Running can make you feel free. Getting outside for a run gets you out of your comfort zone and allows you to explore and experience new locations.
There is no right way to go for a run. Some people like to run on trails and explore parks, while some people like to stick to sidewalks and city streets. And some people like to leash up their dog and go wherever their paws lead. Whatever your preference, if you’re an avid runner, you’ll rarely miss a day to stay fit – even while you’re traveling.
With Clarksville experiencing unprecedented growth, it can be a challenge to find places to run. So we asked some of Clarksville’s most passionate runners to share the spots they love.
2308 Rotary Park Drive l Clarksville, TN 37043
Every Sunday morning, you can find James Murphy leading groups of runners around the trails of Rotary Park.
Rotary Park has more than five miles of trails.
“I am a trail runner,” said James. “I love to get out on the trails and lose myself in the woods. Listening to nature, animals, the trees, running water, it just brings a calm to me. It’s away from the traffic, construction, and everyday life. Rotary Park gives me that, and you can’t get it anywhere else in Clarksville.”
Rotary Park also features the Wade Bourne Nature Center, a nature adventure trail, and a large ADA-accessible playground.
“Whether you run, walk, hike, or bike, you can do it all in Rotary Park,” said James. “Come here alone or with family and friends, because this is our little oasis away from it all.”
Pick a spot downtown and you can make your own run route.
Kari Burgess Moore meets friends all over town to run a variety of routes.
“When I visit Clarksville, I still have to get my favorite run in with my friends,” Kari said. “It’s so hard to pick just one favorite route in Clarksville because I have so many that I like. For hills, it’s Fort Defiance, for nature it’s the Greenway, for scenery it’s Porter’s Bluff (for that one perfect glance at the sunrise over the golf course), and for distance it’s the entirety of Madison plus Sango Road.”
Yet there’s just something about running in downtown Clarksville. The lights along Franklin Street. The fountain on Strawberry Alley. The sun coming up over the river as the city slowly wakes up.
“Consistently, my favorite run is the downtown route. I love zoning out on safe sidewalks with streetlights, getting views of the Cumberland River, looping around Austin Peay, heading to the “bridge to nowhere,” and during the summer finishing with a lap through the downtown market,” said Kari. “And since Nicoletta’s opened their bagel shop in the spring of 2022, my favorite thing to do is to meet my friends for a sunrise start at Downtown Commons, get a few miles in before the roads and sidewalks get busy, then finish with a ‘Monster on Asiago’ at Nicoletta’s.”
Anywhere with a furry friend
Jaimi Bradley doesn’t look for any particular place to run.
She learned about running anywhere during her Army career, where she did physical training in a variety of locations and climates. A workout can happen wherever you are.
“When I got out of the military, I had to seek other runners, had to find my own community with which I could connect,” said Jaimi. “Finding common ground builds a support network, and the running community has provided me relationships with some of the best people I’ve ever met.”
Jaimi enjoys running on trails and on roads, and finds different forms of enjoyment in each.
On the road, she can put one foot in front of the other and let her mind wander. She can process emotions and dreams.
And on the trail, she can shut those thoughts down and just concentrate on where she’s placing every step, knowing there are roots, sticks, and other hazards that, if ignored, can take a runner off their feet.
Jaimi, like all female runners, is acutely aware of the danger of running alone.
And while her running community always provides safety, she’s found it in another way: by running with her dog.
When she leashes him up, anywhere becomes a run route.
She can step out her front door and just go.
An avid camper, she can also pop out of her tent and hit a nearby trail.
“Don’t limit yourself to just one place or route, as you can get the mental and physical health bump running provides wherever you are,” Jaimi stated. “And if you need motivation, maybe some accountability, find a local running group and join them. Or start your own where you are!
“You never know the spark you can provide someone else, and the stress relief that comes from being active. So no matter where you are, get out there and motivate others one run at a time!”
All photos by Chris Lancia.