This morning, I went running through the perimeter of the Berkeley Marina area, including Cesar Chavez Park. This is only the second time I’ve done this route, but I can already tell that I’ll be coming back here every weekend.
I highlighted the running route in the following Google Maps image:
Google Maps said this was 5.3 miles, which matches what my iPhone reported me running this morning. I ran while holding my phone in my left hand and my keychain – with a lanyard – in my right. Update May 27, 2016: It’s also easy to extend this route to increase the distance. There’s a pond to the bottom right of the image above (partially obscured), and running around the pond once before proceeding with the rest of the route results in an 8.3 mile run.
In terms of footwear, I used my Vibram FiveFingers. I hadn’t used these shoes for more than a year, but I’m glad I had them. There’s something oddly appealing about running outdoors with minimalist style shoes. Fair warning, though: a day after my first time running this route, I had really sore calves! This is probably because running with Vibrams means we run “on our toes,” so we rely more on the calves.
Here’s how to start the route as I’ve highlighted it. The first thing to do is find a way to walk past the Amtrak. At 708 Addison Street, there is a walkway and road that intersects with the Amtrak track. Here’s an image of the railroad crossing:
Obviously, look both ways before you run across it! The Amtrak train actually appeared this morning as I was running towards it. Fortunately, the train isn’t that long (at least, the one I saw) so you won’t be waiting too much.
Once you run through that, you’ll find yourself in a small park, as shown in the following image:
You can easily see the pedestrian bridge that goes over the highway. It’s a safe bridge that also has separate lanes for walkers and bikers. (A funny side note: during my first stab at this route, in typical Berkeley fashion, a few people wearing “Democratic Socialists” t-shirts were holding up several “Bernie!” banners so that drivers on the highway could see them.) Once you’re past the bridge, just continue running the route as I highlighted above. I went south first to Shorebird Park, and then north through Cesar Chavez Park, but you could easily run it in the opposite direction.
One reason why I like this route so much is that it’s really safe. Almost all of it is on a sidewalk or a bike lane that’s separate from the roads cars use. In addition, when I ran (on Saturday morning) there were a number of people there walking, jogging, or just hanging out, but it wasn’t super-crowded. I’m much more comfortable if I see a few other joggers there, since it means I know this is a place where people run.
On top of all that, there are some nice views of the bay. The upside of clutching one’s phone when running is the ability to stop and take pictures as desired. I took pictures along some of the route. Here’s the trail that you’ll see soon after you pass that pedestrian bridge.
Looks pretty simple, right?
Here’s one I took that’s close to a favorite restaurant of mine, Skates on the Bay:
You can also see San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge in the background.
When I was running through Cesar Chavez Park, I noticed a few nice-looking hotels and restaurants, such as the following:
Perhaps these are worth checking out.
On the way back, you’ll see the Berkeley area across the water and parts of the McLaughlin Eastshore State Park. This area has more dirt than the other parts of the route.
This route is definitely a keeper.