Running always seemed a sensible sort of exercise to me—it’s free, requires very little investment, comparatively little time, and no special skills. From the time I was about 15 years old, I would try to be a runner each summer, and each summer, I failed. I gave all the usual excuses—it’s boring, it’s lonely, I’m not built for it, it hurts, etc. But the older I got, the more the convenience of running took hold. And so for me everything changed when I decided, without having run very much or very far, to sign up for a half marathon. Eight years later, I am still running—I’ve run four marathons (including Boston, twice). I have come to know the runs of Northeast PA pretty well. And the purpose of this blog is to tell you about some of my favorites.
A City-Side Path
One of my favorite places to run is on the paths on the levee system that lines the banks of the Susquehanna River. Stretching for miles through Wilkes-Barre and beyond, you can run on a peaceful paved route through Kirby Park—a true community gem complete with a pond, pavilions, and playing fields of all kinds—on lengths of the dike that are clearly marked for mileage.
A Rustic Route
Another favorite route for people who prefer well-kept paths through nature is the Lake Scranton Walking Trail. Located within an easy drive of the city itself, Lake Scranton boasts a 3.5 mile running track that loops around the lake. A popular destination for area runners, this nice loop offers the best of both worlds—a quiet respite from the city streets and enough friendly faces to keep you from feeling totally isolated.
A Larger Lake Run
Marathon training can be a tedious bit of business, logging long hours is a bit more tolerable when it’s around a lovely lake. For this purpose, I often go to Harveys Lake, which is Pennsylvania’s largest natural lake by volume, and second-largest by surface area. Its shoreline is 8.2 miles around—perfect for getting in those 16-milers! Harvey’s Lake is a popular place for leisure and for living—almost anytime in daylight you’ll see runners, walkers, cyclists, fishermen, boaters, and regular revelers basking in the beauty of this glacial lake that measures just about one square mile.
A River Runs Through It
If running riverside is something that appeals to you, not much beats the Lehigh Gorge Trail. Winding 26 miles on crushed stone from White Haven to Jim Thorpe, this marathon course is mostly on state park land and is actually just a part of the 165-mile D & L Trail that extends all the way to Scranton. The downhill grade toward Jim Thorpe makes this a popular and peaceful way to work in a workout.