With 300-plus days of sunshine in Calgary, every day is a great day for a run. Whether you're a 5k, 10k, half or ultra-marathoner, Calgary's varied terrain makes for a wide variety of running conditions. Hills, flat surfaces, scenic and even trail running are one of this city's most popular past times.
Bow River Pathway
Gently jogging or dashing out the door, the downtown crowd can be seen on a daily basis running along both sides of the Bow River. Many start from the Eau Claire YMCA taking advantage of the locker room and showers afterwards. Others change right at their workplace and head north past 2 Ave SW and get right to it.
The quickest route is 3.2 km which is north through Prince's Island Park, then west along Memorial Drive NW to the Peace Bridge, back to the south side and east back to Eau Claire. To make this a 5k run, run farther west to 14 St NW and then back. If you can make 10k on your lunch hour, run west to Crowchild Trail (there's a pedestrian sidewalk under the roadway), cross the river to Memorial Drive then run east to the Langevin Bridge, cross to the south then back west to your starting point. That should make it 10.42 km. Along the way you'll have the company of geese along the Bow River and the excitement of downtown Calgary to keep you company.
Early morning commuters can be seen on the Bow River Pathway running to work with a change of clothes in their backpacks.
To add some variety to your running routine, hit the stairs by the Calgary Curling Club at Memorial Drive NW. This wooden stairs take you from the parking lot to the top of the escarpment on Crescent Road NW where the views of downtown are amazing. It's an 11-storey climb, up and down. Runners from all over the city come here just for this outdoor stair workout. You may even catch sight of an Olympic athlete training there.
Located in South West Calgary, the Glenmore Reservoir is a very tranquil area full of wildlife, bike paths and walking trails. It is flanked by the community of Bayview, Glenmore Landing Shopping Centre and Heritage Park. The Calgary Rowing Club and the Sailing Club have clubhouses along the shore. You can't swim in the reservoir, but you sure can run around it. The simple 5 km route is from Glenmore Landing, along the eastern shore of the reservoir, behind Rockyview Hospital and over the dam to the water treatment plant and back. There are several 10k options but the easiest and prettiest run is an extension of the 5 km. Run past the water treatment plant then west along the Lakeview Golf Course, cross Glenmore Trail on the pedestrian overpass then back east and south. If you go all the way around the reservoir, over to the Weaselhead area and through the community of Lakeview, you will have run 16k.
The most companionable runs are the long, slow distance runs on Sunday mornings. Many friendly running groups meet early to run together then meet back at Glenmore Landing for coffee. Training for a marathon? Run from Glenmore Landing north across the dam then follow the pathway along the Elbow River all the way downtown. That's good for 32 km. Give yourself three hours or so.
There are two areas close to the Glenmore Reservoir that will give you that lovely vertical workout. Eagle Ridge is an enclave of ultra-luxury homes next door to Heritage Park. The slope of the road just off the pathway is the perfect incline for runners. The other is the far western end of the reservoir just as you approach the Weaselhead Bridge. Both hills are short but repetition will soon get your running legs into shape.