Hit the Road: Runners are combining vacation time to take ‘runcations’ in Atlanta

Photo courtesy RUNATL

Atlanta already has an international reputation for being runner-friendly thanks to the annual Peachtree Road Race, but now the city is becoming a destination for those who want to keep fit while going on vacation.

Yes, “runcations” are now a thing and companies are sprinting to meet the demands of “runcation” travelers.

City Running Tours, offered in fourteen major North American cities including Atlanta, use a casual jog pace to cover more sightseeing ground than traditional walking tours. And Westin Hotels and Resorts has partnered with New Balance to create a workout gear lending service for impromptu training while traveling.

Atlanta company Big Peach Running Co. hosts group runs from their seven locations throughout the city. Marketing director Dave Martinez credits Atlanta’s runnable streets for encouraging him to lace his sneakers up 10 years ago after a long hiatus. Now “Dolomite Dave,” Martinez’s stage name for The RUNATL Podcast, is a Good Form Running instructor for Big Peach Running Co. and couldn’t live without his meditative daily jogs. “Especially in the mornings, when there are not a lot of people on the streets, you get to enjoy the city while it’s quiet and just getting started – and you get to see the sunrise and skyline,” he said.

Martinez, a marathon runner and triathlete, knows some of the best routes in the city. Sticking to the sidewalks is his number one piece of advice for inner city runs, but he also recommends exploring neighborhoods for residential routes. Silver Lake, nestled behind Oglethorpe University, is Martinez’s best-kept secret running route. He particularly likes Inman Drive, known for its twists and turns with a backdrop of elegant homes. “It’s a very challenging run because it’s hilly, but it has lots of trees and plenty of shade. It’s quiet and secluded and you feel like you are in north Georgia, but you are still inside the city,” Martinez said.

Curious which routes attract those on “runcations?”

Iconic Atlanta: See many of Atlanta’s most popular spots on a running loop totaling only 3 miles. Start at Centennial Olympic Park and run south down Marietta Street. Turn right on Centennial Olympic Park Drive to see CNN Center and Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Another right onto Martin Luther King Jr. Drive takes joggers past Underground Atlanta and on to the Georgia State Capitol. Tracking back, runners can see the city from a different perspective, as well as snap a photo of the Skyview Ferris Wheel.

Atlanta BeltLine Eastside Trail: Explore some of the city’s cultural hubs with a longer run from Piedmont Park to Ponce City Market, Krog Street Market and the birthplace of Martin Luther King, Jr. Starting at Piedmont Park, run south along the Atlanta BeltLine past Ponce City Market and on to Krog Street Market, clocking in 2.5 miles. Turn right onto Irwin Street for a one mile jog over to the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic. Circle back, but first take a pit stop at the Atlanta BeltLine Center for more information on the popular trail.

Two Miles in Midtown: From Piedmont Park’s entrance at 12th Street, run south to 10th Street along Piedmont Avenue. Take the rainbow cross walk to run west to the Margret Mitchell House. Next, run north on Peachtree Street for .5 mile to Colony Square, turning right down 14th Street to circle back to Piedmont Park. End with a run through tranquility in Piedmont Park’s Six Springs Wetlands.

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