For a small staff of 10, it was only a matter of time before one of us figured how to connect running with the river.

Enter the Olympics.

Anyone who follows track and field knows that Michigan boasts a considerable number of connections to the Olympians representing the U.S. and many other countries in the 2012 London Olympic Games — Dathan Ritzenhein (10,000 meters), Desi Davila (marathon), Todd Porter (110 meter hurdles), and Nick Willis (1,500 meters), to name a few. Nick Willis, the 1,500 meter silver-medalist in 2008 Beijing Olympics representing New Zealand, lives, trains, and coaches in Ann Arbor. When he recently shared his Favorite Running Spots in town via Facebook, we couldn’t help but notice that the Huron River and its tributaries figure prominently in the list. Names of the waterways are added in parentheses.

Ann Arbor residents: So many amazing places to run in town!
1 – River trails between Barton Dam and Main street Dam (Huron River)
2 – Bird Hills (Huron River)*
3 – Arboretum (Huron River)
4 – Trails from Leslie Science Center to North Park (Traver Creek)
5 – Radrick Golf Course (Fleming Creek)
6 – Lillie Park
7 – County Farm Park (Malletts Creek)
8 – Eberwhite Woods (Allens Creek)
9 – Gallup Park (Huron River)
10 – Dirt roads behind Barton Hills (Huron River)
11 – Pioneer HS Cross Country course connecting to trails across 7th Street
That’s not even counting all the State Parks within a 25 minute drive (Island Lake, Brighton, Maybury).

Can we claim that healthy rivers make elite track and field athletes? Perhaps not. But rivers sure make for better training runs (and casual walks) for the aesthetic and spiritual inspiration they lend.

Hope to see you enjoying the river and our local creeks during your next workout. You may even spot an Olympian if you can make out the blur that just passed you.

* Blogger’s note: Personal experience compels me to tell you to watch for sneaky tree roots.