By Jen Vieth, She Runs

For some of us who live in Monmouth County, New Jersey, we live in an area that has bountiful parks, ranging from National, County or township-owned parks.  Many times, runners tend to frequent their favorite park, their favorite trail, loving the feeling of a routine; but they miss out on the refreshing feeling one gets when visiting a new venue!  Here’s a list of my favorite parks to run in and helpful tips to navigate the trails!

  1. Holmdel Park (Monmouth County Parks) – This park offers many steep and low HILLS and is also home to many high school 5k distance races! The ‘sledding hill’ (affectionately known by many local residents) is near the pond in the front of the park. As the name suggests, this trail is meant for sledding during the winter, but transforms into the perfect trail for hill repeats in all other seasons.  In the middle of the park, there are a series of rolling hills called the ‘Roller Coasters.’ This trail section has gravel paths with small ups and downs, cutting through the center forest of the park.  For the grand finale, there is the ‘Bowl.’  This path is a rigid dirt path that has the steepest incline in all the parks that I know!  Runners boast they ‘ate The Bowl for breakfast’ while on an early morning run!
  2. The Bayshore Trail (Monmouth County Parks) – This trail is the southernmost part of the Henry Hudson Trail. It is a 2-mile paved and gravel trail that follows along the Sandy Hook Bay. This park is known for his beautiful water views and cool breezes!
  3. Thompson Park (Monmouth County Parks) – This park offers variety of all kinds. There is a 1-mile dirt loop that has been known to be called the Filly Run, Bridal Run, Rugby Loop or Track Loop. There is also a 4.2-mile paved path that runs along the outskirts of the park and for the trail runners, there are numerous dirt paths that zig-zag throughout, even passing Marlu Lake and the Swimming River Reservoir.
  4. Sandy Hook Trail (National Park Service) – This National Park boasts a 7-mile Multi-Purpose pathway along the beaches and shrubbery of Sandy Hook. The trail starts at the park toll booth entrance and loops around Fort Hancock. There is no fee to use the path.
  5. Manasquan Reservoir – (Monmouth County Parks) – This trail offers a fairly flat gravel 5-mile loop around the Manasquan Reservoir.
  6. Tatum Park (Monmouth County Parks) – This park offers hilly dirt and grass paths. Insider tip – be weary of the grass lanes because of ticks!
  7. Boardwalks (Asbury, Ocean Grove, Spring Lake, Long Branch) – Head to the beach, find parking along the neighborhoods and just go! Even running on the streets along Sea Bright is a refreshing change to the routine!
  8. Hartshorne Park (Monmouth County Parks) – This is a backwoods park with 14 miles of bending and twisting dirt trails. This park is very popular among mountain bikers, so always be aware of others around you. This park also boasts being a former coastal defense site overlooking the Navesink River.
  9. Dorbrook Park (Monmouth County Parks) – This park offers 2.2 miles of paved trails which is perfect for tucking the little ones in a stroller, with plans to visit the playground and spray-ground afterwards.
  10. Your neighborhood – When you are time crunched, running through the streets of your hood is a sure fast way to punch in a run!

About She Runs!

She Runs is a new women’s only running company right here in Monmouth County, founded by Jen Vieth of Middletown, NJ. “It’s more than just a run!” has been said a zillion times by many women in this group! This company welcomes any female runner who wishes to learn to run or improve her skills (all paces/all fitness levels). There are no fees to join the private Facebook page and there are no fees to join in on the Saturday morning group runs; just come with a smile and positive attitude. She Runs offers reasonably priced training programs for 5k, 5 mile, 10k, 10-mile, and half marathons. She Runs participates as an empowered and supportive group of women in many local races of varying distances. Why run alone when you can run/train with a group of wonderful women! For more information https://sheruns.net