TITLE: Running on the Road: Allerton Park, Illinois AUTHOR: Eugene Wallingford DATE: September 16, 2004 7:43 AM DESC: ----- BODY: One of the goals of the running category of my blog is to report on my runs while traveling. When I go to conferences or to visit friends, I try to find interesting places to run. I sometimes have a hard time finding good information on the web about routes and parks, so I figured I should share what I do find, plus any information I can add from my own experience. The first stop in the Running on the Road series: Allerton Park, southwest of Monticello, Illinois. I run at Allerton Park every year when I go to PLoP. As I've increased my mileage over the last couple of years, I've come up with a wider variety of running routes. The great thing about Allerton is the variety available. On the park grounds, you have a choice of trail runs that follow the Sangammon River and trail runs that go through the park's many sculpture and sculptured gardens. Be sure to run to the Sunsinger at least once--especially at sunrise! You can also run on Old Timber Road, the county road that runs through the park, or use it to reach a network of county roads that surround the park and run to Monticello. First, check out this map to get a feel for the area. All of those county roads are runnable, so you can put together your own routes pretty easily. The hardest thing to do the first time around is judge distance. Here are some of the routes I've used, by distance.
3 miles
Run from the main sidewalk at Allerton House to the Sunsinger, around the circle, and back.
4 miles
Run the 3-mile Sunsinger route plus a round trip out to closest park entrance, and back.
Run the trail route from Allerton House, through sculptured gardens out to the Centaur, left on the trail eventually to a staircase that bring you up near the lake in front of the house, and back to the House
5 and 6 miles
Run from Allerton House out to Country Farm Road, and then go left or right as far as you like. I sometimes turn down 450E or up 625E to see something different.
10 miles
Run Old Timber Road to County Farm Road to 625E to Old Route 47 out to the Interstate, and back.
Start the same, but stay on County Farm Road all the way to Bridge Street. Turn right and go into Monticello. Turn right on Market Street and run to the IGA store. Return by same route. Turn around sooner for an 8- or 9-miler.
11 miles
Run the 10-mile route into Monticello, but go another half mile or so past the store. Or turn onto a side street for a change of pace.
22 miles
Run the 23-mile route below, minus the lap through the Fu Dog Garden.
23 miles
I owe this route to the Second Wind Running Club's marathon training group. I found their course map to be most helpful, though it doesn't show the run's closing round trip from the parking lot to the park's back entrance. The written directions are helpful, too, though I think Step 7 should say to turn left, not right. The route is pretty easy to follow, because you are running around the park counter-clockwise and you don't have any left-turn options other than the ones shown on the map.
You should also check out this essay by a local runner about some good Allerton Park routes, as well as suggestions for good post-run eats in Monticello! If you want to run laps on an outdoor track, here are directions to Monticello High School. I had planned to do a speed workout there in 2004, but at the last minute decided to do that workout at home before leaving and to run an 11-miler on the road in its place. Allerton Park is a great place to run. It is hillier than my hometown, which makes it even a bit more challenging. Just be prepared for the shape of county roads: they drop off on the sides more than most city streets, which can wear on your hips after a few miles. -----