This is one of our favorite group run locations. It has everything, spectacular sunrises over the water, many water fountains, good parking options at several locations, a 5-mile asphalt paved trail that meanders through many parks, under canopies of trees, and even provides some surprising variations in elevations as the trail undulates in several areas, and includes a pedestrian overpass over McMullen Booth Road.
Parking: For the group runs, we park behind the Starbucks at 100 Main St., but occasionally, there is an event in the area, and when there is one, they bar us from parking in that lot, but don’t worry, there is a public lot on Main Street diagonally across from the Starbucks. You could also park at Philippe Park or Del Oro Park or at one of the smaller parks along Bayshore.
Running Options: There is a wide sidewalk that runs along the waterfront all the way from the Courtney Campbell Causeway to the Safety Harbor Marina, which is across the street from the parking lot where we meet for our group runs. It’s shaded in spots, and since it’s along the water, there are no streets. About halfway between the Causeway and the marina, there is a crosswalk where we turn inland on the Ream Wilson Trail. See description of that trail below.
Mileage Options: Virtually any distance is easy to do at this location, and you can even plan a route with shade. You can do a run that includes the entire Courtney Campbell Causeway Pedestrian Trail, the sidewalk along the Bayshore to Safety Harbor, and then on to Philippe Park, and it’s all well marked. A side trip would be to take the Ream Wilson Trail, for four miles inland to the Long Center, and back to Bayshore. Great variety of options to put together a run of any length.
Water availability: For our group runs, our Safety Harbor Group Run Coordinator, the wonderful Carolyn Xanten, puts out two water drops, one where the Ream Wilson Trail turns inland from Bayshore, and a second atop the pedestrian overpass at McMullen Booth Road. See map. Beyond that, there are several water fountains at the parks along the way along the side of the trail, and there is also a water fountain at the Long Center where we turn around.
Ream Wilson Trail: This is an asphalt trail that extends from Bayshore to The Long Center, a huge aquatic center and sports complex on Belcher Road. Many pics here and here. of the trail. It starts on the Bayshore and then after a quarter mile turns inland and meanders through several public parks and past baseball fields. There are water fountains at the parks, two or three right next to the trail. Others you have to look for. For example there is a fountain at Del Oro Park, but it is direction under the Pedestrian Overpass; so, it’s hard to find if you don’t know where to look.
Run Tampa Group Run: Run Tampa runs at Safety Harbor on the 2nd and 4th Saturday, UNLESS we have a group race event. Please always check the Group Run Calendar to be sure. We meet in the lot behind Starbucks and start the morning with introductions and announcements followed by a group photo, which is published in the Facebook group, on Twitter, and on Instagram. Our Safety Harbor Group Run Coordinator is Carolyn Xanten, a long-time member and Safety Harbor resident. Need to know anything about that area? Ask her. She knows.
We head south along Bayshore, then turn inland on the Ream Wilson Trail. Run Tampa group runs are leisurely and relaxing, unless you’re looking for something faster, and then, by all means, go for it. Because we have good-sized groups, you’ll likely always find someone going your pace, whether that’s an 8 minute pace or 13. Want to do a walk/run? Again, go for it. We support everyone at any pace. Go as fast as you want, as far as you want, and turn around when you want.
Do what you want to do. Sometimes people ask how far we run. That’s up to you. There is no set distance. People tend to hook up with others planning on going the same distance. Often, on the Facebook invite, people ask, days before, if there is anyone else who’s planning the same distance and pace. That could end up with a group of six by Saturday. These are very unstructured runs, by design, and that has always served this running community well, resulting in great attendance at group runs and an ever-growing club. Many times people go for breakfast after the run, and there are plenty of options in Safety Harbor. We give that Starbucks plenty of business, too.