Separated from downtown by “Red Mountain,” named for the reddish iron ore used in making steel, Birmingham’s “Over the Mountain” communities are high on the quaint factor. English Village, Crestline Village, Mountain Brook Village, and Homewood each possess their own character and charm, but what remains constant is the historical architecture and hospitality of local business owners along this 8.2-mile or 6-mile run. The elevation, however, is far from constant. These Appalachian foothills undulate with some fairly steep pitches along this route, but the real estate you'll cover makes it all worth it.
What Makes It Great
You can park and start in any of the villages, but for route guidance, the best place to start is the Trak Shak, on 18th Street, in the epicenter of Homewood. You can park at a different location each time to allow a different experience with each trip, if you’re one that likes to mix things up. Some prefer the routine and predictability of the same route each time, however, and this run route is great for that, too. The friendly employees there, all avid runners, can provide you with good beta and directions. Be sure to bring a little cash and ditch the stopwatch, because each Village will tempt you to drop the pace and look around. You may even find yourself sipping a latte at one of the many sidewalk cafés instead of worrying about that next interval split. With max elevation of just over 902 feet and total ascent of over 254 feet, this lung-busting route will be sure to get your heart rate going and will set your leg muscles on fire. The Shell Station in Crestline Village (about 5K in) is very runner-friendly and has opened their restrooms and provided water to local runners for more than 20 years.
Who is Going to Love It
This is a great route for any runner from beginner to advanced level. Because you can customize this route to suit any plan, any day, any person, the 4 Village Loop Run is great for anyone that is learning the love of running, training for an upcoming race or event, or trying to get in shape, or needing to maintain fitness. Surrounded by the quaint, lovely and safe area, you’ll put this on your list as a favorite run locale.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
Because the recommended place to begin is at the Trak Shak in Homewood, the directions for that location is as follows: From HWY 31, turn onto 29th Ave S/Independence Plaza and you’ll see the Trak Shak on your right on 18th Street S.