Marathon season is almost here! For those lucky enough to get a place, the Fukuoka Marathon is in mid-November and training has begun.
When you're training for a marathon in Fukuoka, the city can start to seem really small. You've covered half the city yet you still have 15km to go on your long run. What to do?
I like using Fukuoka's system of rivers and canals to make long runs that are easy to follow and can be made shorter or longer depending on how far I have to run that day.
I've put together maps of 3 long(ish) runs all starting from central Fukuoka City that follow the ocean, rivers, and canals to make long loops that don't involve constant phone checking, big roads, or endless Ohori loops.
Momochi Beach Loop
Starting and ending in Ohori Park, this route first brings you through Nishi Park, the only hilly section of the run. Enjoy views along the coast before heading back down the hill towards the beach. The beach section of the run can be done on the sidewalk lining the beach, or to switch it up, take to the little trail that runs between the sand and the parking areas. After the beach, run along the upper part of the Muromi River before turning left towards the Momochihama neighbourhood. This is a nice quiet part of town that includes a wide pedestrian path that takes you up to and over the Hii River. Follow the river for a couple kilometers before turning back towards Ohori Park.
Facilities: Coin storage lockers available in Ohori Park (near the Mister Donut entrance) or in the station. Toilets in Ohori Park, Nishi Park and along Momochi Beach. Vending machines can be found everywhere along the route.
Muromi River Loop
This loop runs along both sides of the Muromi River - just run as far as you want, and then take the next bridge to loop back around. The full 17km run takes in Kanatakenosato Park as the end point. The park, full of kids' sports games at weekends, has nice shaded trails, clean bathrooms (but no drinking fountains), and is surrounded by quiet country roads bordered by rice paddies.
The trail along the river itself is paved and quite wide - but much less crowded than other popular running areas, even on weekends.
Facilities: Coin lockers available at Muromi station, nice bathrooms in Kanatakenosato Park. There isn't much along the river itself, your best bet is to head a few blocks away from the river for a convenience store, or stop by the Blue Jam bakery overlooking the Muromi River for a pick-me-up.
Nakagawa to Jyonan Loop
This scenic loop follows the Naka River, Hii River, and some small canals and waterways, taking you through some really nice and thoroughly under appreciated neighbourhoods in Fukuoka. From Ohori Park, cut crosslots through Akasaka, Sakurazaka and Yakuin. From Takamiya station, you'll head towards Nakagawa. There are beautiful trails along both sides of the river that run from here all the way under the highway. Once you cross under, head to the west to avoid the hilly Aburayama area, and then finish the loop along the Hii River, past the up-and-coming Ropponmatsu area, and back to Ohori Park.
Facilities: Coin storage lockers available in Ohori Park (near the Mister Donut entrance) or in the station. Toilets in Ohori Park, and a few places along the Naka River. Vending machines and convenience stores can be found everywhere along the route.
Where do you get your long runs in? Let me know in the comments!
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