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Allison Garber: Running in Halifax
You will never be left wondering if someone is a runner, don’t worry, they will absolutely let you know. Repeatedly. Ad nauseum. So, asking a runner to write about the running scene in Halifax is like Christmas, a birthday and a brand new pair of Nike Alphaflys all wrapped into one.
Whether you are a trail runner or a road runner – or the rare unicorn that does both, there’s no shortage of routes and trails to discover in the Halifax region.
Hitting up the roads
We’ll start with road routes, because that’s what I know best from my time running with the Halifax Road Hammers. You’ll find our crew around Point Pleasant Park and Marginal Rd., a strip that takes you on a nice flat path of sidewalk towards the Halifax waterfront (beware though, you will sometimes need to pause your run as there are train tracks that see fairly regular traffic – which, I can attest, is much more pleasant to wait through in the summer rather than the frigid winter).
As you are making your way through Marginal Rd. you will pass by the Halifax Seaport Market which is bustling on a Saturday morning and a great place to stop for a coffee or a smoothie bowl from Bliss Bowls (the perfect post-run carb/protein quotient).
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You’ll also pass by historic Pier 21, Canada’s sixth national museum that shares the ongoing story of immigration to Canada from past to present from each corner of the country.
Outside of Pier 21 sits the beautiful tribute to Ruth Goldbloom, who championed the restoration of the site, in the form of the mighty community leader sitting on a bench with her suitcases positioned next to her. The RoadHammers often run sprint intervals past Ruth on Tuesday evenings and the reminder of her tenacity and resiliency always gives us that extra push.
Early mornings are an ideal time to run along the historic Halifax waterfront, giving you a magnificent front row view of our glorious east coast sunrises, with the George’s Island lighthouse in the forefront. A great place to stop and take it all in is in one of the hammocks that line the wooden decks alongside the Harbour.
Make new friends
If you’re looking for a group of incredibly awesome people to run with while in town, meet up with the North End Runners who get together every Wednesday at the Halifax Commons at 6pm for a 4k or 6k run, all paces welcome. Halifax’s North End is rich in architecture and culture, and running through is the best way to travel. You can check out their Instagram page for their latest updates or to connect with a crew director.
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Looking for grittier terrain?
For those who prefer to hit the trails, we’ve got an amazing selection of semi-maintained trails starting with Point Pleasant Park, Shubie Park, MacDonald Sports Park, Long Lake (the last two locations also have a bunch of single track trails)and the BLT Rail Trail.
The Halifax Trail Runners website has great directions for trail routes on their website, and if you reach out to contact them you can likely get some help in finding the more “off the grid” trails. My friend Kerry loves the Bowater trails out in Tantallon, she took me there once and we broke up our 10km run with a refreshing swim in the lake. Still one of my favourite days running.
If you find yourself in need of some running gear while you’re visiting, I recommend stopping by to see the fine folks at Aerobics First – a locally run operation that is well loved by the running community. Down the road from them is Dilly Dally Eats, a favourite haunt for runners to grab their post-workout java and pastry.
Happy running! Hope to see you out there.
Allison Garber (she/her)
Allison Garber is a communications consultant residing with her husband and two children in Bedford, Nova Scotia. She is an avid runner in her spare time and wants to make sure everyone knows that she qualified for the Boston Marathon and went to Bean Town for her first-time, tackling Heartbreak Hill in April 2023.