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The Journal Gazette

  • Photo by Aubree Reichel The Pufferbelly Trail is a continued work-in-progress but has 2.25 of established trail between Wallen and the Parkview Family YMCA (1 mile) and north from Dupont to Carroll Road (1.25 miles). 

Tuesday, March 15, 2016 5:31 pm

Fort Wayne-area places to run

Aubree Reichel / The Journal Gazette

Paved/roadways

River Greenway has 25 miles of paved pathways throughout the cities following along, obviously, the rivers. Among the trailheads are Tillman Park, Foster Park, Swinney Park, Shoaff Park, Kreager Park, Johnny Appleseed Park, IPFW and Moser Park in New Haven.

The pathway is utilized by many races and events like Fort 4 Fitness, River City Rat Race, Gingerbread Pursuit, Fanny Freezer and countless others.

Since the Greenway follows the rivers, there really aren’t many big hills so it’s perfect for those who just need somewhere to go to get started or go for an easy run.

Pufferbelly Trail is still a work in progress but has come a long way. There are now two parking areas along it at the Parkview Family YMCA off Dupont and at the Life Bridge Church at the intersection of Corbin and Union Chapel. The section includes paved areas stretching from just north of Carroll Road, connecting with the Solomon Farm Trail around the Y and going south of Wallen.

The goal is eventually for the trail to connect Ouabache State Park in Bluffton to Pokagon State Park near Angola.

There’s still a long way to go but it’s my go-to pathway for most of my runs alone as there are very few traffic-free areas to run on the northwest side of town.

The loop around the Y provides some light hills, in case flat is too boring or not difficult enough.

Towpath Trail connects with the River Greenway in the area around the Ash Center just southwest of downtown. It’s a little over 4 miles to the Eagle Marsh trailhead off Engle Road. The Towpath/Eagle Marsh Trail continues through the campus of Lutheran Hospital and ends at Aboite Center Road (which has a sidewalk).

The trails are mostly flat with very little in the way of hills.

Aboite Trails includes a 1-mile (approx.) loop around the Jorgensen Family YMCA/Indian Trails Park off Aboite Center. In total, the Aboite Trails system covers 18 miles along the southwest area of town. The trails were completed in 2011 and feature a variety of terrain for those looking to incorporate hills into their training.

Trails/cross country

The Plex cross country course is used by New Haven HS for their invitational and SAC/NE8 conference meets and by the IHSAA for semistate in the fall. It is also the home course for the IPFW cross country team.

There are many paths that can be taken at the Plex with connections to the Greenway. The wooded area is mostly gravel while the south area is grassy with some up-and-down, short hills.

It’s known to be a challenging course, perfect for championships races and a good place to get in an off-road run in a relatively small area.

Franke Park runners use caution due to the mountain bikers that also use the trails (the trails were theirs to begin with but they’re nice enough to share with few complaints). The trails are a perfect place to run trails without having to travel out of town. There are short and longer hills with a variety of grass, dirt, gravel and paved roadway (if you really want it).

Allen County Parks has trails at Fox Island in the southwest part of town and Metea, near Leo at the east end of Union Chapel Rd.

Fox Island has seven miles of trails and Metea has five miles of trail.

The County Parks system also has Payton Park off Dunton Road near Huntertown and Cooks Landing at the corner of Coldwater and Shoaff Roads provide a good place to park, rest and explore but do not have established trails worth running.

ACRES Land Trust has locations around the region with about 2 miles of trail or less.

Bicentennial Park located off Shoaff Road near Huntertown is a personal favorite of these locations. There are a couple other locations off Chapman Road in the same area with trails to run.

Indiana State Parks are within an hour’s drive of the city including Pokagon, Chain O’ Lakes, Ouabache and Salamonie. Chain O’ Lakes has an established 16-mile loop that is used for the Indiana Trail 100 held every April and Ouabache is home to the WOOF Trail race held in November and part of the Parlor City Trot held in August.

Groups runs

Three Rivers Running Company has a group run of all distances and paces that meets at its store at 5:30 p.m. every Wednesday, rain, sleet, snow or shine.

Fleet Feet located at Coventry has Pub Runs at 6:30 p.m. Wednesdays. The group runs 3 or 4 miles and ends at the store’s favorite local pub.