TLDR? There are some great 5K routes in Laureles, especially the Universidad Pontifica Bolivariana loop!
Thanks to its eternal spring-like weather, Medellin is a great place to go for a run and try to beat your 5K time.
Especially during the morning and evening, the temperature in Medellin is ideal for hitting the pavement and setting a new personal best.
Unfortunately, there are some things that can also make running in Medellín difficult. The best strategy is to have a determined route beforehand. When I stayed in the Factory Lofts at the southern end of La 70 in Laureles, I discovered several great routes that I was able to start right from the front door of my hotel.
Here are some of my best routes plus pro tips for running a 5K in Medellin!
The Difficulties of Running in Medellín
Before you go out and try to break your 5K record on the streets of Laureles, there are a few things you should know. Medellín is a great place to run, but there’s also plenty that makes it difficult.
The main thing to be aware of is that, for all practical purposes, pedestrians do not have the right of way in Colombia. Instead of cars stopping for you when you reach a crosswalk or intersection, you have to wait until there’s a break in the traffic before you can cross.
Medellín is a big city, though, and there’s a lot of traffic. Even in quiet Laureles, it’s hard to run any significant distance without crossing busy streets where you’ll have to wait for several minutes. That ruins your rhythm, not to mention your mile time.
It’s not just road traffic, either.
Not every part of the neighborhood has easily accessible sidewalks. Many are blocked by parked cars, and others are too busy with pedestrians to be practical for running.
The Best 5K Routes in Laureles
Despite the fact that running in Laureles can be tricky, there are some great places where you can go for a job. A lot of these are closed-off areas where you don’t have to worry about cars and traffic.
Check out my top 5K routes in the neighborhood!
The Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana Loop
The longest loop you’re going to be able to find to run without the interruption of traffic is around the campus of la Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana, which lies on the southern border of Laureles at the end of La 70.
There is sidewalk around the entire perimeter and in many places a bike path, though it can be a bit crowded, especially in the morning and evening.
The best thing about this loop is the distance: almost exactly a mile.
If you’re staying in the Factory Lofts right at the end of La 70, you can step right out of the hotel, run three laps, and you’ve done your 5K for the day.
Running it three times also gives you good pacing, but it can get boring if you want to run more, like a 10K. I know because I tried it. For longer distances, I suggest combining it with some of the other routes below.
Approx. distance: 1 mile / 1.6 km
Estadio Atanasio Girardot
The soccer stadium seems to be where most Laureles natives go to jog. Any time of day you’re bound to find a crowd of people running, walking or skating along the paved loop that surrounds it.
There’s apparently also some kind of unwritten rule that everyone moves clockwise, and while no one will yell at you if you go against the grain, you will have to dodge a lot of kids on roller skates.
The problem with running around the stadium is that it’s a short loop, close to half a mile, though not exactly. Even doing a 5K, it’s going to get boring. If you want to do a 10K, forget about it.
A better idea is to combine the stadium loop with some others. For one thing, you can run through Parque Banderas next to the stadium to add some distance.
Alternatively, you can run all the way around the stadium complex, which gives you a decent distance of 1.25 miles per loop. You may occasionally have to stop at intersections, but it’s relatively uninterrupted.
Finally, especially if you want to run longer distances, you can combine the stadium loop with the university loop by connecting the two with La 70.
Approx. distance: 0.5 miles / 0.75 km
From the top at the Estadio metro station to the bottom at the university entrance, La 70 is exactly a kilometer, give or take a few feet.
In the evening La 70 is crowded with both people and cars, but in the morning it’s calmer. You can even avoid pedestrians by running on the bike path that travels its full length. Just, you know, watch out for bikes.
While you can certainly run up and down La 70 as much as you want, it works best to use it to connect the university loop to the stadium.
Thanks to the extra distance provided by Parque de Banderas, you can make a loop of just over 5K by starting at your hotel along La 70—in my case the Factory Lofts—and running down to the university.
From there, dp a lap, run up La 70 and past the Estadio metro station through Parque de Banderas, do a lap around the stadium, and then run back down La 70 to your hotel.
Approx. distance: 0.6 miles / 1 km
Other Places to Run in Laureles
There are a few other places you can run in Laureles without having to deal with too much traffic. The only problem is these aren’t necessarily loops, so you’ll either have to run back and forth multiple times or go a decent distance outside of the Laureles neighborhood into other parts of the city.
The River Tributaries
Two streams are easily accessible from Laureles: Quebrada La Hueso and Quebrada La Picacha, which runs through Belén just south of the Unicentro shopping mall and then crosses through Los Conquistadores until it meets the river.
Both of these are great to run because of the natural beauty—lots of trees, gurgling water, and weird birds.
Quebrada La Hueso runs along a major street, Calle 48, so you’re more likely to deal with traffic.
Quebrada La Pichacha is much calmer, but the sidewalk occasionally turns into boardwalks. And, if you’re tall like me, you might have to duck under tree branches occasionally.
Primer Parque de Laureles
The First Park of Laureles is a natural area that’s refreshing for exercise. Unfortunately, it’s only about a quarter-mile in circumference. So, you might get bored running laps.
However, there is a bike path that connects the park to other parts of the sector. Though you’ll have more intersections to stop at, following the bike path can be a good way to explore Laureles without getting lost.
Work Up a Sweat by Running a 5K in Laureles
Whichever of these running routes you choose, you’re sure to work up a sweat. Just grab some water, stay hydrated and get ready to shed some pounds!
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