Runnin’ on the road, avoiding streetcars along the way

Running on the neutral ground/streetcar tracks in New Orleans, the goal is to not get hit. Photo credit: Carl Purcell/New Orleans Metropolitan C&VB Photo credit: Carl Purcell/New Orleans Metropolitan C&VBRunning on the neutral ground/streetcar tracks in New Orleans, the goal is to not get hit. Photo credit: Carl Purcell/New Orleans Metropolitan C&VB

Are running shoes in your suitcase when you leave town? I made sure my new green and gray New Balances were packed when I left for New Orleans Monday morning. And I made sure they were used Tuesday.

Certainly there are issues running away from home. First, you have to find a place to run, and that’s not always as easy or simple as it sounds. And you must find time. Generally, you are traveling for a reason, and running might not be at the top of the list. Wherever you are will present unique challenges, but also unique sightseeing opportunities. Running gear is additional stuff to pack.

What about New Orleans? My main success was not getting hit by a streetcar running up St. Charles Avenue.

The good: There were no hills. The streetcar neutral ground (the tracks) becomes a de facto off-road running trail (good since the sidewalks are worse than Atlanta). Running along the streetcar line also makes it easier to cross streets (there are no curbs). It’s something different, too plus there are lots of interesting old homes on St. Charles Avenue to keep your attention. Mardi Gras beads still hang in the trees and power lines above you and you are also running over some more. I got lucky it was cool, too, because the heat and humidity down there in New Orleans are generally worse than Atlanta.

The bad: You have to pay attention. Running against streetcar traffic, you have to get out of the way and cross when one is coming at you. And the ground is sandy. In places where fresh sand has been put down, it’s very soft, almost like running on a beach. Although good for building strength, it’s tough. It dirtied up those new shoes pretty bad, too. Unlike running on back streets in neighborhoods (like I usually do here) there is a lot of traffic, and you will have to wait at major cross streets.

I got in more than three miles, ran a very fun route plus got to see an intense-looking horseshoe game as I ended at Audubon Park. It was a success.

When traveling, you have to prepare to run if you want to keep your training up say for a race like the AJC Peachtree Road Race. How do you usually handle it?

The Olympic Torch made the trip down St. Charles in a streetcar in May 1996. AP file photo

One comment Add your comment

Pat21

May 5th, 2011
9:07 am

Always pack your running shoes, no matter where you go! And if there aren’t any safe places to run outside, make sure your hotel has a gym/treadmill.