Traveling on foot; running and walking in Stockton and San Joaquin County

Runners head west on Weber Avenue at the Run and Walk Against Hunger (Tim Ulmer photo).

Walkers make up the majority of entrants at the Run and Walk Against Hunger on Thanksgiving morning (Mario Supnet photo).

Start of last year's 10th annual Run and Walk Against Hunger on Fremont, in front of Stockton Arena and Ballpark.

Costumed as holiday turkeys, two runners have fun at the Thanksgiving Run and Walk.

A solitary runner heads out the levee trail on Shima Tract in northwest Stockton.

Costumed runners set for the Resolution Run, held each January 1 (Fleet Feet photo).

Two year old Elijah Dennison and grandfather Randy Dennison get some exercise walking in the Quail Lakes area.

Today, travel by walking and running, for health, to reduce auto miles, to see more of your city and county.  To really see the scenic parts of your city or county – you can’t do it from the seat of the car. You have to walk, or as many do, run, to get to the incredible places in San Joaquin County. Each of the four compass points is full of options, if you’re willing to explore.

We talked to a couple of experts on the topic of walking and running – Tony Vice of Fleet Feet-Stockton, and Ralph Womack, race director of the Run and Walk against Hunger on the Stockton waterfront, Thanksgiving morning (and longtime member of Sundance Running Club).

Vice notes, “We have so many great areas to run in San Joaquin County. One of our favorites is to explore the levee behind Brookside, then up on the Calaveras Bike Trail following the river into the heart of the city – sharing the trail with some cyclists. From the bike trail, make your way over to the University of the Pacific. The campus is beautiful and on early Sunday morning runs, the students are all fast asleep – probably recovering from the weekend.

Another of our favorite runs is to make our way over to Lodi Lake and run the nature area. Taking in all that nature has to offer us – in the city! Deer, rabbit and squirrels are awake, long before we are. Once you have completed the 3 mile loop within the lake grounds, make your way to the town of Woodbridge and then out on the roads past the vineyards. Head North, South, East or West – there are vines in every direction! I tell you, watching the sunrise come up over the vines is just a beautiful site, or, evenings, watch the sunset over Mt. Diablo.

Every Tuesday we do 3 and 5 mile loops into Lincoln Village from Fleet Feet Stockton – heading into the neighborhood, past Lincoln High School, into the Parkwoods neighborhood to finally head back to Lincoln Center. From neighbors, you get  waving, smiles, “good evenings” and “hello’s” as we run the streets. When you see someone watering their lawn, don’t be afraid to ask of a squirt or a pull off the hose for some hydration. We called that being thirsty and having our own water fountain, when we were kids.

No matter where you run or where your loop takes you – the best runs happen because of the company you keep. I most enjoy running when I’m with my training partner. Telling stories, sharing laughs and making plans. Time just melts away and you are finished in no time”.

Ralph Womack added his favorites: “I suspect that there are many more places to run in Stockton than people think. One of my favorite locations is the Shima Tract loop in northwest Stockton. The whole loop is 8 miles.  It is a dirt/gravel trail on top of the levee, totally away from traffic of the street.  The early morning is my favorite time (since I’m an early bird). The air is fresh and the birds are starting to sing and you can see hawks, eagles and Snowy Egrets .

To get on the levee drive to the west end of Hammer Lane and turn left on Lighthouse, go right when Lighthouse forks and immediately go  right on the court that ends against the levee.  Park there (don’t leave any valuables in your car). Walk up the levee and go either direction, an 8 mile loop.  If you prefer less distance just cut across and return on the road that intersects at about 2 miles if you go left or 5 miles if you go to the right.

I also recommend the downtown Stockton waterfront. And the perfect opportunity to see it is by participating in the Thanksgiving Day Run and Walk Against Hunger. Enjoy the exercise and support the work of the Emergency Food Bank.  It starts at the Stockton Arena, heads east on Fremont to Center, south on Center to Weber then west on Weber to Morelli Park. Circle the parking lot and retrace your steps to the start.  This is about 3.1 miles/5k.  Want 10k or 15k?  Do the loop twice…or three times!”.

I add a few more favorite routes: The Bear Creek Trail – start at Bear Creek High School, go south on Thornton and then west on the trail, heading west to Trinity Parkway,  continuing on the levee, paved for another mile – and unpaved beyond, west into the beautiful Delta. Check out Manteca’s walking and running trails, complete with bridge across the Stanislaus River into our adjoining county. Tracy and Lathrop also have a variety of options, some right along Delta waterways. Or, trek to the eastern side of the county for options in rolling foothills and along Lake Comanche. Your best choice is often right outside your front door, in your own neighborhood!

Special Note:  The 11th Annual Run and Walk Against Hunger, Thanksgiving morning, November 26th is expected to draw over 2,500 participants. The 5K (3.1 mile) Run and Walk and 10K (6.2 mile) Run, both beginning at 8:30 AM, follow a scenic route on both sides of the Stockton Deepwater Channel – flat, scenic and fast. Kids (9 and under) have their own ¼ Mile Run, starting at 8:00 AM.

Register on line at www.runagainsthunger.org or in person at Fleet Feet Sports, 277 Lincoln Center, Monday through Wednesday, Nov. 23-25, 10 AM to 6 PM. For more information, www.runagainsthunger.org, or contact Emergency Food Bank, 7 W. Scotts Ave., Stockton, CA  95203, PH: (209) 464-7369.

For more information on several organizations that promote walking/running: Delta Tule Trekkers; deltatuletrekkers.org; 1819 Cheyenne Way, Stockton, CA 95209; Sundance Run Club, sundancerunners.m.webs.com; PO Box 629002, Stockton 95269-1002; Fleet Feet, fleetfeetstockton.com; 277 Lincoln Center, Stockton, 95207.

Contact Tim Viall at tviall@msn.com. Follow him at recordnet.com/travelblog. Happy travels in the West!

 

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