Happy new year! 2018 is here. I am not one of those people that want to go to bed at the last night of the 2017 hoping to wake up different and improved. I like my days and my life as is. It could be boring, mundane, pretty ordinary and uneventful, but I think there is nothing wrong with that! If I can get more of what I have and find ways to matter more that is all I would hope for every day. However each new year does signify to me that we as a planet revolve around sun and be back at the spot we were last year ( well almost – I do understand we few seconds short on our per day calculation!) – now that is something!
Right close to Christmas Eve, I started running through Great Park casually, and for someone that has never been to this part that often in the past, let alone run – I was quite taken by the convenience of the running route, and the beauty of the park. Since Christmas Eve, I have run through the Orange County Great Park almost every day. The park still feels pretty new, and mostly filled with kids playing soccer at the fields, and people coming down to play volley ball and tennis. Its well lit, so the night time is beautiful and I find the place to be pretty safe, as I see people around even at night. But use caution and follow your instinct, and night time park running is not everyone if you aren’t careful.
For those of you that are new to Orange County Great Park (like me few weeks ago) – Orange County Great Park is located not far from 133 Fwy/5 Fwy/Sand Canyon. The easy direction is to look for an orange baloon and to follow the direction to get to it. The long version:
If you come up on 5 south, exit of Sand Canyon, make a left and an immediate right on Marine Way. It might be little scary and sketchy – that street, but believe me, there is a whole new civilization of things around there.
If you come from 5 North, same rule – exit sand Canyon, and turn left into Marine Way. Parking is little tricky to find but not the most difficult thing. I usually take a left turn on Ridge Valley which is the first street, and turn on ‘Hornet’ which is right across from Cypress Village. If you drive around there you will find yourself at the parking lot to your right. Feel free to drive around few times until you think you figured your way around there. If you get lucky you might notice the signs and follow them which isn’t that hard.
Now to the running part. I have run through this park during weekdays and weekends, and managed to run a 5k , or 5 mile or 8 mile or 11 mile depending on what mood I am in for. But there is something for everyone here. THere is a little bit of good elevation gain/drop so its not flat and boring in anyway. There is a lot of constructions going but my routes are pretty safe route with views/water stations/bathrooms. Hope you find it useful. If you run here let me know! I need running buddies!
1. Easy Park Route – 5k:
This is an easy one, as the entire run can be within the park, around the baloon, so no need to remember any route. You will always find a water station every 1/4th of a mile somehow, and enough bathrooms along the way.
The middle straight line used to be a Run Way so its pretty cool to run in a straight line. Back and Forth on that gets you little over a mile. Its up hill going north/east/right in the picture. and down hill back. You run into atleast 3 water stations about 6 times. If you are looking for speed training this would be a good place. The circle at the end to the left is a ‘reflecting pond’. I usually run that round to make up for a final set of miles on my GPS until I hit whatever goal time I have. the little lolipop portion on the left hand side is a ‘Kaiser Permanente thrive path’ which gets you about another one mile. I usually enter the park, go east/north and come back to the reflecting pond and circle and finish with the kaiser permanente thrive loop. This one is super easy to do, and you can improvise as you go along.
2. In-N-Out /Park Route – 5+ mile
I don’t like running on the same route twice in a single run. So if you are looking to go for little more than 3 miles, you can add this. You run the park as you would, but when you get to Marine Way which is next to Reflecting Pond(the circle), you can follow marine way all the way to SeaHawk and to Great Park Blvd, back to Ridge Valley and get back to the park. This gives you 5 miles easily. Most of the side walk is paved, and you could run on the dirt for few feet. my map shows line going out of great park, because of the way i ran but you can stay in great park/ridge valley to close the loop. There are no water stations on the outside road, so you will need to rely on the Park Water Station and plan around it.
3. Great Park & Neighborhood Loop – 7+ miles
This one is for those weekday long runs. THis one covers both the park and the great park neighborhoods which is beacon and parasol park. Its a pretty course. Most of the street course is paved, except the connections between Great park Blvd and Bosque. Bosque street is very picturesque and beautiful. For this, get to Orange County park, and either start inside the park or finish inside the park. You will run the outer loop, from Marine Way to SeaHawk to Bosque to IRvine Blvd to Ridge Valley back to Marineway into the park. There is a overbridge that I like running which is beautiful by Irvine Blvd and Ridge Valley. There is a water fountain at parasol Park close to Bosque and Great park Blvd – you have to look for it. Otherwise, there arent that many water fountains.
4. Great Park – Jeffrey Open Trail Long Run – 10+ Mile
This one is for those days when you need that long run and still don’t feel like going up to Huntington or some place nice. For this one I started at great park, and run the great park side of the loop, but extended into Irvine blvd to Jeffrey open space trail and came back from Trabuco and Great Park. but you can make it your own by running the Jeffrey trail to north to Hicks Park and back, to get more mileage. This gets you lot of bathrooms and water breaks along. This one is my strava link for the run, but those of you who regularly run can figure out how to incorporate Great Park into your route to get those extra few miles. This one could get you from 10 to 15 miles easily!
If you run here do let me know! I could join you sometime!