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Forest Park

Forest Park, St Louis.

Forest Park in St Louis is another location that lives large in my running memory.  Between 1992 and 1997, while living and working in St Louis, I frequently visited the park for races organised by the St Louis Track Club, of which I was a member, and to train on its perimeter track on my own, or with friends.

I wouldn't describe it as the most scenic park I have run through, but it had good paths, greenery and a nice 9km lap.  But, despite its name, little forest.  The terrain wasn't so tough, but the weather could be.  St Louis is renowned for its hot and humid summers and freezing winters, and I can remember running and racing in those extremes as well as in some beautiful spring and autumn weather.

Forest Park, St Louis.

The park has history as well, being the site of the 1904 World's Fair and some of the 1904 Olympics events.  It also hosts several museums, an outdoor theater and the St Louis Zoo.  As a teen in Australia, I could remember watching Marlin Perkins' "Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom" television series produced when he was director of the St Louis Zoo.  Who'da thought, thirty years later, I would frequently be running past his zoo on the other side of the world!

Forest Park in winter.

It was just a 15 minute drive from my home or office into Forest Park along the freeway and I could easily find a parking spot at the park's south-west corner.  Running clockwise, the perimeter lap started with a gentle downhill 1.5km followed by a long flat stretch along the park's northern edge.  If you were feeling good, you could really wind up on this section and then try and maintain your momentum as the path began gently climbing towards the south-east corner, the 6km mark.  From there the path paralleled the highway to the south of the park, passing the Zoo and Science Museum along the way.  This section always seemed like it should be flat, but actually you were climbing most of the way and it was often tough to maintain the pace established early in the run.

Even now, warm humid evenings evoke fond memories of running around Forest Park.

I didn't go for a run today, but walked about 5km while playing golf.  I'm really looking forward to tomorrow's Terrigal Trotters Matcham Valley 15km run, one of my favourites.