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PEI Victoria Park, Charlottetown

Going the Distance on PEI

Have you been trying to add a couple of more kilometres to your daily run, but just haven't been able to find the motivation to do it? Well, we think we have the solution to your problem.

In the clean, fresh air of Prince Edward Island your daily routine will no longer be so routine. The breathtaking scenery that changes dramatically with the crest of every hill and around every turn is all the inspiration you will need to stretch your run by a little bit each day you visit with us.

Whether you prefer the solid foundation of concrete, the cushion provided by our red clay roads or the challenge of cross country trails, you can be assured that your passion for running will be more than satisfied during a trip to the Island.

Many of our own runners like to take their daily jaunts along the coastline, feeling the salt spray in their faces and breathing in air that they know will never be tainted by factories or vehicle exhaust. The scenery along their routes is awe-inspiring, constantly changing from the vibrant hues of farmers' fields to picturesque fishing villages that stand proudly over majestic red cliffs and sandy beaches.

Anyone who has ever done any running on PEI can tell you that the gentle summer breezes that come off those coastlines will make their way inland where stately, historic farm houses dot the landscape and fields of clover, grain and potatoes sway in that wind as if they were beckoning you to push a little harder so that you can take in a whole lot more of this natural beauty.

If you prefer hilly countryside, the southern portion of Points East Coastal Drive in southern Kings County, the central and eastern areas of the South Shore Day Tour Region in Queen's County or the western section of the Green Gables Shore Day Tour Region, also in Queen's County are the perfect settings for your runs.

Throughout the western region in the North Cape Coastal Drive the terrain is much flatter. The same can be found in the Cavendish and Dalvay areas of Queen's County and in the Points East Coastal Drive Day Tour Region of Kings County.

For those who enjoy a jog in more populated areas, then a run through the tree-lined streets of our villages, towns and cities will inspire you with historic architecture that dates back to the first European settlers to arrive on the Island and some houses and outbuildings that were built during the heydays of shipbuilding and fox ranching.

There are more than 60 woodland and scenic trails in Canada's smallest province. To locate these and learn more about what each offers we recommend a copy of Nature Trails of Prince Edward Island, a pocket-sized guide written by environmentalists J. Dan McAskill and Kate MacQuarrie and published by Ragweed, The Island Publisher.

Included in Nature Trails are full descriptions of the Confederation Trail and the province's six demonstration woodlots. The Confederation Trail is a 350-kilometre former railway bed that has undergone extensive renovation over the past few years in order to accommodate runners, walkers, cyclists and, in the winter, snowmobiles. The trail is well signed, passes through many Island communities and provides users with an exceptional view of some of the most beautiful scenery the Island has to offer. The woodlots will take you right into our forests, providing a valuable education on forest management techniques and our natural history.

This colourful and informative book provides maps, information on where brochures on individual trails can be obtained, which routes are best for specific wildlife viewing and much more. It can be found at most Island bookstores and at Island Nature Trust in Charlottetown.

Runners interested in competitive events can call Sport PEI at (902) 368-4110 for information on upcoming races, or visit the PEI Roadrunners Club website.

We'd like to say that running on Prince Edward Island is like a breath of fresh air, but that would be an understatement. It is actually several breaths of fresh air. It is unmatched beauty. It is history unfolding before your eyes and it is friendly people who are never afraid to offer a warm "hello" to complete strangers jogging down the street.

So, be sure to pack your running shoes when getting ready for your trip, because when it comes to vacation opportunities, we run second to none.