I was fortunate to spend my high school Cross Country years training in the Colonial National Park, specifically in the battlefields around Yorktown, Virginia. We used to joke that we were probably the only people in the world who cringe at the name "Yorktown" because once a week, we ran to Yorktown where our coach put us through some beastly workouts on two 800-meter loops through the town that both involved awful hills. And we had to run back to school afterwards! Yorktown Days were exhausting and painful. But the rest of the week we spent trekking around in the battlefields, sometimes on the road and sometimes on trails, lucky to have miles and miles of gorgeous scenery around us to keep practice interesting. The park offers miles of gravelly-paved roads that wander through wooded areas and open fields, crossing creeks and swamps and providing lovely scenery and great terrain for long runs. Fond memories for sure, and I make a point of going for at least one run every time I'm back in the area just to remind myself what a great area it is.
Care to try a few runs there yourself? Surrender Field (yes, THE Surrender Field, where the British troops laid down their arms and America officially won its freedom) has a little parking area to ditch your vehicle and head out on foot. From there, out-and-backs offer options between 1 and 5 miles and the loops can get you about 13! There are no bathrooms (hug a tree) or water stops anywhere along the way, but there creeks where you can stop and splash some cool water on your face during the humid summer months. So for those of you looking for some new routes in southern Virginia and/or want to get up close and personal with a beautiful national park, lace those shoes up and go for a run!