Couch to 5K
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What is your favourite route for running?

I'd just ordered some trail shoes when I discovered that I had to stop running due to a hernia. When I resumed C25K today (Week 2), I realised how much I missed running through a nearby field into a short stretch of woodland that leads to a churchyard and down to the towpath which I follow back to my village. I'm really lucky to have some lovely countryside to run through with a mixture of low hills and a long stretch of towpath which you could follow into London if you wanted to.

This got me to wondering what other C25K'ers think are their favourite running routes and I'd love to hear about them. I'm not entirely sure whether it's ok to run through a churchyard though! It is a public footpath son fingers crossed.

8 Replies

My main route is around farmland, along farm tracks and back through our village. I often hear birdsong (skylarks, woodpeckers, yellowhammer). I like the flatter bits best - it has a bit of a slope, not much, but enough to feel it.

I've also run through a wood, which I really liked even though it was quite a bit slower, as the paths had branches, brambles etc as hazards. I thought I'd like running along a nearby canal towpath, as I've enjoyed walking along there, but my worst runs have been there - I think it was just too flat (surprising!) and straight - no surprises round the corner to distract me, just more straight towpath stretching out for ever!

I've run through our churchyard too, but I know what you mean, somehow it doesn't seem quite respectful!


I have a couple of regular local routes - one is a 4.1 mile circuit (and no, I don't run it all!) into the next village and back along the main road. But it's all roads, and although it's quite nice, thers a huuuuge uphill, followed by more gradual uphill until the last third when it's finally back downhill!

My newer route which I've done a couple of times now is only just 5k, goes up the lane, then along a bridle path, past a windmill, up the hill on the grass verge, and back down the lane.

If I'm doing intervals, I usually do them going out & back along the field paths just outside the village. Lots of larks, corn buntings, and other birds - although I don't notice them very much when I'm running!

And when the weather's grim, I have access to a treadmill and have to imagine the scenery ;)


I have a 'usual' running route of exactly 5k (this took planning :P) that goes through a village and around a few houses. It's mostly flat, all on paths and away from cars for the majority. But I would like to find one that's a bit more track/country-like! I used to only run that route and it's getting a bit boring.

So now I have a new one through a cowfield :D This one is a circuit, but shorter. I saw a sparrowhawk today, which was quite exciting.

I do need to scout out some new ones though, runs seem faster when I don't know it all too well.


Oh good question! My favourite route also follows a tow path, I haven't ran it for a long time since I'm only back to 30 min runs and it takes me 12/13 mins just to run to the tow path. I'm just waiting for a warmer day to walk there and maybe run a bit.

It's a great route because it has side trails you can go off; one takes you through meadows, another up and down hills or if you are lucky you'll get to the river and see a seal...I have no idea how it got there! I live in Belfast city centre so it's the closest and nicest green area to me and it goes for miles :)


I go to my local woods and adjust it as I go along. I have been know to look ahead at the slope increasing and quickly divert to another easier path! I definitely agree that my runs go quickly when I am concentrating on my route rather than run. I even jumped over some tree trunks near the end of a run AND it was fun.


My very favourite route is up on the High Peak Trail, an ex-railway track high in the Derbyshire Peak District. It can be extremely chilly up there in the winter and a couple of times I've had to come back down again because the trail was covered in 6 inches of snow, but it is quiet and the scenery is beautiful. I run past an Iron Age fort and it's fab.

When I run from home, I do sometimes run through a churchyard. I always say 'good morning' as I go through, and the residents haven't yet complained ;)


I have two faves. The normal one is a long linear park close to home, which I can extend to run past both my children's places (they live at opposite ends!) and that's where I do most of my running. The alternative is Rother Valley Country Park on the outskirts of Sheffield. There is a flat 5K circuit round the lakes plus the opportunity to extend on the Trans-Pennine Trail (an old mineral rail line) & Chesterfield Canal towpath towards Chesterfield. That's all flat too!


Most of my running is from my home as I don't have a car to go further afield on a regular basis. But that's ok, as my road is a single-track road with passing places and little traffic. It look like this:

This take me to the edge of the village and I either go east to Belladrum estate or west to Beaufort estate.

The road through Belladrum estate is surfaced and is actually an adopted road so has some traffic, but not much. I go past the farm (saying hello to the sheep, horses and cows) and have a choice of a gently undulating route that leads back through fields and the edge of the former estate formal gardens, or I can tackle a 'killer' hill that rises to 170m and gives lovely views over the hills towards Glen Affric:

The route through Beaufort Estate is private and I usually see no-one at all. Again the road is surfaced, but I can run on the short lawn-style grass at the side of the road. I have a choice of estate roads/tracks that I can take avoiding the curtilage of the castle. (Some of you may know the legal case brought by the owner of Beaufort Estate, who also owns another estate in Perthshire, against walkers having access to roam through her Perthsire estate. So I tend to keep a low profile when on her land.) Once past the castle the route following a farm track between fields of barley and eventually through a small wood back to the village.

On each of these routes I've seen red squirrels, roe deer, buzzards, red kites and woodpeckers.

If I have a car to go further afield, my favourite running route is at Abriachan above Loch Ness. This is an area of former Forest Commission forest that is now owned by the local community and has a network of footpaths, giving a range of routes. The paths start in the forest and quickly rise to the open moorland with views down to Loch Ness and beyond.


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