Running in the 'Meda: Running in Richmond

Running in the 'Meda: Running in Richmond

Marty Beene

Photo by Marty Beene.

This week, let's go to Richmond!

Unfortunately, many people think of Richmond only for its current problems of crime, poverty, failing infrastructure, etc. But there has been a major renaissance in Richmond near the shore of the bay in recent years, and there is now a terrific place to run there (or walk or just sit and relax, too).

The Marina Bay area of Richmond has a beautiful paved trail extending from the industrial area near the Rosie the Riveter Visitor Education Center for four miles down to Point Isabel. I stumbled across this trail when I was using Google Earth to scope out places to run for my Kaiser half marathon training group. It looked nice enough, so I drove by to check it out and knew I had found an absolute gem. It's such a great place to run that there's going to be a half marathon and 5k race there in June - Titanium Racing's "Marina Bay Riveter."

Not only does the trail cover a nice long distance - it's easy enough to tally up to 10 miles by extending the run on either end - but there is no shortage of interesting things to look at. With the trail being on the shore of the bay, there are stunning views of San Francisco, Mt. Tamalpais, and everything else nearby. But there are also picturesque views of the local marina, lovely parks, and an extensive wetlands area.

The bonus scenery is in the form of features of the Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front National Historic Park, which is operated by the National Park Service. One such feature, the Rosie Memorial, is an artistic interpretation designed to evoke a vision of the wartime activity nearby - it's definitely worth taking at least a brief break during your run to check it out.

A former Ford assembly plant, at the northern end of the trail, is a beautiful brick structure that has been restored to house a number of modern businesses. From the Ford plant, you can look across the Santa Fe Channel to see the Red Oak Victory ship, a relic of the days when the Richmond Kaiser Shipyard was cranking out a new ship about every two to three days (yes, the Red Oak was the 558th out of 747 ships built in Richmond for World War II). As you run along the shoreline, try to imagine that time in history and the activity going on there - it's staggering to imagine what people accomplished back then, and inspirational to learn about Richmond's key role in winning that war.

Back to the running part of this visit ... I like to access the trail at Lucretia Edwards Park, which is at the very southern end of Marina Way (not Marina Bay) South. There are restrooms and a drinking fountain there, as well as ample grass and paved areas for stretching.

From Alameda, head up I-880 to I-80 and take the exit to westbound I-580 toward the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge. Take the Harbour Way North exit and merge onto Harbour Way. Turn right at the first signal onto Cutting Boulevard. After a few blocks, turn right at the first signal onto Marina Way. Follow Marina Way all the way to the end, about a mile, and you're there. There's plenty of street parking. All you have to do now is head to your left, stay next to the water, and run as far as you like.

Enjoy!

Marty Beene, a USA Track & Field certified coach, is owner of Be The Runner; he coaches adults from beginners to veterans individually and in groups. Marty can be reached at marty@BeTheRunner.com.