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Places to Run Huntsville: John Hunt Cross Country Park

John Hunt Cross Country Park 

This September, the City of Huntsville opened up the newly redone John Hunt Cross Country Park. This is not just any cross country course, but it is one of the premier running spots in Alabama. This was no short term project taken on by the City. The planning and brainstorming for this project began in 2017 and the construction began in the middle of 2018. With a harsh and wet spring, the project took till this fall to be ready for the first event: Huntsville High School Cross Country’s home event, The Southern Showcase, one of the largest high school events in the state. 

The Cross Country Course 

Now the city and runners are not just raving about a big grass field. This is a pristine and manicured cross country course ready to host big-time events. This course is at least 10 meters wide at the narrowest sections, and it was designed by the standards that an NCAA championship course would require. It features a single loop 5k course, and two-loop 6k, 8k and 10k courses. It was built with the intention to host premier events from the high school to the collegiate level and beyond. For spectators the course is extremely friendly with open watch areas and wheelchair accessibility. Soon the course will also have permanent course markings/signage that can guide all users in the appropriate direction. For now, the 5k course is the marked option, and that is fairly easy to navigate. 

john hunt

More than a Cross Country Park 

John Hunt is open to the public, but they are still working on some features of the course and around it. The reimagined John Hunt Park is not open to just running, but it features competition-level sand volleyball courts (with a central clubhouse) and will soon have an area for BMX biking (separate from the cross country venue). Other landscaping is in progress as well. More work will be done on these features in the near future. 

Other Features 

Beyond the lovely soft surface option that the cross country course provides. John Hunt has a new all-weather running path that loops around the course. This surface is porous paved path that somewhat resembles running on a slightly harder rubberized track. There is a 1.5 mile loop option and a 2.1 mile option for this looped pathway. This is great for getting off the roads away from traffic or opting for a slightly softer surface. It is also the perfect grippy  surface in wet weather. Looking to do hill work, speedwork, tempos or just a recovery run? John Hunt is a great place to do whatever your running requires of you on a given day.

Distances: 1.5 mi, 2.1mi, 3.2k, 5k, 6k, 8k, 10k 

Surfaces: grass & porous pave

Open to the public: Yes

Bathrooms: Yes 

Parking: Yes 


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Mariah

If this time last year someone would have said to me, "By April 2016 you'll have run 3 5Ks and will be running 15 miles every week (and enjoying it!)," I'd have laughed and made a joke about being chased by a scary clown. But, here I am, just finished my 3rd 5K with a time a little bit better than the last.  I'm really glad RunningLane encourages beginners. As someone who has never run or even been very athletic, it's nice to have guidance and a place to get my questions answered. Big thanks to my coach, Michael for setting me up with a program that I can stick with and challenges me.  My program is just that…mine.  It is tailored to my fitness level and ability and having someone to check in with each week keeps me accountable. It’s working!  In 14 weeks with my coach and RunningLane my BMI has dropped 5 points, my cholesterol went from over 200 to 165, and my resting heart rate has lowered because my heart is healthier and happier!  Thank you, RunningLane!