Running the course

14 Jul 2009 | Sgt. T.D. Smith

All Marines have strapped on “go fasters” and kicked a three-mile run, whether indoors or outside. With the weather heating up, the urge to opt for outdoor physical training may become greater, but which way to go?

There are trails, paved or not, marked for everyone to see or hidden away in the woods, leading through Camp Lejeune’s 246 square miles. Some even take runners on a scenic view of the river.

One of these routes is Julian C. Smith trail, which stretches approximately seven and a half miles and features both paved and dirt surfaces. The trail starts at the paved path on Sneads Ferry Road and ends near Gottschalk Marina. It also offers intermittent views of the New River and reduced traffic making it unit physical training friendly.

For those wanting to get back to nature, the Green Way trail starts on Seth Williams Boulevard across from Marston Pavilion. The route spans approximately three and a half miles and connects to the Holcomb trail. It features off-road trails on both sides, with the first right turn taking you by the water.

“Our section prefers to PT on the trails over by Marston Pavilion,” said Cpl. David Schmidt, a section PT leader with Company I, Headquarters and Support Battalion, Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. “There is a paved trail that takes you to the main gate, and there are dirt trails that shoot off from it. One of those takes you down by the water, which is always more fun to run by.”

The Seth Williams trail starts near A Street, passes through base housing and continues to the Officer’s Club. This paved route is near base housing making it convenient for strollers and, during the summer, it offers water jugs at Paradise Point and Marston Pavilion.

Other water points are located near the golf course at the caution light, the Brewster Child Daycare Center, the base landfill and across from the base Exchange.

“I like running on (the Seth Williams) trail,” said Kayla Majors, a running enthusiast and family member on Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. “I prefer running in the shade to keep cool when it’s hot outside.”

For those seeking a more rugged experience and who don’t mind braving blood-sucking insects, there are a few off-road trails. One can be found on the right side of Seth Williams Boulevard in between Birch Street and the bridge. Runners should employ proper operational risk management when trekking through the woods. Make sure you have enough light to see obstacles, snakes, exposed roots and branches.

“There are ticks everywhere on this base,” said Paul Boniface, a conservation law enforcement officer with MCB Camp Lejeune. “Anytime you go out in the woods you have to spray yourself down or you will get eaten alive.”

If still undaunted by the prospect of loss of blood to plasma-thirsty critters, there are a couple of trails by the base brig. These trails are used by mountain bikers, so if you run on them take special precaution to avoid collisions.

Other running trails to be cautious of are located out at Courthouse Bay. Those trails are located near the main entrance to the area. Tanks roll through the trails out there, so be alert to avoid being crushed by tracks.

With the wealth of running options on base, and more to come in the future, it is hard to imagine a reason not to get out there and do some PT.

Soon, there will be another trail open for running. It will be located behind the Recreation Center on Stone Street.  

With river views, paved paths and water points staged, Lejeune has it all when it comes to running. So, dust of those sneakers, hydrate and hit the road.