It was pitch dark and freezing cold when I left my hotel at 5.30am in the morning after donning running gear. I was staying in a hotel close to Columbus and as I only was in New York for 2 days, I was determined to run in Central Park. It had snowed the day before and although the streets were clear, the paths in the park were still covered with snow.
I entered the Park at Columbus Circle and headed over to Park Drive. I was early, there were a few other runners but otherwise the Park belonged to me. It was dark and quiet and yet I did not feel unsafe. I followed the drive up until 72nd Street. There I turned onto one of the snow covered paths to run up and down gentle slopes until I ended up on The Mall. I ran back to 72nd street, turned left until I was back on Central Drive and followed the road back to Columbus. The road is actually divided in 3 lanes, one of which is clearly marked for runners.
I ran without music to fully experience the Park, the silence and the cold, and it was awesome! When I returned to my hotel I noticed my gear wasn’t soaked, and I felt my blood pumping through my veins. Apart from gloves, I did not bring winter running gear so this 5k run was just long enough.
This was one of my best runs ever and I was a bit sad that I did not have time to run the whole Park including the northern piece of it. Hopefully I’ll be back another time and it will be something to look forward to. If you are ever in NYC, make time to run in Central Park. It’s absolutely special and so worth it!
PS: while I usually include my run as map, I decided against that this time. I found it liberating to just meander through the Park and turn left and right whenever I felt like it. There are so many paths to choose from that you should just go where your shoes lead you. The Park is not big enough to get lost and a whole loop measures a little over 6 miles so what could happen? If you do want a map, the Central Park organization provides a downloadable runner’s map.