Where to Run in the Roanoke Valley
Submitted by Jack Steehler
Night Run (in Salem)
Map of the Night Run
Introduction: So - has the time change (no more Daylight Savings Time) got you down? Do you find yourself with no time to run during the day? Are you unexcited by running at night in your neighborhood? Join the crowd! This month's feature will offer one option that is well lit and a reasonable length for running after dark. Basically the route is Main Street in Salem, from downtown Salem out to the west end of town, with options to take the roads at either end that go north to I-81 - they are well lit all the way to I-81. Thompson Memorial Drive has one good sized hill, the rest is flat.

Features: Don't look for scenery (...it's after dark, remember!) - this is more of an utilitarian run. Actually, while it is basically main city streets (...that's why it's well lit...!), in the evening the traffic isn't bad, and it can be a pretty peaceful run. I often run home on part of this route after working in the office in the evening. Note: if you don't want to come to Salem, consider trying a well lit main road with sidewalks in your area.

Safety: Okay, we all know running at night presents problems. Even on sidewalks that are "well lit", cracks and rough spots exist. And visibility to cars is still important especially at intersections, even if you are running on sidewalks. So - be careful of footing (but this route really is nicely lit - I'm just giving a standard warning), be sure to wear a full reflective vest, and try not to run alone. Run on the sidewalk (Main Street and Thompson Memorial Drive) or the shoulder (Wildwood Rd.).  Wildwood Road has significant traffic, moving rapidly, so you might want to just do the "sidewalk" portions of the run - Main St. and Thompson Memorial Drive.

Directions: From I-81, take exit 137. Go right off the exit ramp and you are at one end of the route. I suggest continuing down the road and parking at Hardees (the road deadends into Hardees). You could also drive to other spots on Main Street, like Wal-Mart. Check the map and choose the distance you want to run. Essentially all options are out-and-back. For example, from Wal-Mart to the northeast end of the route and back is 7.0 miles. The full U-shaped route is 8.6 miles round trip. Other distances are possible, of course - see the map. The mileages shown are measured from Thompson Memorial Drive at I-81 (mile 0.0) down to Main St.(mile 1.4), west to Wildwood Rd. (mile 3.8), and north to I-81 (mile 4.3).