It’s been a while since I’ve featured another place to run in Scranton and I need something to take my mind off my increasing nervousness now that my first marathon is only six days away. So let’s discuss McDade Park, located near the Taylor section of Scranton on Ransom Road off Keyser Avenue. Many of my biggest grade school and high school races were held at the park, so it holds a special sort of nostalgia for me.
Like most of the other places I’ve covered, there’s much more to do at McDade than just run around. It has basketball and tennis courts, a pool, soccer fields and so on. Still, there are plenty of nice places for running. Shortly after entering the park, there’s a trail that might be easy to miss, but try not to because it does go for a decent little loop that lets out right by a short bridge covering a small stream near the park’s pond, which is a very pretty section of the park (particularly in spring and autumn) that I recommend checking out.
If you decide to bypass this trail or make your way around another way, you’ll eventually head up either a steep paved hill or a steep grassy hill that follows along a long fence. Pretty much all the courses I ran at McDade in the summer featured this hill at some point, and it was always a devastating one, particularly if it came late in the race. Once atop the hill, you can head right and go toward the tennis courts or go around a little horseshoe turn that takes you to the beginning of a nice, shaded trail that terminates at the other end of the big field. Or instead of the trail in the woods, you could take the paved path that follows the tree line. It’s quite a bit less hilly, so you can make that decision based on what kind of run you’re doing. Though, honestly, it’s all but impossible to avoid hills when running at McDade. Also, watch your footing if you do go the path in the woods, as the very end has a very steep descent. You could always go up that hill, though, because that oddly might actually be easier.
Going right from the top of that big grassy hill takes you to a baseball field and tennis courts. There’s also a short path that goes around a small pond behind the baseball field. There’s also another path behind the obvious one, but I don’t particularly recommend that since it’s short, tortuous and a few roots have overgrown on to the trail that make it easy to trip. With that, I’ve covered most of what McDade has to offer, but from all of it. McDade, probably more so than the other places I’ve featured, lends itself to some exploration but if you get lost, don’t come crying to me. Besides, what fun is running if you don’t get a little lost now and then?
Until we meet again, friends.