I have a meeting in New York City next Monday and on my itinerary firt thing that morning is a run in Central Park, specifically around the reservoir. Just as Dustin Hoffman did in the movie, Marathon Man, every runner should do a lap around New York’s Central Park Reservoir at least once in their lifetime. The gentle 1.58 mile path circles the 106-acre body of water that is now known officially as the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir. Find it between 86th and 96th Streets, with the main entrance, the Engineer’s Gate, at 90th Street and 5th Avenue. The reservoir provided New York City with a source of fresh water from 1862 until 1991. Though disconnected from service, it continues to provide an oasis for more than twenty species of waterfowl and for runners who want to combine the counterclockwise run with spectacular views of the city skyline.
A short jog away is another dirt path referred to as the Lower Reservoir Track. This route is about the same length as the main one, but less confining. The course follows the Central Park Bridle Path and takes runners under three cast-iron bridges. Also nearby is the Great Lawn Oval, a half-mile track with markers every 200 meters that is popular with beginning runners.
Other alternatives are the Central Park Loop Trails. Runners can attempt the challenging Big loop (6 miles) with Central Park’s version of Boston’s Heartbreak Hill right after 108th street. There's the Lower loop (5.1 miles), the Upper loop (4.9 miles), the Central loop (4 miles), and the Northern hills and Southern loops (each under 2 miles). Check out this site for a map of the reservoir track and other Central Park running routes.