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Here are a variety of places to hit the pavement or follow a trail
Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge
Since the day it opened in 2005, the 3.5-mile span over the Cooper River has become a mecca for runners and walkers. The harbor-facing pedestrian/bicycle lane is separated from car traffic and rises to 572 feet at its peak, making for the best hill training in the Lowcountry. Free
Dungannon Heritage Preserve
This five-mile network of trails off of Highway 162 near Hollywood offers a mix of hardwood and pine forests with cypress swamps along the way. It’s perfect for mountain biking and trekking with your dog. Free. www.sctrails.net
On Saturday mornings, walkers and runners get free reign on the one-mile paved oval (once a horse track) at Hampton Park. Depending on the season, additional road closings are sometimes added to the schedule, which can be found on the City of Charleston website. Free. www.charlestoncity.info
Santee Coastal Reserve
This 24,000-acre former rice plantation and private hunt club boasts the Marshland Trail, a 1.5-mile path that includes a boardwalk through a cypress swamp known for wood ducks and migratory songbirds. There’s also a 7.2-mile loop along the old rice impoundments. Arrive from Santee Road, north of McClellanville. Free. www.sctrails.net
Sewee Shell Mound Trail
This one-mile wooded trail loops to a massive mounded ring of oyster shells built by Sewee Indians some 4,000 years ago. Follow Highway 17 to Doar Road in Awendaw; take a right and go 2.5 miles to the dirt U.S. Forest Service Road 243 on the right. A small parking lot is about half a mile ahead. Free. www.sctrails.net
Connected to Mount Pleasant by a path-lined causeway, four-mile-long Sullivan’s Island is a favorite for runners, with its grid of mostly low-traffic streets and wide beachfront. Island scenery includes ocean and harbor views, historic sites at Fort Moultrie, and the century-old Officers’ Row on I’On Avenue. Free
Profile: Running Man
Who: Ryan Thompson, age 28, is the Cross Country and Distance Coach for Charleston Southern University. The downtown denizen also works part-time at On the Run.
Street Cred: Ryan was the second local finisher in the 2009 Bridge Run, earned the runner-up spot in the 2007 and 2008 Kiawah Island Marathon, and finished—you guessed it—second overall in a marathon on Sauvie Island, Oregon, in July. But this summer, he had a first: Ryan coordinated the inaugural Charleston Southern All-Comers Track Meet series, where anyone could compete in timed track events for just $5.
Best Run: Ryan and his wife, Anna, participate in the annual Turkey Day Run through downtown Charleston every Thanksgiving.
On Time: He never heads out for a run without his Timex Ironman watch—it’s basic, sans glitz, glamour, or GPS capabilities, but he feels naked without it. “I try each summer to best my watch tan line from the previous year!”
MOUNTAIN TO SEA: Currently comprising almost 290 miles of passages, the Palmetto Trail will eventually include more than 425 miles of hiking and biking paths from Oconee State Park to Awendaw.
Charleston Running Club
With hundreds of members, this active club encourages runners year-round and coordinates the annual Charlie Post Classic 15K and 5K on Sullivan’s Island each January. Online resources include a calendar of local races. www.charlestonrunningclub.com
Charleston Triathlon Club
These cross-training fanatics promote the sport and local run-bike-swim events via its online calendar and discussion groups. www.charlestontriathlonclub.com
Sierra Club, Lunz Group
With a mission to “explore, enjoy, and protect the wild places of the Earth,” Charleston-area members lead hikes, cycling trips, and kayak/canoe excursions, including an upcoming day hike/paddle on North Williman Island in the Ace Basin. The suggested donation for outings is $5 per person. www.southcarolina.sierraclub.org/lunz
Team in Training—Charleston
This healthy and philanthropic group offers training (and purple T-shirts) to people who take on, often for the first time, endurance sports such as half-marathons, marathons, triathlons, and long-distance cycling. In return, athletes generate donations for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. www.teamintraining.org/sc
Photograph by Robin Blakely; Profile Photograph by Christopher Nelson