I am very proud of the progress our “All-American City” has made. One such area I am particularly impressed with is the free outdoor exercise options.
When my friends and colleagues from surrounding communities, such as Evansville, Bowling Green, and Paducah visit Owensboro, they marvel at the Adkisson Greenbelt Park/path. According to VisitOwensboro.com, the Greenbelt (a 15-mile path) is designed to encircle the city, linking neighborhoods, business districts, parks, and schools. The trails that make up the Greenbelt Park offer a 10-foot wide asphalt surface that easily accommodates pedestrians and bicyclists, and meet the Americans with Disabilities Act standards. Recently, the last section on Southtown Blvd was completed, and now connects east Daviess County (from Miller’s Mill) to west (Hwy 60 West).
If you enjoy running/walking on the Greenbelt, might I suggest an alternative to add a little variety to the mix? Trade in the pavement for a trail. My new favorite place to run is the Rudy Mines Trails at Ben Hawes Park. I don’t know what I enjoy most about running the trails: the fresh dew on the grass, the breath-taking views, the rugged terrain, or the chance to spook a deer in its natural habitat. For me, being out there transforms a run from an “exercise” to an “adventure.”
According to Owensboroparks.org, the Rudy Mine Trails at Ben Hawes Park now include over 11 miles of trails to explore. The trails offer double-track and single-track loops that are great for running, hiking, or mountain biking. The city invested $25,000.00 to revitalize the mountain bike trails, and the city’s parks and recreation department has worked closely with the Kentucky Mountain Biking Association and trail designers since 2010. The hiking trails are comprised of a series of three loops. Each of the three loops interconnects, totaling four miles, each with a rating ranging from easy to moderate. The yellow trail is relatively safe for families, with no big hills for kids to climb. The more adventurous will enjoy the speed and flow of the yellow trail on the way to the blue single track. The mountain bike trails were designed by mountain bikers, for mountain bikers, with 7.25 miles of scenic trails and amazing terrain.
For those who want to add some “strengthening” to their run/walk, I would suggest the “Fit Trail” at Kentucky Wesleyan College. I enjoy the fit trail because it adds variety to my 5:15 a.m. morning exercise, and gives me a challenge beyond your basic running and/or biking. A fitness trail is a walking or jogging path with various exercise stations placed along the trail. My friends and I stumbled upon this ten-station outdoor circuit by chance. In an effort to mix up our weekly routine, we created a one-mile loop that uses concepts from current fitness trends such as “Cross Fit,” mud runs, and “Ninja Warrior.” There are pull-up bars, a dips station, box jumps, and an endless variety of body-weight resistance exercises for the creative mind.
Whether it was playing football as a kid, or running and biking as an adult, I enjoy being active. There has never been a better time to be active in Owensboro. The crisp air, cool weather, and beautiful foliage makes fall a great season to get outside. If you are an early bird like me, I look forward to seeing you take advantage of these “free” exercise options.