Top 3 Places to Run in the East Bay

Contributed by John Lee, a 2017 Ambassador for the Berkeley Half Marathon. 

One of the best things about training for a race is the opportunity to explore one’s local surroundings by foot. I usually drive to work or to Trader Joe’s the same way every time, via the shortest and simplest routes. Going for a training run with a certain number of miles in mind and without looking for a specific place or destination gives me a chance to see beyond street signs and street lights. The following three places come with great views to take in during training runs.

Alameda

A run from Crown Memorial State Beach to Shoreline Park and back is around 6 miles. It offers spectacular views of the Bay, beaches, the San Francisco skyline and sunsets. Located on the west side of the Island is Spirits Alley. A brewery, distilleries and wineries have set up shop inside airplane hangars and other repurposed buildings. Running on the roads and along the giant structures on this side of Alameda sometimes feels like stepping into a world built on the scale of dinosaurs. What’s Alameda’s answer to Oakland’s gnomes? Mouse doors. You might spot them on telephone poles and walls during your run in Alameda.

Mountain View Cemetery

From the gate to the top of the cemetery is a one mile run or longer depending on which route one takes. Not a long run but an ideal setting for hill workouts. It could be a challenging run to the top but it comes with a one of a kind view which includes the Bay Bridge, Golden Gate Bridge and San Rafael Bridge all in the same field of vision. Runners could spot turkey, deer and burial sites of Oakland and Bay Area notable people including Henry Kaiser (shipbuilding and Kaiser Permanente), Domingo Ghirardelli (chocolate), Samuel Merritt (early mayor of Oakland) and Andre Hicks aka Mac Dre (rapper).

Bay Trail

It’s early in the evening and over 80 degrees here in the East Bay as I’m writing this. When September heatwaves makes most of the day too hot to run, the Bay Trail makes hotter weather runs slightly more bearable. In addition to a cool breeze the Bay Trail offers great views of the East Bay, San Francisco and North Bay. From the tip of the Emeryville Marina to Albany Bulb and back is around 11 miles. Running along the water at a long run pace could be one of the best ways to appreciate the Bay’s beauty. Another great feature of the Bay Trail is most all of it is not shared with cars.

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