The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

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July 20, 2013

Happy trails: Local runners share their favorite routes

ENID, Okla. — Summer is the time of evening walks, nature excursions, family ball games and bathing suits. These also are the things that may make us realize we are not in the physical shape we once were.

One of the most common methods of getting “back into shape” is running. You don’t need a gym membership, fancy equipment or a workout instructor to hit the open road and jog.

Some may choose to step out their front door and run close to their homes, while others may utilize Enid’s parks and trails for their exercise. Several local runners have their own favorite locations where they choose to release their sweat and endorphins.

Lisa Earl began running when she was in her late-30s and has developed some favorite spots for her runs.

“Although you will see me running everywhere around Enid, my favorite place to run is around Willow Street where there are sidewalks, lights and loops in the residential areas,” said Earl.

Even though she has favorite spots, Earl changes up her running routine.

“Other places are the new running trails and the country roads out west to add in some hill work,” said Earl.

Justin McCune has been seriously running for about two and a half years and sometimes travels out of Enid to run in his favorite spots, but he also has local location preferences.

“I basically consider myself a trail runner,” said McCune. “I run a lot of dirt roads. A lot of times, if I’m doing a hill workout, I run north on Cleveland up around Lake Hellums Road.”

“I prefer to run on the county roads,” said Glenn McDaniel, owner of Wheat Capitol Running Company. “Mostly for the softer surface, which is better on the joints, less traffic and better scenery.”

Runner Chris Burdick said he likes to run in residential areas, but he also enjoys the dirt roads.

“My favorite place to run is out on dirt roads,” said Burdick. “Less traffic and less hard surface.”

Burdick said he has been running for about eight years but has really taken it seriously for the last five or six years.

“I started running to get in shape. After a few years, it kind of led into races,” said Burdick. “Now, it’s basically just stress relief.”

Earl said her running beginnings also stemmed from a desire to be healthier.

“When I started running I saw quick results weight-wise, my overall health improved and my energy level increased,” said Earl. “It is also a great stress reliever and a fun way to meet new people.”

Earl said she is competitive with herself, setting new goals as she continues to run, and she never realized how much she would fall in love with running. Since then, her love for running has landed her in the Boston Marathon.

McCune said he runs to stay fit and active and running gives him more energy. For those who would like to start running, McCune said, “Just stick with it and set goals.”

McCune also said running with friends can help beginners to stay with it and that it’s important to reward yourself whenever you meet a goal.

Burdick said Enid Running Club is a great way to get into running. The club offers a social running environment as well as training opportunities.

“I would definitely encourage people to grab a partner and try it,” said Burdick.

Burdick said the running club has runners of all different levels and no one should worry that they can’t keep up. Enid Running Club offers information on its website, www.enid runningclub .com.

Aside from the health benefits of running, McDaniel said running can benefit many aspects of life.

“It’s part of my quiet time,” said McDaniel. “It’s my time with nature, my time with God, just being out there. It clears the mind of all the junk in life and frees the mind.”

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