Do you love to run? I must admit that it hasn't been at the top of my priority list during my life, however I have recently upgraded from walking to running, to mix up my exercise each week. It began as a slow jog as I followed my daughter on her scooter along Lake Tuggeranong and then I realised I was actually getting further each week - and starting to enjoy it! Who knew? So now I have joined the many thousands of locals around Canberra who you see jogging each weekend - except I am much less coordinated and much redder in the face!
Although there are many other exercise options to try around Canberra such as aqua aerobics, rock climbing, uphill hiking, indoor exercise, outdoor exercise and bushwalking, to name a few, running is something that burns the calories, makes you feel strong and keeps you healthy all year around. Best of all - it's free! As I prefer to see something new when I run, the following list contains all the loop running tracks that I been attempting to run each weekend (with a few moments of walking in between!). If you have a favourite running path, loop, bushland track or scenic trail that you like to do - and are happy to share your discovery - please leave a comment at the top of this article. The more ideas the better!
One of the most popular running loops in Canberra - the Lake Burley Griffin Central Loop (4.9km)
Lake Burley Griffin is the most popular venue for runners, walkers and cyclists in Canberra - particularly around the Central Loop, which is a 4.9 kilometre path around the centre of the lake. If you are a serious runner, there is also the Eastern Loop (9km) and the Western Loop(16km), if you are looking for something longer. The Central Loop is ideal however, as you can easily see your own progress around the lake and how far it is until you get back to the start. Along the way you can enjoy views of the Captain Cook Memorial Jet, Parliamentary Triangle, Commonwealth Park, Kings Park and the National Carillon. Lake Burley Griffin also has a free running event each Saturday morning called Parkrun, where you get timed for your run or walk around the 5 kilometre circuit starting from Weston Park. The aim is to better your time each week and enjoy the community aspect of exercising with hundreds of other locals. See here for details and how to register.
Lake Tuggeranong is a 6.7 kilometre loop run around Lake Tuggeranong, south of the city. If you park your car at Tuggeranong Town Park, then it is a scenic run along the lake's edge, past a myriad of birdlife, over bridges and past other joggers, cyclists and locals walking with prams on the path. Lake Tuggeranong also has a Parkrun each Saturday, which begins at Tuggeranong Town Park and follows the path along the lakes edge to the dog park on the other side of the lake, then returns back. See here for details.
Another scenic loop nearby is at Point Hut Pond in Gordon, which is a 2.7 kilometre loop and a good length for new runners. Experienced runners often run around it twice, to make it a 5.4 kilometre run.
A popular running loop on the south side - Lake Tuggeranong (6.7km)
Lake Ginninderra is located in the north of the city and it is a 7 kilometre run around the outer rim of the lake. It travels past playgrounds, water birds, over bridges, past dog parks and scenic views over the water - especially in autumn when the burnt orange colours reflect on the lake. This running path also has a Parkrun, see here for details. Also check out the Gungahlin Parkrun at Yerrabi Pond, which is another popular loop to run, walk or cycle.
Other runners I have spoken to have suggested the cross country running track at Stromlo Forest Park, which has a 2.5 kilometre loop running track on soft grass, so you can time yourself and better it each time. A friend of mine who prefers bush track running also recommends the base of Mount Ainslie and also the Cooleman Ridge Nature Trail, which you can make longer and run to Mount Arawang (see here for map).
Canberra has so many scenic places to walk, run and cycle, it is a joy to get out there each weekend and tackle somewhere new. Where is your favourite place to run? Please leave a comment at the top of this article and add your favourite to this list. Running somehow seems much easier, when the views look this good...
A scenic and popular running loop on the north side - Lake Ginninderra (7km loop)