is going to be here soon. Looking for a great place to do those long runs and get ready for the Akron Marathon & half marathon or those marathons and long races of the spring, summer, and fall? Try a short trip to the Lock 29 Trailhead of the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath at 1630 Mill St., Peninsula, OH, 44264. Call at (800) 445-9667. To plan your visit and map out your run check out: www.nps.gov/cuva/planyourvisit/upload/Towpath5Web.pdf.
With mile markers every mile and restrooms and water fountains conveniently located, the Towpath is an ideal location for long runs. Train for the hills of the Akron Marathon by taking a detour up the Buckeye Trail just south of Boston Hts. The Buckeye Trail goes deep into the woods and offers some of the best scenic areas in all of Ohio. The surface of the Towpath is primarily crushed limestone and it is reasonably level the whole way with a slight incline going south from the trailhead.
South of Peninsula (south of Bolanz Rd. and north of the Ira Rd. Trailhead) the trail turns into a boardwalk across the Beaver Marsh and provides for some excellent wildlife viewing while running. Just north of Peninsula is also a section of boardwalk which parallels the Cuyahoga River and the Ohio and Erie Canal. While on the run, stop by the Bath road heronry and take in the absolutely breathtaking view of the hundreds of Great Blue Heron nests.
If that long run extends north of the Station Rd. Bridge trailhead about 3/4 of a mile, keep look out for the eagle's nest on the west side of the trail. Eagles will typically take over a Great Blue Heron's nest and make it their own and that is exactly what has happened here. Various other trails branch off of the towpath such as the Old Carriage Trail Loop just south of the Station Rd Bridge Trailhead also excellent for getting that hill work in for the Akron Marathon. Check out the Cuyahoga Valley National Park website at www.nps.gov/cuva/index.htm for more information.
In Peninsula the Winking Lizard and Fisher's Pub & Cafe are perfect for post run meals, snacks, or refreshments. To the north about 2.5 miles is Boston Heights where a runner can purchase granola bars, drinks, snacks, etc. Going south from Peninsula about 3 miles is Szalay’s Farm Market where produce and refreshments are available for purchase.
The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad (CVSR) also offers its Bike & Ride program throughout the summer. For $2 a person can take the train to a point along the towpath and ride back. The train will transport the bike and the rider for $2, an incredible deal. Check out the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad Website at www.cvsr.com for a schedule and pick-up points.
Next time you’re looking for a nice location for a long run or a nice family outing, check out Lock 29 in Peninsula or visit the Cuyahoga Valley National Park Website for more information.