The Saturday before last I did my first big run at the beach. The sun was shining and it was unexpectedly warmer than it should be at this time of year; hard to stay home and do the chores. I was smart enough to stock my car with extra food, water, etc. and to park it at the main beach in the middle. I ran two out and backs, first to the west and then to the east, 12 miles in total. It was fabulous even though I ended up walking most of the way back to my car in the end.
The trip west was about a 6 mile loop out to Robinsons Island (featured in the photo above). Robinsons Island is particularly beautiful because it is a wild beach – un-groomed, isolated, visibly growing year after year as more and more sand is dropped by the ocean into the mouth of Rustico Bay. Recently, Parks Canada has put in a multi-purpose trail at the end of the lane. As a result, I ran pavement, trail, beach, trail and pavement on that stretch. Quite a variety. And only two other people to share it with as the parks are not yet open for the season.
After refilling my water bottles and having a banana back at the car, I ran eastward to Covehead Harbour. Covehead is a working harbour but has made room for several shops (ice cream/lobster) and an iconic restaurant, Richard’s. Richard’s is also not yet open for the season and the harbour looked a bit forlorn without the usual crowd of sunburnt beach goers having a beer and some fish and chips. On the way out to Covehead, I ran the bike trail which is all new pavement. Ran into a few friendly bicyclists and one person on roller blades. On the way back, I made my way right down onto the beach and hiked the last 3 miles home into the wind. Got totally sandblasted. It was great and to top the day off, I “ran” into some friends at the main beach so I plonked myself down in the sand and watched their kids race about.
So I know it has been two weeks since I ran this route but it’s such a good one that I’ll try it again for certain and that’s why I’m writing it up. Next time, I hope to run longer sections of the route and perhaps more running time on the beach itself. I would remind myself that much of this route is under full sun and so the SPF30 long sleeve shirt paired with the white ball cap from the Running Room worked very nicely. If I wanted to make this a longer run, I could extend the eastern loop past Dalvay, turn right on Eastern Shore Rd. and continue to Bayshore Rd. then back to the Gulf Shore Parkway and the way home. I’m pretty sure the bike path goes all that way and that would work out to 15 miles on the eastern side, not counting any extra spent on the beach. Might try that on the next sunny beach day!