Three great routes to check out next time you go for a run downtown

Posted September 13, 2016 by Brian Keaney in Urban Living
A great view running along the Charles River.

Boston is known for many things, and running is at the top of the list. Runner’s World recently named Boston as one of the top cities for running in the country.The Boston Marathon is the world’s oldest, but there are plenty of routes to run before you work your way up to tackling the full 26.2 miles. With the weather cooling off after the hottest summer on record, this is a great time to lace up your sneakers and to hit the streets.

The Marathon Finish 10k

Want to feel the exhilaration of crossing the Boston Marathon finish line, but don’t want to put in the months of training through freezing cold New England weather? Well, you can’t.  However, you can get a taste of what it is like by making the finish line the start and end of your Sunday afternoon jog. Starting at that beautiful blue and yellow stripe on Boylston Street, head west for several blocks.  Make a right hand turn on Hereford Street, and continue for four blocks down to Comm Ave.

Hang a left at the mall, cross the Muddy River, and continue into Kenmore Square. Make a slight left onto Beacon Street, cross over the Mass Pike, and keep on going.  When you reach Washington Square in Brookline that will mark a full five kilometers. Turn around, retrace your steps, and return to Back Bay. It won’t quite be a full marathon, but a finish line for a 10k isn’t too bad.

Around the Charles (5.25 miles)

When Runners World declared Boston to be one of the greatest cities in America for running, at the top of their list of reasons was the 18 miles of trails and paths that line the Charles River. Fortunately for those of us who are not able to run that far, the bridges connecting Boston and Cambridge allow you to tailor the distance to your specific needs.

Starting at the golden dome of the State House, head down Beacon Street towards the Public Gardens. Make a right at David Mugar Way and head over the Arthur Fiedler footbridge (with music from the Boston Pops optional in your headphones). Turn right at the lagoon towards the Hatch Shell, and continue along the Charles until you reach Science Park. Cross over the dam, and turn left once past the Science Museum. The path gets a little tricky as you approach the Longfellow Bridge, but once past it you will find yourself at the three mile mark.

Take a left on the Harvard Bridge and return to Boston, making sure that you count the Smoots along the way. The double back ramp at the end will return you to the Esplande, and from there you can beat feet for the Fiedler footbridge again. A jog up Beacon Hill returns you to where you began for a total of 5.25 scenic miles.

Laps around the Boston Common and Public Gardens (1.17, .86, and 1.5 miles)

If you have a goal you are training towards, running set laps can be a good way to increase your mileage. Fortunately, Boston’s two most famous parks make for great loops. Staying on Beacon, Park, Tremont, Boylston, and Charles Streets as you make your way around the Common will earn just slightly over a mile (1.17 miles) on your pedometer. The Public Gardens, being smaller, gives you just a little less (.86 miles) as you run Beacon, Charles, Boylston, and Arlington Streets.  If you cut out Charles Street all together and run all the way around both parks, you will travel exactly 1.5 miles. Other options for longer runs include a seven-mile trail from the Boston Common to Franklin Park, part of the Emerald Necklace—an 1,100-acre chain of nine parks linked by 32.5 miles of paths and waterways.