The South doesn’t always get the best rap when it comes to health. But Nashville’s new cosmopolitan identity has attracted a crowd of urban-living, fun-loving professionals who are fanatical about running — some even call themselves “nasties.” So, if you’re interested in hitting the trails (or the pavement), you’ll have plenty of places to jog and people to run with in Music City.
Easily the largest running group in Nashville, East Nasty gets its name from the neighborhood where more than 200 people meet at 11th and Holly at 6 p.m. every Wednesday to run three to six miles, and top it off with a beer (or two) at 3 Crow Bar. The group, led by founder Mark Miller, has a rotating list of 12 routes, which culminates with a hilly, 5.96-mile beast fondly known as “The Nasty.” If you complete the final run, you’re inducted into the calorie-burning crew with an official bumper sticker. But don’t worry if you’re not looking to become a member; the inspiring group is friendly and welcoming to visiting runners.
If you’re looking for some quiet time in nature, look no further than the 2.4-mile “white trail” at Percy Warner Park. It’ll whip you into shape with its insane hills and deep valleys, and if it’s rained anytime in the last five days, lots of mud. But what this trail lacks in running packs, it makes up for in natural beauty. Singing birds, rustling chipmunks and towering oaks make this trail a must-see for locals and tourists alike. (Note: There’s an unwritten rule on this route. Many owners take their dogs off of their leashes, so don’t be surprised when you see Fido by your side.)
For a more traditional two-mile loop that’s walkable, runnable and bikeable, check out the Richland Creek Greenway in west Nashville. There are multiple entrances, but the most visible one is the 4617 Sloan Road Wyoming trailhead. The continuous loop contains babbling creeks, more than one bridge and surrounds the lush McCabe Golf Course. When you get to the course clubhouse, walk toward the community center and past the baseball fields — that’s the only part of the trail that’s not well marked. Looking for something riverside? Check out the 960-acre Shelby Bottoms Greenway in east Nashville.
Once you’re worn out from all that running, make sure to check out Nashville’s Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star restaurants to refuel. You’ve earned it.
Photos Courtesy of Competitor Group, Business Climate, Duane Stephenson, Nashville Gov