“We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”
– T. S. Eliot
You may remember when I wrote about City Running Tours back in October 2013. The question I posed at the end: “So who wants to be the genius of St. Louis and give us the Number 12 slot on the list of major cities with running tours?”
That question was answered when I received an e-mail at the end of December from Joe Michaelree with the reply: “That’s me!” Joe, a Market Research Analyst turned entrepreneur, was born and raised in Webster Groves. Joe went on to tell me that he has been doing background research for running tours for nearly a year and a half and was launching St. Louis Running Tours in January. He started with some free tours just before Christmas promoted mainly through his friends at Big River Running and was finally ready to get the business off the ground and running (pun intended).
I should make it clear that Joe has not added St. Louis to City Running Tours, but rather has created his own St. Louis brand of tour. Joe does not currently offer on-call runs, but schedules runs in advance for Saturday and Sunday mornings at 8am. He can also do personalized week day and sunset runs with advanced reservations. His tour is a set route that starts in Kiener Plaza, goes through historic Laclede’s Landing, by the Eads Bridge, down to the Arch Grounds and along the Mississippi River, and through the Old Courthouse. The distance is 4.5 miles.
Joe takes a ‘no man left behind’ approach in his runs. Just like the T.S. Eliot quote, his idea behind STL Running Tours is to enjoy a fun group run and learn about the rich history of St. Louis. Whether you were born and raised here but have never taken the time to explore this great city or you are seeing it for the first time, there is something interesting for everyone to experience during the run. Joe takes the time to stop at each landmark and tell you a bit about it, giving you time for pictures…and to catch your breath. The pace is easy running (roughly 2 hours for 4.5 miles, with a 2-3 minute stop at each landmark). It’s not a marathon training session. It’s designed to “keep your pulse up while keeping your brain active;” to experience the city by being immersed in it.
While Joe has admitted it’s been a rough winter to start-up a running tour, it’s been a great time for him to experience the city in a new light. Cold, snowy, quiet mornings can be some of the most intriguing. In fact, on one of Joe’s first tours during a cold December morning, the group saw a Bald Eagle flying over the Mississippi River. Whether you’re a beginning runner looking for a unique running experience, a born and raised St. Louisan wanting to see your city in a new light, a business owner looking for ways to promote health and fitness for your staff, a St. Louis transplant, or you just want to participate in a running tour, this is an awesome experience Joe has brought to our fantastic city! I’m so happy to see this being brought to life in St. Louis.
St. Louis Running Tour
Cost: $30 per person (varies)