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Running – The Atlantis, Bahamas

Posted on 11 February 2014

It’s always exciting to be adventurous when traveling to new destinations and hopefully find some memorable running routes. This past week, I spent time in the Bahamas at the Atlantis Resort for a business conference. Before my travel, I researched online for some good locations to run beyond the obvious (beach).   Interestingly in a resort as large as Atlantis, there was very little with respect to best areas, routes to run. I just assumed explore around the area (and probably get lost as normal) in search of an epic run.

My overall rating of the running route possibilities is a grade D+ for Atlantis but I still experienced some fun running. After arriving from the cold weather climate of Pittsburgh, the obvious warm sun was a nice change but the entire area was commercialism on steroids. The worst part was that the beach is artificial sand just piled up everywhere. It’s incredible how much white sand is on the beach and appeared that dump trucks just unloaded it on the beach and graded it to make it look nice. Therefore, you can imagine running on the beach (you will find an old volcano area at the end that goes out to the sea as a good landmark and turnaround point at the end of the beach) is very tough with the quicksand feeling white sand.   Also, the camber is so tough there is actually nowhere to run. In 4 days I only saw two other runners and it’s their high season in the Bahamas. Only 3 people were walking on the beach as there is just too much artificial white sand everywhere and in many places it’s overwhelming. Also, another highlight was the daily offer by the local Bohemians to buy a gallon jug of Bahamas Breeze  “to get wasted.” Clearly not a great running destination by any means on the beach.   However, the Caribbean is tough to beat with the nice temperatures, clear green/blue water. Swimming is great but the running is brutal on the beach and it’s relatively short so it becomes a back and forth loops sloshing through the ankle/calf high sand (about 1.3 miles total length). Good training for desert races that are for sure!

The only other area is Paradise Street that runs parallel to the ocean but you can’t see the ocean because of all the buildings. It’s approximately 1.4 miles from Atlantis to the turnaround of a private street (condo complex.  ) Consider heading over the very high bridges that go over the bay.  They are great for hill work and are quite steep surprisingly as my lungs and legs learned very quickly.   On the other side of the bay you will be able to pick up a few more miles through the town of Nassau.  It’s looks like a typical Caribbean city, some nice areas and some rough locations that will force you to pick up the pace (of course my suggestion is day running only).  For those looking for a longer run expect to do multiple loops.   My suggestion, head out with the beach run and expect it to be tough, grab a beach exit and head to Paradise Street for a nice out and back (there is a nice little climb) and then over the bridge to Nassau and back, then repeat.   Each of these loops is approximately 4.5 miles so you can get in a 9-10 mile run with only one course repeat.

A nice venue if you like massive buildings, commercialism, extreme prices, and a luxury resort. However it’s not a destination for running adventures like many other Caribbean locations of Belize, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua.The only aspect that made it memorable was running along the water and the hot sun –it’s very warm by 8:30AM so my suggestion is to head out early and catch the sunrise.

Happy running while traveling!

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