I’d been meaning to write about this for a while, but my post about Fresh Fitness last week attracted a comment from reader Jenna K about good places to run in Sooke, and approximate distances.
I’m back in training. I’ve been an avid runner for the past couple years, coming from a point where I could hardly run a kilometre without resting, to being able to bust off a quick 10K before breakfast. Last year, with Fresh Fitness, my fiancee and I started a training program to run the 1/2 at the Royal Victoria Marathon. We didn’t end up doing the run, as it was on the same day as my ten-year high school reunion in Vancouver. Anyway, a busy summer combined with general laziness and lack of running partner (M hurt her hip and can’t run) kind of sidelined me.
But I’m back in the groove now, and I’m planning on at least three runs this year. The TC 10K, the Vancouver Marathon (1/2 Marathon), and my first full marathon in October at the Royal Victoria Marathon.
The obvious choices for running, jogging and walking in Sooke have to be Whiffen Spit and The Galloping Goose Trail. Whiffen is nice, because it’s approximately 1.5km long, flat, and surrounded by the ocean. The mountain and ocean views are incredible. From the intersection of West Coast/Sooke Road and Whiffen Spit Road to the end of the spit is almost exactly three kilometres. From the start of the Spit to the end, it’s about 1.5km.
There are two main entrances to the Galloping Goose in Sooke. One at Cooper’s Cove, just east of Fuze restaurant, and another on Sooke River Road on the way to Sooke Potholes Park. I like the Goose because as it is an old rail bed, it does not have any steep inclines or declines. Also, the distance is marked every kilometre, so timing your run or doing a certain distance is easy.
I’ve gone a few times up the hill at Harbourview Park (this is the park in Sasseenos at the end of Harbourview road). It’s a bit of a trek up the hill, but it is quite challenging if you’re in for a test. The trail goes on forever so you’ll never run out of room.
I also enjoy the new trail system that is developing in Sooke. Basically all the new developments in the past few years have had to include pedestrian trails somewhere in the development. If you start in Sun River, you could run their many trails down to the SEAPARC centre, and then continue on towards downtown Sooke on the trails that go by the middle school and in behind the new developments off Church Road. You’ll still hit some roads, but it’s getting better all the time.
A really nice route is now available between Murray Road (the bottom part of Otter Point Road) and Ed Macgregor park. The new boardwalk is now complete, and you can run down Murray (very steep!) and the stairs to Rotary Pier, which is the starting point of the boardwalk. Run out across the Sooke Harbour on the boardwalk and you’ll see that instead of the somewhat treacherous stairs and dirt trail up the hill, there is a wheelchair accessible boardwalk, allowing a smooth, not-too-steep run up the embankment into beautiful Ed Mcgregor Park.
Running in Sooke can be challenging, as there are many hills. One day I’d like to run up Otter Point Road from its start at Sooke Road and go all the way around (it’s a horseshoe shaped road) to its intersection with West Coast Road.
See below for a map of some of the routes, or click the link below to view it full-sized.
What are your favourite places to run?
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