2021 Ultra #47 – The Park and Rec 50K

You know, I’ve always wondered if you can fit a full 50K inside Golden Gate Park without any overlapping segments. Turn out you can! It’s kinda crazy how big Golden Gate Park is and in spite of running 31 miles inside, there are still plenty of trails that I didn’t cover. As with courses like this (with so many turns), the hardest part of the run was staying on course without taking the wrong turn. Here’s my Strava activity:

Golden Gate Park

I started around 7am at the northwestern corner of the park near Queen Wilhemina Tulip garden and criss crossed the trails towards North Lake along Chain of Lakes Dr. I couldn’t have asked for a better weather, low 60’s, overcast – just perfect.

Mostly stayed on Fulton Trail which hugs the northern boundary of the park. Took a lap around Spreckles Lake and then through the Disc Golf Course.

Spreckles Lake

Lloyd Lake

Made the out and back along Park Presidio Road (a greenbelt I first encountered during the SF Crosstown Ultra 50K). Backtracked a bit to loop around Prayerbook Cross and went past Redwood Memorial Grove. I was thinking to myself that I was at mile 10 and still hadn’t reached the eastern edge of the park!

After exploring Conservatory Valley and Dahlia Garden, ended up at the Oak Woodlands, part of the Bay Area Ridge trail. Almost at the Pan Handle!

Alvord Lake

Koret Children’s Quarter Playground

After looping around the Athletic Field, I realized that I had an older version of the route on my Suunto Ambit3. I had to use my phone to bring up the Strava route and follow that which made the going a bit slow.

Lily Pond

Japanese Tea Garden
Stow Lake

The number of lakes inside the park is pretty amazing and when I charted the route, made it a point to try and loop around most of them. Also I don’t remember ever exploroing inside the “island” of Stow Lake.

Elk Glen Lake

After the loop around Elk Glen Lake, finally a “long” stretch of running a straightaway along the trail hugging Lincoln Way. Though, I forgot that the route backtracked yet again to loop around Metson Lake and the Polo field.

Finally the out and back along Great Highway and I was back where I started, 31 miles later, in 6 hours. This was a pretty fun route and with a little bit of work it might be possible to eliminate that last out and back and stay within the green ways. Oh well, 47 down and just 3 more to go!

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