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Sunken Meadow State Park

If you are interested in cross country, this is the place to run on Long Island. The following description was written by Thomas Ritter (thomas_99ritter@usmma.edu).

The absolute best/toughest course to run on Long Island is Sunken Meadow State Park in Kings Park. It has a 1.5 mile, 3 mile, 5 mile, 5k, and 10k course. It is said to be the second toughest course to run in the state [ after Van Courtlandt Park ] with Snake and Cardiac hills getting in the way. You can get there by hopping on the Sagtikos/Sunken Meadow Parkway North from either the LIE, Southern State, or Northern State. It's the last exit. The cross-country course starts at the end of Field 4.

This report was written by m trotto:

There are groups of runners who run at sunken meadow state park on wed. some start at 4PM and others start at 5PM, distance is usually around 12 miles but different loops and cross country trails can produce runs from as short as 3 miles. The terrain can be hilly - into the woods, up the toll booth road etc. or it can be flat - along the board walk or a combination of both.

In addition, on Sat. and Sun when there are no major races runners can be found starting at around 8 to 9 am depending on the weather and the time of year. In all but the winter months, the park charges admission so to avoid the $7.00 fee, runners get to the park early before 8am (7am on weekends); (or they purchase the passport pass for $59. which gives free admission to all state parks for the entire year.) From the east end parking lot to the top of the golf course road and back is about a 4 mile loop.

There is also the cross country course which is well marked and new cinder is laid down in late summer for the upcoming cross country season. The trails are really soft on the legs and freshman and cardiac hills are always a challenge. The cross country has a short and a long course 2000 m and 5000m . Course trails can be picked up in the office or in the cross country trailer. If you run on Saturdays in the early fall you will be able to run with some of the cross country teams. Many High school teams come to Sunken Meadow State park to train.

There are bathroom facilities open all year long and the park had changing facilities and outdoor showers (the showers are only open in the summer months) In the winter, if it snows there are trails for snow shoeing and cross country skiing. The park often will sponsor cross country ski clinics in Jan/Feb.

Finally, runners who would like to cross train, there are bike trails both mountain bike and on road for biking and of course the Long Island sound for swimming. The water is best in the early summer and late summer. Wet suits are recommended for longer swims. The water is relatively clean but check the tide schedule. Dead low tide means water will be no deeper than 2-3 feet. Sunken Meadow State Park is at the north end of the Sagtigos Parkway or along 25A in Kings Park.

Hempstead Lake State Park

The following was contributed by John Mezzano (mezzano@bbcom.com):

Hempstead Lake State Park has a 2.5 mile exercise path. People can jog, run or walk on it. The path has stations to stop at to do exercises. Each spot has signs suggesting exercises.

You can reach the park by going on the Southern State Parkway to exit 18 or 19.



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