Unless it’s colder than 40 degrees, or it’s raining or windy, Virginia Tech is a really great place to go out running. The Blacksburg area is full of different types of scenery and wildlife and there are dozens of near-perfect places to take a quick and easy run, or a more difficult/long run.
There’s nothing like running around Virginia Tech’s campus. The buildings, the people and the number of sidewalks are all great for running. If you start around McComas, you can do a great deal of running around Lane Stadium and the woods surrounding Center Street. Having run there before, it’s interesting to see the permanent damage of beer can lawns and dead grass that you never got to notice during football season.
This route can take you about half a mile, but if you want to push it further, you can make it closer to a mile and a half if you make it all the way to Goodwin Hall. There are plenty of ways to get there and back, and you could get a great 3-mile run in without repeating the same scenery.
Running in town is always an option, especially if you don’t live on campus. A good, friendly stretch to run on is from North Main Street to South Main. It has wide sidewalks and and this route can be nice to get in a short run before hitting the gym.
This is a great place to run for anyone, especially if you ran cross-country in high school. It will make you feel right at home. The trails begin around a mile from the center of campus, going through the Duck Pond and past the Corps of Cadets obstacle course. There will be a fork in the road, and going left will take you up the hill to Smithfield Plantation.
Once you see the trails, they will amaze you. They are located in the agricultural area where they grow crops every year, providing some really great scenery combined with nice inclines and views of what used to be Southgate Drive. If you run the full circuit, you could get a good 2-mile run there, with the addition of getting there and back making the run 4 miles.
Just don’t run there when the cross-country team is practicing, or when the Corps is doing drills. I learned this the hard way when I came across a drill and a cadet pointed a dummy rifle at me, causing his instructor to yell at him.
This is a great run for scenery too. If you live in the Foxridge area already, you may be familiar with this trail and may have run it yourself. If you start from the center of campus, you take the same path to the obstacle course, but instead take a right at the fork.
From here, there is a trail that leads under Route 460 and past the livestock pastures, and then parallel to Stroubles Creek leading to Foxridge. If you run far enough to a small pavilion overlooking a large valley with hills on either side, that is about 2 miles from campus, and if you go back the same way, you will be able to make a good 4-mile run.
If you are looking for a much more difficult run, try the Huckleberry Trail. You don’t have to run the full length — but if you’re up for it, it goes all the way to Christiansburg. It starts around where Route 460 meets the old Southgate Drive, and continues through woods, neighborhoods and along railway tracks.
It is a very scenic run, and there are plenty of ways to run it, but if you decide to run the whole trail and back, it is a very tough 11-mile run.
Knowing when to run
The best rule of thumb for me before running is to look at the temperature. Generally, if it’s above 45 degrees, it is fine to run in shorts with a hoodie at most. I also use the GoRun feature on the Weather Channel app. It provides a ranking of 1–10 on how good the running conditions are in your area, based on preferences that you can set.