Bucket List Run: Central Park, NYC

Last year, I completed a run around the Jacqueline Onassis Reservoir in Central Park, but I’ve always wanted to run the full loop, from Columbus Circle through the Harlem Meer and back down. Last Saturday, I got to do that as part of training for my next half marathon.

Harlem Meer. Source: Wikipedia

First of all, if you think Manhattan is flat, think again. You will go up hills in Central Park, and they are not bunny hills. You will also have plenty of company; don’t think you’re going to be running alone if you go at, say, 8 a.m. on a Saturday morning. There are plenty of New Yorkers and tourists who will join you, whether they’re in running shoes, walking shoes, or on bikes. I started at Columbus Circle and went counter-clockwise, which seemed to be the most popular way to run Central Park. I also stayed on the main path/road and didn’t deviate, since I wanted to be around people should something unpleasant occur.

That said, it was a very enjoyable run. I finally got to do the entire loop, and Harlem Meer was very pretty. I felt like I was in an oasis, not Manhattan. And I definitely got a great workout. The loop itself is about 6 miles, but I threw in an extra four (running to and from my friend’s apartment) for fun. My Garmin did not like that, and it refused to register elevation and speed properly. 
As a runner, Central Park is just one of those things that you have to check off your bucket list. Fingers crossed that I’ll get to run the NYC Half Marathon next year.