Indian Lake cross country and track and field coach Justin Metzger often encourages his athletes to get running in on their own. He has went a step further by developing a guide for area running trails.
Metzger rated 24 parks, all well within a one-hour driving distance. He ranks them from five to three stars, offering the benefits of each. His guide follows below:
5 STAR PARKS FOR RUNNING
Tawawa Park, Sidney
Over five miles of asphalt paved running paths and more well-maintained runnable trails. Several kiosks have maps of the trails. Go across a covered bridge, through some wooded trails, past shelter houses, playgrounds, and athletic fields, and run along the river. There are some inclines to this well-shaded and scenic run. Portable restrooms are placed throughout the park. The Benjamin trail has been under construction and there were signs posted for the detour. Roads are closed to vehicular traffic for a safe and enjoyable run. Kuenning-Dicke Nature Preserve, New Bremen
Start at the parking area at the Kuenning-Dicke Nature Preserve and run the paved path or outer loop grass paths. It connects to the Miami-Erie Canal trail, so take the well-marked path into New Bremen. Follow the green signs through town, past Lock 1 and onto the aggregate path along the canal. Go as far as you’d like. This is an out-and-back log run. When you arrive back, climb up to the scenic overlook. There is a portable restroom at the parking lot. KC Geiger Park & Miami Erie Canal, St. Marys
KC Geiger Park has paved paths and connects to Memorial Park, where you run past a clock tower and covered bridge, then go through the underpass and get on the aggregate Miami Erie Canal path. You could make this run one mile shorter by starting at the Miami Erie Canal trail head in St. Marys. From here, continue toward the 40-acre pond. Go through a tunnel under Route 33 or head toward the underpass to get to the pond. This is an out-and-back eight-mile run (four miles from KC Geiger Park to the 40-acre pond). Ottawa Metro Park, Lima
Another great destination for a long run. You can run the dirt path around the reservoir, or jump on the paved running path that goes around Johnny Appleseed Park and over several foot bridges into Lima. Pit latrine restrooms are open at the park. The multi-use path is a well-marked and maintained path. Mill Valley, Marysville
Park at either Mill Valley-South or Mill Valley-Central to run this paved multi-use Jim Simmons Trail. It is well-maintained, well-shaded and scenic throughout. You can even spot some eagles and their large nest along the route. Restrooms are available at the Central parking lot. Fountain Park, Piqua
If you want to get a good long run in, try out the multi-use paved paths in the city of Piqua. There is an extensive network of long trails, which are safe and well-marked. You can start your run from Road Side Dog Park or River’s Edge Park and jump on the Great Miami River Trail, which continues south through Troy and would be a good out-and-back run. Another option is to park at French Park or Fountain Park and follow the River’s Edge Trail. This trail connects to the Great Miami River Trail and makes a 6.5-mile loop. There is also an east-west trail that is called the Ohio to Indiana Trail that runs six miles east to west through Piqua and is part of the loop.
Read the complete article in Saturday’s Examiner