How Minneapolis City Running Tours can Help you See the City through New Eyes
Have you ever wondered what some of those ancient Roman-esque ruins are in the Mill District? Or what buildings make up the iconic Minneapolis sky? What about the various (and varied) theaters on Hennepin ave? If you want to learn more about this great city, maybe it’s time you signup for a Minneapolis City Running Tour.
I recently talked with Jenna Duesterhoeft, the Minneapolis manager of City Running Tours. She loves introducing people to the city she loves, through one of her favorite hobbies, running.
If you’re not familiar with City Running Tours, or think it’s just for tourists, here are a few things you should know.
What are Minneapolis City Running Tours?
If you hadn’t figured it out from the name, City Running Tours will give you a running tour of a city. As Perd Hapley would say, “City Running Tours is a tour, while running, in a city.” Their tagline, “to sweat and sight see.”
You’ll find them in 16 cities across the United States. Whether you’re there for business or pleasure, you will get to experience a city in a unique way.
The guides will lead your running tour through a city, pointing out different sights, taking pictures, and having a good time. Jenna says, “It’s obviously a much faster way to see the city than just walking.”
Customized Running Tours
Let’s say you’re in town for a few days for business and need to get in your miles for that race you have coming up. City Running Tours will customize a run to meet your needs. While you could obviously join one of the great group runs in the city, a custom run allows you to go the distance you need, at a time that works with your schedule. Jenna says,
The are lots of people who are training for specific races who signup for the individuals runs… This helps them stay on their training when away from home.
On the other hand, maybe you’re brand new to running, and just want to see a part of Minneapolis you didn’t know before. They will customize a shorter run, at a more conversational pace, focusing on the tour aspect of the run.
Not Just for Tourists
I always thought the only people who might go on a City Running Tour were tourists. Jenna said that’s actually not the case.
I would say it’s about 50/50. A lot of the runners who sign up could be locals to Minneapolis, or those who live in the suburbs and are having a weekend in the city… catching a Twin game, show, and just want to see the city in a new way.
Join a Group Run
Every Saturday (weather permitting), they have two regularly scheduled group runs, both beginning at the Mary Tyler Moore statue on Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis. These tend to be more casual, and focus on different elements of city life.
Cherry and Spoon Run
This run is focused on the arts and park culture of Minneapolis. Beginning at 8 am, this run heads down Nicollet Mall, through Loring Park, up Hennepin and back. The guides stop at multiple points along the route to take pictures, and talk about the various aspects of city culture.
- Cost: $35
- Time: 8 am, Saturday’s
As the name implies, this run is focused on the brewing and night life scenes in Minneapolis. Beginning at 2 pm, this run goes past Target Field, over the Hennepin bridge into Northeast Minneapolis, and finishes over the stone arch bridge in the Mill District. Guides also discuss the Mill District, and how the city grew up around the river.
If you’re looking for a little more socialization, this is the tour for you. Each Beer Run ends at The Local (a local bar in Minneapolis) where, included in your fee, is a flight of local beer tasting.
- Cost: $40
- Time: 2 pm, Saturday’s
This is a great way to see the city, learn about the city, and run in the city. If you’re here on business, but don’t want to run alone (or don’t know where to run), Minneapolis City Running Tours can help you accomplish it all.
- Price: The cost of a personalized running tour is $60 for a run up to 3 miles and $5 for each additional mile per person.
They will also do specialized running tours for team building, corporate events, or charity groups. “We can do up to 100 people if you wanted to do something like that.” Jenna says. You can get a quote here.
Running with Strangers
I was curious about the atmosphere on these runs. Does it feel like a forced museum tour, or does conversation flow naturally like a regular group run?
If people are more there for the run, and just chatting casually, we can lay off the facts. We like to get to know the people (in the time we’re together). It’s a pretty good mix of conversation.. learning about each other and the city while exercising.
Here are a few quotes from past participants on Minneapolis City Running Tours.
This was a real fun way to see Minneapolis. Nate was an excellent guide – lots of cool facts and attentive to the comfort of the runners. Have visited MSP many times – and saw lots of new stuff. Ending beer tasting and pint was at a cool place.
It was super interesting and fun. James our guide was a friendly, cool guy. He helped us pace so it was challenging but not too much for an amateur runner (me). James taught us some awesome things about Minneapolis and about running. I loved visiting Fulton Brewery which I had heard a lot about. It was novel thing to do with a buddy: part exercise, part adventure, part fun, part beer :-). I recommend going on this run with a buddy if you want to mix exercise with socializing and adventure.
Celebrated my 50th birthday this weekend with a 5k beer run!!! Nate was great to work with and he brought 2 other tour guides with him when I told him my group had some runners, joggers and walkers!! Nobody was left behind and everybody had a lot of fun!!! Got to see a lot of downtown Minneapolis and tasted some great beer!!! The city tours guys were super fun to hang out with! They shared lots of trivia and interesting information about the city!!!! I would highly recommend City Running Tours!!!
About the Tour Guides
When they train new guides, they get very on the job training. Jenna said, “when I did my interview, I basically went on a tour… you also go on a bunch of shadow tours to watch and observe before you go out on your own.” It’s not exactly rocket science, but if you work for Minneapolis City Running Tours, you need to know your stuff!
In case you are worried these tours are only for the extroverts… don’t! The guides tend to flow with the personality of the group. If they are really chatty, or quiet, they adapt.
“We’re all characters a little bit… we’re just ourselves, but we’re characters in our own way.”
Jenna told me that when they used to make Grain Belt (in the City), the would use water from the river. They would then take it (by horse) to the workers at the numerous mills along the river.
Also, did you know Nicollet Island is the only inhabited island on the Mississippi River? It’s also a mile around (on the road), which makes for a great place to do some speed work (if you can avoid the train, and don’t mind two small hills).
Should you do a City Running Tour?
If you are a recent transplant to Minneapolis, I think this would be a great way to get to know the city. In addition to checking out one of the local specialty running shops, connecting here could be a way to get your bearings and learn about Minneapolis.