by Lisa Connors 

When I tell my friends about my long runs, which range from 10 to 20 miles, they usually have some funny reactions like “I don’t even drive that far!” There was a time when I would have agreed with them, but running has changed my life in many ways—physically, mentally, and socially.

Ever since I laced up my first pair of running shoes six years ago, the sport has opened up a whole new world to me. I have discovered beautiful wooded trails, stunning vistas, and my own secret paths across the Cape. There is nothing like the fresh air to clear my head, relieve stress, and focus on myself for an hour (or two or three!). Since I work in publishing and advertising, I find that hitting the pavement also inspires great story ideas and clever marketing content.

Although I run on the Lower Cape during the week, I look forward to my Saturday morning routine which takes me over to historic Barnstable Village to meet my running group. We are affectionately known as the Village Idiots, and we gather in the parking lot behind the fire station at 7:30 a.m., where we stretch, exchange a few laughs, and mentally prepare for the long run ahead. Most participants are seasoned runners who run half marathons and marathons, but all levels and paces are welcome.

Beginning and ending at Barnstable Fire Station (3249 Main St.), this 11-mile run passes open fields, farm animals, and coastal lookouts.
The running group then gathers at Nirvana Coffee Company (3206 Main St.).

We typically run five-mile loops, but lately we have been changing it up a bit and running along historic Route 6A and turning down scenic side roads, where we pass beautiful marshland, flowing streams, and harbor views. Sometimes when I’m having a difficult run, I try to remind myself to look up and enjoy the route of rolling hills, antique homes, stone walls, and acres of farmland.

One of my favorite routes lately: Running to Bone Hill Road, which leads to Long Pasture Wildlife Sanctuary. Here you can see farm animals, open fields, and stunning views of Barnstable Harbor and Sandy Neck Barrier Beach. It’s the perfect place to take a break and appreciate nature, and since it’s a hilly route, the quiet is a reward for running so many inclines!

The best part about our Saturday morning routine comes at the finish when we gather at Nirvana Coffee Company to relax, joke around over coffee, and talk about upcoming training runs and races.

Now that spring is upon us, it’s the perfect time to look ahead to summer or fall for a race. The hardest part about running is taking that first step out the door. Are you ready? Whether you’re running one mile or 10 miles, get outside, and enjoy nature!

Cape Cod Art Center
Barnstable Fire Station
Cape Cod Organic Farm
Cape Cod Art Center
Long Pasture Wildlife Sanctuary – Mass Audubon
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