One of the great things about living near Los Angeles is that, if you’re a runner, you can be a bad ass and run from one neighborhood and through to the next one and catch various glimpses of city life.
I run with the Snail’s Pace Running Academy out of Monrovia—it’s a swell group of folks if you’re looking for people to run with!
There’s a particular route that I enjoy running that starts at the Metro’s Pasadena Del Mar Station. It winds through Pasadena, into South Pasadena and into Highland Park eventually driving you to Union Station.
The route ends up being about ten miles if you don’t get lost af.
It’s a fun route and it’s relatively easy since the vast majority of it is downhill except for a stretch that goes through Highland Park up Avenue 60.
As you start through Pasadena you run through some nice parts of town and you get to see some nice houses. There’s a brief stretch that follows along the well-known Arroyo-Seco trail which results in a little trail running.
You’re running through the burbs mostly as you run through Pasadena and its hated Step Sibling, South Pasadena which is known for not having noisy lawnmowers. They’re totally green and proud and pretentious and I’m pretty sure that’s the town motto if it isn’t Fuck you, Pasadena!
Once you get into Highland Park the homes are a little less pristine and things get more urban. Running up avenue 60 is a real pain in the ass but worth it once you get to the top. Collis is a nice decline that seems to go on forever and a nice reminder that if you’re coasting through life you’re going downhill. Sage words from Mehrdad Mohdjtahedi.
As you run down Huntington and onto Mission, the neighborhoods are more worn, revealing the city’s working-class homes and businesses. It’s a stark contrast from where you begin your run in Pasadena. Eventually, you run alongside the “Piggyback” rail yard and along the fencing. At the time of this writing, you’ll no doubt see the myriad homeless encampments that have claimed their space here—it’s telling how pervasive the homeless epidemic in Los Angeles truly is and how the city and state are not doing enough to combat this problem to help those in the margins find solace and a safe space to live.
As you pass by the train yard eventually you’ll run by a row of auto repair shops blaring a variety of music before bumping into Cesar Chavez Blvd. You’ll turn right there and run along the north side of Union Station. Behold mother nature at its finest as you cross over the LA Reservoir (or river as it’s usually referred to)—during the final stretch you’ll run beneath an overpass, with cars whizzing by you kicking up all kinds of dirt and other stuff you don’t want to think about into your face, I encourage you to yell at the top of your lungs and hear the echo of your bad-assery as you emerge to the other side where Olivera Street is in sight.
Boom! You did it!!
Treat yourself to a nice coconut margarita at Casa La Golondrina. When you’re done hop on the Metro Gold Line and back to Del Mar Station as you give absolutely zero fucks about how fucking savage you smell, much to the disdain of your fellow passengers. You earned it!