Looking toward the 2014 Tulsa Run: It’s going to be a tougher course

I’m a little late on this one, but I figured it would be a good time to preview what the 2014 Tulsa Run course will look like.

There are changes, and they are significant. Some background…

The city is going through a major park development project on Riverside Drive between 21st Street and 35th Place. Much of the road is going to be rebuilt, which means a significant portion of the race’s traditional course is going to be torn up. So the flatter out-and-back format of years past is history this time.

Here’s a map of the new 15K course:

The 15K course for the 2014 Tulsa Run. (Tulsa Run image)

The 15K course for the 2014 Tulsa Run. (Tulsa Run image)

Now it’s a loop. I’ll make this short and sweet: As much as people groaned about the uphill stretch up Boston Avenue at the end of the race, they can expect more of that in this year’s event. Both 21st Street and 15th Street — prominent stretches in this year’s run — are pretty hilly. Much more so than in last year’s course.

Also, the return trip to downtown also has an uphill stretch from Riverside, and then the last piece north on Boston Avenue.

My advice: Train on hills, especially if you’re hunting a PR.

Now the good news: From an aesthetic point of view, this course has the looks of a gem. Running on the River Parks trails alongside Riverside Drive is scenic. Running on Riverside Drive, however, is not. But crossing the Arkansas River (twice) and going through Cherry Street and Brookside will make for a more interesting run, and possibly better in terms of spectator support.

I like the change, and aside from the added difficulty the course presents, I think most runners will, too. An added bonus: If you’re also training for November’s Route 66 Marathon or half marathon, the new Tulsa Run course will give you a nice sneak preview of what to expect on the marathon and half marathon.

The Tulsa Run is on Oct. 25 and registration is open.

Bob Doucette

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