Running abroad - Bells Mill Park

12 November 2013, 15:13

I’m off in Virginia for a week visiting family, and after three days’ straight of sitting for 5+ hours (a drive up to Wales and back over the weekend, then a transatlantic flight) I was in sore need of a run.

It was quite fun sitting at my parents’ house last night plotting routes – they both walk a lot but really only stick to their back streets and prefer to loop that than go further afield. They’d also never seen Map My Run before, which I always use in conjunction with Google to plot out where to go (Protip: on the Google Maps app, load up your map then type “ok maps” to cache it for offline use!).

I’d seen that Bells Mill Park was just around the corner and featured a “2.5 mile circular running trail”, which seemed good enough for me, so I headed out there this morning. Apart from the few kilometers along a 4 lane highway to get to the park, the run was absolute bliss. I never mind having shorter distance loops when they’re well marked – you can always go round a few times when you want a longer run.

Bells Mill Park

Big, double thumbs up to Chesapeake for the maintenance of the trail! It was closely mown, wide, and incredibly clearly marked – there were spraypainted arrows literally every five feet, and a few distance markers as well. In fact, it looked to me like the park recently hosted a cross country meet, as there were even starting corrals and a finishing chute! There were only a few bits of soft ground – nothing like the English XC mudfests!

The only shame is that I was the only person in the entire park at 7:30am on a Tuesday. Maybe there were more runners or dog walkers a bit earlier, or on the weekends, but with such a nice facilities (plenty of parking, picnic tables, and portaloos, too) and scenery (right along the Elizabeth River marshes) it just didn’t seem right to have it all to myself on such a sunny, crisp Autumn morning.

I’ll have to go back a few more times this week to show them it’s being used!

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  1. The High schools do use it for XC events and some local races are run there also. There are more people there during the weekends and later in the day after work.

    — Charlie    12 November 2013, 19:27    #
  2. The Great Dismal Swamp trail is a bit over 13K long and is also marked every quarter mile. An out and back will give you about 26K. A lot of runners do their long run there. It is flat and asphalt. There is also the Oak Grove Lake park which is a trail around a 2.5K lake. A few runners go there also

    — Charlie    12 November 2013, 19:58    #
  3. Looks a wonderful place to run, and with a dedicated groomed running track, you must feel spoilt to return with clean running shoes!!

    Scruffy badger    13 November 2013, 06:50    #

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