It doesn’t get any better than that!
I’ve run the streets of Rome and I’ve dodged motorcycles on the sidewalks of Paris. I’ve run the hills of Orcas Island, the canal trails in Phoenix, and the beach in Charleston. I’ve run almost every inch of the Chicago lakefront, the streets of Seattle and the lakes of Minneapolis.
I’ve run in Pittsburgh, Buffalo, the Napa Valley, Virginia Beach, San Francisco, Las Vegas, and Mexico, but the best place to run on the planet – bar none – lies squarely in the heart of Kane County.
It’s just a thin strip of an old trolley line, but from the forested early stages to the open farmland, that trail can take you anywhere you want to go. It’s almost magical to find yourself out there on an early Sunday morning. To quote the great Aliotta, Haynes and Jeremiah, “there ain’t no road just like it anywhere I found.”
But it gets better because while it’s really rare for a particular route to make you a better runner, I’m not sure why, but I’m faster, my heart rate’s lower, and I can go further on the Great Western Trail.
Though you will generally find an amazing fellowship among all runners, the athletes who avail themselves of the GWT seem to set the bar a little bit higher. There’s something about a shared experience that somehow makes it easer and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve waved at a familiar GWT face only to ratchet it up for the rest of the run.
And the people we have to thank for such a magnificent venue are the fine folks at the Kane County Forest Preserve because, in addition to its natural and inherent beauty, the trail is always safe and well maintained.
Though the GWT may be their crown jewel, the Kane County Forest Preserve has applied the appropriate vision, fiscal sensibility, and consistent effort to bring a number of quality sites to their constituents.
Think about it! Leroy Oaks, Tekakwitha, Nelson Lake, the Fox River trails, the Randall Road trail and so much more. I know it’s fashionable to mock and make fun of government employees, but the Forest Preserve District’s collective prudence on all fronts has made Kane County a much more fun and fascinating place to live.
The best thing about this whole thing is, when I think back to that 2011 referendum providing the KCFP with $30 million to purchase additional land at bargain rates, I have absolutely no regrets about voting yes. It certainly turned out to be money well spent.
So here’s to the Kane County Forest Preserve and The Great Western Trail – the most magnificent running forum anywhere. Maybe I’ll see you out there sometime!